There will be a race for Crawford County sheriff this November.

Official tabulation of votes in the May 21 primary election were completed just after 4 p.m. Friday with the only two candidates seeking the sheriff's office in line to be opponents in the Nov. 5 general election.

In the race for sheriff, David Powers and Neil Fratus, both Republicans and deputies within the sheriff's office, were vying for their party's nomination. Sheriff Walter "Nick" Hoke, also a Republican, plans to retire at the end of the year and chose not to seek a fourth term.

On the Republican ballot, Powers has 4,132 votes while Fratus has 4,025.

Though there were were no candidates on the Democratic Party ballot, Fratus topped Powers 634-468 as both men ran write-in campaigns.

Fratus resigned from the Sheriff's Office on May 28 citing political bias within the office by Hoke as well as safety concerns. Fratus had been with the office 13 years, including the past six as chief deputy.

The Crawford County Board of Elections meets Monday to begin the certification process of the official tabulation totals from the May 21 primary.

Variations of any write-in candidate’s name have been tabulated as have those whose names were on the ballot.

When the board meets Monday, it will have to make determinations on the spelling variations of write-ins in the local municipal and school board races. The write-in totals potentially could change the results in the municipal and school board races.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rulings give county election boards discretion to count name variations based on voter intent.

In the race for county commissioner, the incumbents running from each party apparently are renominated. The top two of the Democratic and Republican parties will run against each other in November along with any third party candidates. The top three vote getters in the November election then will comprise the new board.

Results for the Democratic Party are John Christopher Soff first with 2,383, then Dan Hunter second at 2,174 and Jeanne Moore-Yount third at 2,097. On the Republican side, the results are Eric Henry first with 5,113, followed by Francis Weiderspahn Jr. at 3,929, Rick Copeland at 3,182 and Paula Jo Lynch at 1,827.

Soff and Weiderspahn both are incumbent commissioners seeking re-election.

In the PENNCREST School District, there are seven candidates on both the Democratic and Republican ballots seeking one of five nominations. The top five from each party will be on the ballot in November.

Results for the Democratic ballot are Jennifer Davis first with 762; Timothy J. Brown second with 698; Jeff Brooks third with 692; David Valesky fourth with 423; Harry Hicks fifth with 402; Bill Sleptzoff sixth with 350; and Luigi DeFrancesco seventh with 292.

Results for the Republican ballot are Davis first with 1,779; Valesky second with 1,626; Brooks third with 1,271; DeFrancesco fourth with 1,263; Hicks fifth with 1,255; Brown sixth with 1,250; and Sleptzoff seventh with 1,245.

There also were two candidates seeking the Republican Party nomination for one two-year term with Bryan P. Lynch topping Gerry Deane 1,304 to 1,007. Lynch was the lone candidate on the Democratic Party ballot for that same two-year term and received 667 votes.

Brown, Brooks and DeFrancesco are incumbent PENNCREST board members.

In the race for Titusville City Council, there were only Republicans on the ballot with four candidates seeking three nominations. There were also extensive write-in campaigns for both the Republican and Democratic nominations.

Totals from the Republican candidates on the ballot are Jayla Pertz first with 238 votes; William P. Bill Adelman second with 214; Heather Leonardi third with 164; and James G. Elliott fourth 119.

In the Titusville City Council races, write-in votes could change who the three nominees may be.

At its meeting Monday, the Election Board is expected to give preliminary approval to the results. The results then will be available for public inspection and any challenges for five days before the board would give final approval, said Rebecca Little, director of the Crawford County Office Elections and Voter Services.

The Election Board meets 11 a.m. Monday in the commissioners meeting room at the county courthouse, 903 Diamond Park, Meadville.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

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