Buckingham, Dennis win York City Council primary election

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
York County Sheriff Deputies Tyler Wilson, center left, and Kurtis Startzel, center right, look on as York County Probation Officer Cathy Gibson, left, assists Bryan Sheaffer, the York County Process and Implementation Coordinator at the York County Elections Office, as he securely collects ballots from the receptacle as residents drop off their mail-in-ballots during the primary election in York City, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Democrats Betsy Buckingham and Felicia Dennis will likely fill the two soon-to-be-vacant seats on York City Council after coming out on top of the race Tuesday.

With 100% of city precincts reporting, Buckingham received 36.4% of the vote, and Dennis earned 27.5% of the vote. Barring a challenge from a write-in candidate in November, the two candidates will replace council President Henry Nixon and council member Judy Ritter-Dickson.

Nixon and Ritter-Dickson did not run for reelection, and no one ran in the Republican primary for the city council.

“Through this whole thing, I campaigned hard. I was strategic,” Buckingham said. “I got to meet a lot of really great people, and I had a warm reception. And I’m grateful to the other candidates for putting themselves out there along with me."

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Before retirement, Buckingham spent decades leading fundraising efforts for local nonprofit organizations. She has said serving on City Council would serve as a natural continuation of her public service.

York City Council candidate Felicia Dennis talks with her cousin Wayne Scott during a poll watch party at Post Office Social Lounge in York City Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Bill Kalina photo

Buckingham also is the wife of former council member Michael Buckingham.

Dennis is a local faith leader and community activist who was a prominent voice in local protests spurred by the death of George Floyd last year.

She also works for the city as an ecosystem coordinator, a position in which she meets with residents and connects those in need with available services. 

Dennis' campaign has largely focused on the necessity for additional youth programs in the city. She also has stressed the need to improve food and job security.

“I want to thank God. I’m grateful for the victory tonight,” Dennis said. “I’m just looking forward to serving our community and really making an impact with the other council members that are currently serving.”

 — Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.