Candidates earn second chances via write-in votes

Jason Addy

Most candidates running in the 2017 municipal primary discovered their fates by the end of Election Day, but several around the county had to wait another 10 days to see if they'd have a second chance at winning in November.

Pennsylvania is a closed-primary state, meaning voters can only vote for candidates in their own parties, but that didn’t stop Democrats and Republicans from voting for opposite-party candidates during the May 16 primary.

Margaret Reis, left, and her daughter Kathryn Reis pass numerous political signs outside the Princess Street Center as they arrive to vote Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Bill Kalina photo

The York County Voting and Elections Office released its list of primary write-in winners Friday, revealing interesting results in several races around the county.

York City mayor: Most notably, York City Council President Michael Helfrich has secured the Republican nomination in his race to unseat York City Mayor Kim Bracey.

Bracey defeated Helfrich by 311 votes for the Democratic mayoral nomination during the May 16 primary, but both of their names will appear on the Nov. 7 municipal election ballot after Helfrich picked up 223 write-in votes from the 320 York City Republicans who cast votes in the mayor’s race.

Mayor Kim Bracey gets a hug as results show the incumbent defeating challenger Michael Helfrich, Tuesday, May 16, 2017.  John A. Pavoncello photo

Helfrich claimed the Republican nomination after doing his own counts of write-in votes the day after the primary, but his victory was confirmed Friday when his name appeared on the list of primary write-in winners.

Helfrich claims victory in GOP primary for city mayor

Helfrich said Friday his write-in vote tally represented “a significant gesture of support from Republicans,” and he promised city residents will be “getting the same Michael Helfrich,” despite now running as a Republican candidate.

Helfrich said he is thankful that voters from both parties put their trust and faith in him and his campaign.

“I am happy that my name will be on the ballot in the fall,” Helfrich said. “I look forward to representing the Democrats that have voted for me, the Republicans that have voted for me and all the people of York City.”

City Councilman Michael Helfrich discusses plans for his new term during election night at the Democratic Party Headquarters on South Duke Street in York on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. Helfrich recently won the Republican nomination in the 2017 York City mayoral race through write-in votes. Dawn J. Sagert -

Red Lion council: In an eight-candidate race for four Republican nominations for Red Lion Borough Council, incumbents Tony Musso and Cynthia Barley and challengers Christopher Minnich and Stephanie Weaver came out on top.

Incumbent Red Lion Councilwoman Danielle Kabacinski lost out in her re-election bid during the GOP primary, but she will have a second chance at retaining her seat in November after picking up the third-most write-in votes in the Democratic council primary.

Musso, Minnich and Barley also secured Democratic nominations via write-in ballots.

Red Lion facing trespass suit amid intercouncil conflicts

Musso, Barley and Kabacinski campaigned together under the slogan “Uniting Red Lion,” along with Minnich and Walter Hughes, a candidate for mayor and former council member.

Two other incumbent Red Lion council members lent their support to the opposing “Council with a Vision,” which included four council challengers and a candidate for mayor.

Write-in upset: In Jackson Township, Democrat Jeanne Grogg claimed the GOP nomination by beating Republican John Altland with 205 write-in votes to his 183 votes.

Grogg easily won the Democratic primary, meaning her name will appear on both sides of the ballot for the November municipal election.

District attorney: Dave Sunday, who defeated Jonelle Harter Eshbach in the Republican primary for York County district attorney, also won the Democratic nomination after write-in votes were counted.

Sunday, Bracey prevail in 2017 primaries

Sunday, a chief deputy prosecutor in the district attorney’s office, received 751 votes from the 1,628 York County Democrats who cast votes in the race.

Barring a successful third-party challenge or write-in campaign in November, Sunday will replace Tom Kearney as York County district attorney.

From left, York County District Attorney Dave Sunday, his wife, Lishani Sunday, and campaign manager Joel Ogle anticipate results during a primary election watch party at Central Market in York City, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo