York County sheriff's race still too close to call, Dem chair says

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
York County Judicial Center

No winner had been named in the contentious race for York County sheriff between incumbent Sheriff Rich Keuerleber and challenger Shane Becker as of 3:40 p.m. Wednesday.

Keuerleber had received 36,455 votes, while Becker had received 25,685, according to partial tabulations on York County's website.

Issues with new paper-ballot scanners led to a chaotic election night with long lines in York County. As of Wednesday, Nov. 6, ballots were still being counted in the county's elections office, officials said.

Neither Keuerleber nor Becker responded Wednesday to messages seeking comment. 

It wasn't known as of midafternoon what percentage of ballots have been tallied and how many must still be counted.

Chad Baker, chairman of the York County Democratic Party, told The York Dispatch that the party wasn't supporting either candidate, since both are registered Republicans.

City votes uncounted: He said about 3 p.m. Wednesday that he's been told that no votes have been tallied from precincts in York City, which historically votes Democratic.

"I would say the race is still very much up in the air because of that fact," Baker said. "If people are voting straight party line ... Shane would be getting the bulk of the votes out of York City."

Baker said he thinks the sheriff's race is still too close to call.

Jeff Piccola, chairman of the York County Republican Party, did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.

On Wednesday afternoon, York County officials had not said when they expect to finish counting votes.

Senator Kristen Phillips-Hill, left, and York County Sheriff Rich Keuerleber chat while waiting for the general election results, Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Bitter battle: Becker is a former York County deputy who now works for the Adams County Sheriff's Office. He took on Keuerleber in May's Republican primary, losing narrowly to the sitting sheriff by a vote of about 48% to 52%.

But Becker received enough Democratic write-in votes to get on the ballot for the Nov. 5 municipal election.

The rematch turned into a bruising affair.

Keuerleber — who is vying for a fourth term in office — faced criticism from county commissioners over alleged special treatment given to a longtime financial supporter of the department, Bill Hynes, who recently resigned as CEO of United Fiber and Data and who remains CEO of Think Loud Development.

The sheriff also faced a litany of accusations from former and current deputies that he has fostered a toxic work environment. 

Shane Becker, a republican who ran as a democrat for the York County Sheriff race, talks with family and friends after the polls closed, Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Unions weigh in: Keuerleber's campaign also was shaken when York City's police and fire unions withdrew support for him and voted to support Becker. The union for sheriff's deputies also supported Becker. 

Meanwhile, Becker faced scrutiny of his own over unpaid income taxes from 2010 and 2012 that resulted in a federal lien on his property, and over his connection to a now-defunct online education company that was owned and operated by his brother-in-law.

Becker said the tax liens will be taken care of once his divorce is finalized and the property and assets are divided.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD. Reach Lindsey O'Laughlin at lolaughlin@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @lmolaughlin.