Recapping Michael Helfrich's win over Kim Bracey in York race

Written by Gary Haber and Brandie Kessler/The York Daily Record | Nov 8, 2017 7:47 AM

York city mayor-elect Michael Helfrich acknowledges the crowd of supporters at the Holy Hound Taproom following the announcement of his victory over C. Kim Bracey on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Jason Plotkin, York Daily Record).

(York) -- Michael Helfrich lost the primary but won the race that counts. 

The Democratic city council president who ran as a Republican defeated incumbent Democrat Kim Bracey by 133 votes.

He garnered 2,120 votes to Bracey's 1,987. Libertarian Dave Moser collected 64.

Speaking to supporters at Holy Hound Taproom in York, Helfrich said he wanted to thank every one of "the Give 'em Helfrich Army."

What this campaign was all about, he said was "our people doing what we need to do for York."

"I just want to say how much I am honored that folks who know me, the good stuff and the bad stuff, that you guys said yes, this is the guy who represents us," he said. 

That appeared to be a reference to Helfrich's felony record, something he had to overcome when he won his council seat.  

Throughout the campaign, he talked a lot about children and families and property taxes and crime. "Now it's time for me to deliver," he told the crowd.

"York is not great because of its governments," he said. "It's not great because of any one person. It's great because of its people."  

"We are all going to work twice as hard as we've been working," he said, "and I'm going to be at the front of the pack."

He called this a "unity election." He said, "people of every party, every race, every ethnicity have come together."

His promise to the crowd was "to make York the greatest York that York has ever seen."

"This," he said, "is going to be an era of opportunity for everyone, opportunidad por todos."

Bracey told supporters gathered at Coomb's Tavern in York that she had called Helfrich to wish him well. 

She said she was "proud of all the work" that had been done during her two terms in office. "We believe as the results came in this evening, we did not take it all the way over to the victory."

When asked if she would contest Helfrich's win for any reason, Bracey said, "I honor and respect the democratic process."

When asked if his criminal past would affect his ability to serve, she said, "Results are one thing and then eligibility to hold a seat is another thing, so that's all I'm going to say on that."

Others, she said, might feel differently. "That's not going to be up to me, but there may be some concerns about that." 

Helfrich was prepared, or at least well-practiced, for Bracey's reaction.

"She and her associates challenged my ability to serve on city council five times in 2011 and 2012, and we beat them every time," he said. 

"This clearly shows," he continued, "that over the last six years the residents of the city of York have chosen me knowing everything about my ancient history." 

When asked if he anticipated a challenge to his win, he said, "Of course, in the United States, anyone can sue for anything at anytime ... I do assume that this time she won't use taxpayer dollars to mount that challenge."

York City council member and adamant Bracey supporter Henry Nixon pulled no punches. 

"I'm disappointed, very disappointed," he said at Coombs. "I had hoped she would carry the day."

He said he's not looking forward to working with Helfrich in his new role.

"Lest I should say something I shouldn't say, I think it will be a struggle."

Nixon went on to say that Helfrich is "highly detail-oriented," and seems unable to focus on the long-term. Asked to expand on his thinking, Nixon said "Is he going to be telling public works how to mow the grass?"

Back at Helfrich's victory party, longtime supporter David Inder said, "I think he'll be the best mayor. He's definitely what York needs. In this time of transition, we're definitely in need of change and this is it."

An earlier version of this story stated Libertarian candidate Dave Moser got 631 votes. Moser got 64 votes. 

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record

Published in News, York

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