York City voters now have two last-minute write-in candidates to consider

Noel Miller
York Dispatch

With this month's primary election about a week away, York City voters have two new write-in candidates to consider as the clock ticks down.

The first is Henry Buckingham, a lifelong accountant and York City resident, running for the city controller. Buckingham is married to Betsy Buckingham, who currently serves on the York City Council. Although he often goes by "Mike," he's running under his given name, Henry.

Henry (Mike) Buckingham

The second is current Council President Sandie Walker, who'd initially planned to sit out this election season. Walker has served on council since 2016 and was elected as president in 2022. 

Both candidates acknowledged the last-minute nature of their candidacies.

Buckingham chose to run for controller, the city's top financial watchdog, after it became apparent that no one else was. Last month, The York Dispatch reported that the incumbent, AliceAnne Frost, signed off on public funding for the nonprofit she led. In March, Frost decided not to run for another term.

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Walker said she didn't actively pursue the write-in campaign. Rather, her name was put forward by other community members. If she garners enough votes in the primary, she said she'll consider staying on for another term.

York City City Council President Sandie Walker during a Flag Day Celebration at Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing and Peace Garden in York City, Tuesday, June 14, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

In York City, the highest vote-getters in the Democratic primary typically go on to be elected in November.

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If elected, this wouldn't be Buckingham's first time working in York City government. Buckingham previously served on the city council for two years, was on the planning commission for 18 years and served on the sewer authority for a few years.

"I have a pretty broad background I would say. And you know I have a lot of connections with the York City government," he said.

Buckingham has worked in public accounting, in small businesses, auditing for local school districts and non-profits, and doing accounting in retail and private business,.

"I'm retired but I still have some energy left," he said. "I think I can do some good for the city."

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Buckingham said he's aware of the controversy surrounding Frost, his predecessor. But that's not his reason for running; rather, it was the absence of anyone else running for the office.

"I don't know why she decided not to run but, when I saw that opening, that's when I started thinking about it," he said.

When asked what he would do if in a similar situation to Frost, Buckingham said he would seek advice from a city solicitor. If the solicitor determined there was a conflict of interest, he said he would not sign the paperwork.

"I'm not trying to throw anyone under the bus, but that's what I would probably do in that situation," Buckingham said, adding that he doesn't currently have connections with other businesses or non-profits that he envisions having a conflict of interest with.

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Walker's candidacy, meanwhile, does not appear to have started with her.

Instead, it appears to have originated with Councilperson Felicia Dennis, who posted to social media late last month encouraging people to write-in Walker's name. Dennis did not respond to requests for comment.

"If it were to happen, I would be humbled," Walker said. "If there were enough write-ins to win a top-three seat, I would be surprised. But I would be more than willing to serve because that would be the voice of the community."

— Reach Noel Miller at NMiller3@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @TheNoelM.