Republican commissioner candidates outspend Dems

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch
Primary Election Day at the St. Matthew Lutheran Church in York City, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Republicans Ron Smith and Julie Wheeler spent substantially more over the past several months than their Democratic opponents in the race for York County Commissioner, according to campaign finance reports. 

For the period of June 11 to Oct. 21, Wheeler, a former general manager of a $300 million medical device business, GE Healthcare, spent $25,315, almost all of which went to advertising.

Wheeler's campaign received $39,500 in contributions.

Her campaign's largest contributions came from Scott Wagner, owner of Penn Waste and former gubernatorial candidate, who gave $5,000, and Anthony Campisi, president and CEO of Glatfelter Insurance Group, who also gave $5,000.

Wheeler's total unpaid debts and obligations from the campaign were $157,100. These are funds Wheeler loaned to her campaign.

Smith, a Dallastown borough councilman and small business owner, spent $17,515 on advertising, fundraising and consulting services.

Smith's campaign received $19,800 in contributions, including $5,000 he loaned it. His greatest outside contribution was $5,000 from Scott Wagner.

In total, Smith's unpaid debts and obligations from the campaign were $51,900, which were funds he loaned to his campaign.

Democratic candidate Judith Higgins spent $10,041 in the last reporting period, mostly on advertising and marketing.

Her campaign received $6,360 in contributions. Nearly half of that — $3,000 — came from the Teamsters Local Chapter 776.

Higgins is the only candidate whose campaign had zero unpaid debts or obligations.

Democrat Doug Hoke, the only incumbent in the race, spent only $1,500 during the last reporting period. He used the money to sponsor innings at York Revolution baseball games.

Hoke's campaign received $10,780 in contributions, including $5,000 he contributed to the campaign.

Smith and Hoke each received $2,000 from the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties political action committee.

Bipartisan board: There are 46% more registered Republicans in York County than registered Democrats, according to state statistics released in May.

But the York County code guarantees that the Board of Commissioners will be bipartisan, meaning there will always be two-party representation.

Two Republicans and two Democrats will be listed on the upcoming ballot, and three of them will be elected. In the municipal election on Tuesday, Nov. 5, voters will select two of the four candidates for commissioner.

The three candidates receiving the most votes will make up the new board, and at  least two of them will be newcomers, as Hoke is the only incumbent.

Commissioner Susan Byrnes, a Republican serving her first term, announced in January that she would not seek reelection to the board.

And Commissioner Chris Reilly, a Republican serving his fifth term, lost the Republican primary in May and said he will not run again.

More:Q&A with York County Commissioner candidates: Julie Wheeler

More:Q&A with York County Commissioner candidates: Ron Smith

More:Q&A with York County Commissioner candidates: Judith Higgins

More:Q&A with York County Commissioner candidates: Doug Hoke