Jeffrey L. Thomas Jr.

Republican Jeffrey L. Thomas Jr., shown in a pre-election meeting with The Tribune-Democrat, was elected Somerset County District Attorney on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.

Republican Jeffrey L. Thomas Jr. won a decisive victory on Tuesday night in the race to become Somerset County’s top prosecutor, denying incumbent District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser, a Democrat, a third term in office.

Thomas won 11,381 of the 18,876 votes cast in the contest, or 60.29%, according to unofficial results posted on Somerset County’s website.

Lazzari-Strasiser won 7,480 votes, or 39.63%, and the remaining 15 votes went to various write-in candidates.

Reached for comment after the results were posted, Thomas offered his thanks to the voters of Somerset County for their trust in him, to Lazzari-Strasiser for her eight years of service to the county and to the members of his family for their support.

“I don’t take this new position lightly,” he said, “and I’m going to work hard every day to make Somerset County a better place. … I think it’s pretty clear, based on the numbers, that Somerset County was looking for something different, and that’s what I want to give them.”

Thomas, a Paint Township resident who currently works as a general practice attorney for the Johnstown-based firm Silverman, Tokarsky & Forman LLC, on Tuesday night repeated a slogan he used regularly throughout his campaign – that Somerset County is now “closed for business” to drug dealers.

During his campaign, he pledged to take more drug cases to trial and to accept fewer plea deals if elected.

He said on Tuesday night that his first steps now will be to “put a staff together” and to “figure out what cases are a priority.”

“A lot of big decisions will be made in the next couple months,” he said.

Mark Pesto is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkPesto.

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