Helfrich, Hill-Evans, and Walker win Dem votes for York City Council


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Michael Helfrich won't be needing all those write-in campaign lessons he learned four years ago.

This time, his name — and the names of two other Democrats — will be on the ballot in November for a four-year term on the York City Council, according to unofficial York County election results.

"I'm feeling pretty confident, unless some sneaky son-of-a-gun pulls a write-in campaign and knocks me out," Helfrich joked Tuesday night as election results poured in.

Back in 2011, Helfrich lost his bid at the primary level for Democrats' nomination to the council.

But he kept campaigning and ultimately convinced 1,003 York City voters to write his name on the general-election ballot. By a margin of six votes, Helfrich defeated a longtime councilwoman whose name was on the ballot and earned his first term on the council.

On Tuesday, Helfrich won about 25.5 percent of Democrats' votes — a second-place finish after council president Carol Hill-Evans, who got about 29 percent of votes.

"I'll take that as a pretty good approval rating if they want me back in," Helfrich said. "I am very glad it doesn't look like I have to do a write-in campaign."

Three four-year terms are up for grabs. No Republicans sought their party's nomination for a seat on the council.

In addition to Helfrich and Hill-Evans, three other Democrats had sought the nomination.

Of the three newcomers, Sandie Walker was the top vote-getter — earning nearly 21 percent of the vote and a third-place finish.

Hill-Evans, who is seeking her third term, confirmed Tuesday that she intends this to be her final campaign for a council seat.

"I feel relieved. I feel humbled. I feel honored," Hill-Evans said as results came in Tuesday night. "I hope that I can continue to live up to (voters') expectations."

Walker, a current member of the York City school board, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

With about 14 percent of the vote, Amy Chamberlin came in fourth. Chamberlin said she gave her first campaign her "best shot."

"I feel like I put myself out there and came out with a pretty good showing. I'm pretty excited about it," she said. "I learned a lot through the process. I met a lot of people. It was a great experience."

The fifth candidate, Carla Christopher, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

At the United Way polling place Tuesday, Tyson Singletary said he votes every time he has the opportunity.

Singletary, a Democrat, declined to say who he'd decided to support in the council race, but he was glad to see five names on the ballot.

"It feels good that you have some options," he said.

At the Salvation Army, Serena Barnes said she's gained more of an appreciation for local elections as she's gotten older.

"I know they have an impact on our daily lives," she said.

Though she's a registered Independent, Barnes said she'd planned to support Helfrich and Christopher.

Rob Ehrbar said he didn't know much about the city council candidates. But, the 20-year city resident said, he wants people on the council who will address the city's high property-tax rate.

It might not be an issue that can be completely resolved at the local level, but "I think it has to start somewhere," he said.

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.