Ahrens
Ahrens

Barring a write-in campaign strong enough to stamp out a legacy, Nelson Ahrens will posthumously win the Republican nomination for re-election to a seat he held for 35 years.

The 78-year-old incumbent mayor of Loganville died Tuesday, but it's too late to pull his name from the ballot for the May 21 primary, according to the York County Department of Elections and Voter Registration. Because he's the only Republican on the ticket, he's practically guaranteed the win.

"It's kind of like the last curtain call for the mayor," said York County Republican Party Chairman Bob Wilson. "I truly believe he would've won over-

whelmingly, not just in the primary but the election in November as well."

Ahrens was beloved, he said, the kind of man who would pay "out of his own pocket" for Cub Scouts to have snacks while they were picking up litter.

Symbolic: Wilson said some constituents will check Ahrens' name in remembrance and gratitude, though the exercise of voting for a deceased candidate is more symbolic than practical.

"I think it would be an ultimate thank-you for his service over the years," Wilson said. "I'm sure there are those who will look at the ballot and go, 'Well, he's not living ...' But the wheels are in motion, and sometimes it's difficult to stop that."

Because it's too late to remove Ahrens from the ballot, the county elections office will have to declare the Republican nomination vacant if Ahrens wins. That'll start the process for the local Republican committee members in Loganville to appoint a replacement, Wilson said.

Wilson declined to say if there is a clear replacement in mind.

"We are actively looking ... and have a couple boots on the ground," he said. "We'll see what we come up with."

The appointee is likely to face off against the single Democratic challenger on the primary ballot, Butch Geller, in the November election, Wilson said.

It's unclear whether the borough council will appoint an interim mayor. Calls to the borough office on Friday went unanswered as officials attended another funeral, that of Loganville Fire Chief Rodney Miller, who was struck by a vehicle and killed April 27 while directing traffic. Calls were also unanswered Monday.

-- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.