Chris Reilly out as York County commissioner, two challengers advance

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch
Outgoing incumbent Commissioner Chris Reilly, left, hugs Ron Smith after Smith secured the second Republican nomination behind Julie Wheeler, Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

With nearly 99% of the votes counted, Republican challengers Julie Wheeler and Ron Smith have won the Republican primary for York County commissioner, with Smith ousting longtime incumbent Chris Reilly.

In a statement released by her campaign, Wheeler, the top vote-getter, said she was grateful to Republican voters who supported her.

Julie Wheeler, a businesswoman and Republican committeewoman from Windsor Township, is running for the York County Board of Commissioners.

"I’m looking forward to a spirited race in November and the next steps in the process," she stated.

Wheeler, whose background is in business and corporate management, is a former state Senate candidate. She lost the Republican primary to Kristin Phillips-Hill, who went on to win the seat formerly held by Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner.

Smith said he wouldn't comment until the votes have been tallied out of respect for Reilly's candidacy.

"We deserve to wait until the final call is made," he said.

Ron Smith, borough council president at Dallastown Borough, is running for York County commissioner in 2019.

Smith, who's served on the Dallastown borough council for 21 years, worked as an emergency medical technician for 13 years in the 1980s and '90s and was a volunteer firefighter.

In his campaign, he focused on the need to address management and staff retention issues at the York County 911 center, and he spoke out against a proposal for a countywide stormwater authority.

Reilly announced last month that this would be his last run for the board regardless of the outcome.

"I had a nagging feeling that incumbency was not an asset in this cycle," he said Tuesday night. "And that apparently was proven to be true."

York County Commissioner Chris Reilly

He served his first two terms from 1996 to 2003, followed by one term away from the board, and then he was reelected in 2007.

Reilly said he's had a great run serving York County, and that the county would be in good hands with Wheeler and Smith.

Wheeler and Smith will face Democratic incumbent Doug Hoke and challenger Judith Higgins on Nov. 5.

The top three in that election will make up the new board of commissioners.