On Tuesday, November 7th, Franklin County will participate in Pennsylvania’s Municipal Election. Three statewide judicial offices will be decided, but a majority of ballot contests will feature local and county office-seekers. For Franklin’s current eight electable county offices (The Treasurer’s office is not elected this year), four are being contested between Democratic and Republican candidates. Four other county candidates will run unopposed; all are Republicans.
Within Franklin County’s population of 156,289 residents, 98,165 are registered voters. Republicans hold a long-standing majority among these voters, with 62% registered in their favor. Democrats have a 24% voter affiliation and Independents earn an 11% share.
FRANKLIN COUNTY OFFICES CONTESTED ON NOVEMBER 7TH
For the position Clerk of Courts, Republican Todd Rock runs unopposed. Rock is a former State Representative and teacher who graduated from Penn State University. “I thoroughly enjoy public service and want to continue running this office effectively and efficiently,” Rock said. He is a Mont Alto resident.
The same political scenario applies to current County Controller, Republican Harold Wissinger. The Chambersburg resident and York College graduate will not face a challenger in the 2023 election. The Controller supervises all fiscal affairs for the county.
In the other two unopposed races, Ian Brink is the Republican candidate for District Attorney, and Benjamin Sites is the conservative party’s lone candidate for Sheriff.
District Attorney candidate Ian Brink has practiced law for 23 years. Since 2005, Brink has served as Franklin County’s Chief Deputy District Attorney and also as Chief Public Defender. Brink has litigated more than 4000 cases. He lives in Shippensburg and is a lifelong Republican. “I have earned the respect and support of law enforcement,” Brink says.
Unopposed Franklin County Sheriff candidate, Republican Benjamin Sites, has a twelve-year background in law enforcement. Sites graduated from Shippensburg University, and later, the Pennsylvania Sheriff’s Academy in 2011. Sites began his police career as a deputy, and then after several promotions, he was named Chief Deputy Sheriff in 2020.
In the County Commissioner races—two of the four candidates are incumbents. Voters will choose two candidates per ballot. Franklin County elects a panel of three County Commissioners every four years.
Incumbent Democrat Commissioner Bob Ziobrowski has been in office since 2008. Ziobrowski is a Wilson College graduate with 30 years of experience in real estate appraisal. As a Franklin County Commissioner, Bob stated his focus: “I want to continue pursuing quality of life enhancements while encouraging economic growth.”
Republican Commissioner John Flannery is running for his second term, and the hospitality businessman pledges it will be his final stint in office. The Mercersburg resident owns several restaurants and says he won’t be a career politician. Flannery also believes in reciprocity. “You cannot expect the community to support you if you’re not willing to support the community.”
Two other candidates bring diverse backgrounds to the County Commissioner contest.
Republican Dean Horst is a Marine Corp Veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm. He runs the firm Interstate Garage Doors with his brother and seeks his first political office. Horst is endorsed by 2022 Republican gubernatorial candidate and Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano. “Dean Horst is the type of bold leadership we need in Franklin County,” Mastriano says.
Cameron Schroy is the youngest candidate running in the County Commissioner race. The 27-year-old Schroy is a Waynesboro Social Studies teacher, but he’s prominent in Democratic circles. Schroy has worked with the Franklin County Democratic Committee since 2014, and was elected its chair in 2022. He is the youngest person holding that position in Pennsylvania Democratic politics. “I want to help our communities thrive for years to come,” Schroy says.
Schroy hopes to complement Ziobrowski’s experience as the two head up the Democratic duo of County Commissioner candidates.
Flannery and Horst will compete as the conservative team, hoping to claim a Republican majority.
The contest for Coroner features two candidates with medical backgrounds- Jordan Conner and Patrick Creighton.
Republican Jordan Conner has practical experience in the Coroner’s office. His father, Jeff Conner, served as Franklin County Coroner and recently retired. Jordan worked under his father’s tutelage in the Coroner’s office for ten years. Jordan Conner also has medical background as a former paramedic. “I believe the Coroner’s office must play an important role promoting public safety and awareness,” Conner said.
Democrat Patrick Creighton seeks to build on his career in biomedical research, which has been focused on medical device safety. “I handle large amounts of data when people’s lives depend on me doing my job quickly and accurately. This experience will directly apply to updating the current ways residents access the coroner’s services.” Creighton is a Waynesboro resident who pledges to bring expertise, compassion, and vision to the Coroner’s office.
The Prothonotary office serves as the chief clerk for the Court of Common Pleas. Republican Timothy Sponseller is the incumbent; Linda Raimo is the Democratic challenger.
Timothy Sponseller seeks a third four-year term. Sponseller has practiced law for 47 years after graduating with a law degree from Temple University. Describing his time in office, Sponseller emphasizes his efficient handling of a large caseload while maintaining a courteous and welcoming atmosphere.
Candidate Linda Raimo comes from a corporate and small business background. The New York native moved to Chambersburg in 2003, and then worked for 14 years at Wilson College. She later opened a local Bed and Breakfast Inn. Raimo believes her business successes and passion for public service make her an ideal candidate for the Prothonotary office.
The Register and Recorder processes all county legal paperwork, including deeds, wills, and mortgages. This election features Joy Heinbaugh against John Patterson.
As a candidate for Register and Recorder, Democrat John Patterson wants to be an advocate for Franklin County homeowners. “I believe I can improve current office procedures by contacting homeowners when their mortgages have been reassigned.” Patterson is a Penn State graduate. During his professional career, he has been responsible for managing complex systems which included medical records, technical product documentation, and the training for those procedures.
Republican candidate Joy Heinbaugh has worked in the Register and Recorder office for 18 years. After the retirement of Linda Miller in October 2022, (former Register and Recorder), Heinbaugh has served as the interim head of this office. Born in Franklin County, she asks local voters to “Choose Joy”. Heinbaugh says her love for the work makes her the best candidate.
These eight races feature local candidates, and 2023 election decisions will impact the everyday lives of Franklin County residents on topics such as taxes, law enforcement, zoning, and infrastructure.
Information about Franklin County community and township races will be detailed in an upcoming article.