Jefferson County residents cast votes in 2019 election

Staff Writer

Pictured is Matthew Holmes (left) placing his paper ballot into the scanner recording his votes, with assistance from constable Mike Benninger, at the Jefferson Street Social Center during Tuesday’s election.

Residents of Punxsutawney and the sur-ounding area headed to the polls on Tuesday to vote in several local elections. Of note this year was a return to paper ballots. While write-ins have yet to be counted, the following races are presented as they appeared Tuesday evening with all precincts reporting.

In the first of the county-level races appearing on the ballot, county auditor, which allowed for the selection of two candidates, Republicans Douglas Edward Kougher and Edward J. McGinnis Jr. defeated Democrat B. Jean Shaw.

The race for county com-missioner maintained the current panel of Republicans Herbert L. Bullers Jr. and John Jack Matson and Democrat Jeffrey Pisarcik, though challenging Democrat Kelly R. Harriger came within 1,000 votes of Pisarcik’s total.

Brianna Bullers, cross-filed as the sole candidate on the ballot for county register/recorder, claimed victory in that race.

In the race for sheriff, Republican Carl J. Gotwald Sr. handily defeated Democrat Paul J. Pape.

In races of local interest, Big Run Borough Council’s four-year seats are likely to remain unsettled for the moment. With voters able to select three candidates, Democrats John L. Smeal and Carole E. Bergman each claimed 31 votes apiece, while Republicans Kathleen A. Macaulay and Bonnie Haugh netted 85 and 31 votes, respectively. However, with a total of 214 write-ins, this race will not be decided until all votes are counted.

Punxsutawney Borough Council also had three four-year seats open. While the spread between the four candidates was relatively close, and there were 110 write-ins still in play, at Spirit press time, it appeared that incumbent Republicans Jim Bianco and Toby Santik would hold their seats with 608 and 456 votes,
respectively, while Bill Williams, who cross-filed under both parties, would join council with a total of 557 votes. Incumbent Democrat Michele P. Lorenzo came in last among those on the ballot, netting 390 votes.

The Punxsutawney Area School Board selects members by district. Running unopposed, with minimal write-ins, cross-filed candidate David Wachob will represent Region 1. Region V remains in the air, with no candidates on the ballot and 38 write-ins recorded. Republican Deneen Evans, unopposed on the ballot, will represent Region VIII. Cross-filed candidate Janey L. London, running unopposed, won Region IX’s seat.

Running unopposed, Republican Barbara Hanley cruised to victory in the four-year term for Young Township auditor. There were no candidates on the ballot for the six-year term; 20 write-ins were cast for the position. Also unopposed, Republicans Samuel M. Adams and Ron Heitzenrater retained their positions as Young Township supervisors, Adams for a two-year term and Heitzenrater for six.

For full election results from other municipalities in Jefferson County, visit