NAACP forum gives closer look at primary candidates — but many Republicans aren't participating

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

Republican candidates have once again largely eschewed a candidate forum planned Monday night by the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The forum will be held at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts at 6 p.m.

York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler and Commissioner Ron Smith, both Republicans, said they do not plan to attend, citing prior commitments. Candidate Scott Burford did not respond to requests for comment.

Commissioner Doug Hoke and candidate Keena Minifield, both Democrats, confirmed they would attend.

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Both Republican prothonotary candidates — incumbent Allison Blew and challenger Diane Platts — confirmed their attendance.

In addition to the countywide candidates, four candidates for the York City Council will attend. Current vice president Edquina Washington, a Democrat, and Democratic primary challengers Blade Kline, Elsbeth Bupp and Teresa Johnescu are attending.

The NAACP did not respond to a request for comment.

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The last candidate forum held by the NAACP in October 2022 also featured minimal involvement from Republican incumbents. Only State Rep. Mike Jones, R-York Township, attended. He was joined by Democratic opponent Chris Rodkey and Keystone Party of Pennsylvania candidate Kristine Cousler-Womack.

In 2021, the organization held two candidate forums focused on Mayor Michael Helfrich and his challenger, Shareef Hameed.

The primary election will be held May 16. The last day to register to vote in the primary is May 1; for more information, visit York County's Elections and Voter Registration website at https://yorkcountypa.gov/503/Elections-Voter-Registration.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.