Helfrich claims victory in GOP primary for city mayor

Jason Addy

A day after losing out to incumbent Kim Bracey in the Democratic primary for York City mayor, Michael Helfrich is declaring victory in the Republican primary.

Helfrich, who serves as York City Council president, said he has come out on top in the GOP race, which featured no candidates on the ballot, after visiting 14 of the city’s 17 precincts on Wednesday morning to review the write-in votes.

Bracey won the Democratic nomination Tuesday with 56 percent of the vote.

York mayoral candidate Michael Helfrich talks with Judy Ritter-Dickson supporter Anita Allen outside the Princess Street Center Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Helfrich planned to vote there. Bill Kalina photo

Helfrich said he counted 151 votes for “Mike Helfrich” and “Michael Helfrich” and another 45 write-in votes that read “Helfrich” at the 14 precincts. Helfrich said he was unable to view the votes at Cornerstone Baptist Church, and he did not make it to polling places at the YMCA or the Salvation Army.

According to the York County Voting and Elections Office, the votes for “Mike Helfrich” and “Michael Helfrich” will stand, though it is unclear if votes for “Helfrich” will count toward the city council president’s vote total.

According to unofficial election results, 320 Republicans in York City cast write-in votes in the mayor’s race.

To win the Republican nomination via write-in votes, Helfrich must win more votes than Bracey and gain at least 100 votes, said Nikki Suchanic, director of the county elections office.

If the 45 “Helfrich” votes do not count, Helfrich said he would have 151 votes from the 275 votes cast.

Claiming victory: After doing the math, Helfrich said he was comfortable declaring victory in the Republican primary.

Helfrich said he has already reached out to the York County Republican Committee to begin discussions about the process of putting a Democrat on the ballot as a Republican.

Sunday, Bracey prevail in 2017 primaries

Helfrich said he will continue campaigning with the same message as before, though his team “will more aggressively reach out and educate people” about Helfrich and his vision for the city.

Helfrich lost the Democratic nomination by 319 votes, but he said he is confident he will find strong support among Democrats, Republicans and independents in the Nov. 7 general election.

“My loyalty is in policies. I’m a fiscal conservative, a social liberal,” Helfrich said. “I will run the budget and the city with efficiency and with the goal of reducing taxes to our maximum capability while still providing services.”

When asked about the timing of a statement on the write-in votes, Helfrich said: “I’ll make a statement right now that I won the vote count for the Republican nomination to be the next mayor of York City.”

Bracey said Wednesday afternoon that she was humbled and excited by the primary results.

“We’re excited,” Bracey said. “Our sleeves are rolled up to continue the great work that’s being done in the city.”

After hearing that Helfrich had declared victory in the Republican primary, Bracey said she always expected her campaign for mayor to last until Nov. 7.

“Onward to November,” Bracey said, noting that her campaign team will continue to spread her message of economic development and growth, community policing and reducing crime.

“I will be doing everything that I can to secure the vote in November,” Bracey said.