Where did all the candidates go?

In stark contrast to the local primary election two years ago, the 2019 municipal primary will offer few contests and even fewer candidates.

Traditionally, ballots in the North Boroughs have been sadly lacking in choices, with the fundamental task of getting one candidate for each open seat a challenge in many communities. In 2017, however, the ballots were bulging with choices for voters. If the 2019 election is any indication, however, that 2017 flurry of political activism was a fluke.

In fact, out of the entire North Boroughs, there are only two contested primary races, the first on the Democratic ballot for the first ward seat on Bellevue Council, and the second on both ballots for Northgate School Board.

With the number of blanks on the ballot, however, expect a great deal of write-in requests as the May 21 primary nears.

Avonworth School Board

There are five four-year seats to be filled on the Avonworth School Board, and five candidates have cross-filed to appear on both the Democratic and Republican ballots. With current board members David Oberdick and Jeff Carraway not seeking another term on the board, there will be two new faces at meetings next year.

Running for re-election are incumbents Kristin Thompson, John Brandt and Kathryn Monti. They are joined on the ballot by Danielle White and Yuling Cheng.
Northgate School Board

With Gary Paladin and Tim Makatura retiring at the end of their terms this year, there will be at least two newcomers taking a seat on the board in December. There currently are six cross-filed candidates seeking nomination to five seats on the Democratic and Republican ballots.

The candidates include three incumbents: Dan O'Keefe, Shannon Smithey and Michael Rajakovic. The newcomers are Cindy West, Tom Stokes and Lanae Lumsden.
Avalon Council

There currently are four seats to be filled on Avalon Council, but only two candidates appearing on the primary ballot: incumbents Vicki Donnelly in the first ward and Josh Klicker in the second ward. Donnelly is seeking the Democratic nomination, while Klicker is running on the Republican ticket.

Two other incumbents, Patrick Narcisi and John Crawford, hold seats that are up for re-election this year, but have not filed petitions. By November, another vacancy will have to be filled by voters due to the recent resignation of J.P. McFeely.

Bellevue Council

Bellevue also has four council seats to be filled, and two incumbents - Tom Fodi and Grant Saylor - stepping down.

The borough's only primary contest is in the first ward, where newcomer Jodi Cerminara is challenging longtime incumbent Linda Woshner for the Democratic nomination. There are no Republicans on the first ward ballot.

In the second ward, incumbent Republican Tom Hrynda is unchallenged in the primary, but will face Democrat Jeff Stuncard in November.

Finally, in the third ward, newcomers Amanda Sloane and Jillian Symons Edmondson are unopposed for two seats on the Democratic ballot. No Republicans have filed to appear on that ballot.

Ben Avon Council

There are three seats to be filled this year on Ben Avon Council, and three Democratic candidates have filed petitions to appear on the primary ballot. No Republican candidates have filed.

Of the three candidates on the ballot, only one, Ken Opipery Jr., is an incumbent. He is joined on the ballot by newcomers Kara Alexis Roggencamp and Richard Wagner.

Incumbents Earl Bohn and Michele Boyd are not seeking re-election.

Ben Avon Heights Council

Ben Avon Heights is usually missing a few candidates on election ballots, but this year there is one Democrat and two Republicans appearing on their respective ballots, all unopposed for one of three vacant council seats. On the ballot for the primary are Democrat Steven Stiller and Republicans Gregory Mihalko and John Oliver Radcliffe.

Emsworth Council

The ballots are also short in Emsworth, where three council seats are to be filled this year, and only two people are running for nominations. Both incumbents, Democrat Brian Fashian and Republican Paul Getz will appear on the ballot this spring. Incumbent Carolyn Galante is not seeking re-election.

Kilbuck Township Supervisors

There is one six-year term on Kilbuck's board of supervisors open this year, but at the moment there are no candidates at all.

Ohio Township Supervisors

With one supervisor to be elected in Ohio Township this year, the primary ballot will feature only one candidate, incumbent Republican Tom Beatty.