After a year of meeting face to face with Johnstown City Council candidates Donald Buday and Michael Capriotti, examining their policies and learning about them through sources such as the press and their surrogates, voters decided on Tuesday that they liked them both equally.
Unofficially, the two Democrats received 1,474 votes apiece or 28.5% of those cast, tying them for second place in the four-candidate race.
Charles Arnone, a Republican, was the top vote-getter with 1,521, while incumbent Jack Williams, an independent, came in fourth with 547.
But, with two seats open, the question remains who will fill the position come January 2020 – Buday or Capriotti? Cambria County’s Election Office needs to examine some absentee ballots and then complete computation, which is scheduled to start on Friday, according to an official from the office. Results might not be known until as early as Tuesday because of the Veterans Day holiday on Monday.
“I want to win the race obviously,” Capriotti said. “I didn’t run to come in third. Regardless as to the outcome at this point, the three people that really probably stand the best chance of bringing some civility and some intelligence back to trying to work on a common solution, two of the three of them are going to be there for sure. But it would just be great to have an answer.”
If, after all the polling place, absentee and military ballots are processed – and possibly recounted if needed, a tie still exists, then “in front of the court, there’d be something that would be the equivalent of a flip of a coin or a draw of the straw,” according to Cambria County Solicitor William Gleason Barbin.
“That is if it’s a true tie, but it will take a little bit of time to make sure it absolutely is a tie,” Gleason said.
Capriotti, a Moxham resident, is a retired Johnstown Fire Department firefighter, Navy veteran and current institutional safety manager at a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections facility, who holds a master’s degree in public administration. Buday, a resident of Morrellville, is a project manager at The EADS Group, the city’s engineering firm, and a registered master plumber.
Buday did not respond to multiple messages left requesting an interview.
Arnone currently chairs the Johnstown Housing Authority and owns TNC’s Lounge. He said serving on council will enable him to “try to make a change.”
“It means that all the hard work paid off,” Arnone said.
The candidates who eventually earn a spot on council will fill positions currently held by Williams and Charlene Stanton, a Democrat, who did not run in the primary, but conducted a last-minute write-in campaign.