Election officials in Cambria and Somerset counties said Tuesday’s voter turnout was in line with previous municipal primaries, with less than one- third of voters casting ballots in each county.
Tina Pritts, director of elections in Somerset County, reported turnout of 29 percent, which is on par with previous years.
Aside from minor glitches with voting machines, Pritts said the day went smoothly and thanked poll workers for their efforts.
“Without them, we couldn’t do it,” she said.
In Cambria County, 25 percent of voters showed up to the polls, which is consistent with past municipal primary elections, said Shirley Crowl, director of elections.
Unofficial results including absentee ballots showed 20,632 Cambria County voters cast ballots Tuesday.
Those results also show that more Democratic voters — 10,859 – showed up to the polls than Republicans, despite several contested Republican races. Approximately 9,773 Republican voters participated in the election, the results show.
Jackie Kulback, chairwoman of the Cambria County Republican Party, said aside from state judicial races, there weren’t any races to drive Democrats to the polls, but there didn’t seem to be overwhelming excitement among Republicans tasked with deciding some of the local races.
Unofficial results showed the race for Cambria County commissioner came down to less than 20 votes between three candidates hoping to fill the second nomination spot, while Jerry Carnicella, of Patton, earned around 23 percent of the votes to place him up against incumbent Democrats Tom Chernisky and William “B.J.” Smith in November.
With absentee ballots added, updated unofficial results showed Scott Hunt, of Upper Yoder Township, defeating Paul Seitz, of Geistown, by two votes for the second nomination in the commissioners race.
“Every vote really counts,” Kulback said. “You cannot underestimate the value of your vote.”
Kulback said the county’s support of Carnicella, who took one of two Republican nominations for Cambria County commissioner, sends “a clear message,” that the county is supportive of President Donald Trump.
“How things fall into place in the general election will really tell a tale,” she said. “We’ll have a huge push to get out the vote in November.”
Joseph Antal, chairman of the county’s Democratic Party, said he and other party officials will take a look at the voter data from Tuesday and work toward November.
Antal said he’s confident in the Democratic candidates for each of the row offices, including incumbent office holders and those who have seeking the top position in the offices where they’ve worked for decades.
“We have the experience,” Antal said. “We have the people who know how to do the job.”
Republican candidates will face off against several incumbent Democrats for every row office except sheriff, while three row offices will have new leadership due to retirements.
Cambria County Prothonotary Debbie Martella has endorsed her deputy, Carla Portash, of Portage, to replace her after she retires in December, and Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans Court Patty Sharbaugh has endorsed Cindy Perrone, of Northern Cambria, a staff member of nearly 20 years, to fill her shoes after retirement.
Republicans Lisa Pudliner Crynock, of Mineral Point, and Jared Bowling, of Ebensburg, will run for prothonotary and register of wills/clerk of orphans court respectively.
Susan Kuhar, who will also retire as Cambria County clerk of courts at the end of the year, has not endorsed any candidates. Democrat Max Pavlovich, of Johnstown, and Republican Karen Kleinosky, of Lower Yoder Township, will run for the position in the fall.
The other row office races will include:
• Controller: Incumbent Democrat Ed Cernic Jr., of West Taylor Township, and Republican Steve Dillon, of Nicktown.
• Recorder of deeds: Incumbent Democrat Ray Wendekier, of Patton, and Republican Melissa Kimla, of Northern Cambria.
• Treasurer: Incumbent Democrat Lisa Kozorosky, of Ebensburg, and Republican Teena Bafile Petrus, of Westmont.