Manning back on Nov. ballot

June 12, 2013

Incumbent Washington Councilman Joe Manning prevailed in the official count of write-in votes from Election Day and absentee ballots, finishing first in a field of four with Republican newcomer Tracie Graham Rotunda also winning a Democratic nomination.

Incumbent Republican Matt Staniszewski fell short in his second bid for a dual nomination. Staniszewski and Rotunda won the Republican nominations in the primary.

Two candidates are to be elected to four-year terms Nov. 5.

Manning was the sole Democrat to file for his party’s nomination, but a court challenge of his nominating petitions which went from Washington County Court to Commonwealth Court and back resulted in him being booted from the ballot because he was one signature shy of the 100 required.

The Washington County Canvass Board wrapped up its work late last week, tabulating 342 votes for Manning, 175 for Rotunda, 166 for Staniszewski and 81 for David Gatling.

On Election Day, attorney Sean Logue sought and received an emergency injunction to preserve election-related materials after Republicans reported finding copies of a memo taped to voting machines in Manning’s home polling place, Washington’s 7th Ward, 3rd precinct, at the Calvary Temple. The memo, which was not intended for posting, noted that Manning’s name had been removed from the ballot by court order.

Monday was the last day to file a legal challenge to official election results, and although Logue did not go that route, when contacted by the Observer-Reporter, he said he is continuing his investigation into how copies of a memo to city residents who had already voted by absentee ballot were duplicated and how the memos came to be posted on touch-screen machines at the polls.

“Those two questions are still unanswered,” Logue said.

Manning said Wednesday, “I had nothing to do with those things. I was surprised as anybody when I saw them there. I don’t know what he’s investigating. At 7-3, they thought they were supposed to post them. He’s making it seem as if something nefarious took place.

“Tracie Graham and her sister saw the things taped to the door. I can’t imagine voters blowing up Sean Logue’s phone. Why wouldn’t they contact the elections office? If he wants to continue whatever he’s doing, he can. He’s an American citizen.”

As to Logue’s opinion that the City Council nomination was a “tainted election,” Manning asked, “If he felt that, why didn’t he file some sort of a challenge to it?”

Manning said of his write-in campaign, “There was a great deal of effort put into it, and it was worth it. I had a lot of help from a lot of great people and I’m happy with the results the way it came out.”

In other write-in results, there was a tie between two candidates seeking a Democratic write-in nomination for a six-year term as Buffalo Township supervisor.

Both Robert Buchanan and Tim Doman, who was unopposed on the Republican ballot, received 71 votes on the Democratic ticket. Buchanan tried a Republican write-in campaign, but Doman, with 110 votes, bested Buchanan by 50 votes.

The elections office plans to set up a drawing of lots by Doman and Buchanan to determine whose name will be the ballot in November as the Democratic nominee.

In Hanover Township, three men are seeking three terms on the board of supervisors, one for six years, one for four years and the other for two years. David Duerr Sr. was the sole candidate on the Republican ballot with 79 votes. Herbert Grubbs received 59 GOP write-in votes, while Kevin Lemmi had 48 write-ins.

On the Democratic ballot, Herbert Grubbs had 109 votes, followed by Lemmi’s 96 votes and Duerr’s 62 write-in votes.

Washington County Elections Director Larry Spahr said the second-class township code calls for the top vote-getter to be nominated for the six-year term, the person with the second-highest vote total to be nominated for the four-year term and the number-three candidate to be nominated for the two-year term.

Hanover has a five-member board, but through a referendum, had the size of the board revert to its previous three beginning in January 2014.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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