LOW turnout marks primary

Tuesday’s primary election may have helped narrow - or in many cases expand - the field of candidates for the November general election, but it did little locally to guarantee many candidates a victory, especially given the incredibly low voter turn-out that registered a mere 16.38 percent county-wide.

In Bellevue, where there were the most contested races, turn-out crept up to 17 percent in one district. Ohio Township’s turn-out was as low as 8 percent in two of the township’s three districts.

The Northgate School Board election gave four candidates the best chance of being elected in November, but there still will be a run-off between the final two candidates. Nominated on both the Democratic and Republican ballots were Michael Rajakovic, Shannon Smithey, Cindy West and Dan O’Keefe.

Rajakovic placed first on both ballots, with 555 votes from Democrats and 173 from Republicans. Smithey and West placed second and third, respectively, on both tickets. Smithey received 546 Democratic votes and 154 from Republicans, while West picked up 463 from Dems and 150 from Republicans. O’Keefe tied another candidate on both tickets, but earned a position on both ballots for November. On the Democratic side, he and Lanae Lumsden received 450 votes each, locking up the final two seats on the Democratic general election ballot. O’Keefe tied with West at 150 votes each to secure a position on the November ballot, with Tom Stokes getting 146 votes to take the final GOP position.

Stokes received 442 votes from Democrats in the primary, not enough to move him forward to November on that ticket. Lumsden came up short on the Republican side, receiving only 83 votes.

Although anything can happen, historically it has been next to impossible to beat a candidate who appears on both ballots in the general election, so for all practical purposes November’s election will feature a run-off between Lumsden as a Democrat and Stokes as a Republican for the fifth open Northgate board seat.

The only other true primary contest occurred for the Democratic nomination for the first ward seat on Bellevue Council, where veteran Linda Woshner was challenged by newcomer Jodi Cerminara. Cerminara took the nomination 135-110, but there were 21 write-in votes on the Republican ballot, most if not all of them for Woshner. If Woshner accepts the Republican nomination, voters could see this exact race take place again in November.

There also were 10 write-in votes on the Republican ballot in Bellevue’s third ward. If all the votes were for the same person, the two previously unopposed Democratic council candidates could find themselves with some competition in November.

In Avalon, there were enough write-in votes to potentially fill in the ballot for council in November, and possibly even create a race for tax collector, depending on who received those votes.

Moving on to Emsworth, where the slate was short one candidate for the borough council, there were write-in votes on both ballots that could produce candidates for November.

And in Kilbuck, where the township was missing a candidate for the one supervisor position to be filled, write-in votes were received on both ballots and could potentially place one or more candidates on the ballot in November.

Finally, in Ohio Township, incumbent Tom Beatty was unopposed on the Republican ballot for the one open supervisor seat, but there were 42 write-ins on the Democratic ballot that could produce a candidate in November.