Incumbents advance in York County commissioner race

Written by Flint McColgan/York Daily Record-Sunday News | May 20, 2015 4:05 AM

Photo by Kate Penn/York Daily Record-Sunday News

rom left chairperson Bob Kefauver, and nominees for county commissioner Henry Nixon and Doug Hoke voice their surprise at how the republican race finished at the York County democratic headquarters during the primary election Tuesday.

(York) -- The Democratic and Republican incumbents for the York County Board of Commissioners were the top vote-getters in their respective primaries Tuesday and will move forward to the general election in the fall, as will two newcomers.

Republican Commissioner Chris Reilly and Democratic Commissioner Doug Hoke will be on the November ballot with Republican Susan Byrnes, the founder of the Susan Byrnes Health Education Center, and York City Council member Henry Nixon.

"I feel I ran a positive campaign," Hoke said, adding that he ran on his record and believed that voters responded.

He said Nixon and Duane Hull, who did not receive enough votes to move on, both ran positive campaigns. Hull said he was happy that his hometown voters in Dover turned out for him, but he had hoped for greater turnout.

Nixon said he was encouraged that the race was nice and that "nobody threw any mud."

Reilly said he is "gratified" that voters responded to the state of the county's finances, which is the issue he ran on. He said he wished Kelly Henshaw, who he ran with, would have moved to the general. But he said he looks forward to running with Byrnes.

Byrnes said she didn't know what outcome to expect, but was "absolutely thrilled and so grateful" to her supporters and volunteers.

Reilly and Sheriff Rich Keuerleber were joined by Henshaw in a Republican watch party at the Stone Grille & Taproom in York Township, with cake and alcoholic beverages. The cake was cut before results came in because, Reilly said, the kids were getting "antsy."

The Democratic watch party at the Democratic Party of York County headquarters was quieter, but with "a cool vibe in the air," said chairman Bob Kefauver.

Susan Byrnes hosted her own viewing party at the Yorktowne Hotel in York.

Henshaw could not be reached Tuesday night.

The Race

There was no singular issue that rose to the top of campaign rhetoric. At debates, the candidates were, for the most part, polite and uncontroversial.

The Republican half of the primary race had an unexpected and major change in March. After a challenge to more than 100 signatures on his nomination petition, current President Commissioner Steve Chronister said he was withdrawing from the Republican primary and would run as an independent.

Toward the end of the race, Henshaw sent out a campaign mailer criticizing Byrnes for changing her party affiliation to vote for York County Democrat Tom Wolf for governor in a primary. She switched back ahead of the general election.

Byrnes said the biggest issue facing the county was making sure the county was getting the most in services for every tax dollar. Henshaw and Reilly each said his priority would be trying to keep property taxes as low as possible.

On the Democratic side of the race, things were significantly more quiet -- so quiet, in fact, that Hoke chose not to do any fundraising. He said that he intended to run on his record for the primary.

Hull said he would take a hands-on approach to cutting spending and saving money.

Hoke said he wanted to streamline government and cut spending. Nixon said his top issue was keeping the property tax rate low.

Both Hoke and Reilly said they enjoy the job of county commissioner, and each wanted to continue the work they've been doing. Byrnes said she chose to run because the county's growth makes it a good time to lead, and she wants to be a "fully engaged" commissioner.

Nixon said he chose to run because he believes the current commissioners are "satisfied with the status quo" and said the county must act on issues such as care for an aging population and money for infrastructure.

Here are the results from other primary races in York County.

This article comes to us through a partnership between York Daily Record and WITF.

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