Franklin County voters took part in Pennsylvania’s 2023 Municipal Election on Tuesday, November 7th. When it was over, 95 statewide, county, and local races were decided. In this odd-year election, voter turnout was 30% (29,806 ballots cast) according to the Franklin County Board of Elections. At this writing, the results listed on the Franklin County website are still deemed unofficial, but state that 100% of 73 total precincts have reported.
Locally, Republican candidates won big, while in statewide contests, Democrats prevailed.
In the statewide judicial contests, voters elected four new judges to serve at the Supreme Court, Superior Court, and Commonwealth Court levels. For the most watched contest, Democrat Dan McCaffery won a seat as Justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He garnered 53% of the state’s vote against Republican opponent Carolyn Carluccio. McCaffery’s victory increases the liberal majority on the court.
This Pennsylvania Supreme Court contest was seen as a must-win for both parties, and tens of millions of dollars poured into their respective campaigns. In recent years the court has issued important rulings on voter rights, the environment, and the Covid-19 Pandemic.
For the Commonwealth Court judge election, Democrat Matt Wolf bested Republican Megan Martin, winning 52% of the Pennsylvania vote. Judge Wolf is a decorated 20-year U.S. Army veteran who later built a career as a Civil Rights trial lawyer. He entered the 2023 campaign as the Supervising Civil Judge of Philadelphia’s Municipal Court.
In the race for the Superior Court, voters elected two judges from a four-candidate race. Both are Democrats. Jill Beck won 28% of the total votes cast, and fellow Democrat Timika Lane won 25%, earning both women judgeships on the Superior Court. Republicans Maria Battista and Harry Smail, Jr. finished out of the running with 24% and 22% respectively.
New Superior Court Judge Jill Beck is a graduate of Duquesne University School of Law. During Beck’s career, she has been a staunch advocate for children, working for the non-profit organization KidsVoice, and representing underprivileged Pennsylvanians in the court system.
Judge Timika Lane was first elected to the Court of Common Pleas in 2013. She was assigned to the Major Trials program in the Criminal Division. Earlier, Lane graduated from Rutgers-Camden School of Law and built her law career with stints in family law, as a major trial attorney, and a Public Defender.
In Franklin County, eight different offices were elected, and in four, Republican candidates ran unopposed. The new District Attorney is Ian Brink, and the first-term Sheriff is Benjamin Sites. Incumbents Todd Rock (Clerk of Courts) and Harold Wissinger (Controller) were elected to new terms, also without challengers.
In the County Commissioners race, Republicans John Flannery and Dean Horst won handily. Horst received 18,363 votes, to win top honors, while Flannery finished second with 17,149 votes. Democratic incumbent Bob Ziobrowski was the third Commissioner chosen, with 9,505 votes. Newcomer Cameron Schroy ran a spirited campaign, but the Democrat finished fourth and failed to gain a Commissionership with 7621 votes.
For the other contested county races, three victors won with nearly identical lopsided vote percentages. All those wins were earned by Republican candidates.
For Register and Recorder, Republican Joy Heinbaugh received 71.8% of the vote. Fellow conservative and Prothonotary incumbent Timothy Sponseller won a 70.5% share in his victory. The new Franklin County Coroner will be Republican Jordan Conner, who earned 71.3% of the voter’s trust.
All told, in the ten county positions up for election, nine were won by Republicans. Re-elected Democrat County Commissioner Bob Ziobrowski is the lone liberal voice in Franklin County government.
In Chambersburg, the town council races were won by Republicans Sharon Coffman, John Huber, David Beltz, Stacy Short, and Bill Everly. Democrat Chadwick Hare won a narrow victory as the lone successful Democrat.
For Waynesboro voters, the only Borough Council seat up for grabs was in Ward 1, where incumbent Mike Cermak defeated Democratic challenger Sarah Provard. Cermak won 57% of the votes cast. Two other incumbent Republican Waynesboro Council Members, Ward 2’s Jon Fleagle and Patrick Fleagle in Ward 3, ran unopposed and were elected to new terms.
In the Waynesboro School Board of Directors contests, Patricia Strite and Rachel Fortney won in the North End District, while Lloyd Hamberger was elected in the Waynesboro Borough. In the Washington District, Clint Pentz and Linda Zimmerman were the two School Board victors.
In Antrim Township, an all-Republican field swept to victory uncontested, with conservatives John Alleman and Patrick Heraty elected as Township Supervisors. Diane Smith was elected Auditor for a four-year term, and Mark Smith was selected as Auditor for a six-year term.
Greencastle voters elected three Borough Council members for a four-year term. Republicans Joel Amsley (575) and Larry Faight (483) were the top two vote-getters. Democrat Scott Reagan won the third council seat with 355 votes. In Greencastle’s School Board contest, five unopposed Republicans won all five seats for the next term.
Washington Township and Quincy Township offered no surprise winners as each area voted in a slate of Republican Supervisor candidates. Quincy’s unopposed incumbent Supervisor Edward Wilson easily survived a write-in campaign that garnered 21% of the total vote.
There were few bright spots for Franklin County Democratic candidates. Jacob Morgan ran unopposed for a Mercersburg council seat and won 93% of the vote. Democrat Sandra Mailey had similar success in Shippensburg’s West End, winning a four-year council seat with 94% of the vote. Chambersburg Democrat Mike Hayduk narrowly won a School Director seat with a 50.7% vote share.
In Mont Alto, two Independent candidates, Debra Lee and Richard Lee, won two of three council seats with 114 and 103 votes respectively. Republican David Rock nearly topped their combined vote total, winning top honors with 213 votes.
For Mayor of Orrstown, there were no official candidates, but 2 write-in votes were tallied. For Orrstown’s Tax Collector position (also without registered candidates), four write-in votes were recorded.