SOMERSET, Pa .– When he first became Chairman of the Somerset County Republican Party in the summer of 2020, Guy Berkebile said he discovered there was an ‘unwritten’ row office rule between the two parties.
As for incumbents, don’t challenge them whether Democrats or Republicans hold the seat.
This has resulted in a trend of lifelong office holders – and politically, little common sense, Berkebile said.
âWe have a large majority (of registration), and from the way I see it, there’s no reason we don’t have every one of these seats,â he said. âI think Tuesday’s results showed voters wanted to see change. They are not happy with the direction the Democratic Party is taking at the moment. “
In a November election that saw a wave of voters from the region vote for Tory elected officials in the region, the Cambria and Somerset counties parties toppled a total of three office seats on Tuesday, according to reports. unofficial results.
Somerset County had its own trio.
The Treasurer and Prothonotary’s offices will each have a Republican in charge for the first time in a generation after two retired state soldiers defeated Treasurer Donna Matsko Schmitt and Prothonotary Angie Svonavec, while the party retained the coroner’s seat with First Deputy Cullen Swank replacing his soon-to-be-retired boss, Wallace Miller.
In Cambria County, law enforcement veteran and Republican Don Robertson claimed victory in a sheriff race to replace Robert Kolar, the former sheriff who died in 2020.
“Words cannot describe how happy I am with the results,” said Cambria County Republican President Jackie Kulback.
She viewed the results as a statement on today’s concerns about the country’s leadership – a statement on President Joe Biden’s leadership, food prices and supply chain concerns that could make it difficult research the most fashionable toys, artificial trees and other Christmas products this season.
âIt wasn’t hard to remind people to vote this year,â Kulback said. âWhen I was making calls nobody said, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to get (to the polls).’ “
Changing political winds
For Cambria County Democratic President Helen Whiteford, this GOP momentum rests solely on the henchmen of former President Donald Trump.
“And how he made such a stunt I’ll never know,” she said, adding that he had misled millions of Americans.
Whiteford said she was devastated by Tuesday’s results – from judicial level to local races – and does not question that her opposition party has undeniable momentum.
Today in the late 1980s Whiteford saw sweeping changes in party politics – and there is no doubt there will be yet another, she said.
Whiteford said she was heartened that the worst “Trump policy” in recent years had started to bring new blood and new energy to Cambria’s Democratic Party.
âIt’s not enough,â Whiteford said. “We need more. But it’s a start.”
She added: âThat too will pass. But it takes time. “
For local Tories, Tuesday’s still unofficial results showed their registration gains over the past few years – and the voters those numbers represent – are not going to go away.
Kulback and Berkebile said they both focus on racing down to the neighborhood level – encouraging people to show up to school board, borough and township headquarters to ensure they are represented by people with traditional âlocalâ values.
This is even more important at a time when parents are forced to pay even more attention to what their children are learning in school, he said.
âAnd even at the local level, we have to push back the policies of the Wolf administration,â Berkebile said.
Whiteford did not dispute that Governor Tom Wolf’s decisions over the past year have likely led some Pennsylvanians to the polls.
“It’s a shame,” she said. “He is being criticized for what he tried to do to save lives – to protect people from COVID-19.”
About 36% of registered voters in Cambria County cast their ballot on Tuesday, County Electoral Officer Maryann Dillon said.
A total of 30,402 ballots were received – 24,606 on election day, she said.
For a municipal year that featured few county-wide races, the turnout was better than expected, she said.
Somerset County‘s turnout was just under 40%.
The unofficial results, which are yet to be reviewed by the county calculation board later this week, showed 19,132 people voted – 16,416 in person on Tuesday.
The Somerset and Cambria compute cards will begin the verification count on Friday.
City still blue zone
Despite four Republican challengers for four Johnstown city council positions and chairman mayor, results in the city of Johnstown late Tuesday showed Flood City is still a Democratic stronghold.
Incumbents Ricky Britt, Marie Mock and Reverend Sylvia King were re-elected. First-time candidate Laura Huchel topped a trio of Republicans – including two former board members.
Mayor Frank Janakovic also retained his seat, with a relatively narrow margin of less than 250 votes, against the city’s outspoken critic John DeBartola.
The vote came as the city strives to reinvent itself as an outdoors-oriented “mountain town” and find ways to spend an unprecedented $ 30 million in federal dollars on economic and community recovery.
Despite the loss, Kulback said the city’s results showed DeBartola’s message on some of the city’s issues resonated with some voters.
She said it wasn’t about whether Republicans could take control of the board.
âIt’s a challenge,â Kulback said. “But it’s just a matter of finding the right candidates.”