The May primary is over — except for the official certification of the vote count.

Looking at the results, it showed the turnout for the Democratic voters was 27.19 percent compared with 32.68 percent for the Republicans.

Surprisingly (at least to me), voter turnout in the city of Meadville on the Democratic side was only 20.56. It was surprising to me because there were contested races. Republican turnout in the city was 28.56 percent with the only contested race (with the exception of school board) was the county clerk of courts race.

• • •

What was not surprising — based on statistics from many years — was the precinct having the highest voter turnout was Venango Borough where 56.96 percent of Republicans went to the polls — despite the face there were no local contested races.

At the same time, neighboring Venango Township saw 56.75 percent of the GOP voters turned out. There was a heavily contested race for supervisor in the township.

Pine Township had the highest percentage of voter turnout on the Democratic ticket with 37.89 percent followed by Venango Township with 35.26 percent.

The lowest voter turnout was 12.5 percent. That was the Democratic turnout in Woodcock Borough.

The lowest Republican turnout was 27.10 percent in Hydetown. That usually was a higher turnout during the days of the late Terry Stover, former chairman of the GOP.

If memory serves me correct, I think he was mayor of Hydetown also.

• • •

The high vote-getter on the Republican ticket was incumbent treasurer Christine Krzysiak, who had 8,830 votes, followed closely by Francis Schultz, who had 8,708 votes for judge of the Court of Common Pleas to succeed Anthony Vardaro, who retired. Schultz, who cross-filed on both tickets had another 4,145 Democratic votes.

Schultz is well respected and it was easy to see why nobody ran against him for the position.

One attorney told me last year, although he would like to run for judge, he would not waste his time and money to run against Schulz — citing the respect Schultz has earned as the county district attorney.

• • •

While Judge Mark Stevens was appointed in the summer after winning both party nominations, I'm told that won't be the case for Schultz. The reason was because of some trials coming up.

At any rate, once the November election is over, and barring any unforeseen circumstances and Schultz becomes judge in January, Paula DiGiacomo, the first assistant district attorney, will become the DA (according to the law).

She has been first assistant since 1996 but has been an assistant since 1994.

She will become the first female DA in Crawford County's history.

• • •

Schultz won't be the first DA (or an assistant DA) to be elected judge. Judge John Spataro had served as an assistant DA and then county solicitor. Prior to that others who served as DA before being elected judge included (in most recent history), Judge P. Richard Thomas and Judge Herbert Mook.

I'm sure history before the 1940s may show others as well.

• • •

One interesting (to me) example of campaign messages was seen in the recent election.

One group of candidates for city council on the Democratic ticket, campaigned on removing members who had years of "experience," noting that if you kept electing the same people, you get the same results.

At the same time, on the Republican ticket, the winner (Patty Weatherbee) campaigned on her experience and long-time service and experience as her campaign theme.

I guess it shows the same message can be interpreted different ways — according to the results.

• • •

Next year promises to be interesting as some people are already gearing up to take on U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly and state Rep. Brad Roae.

At the same time, the state will elect a new U.S. senator in 2022. There are already many candidates who have announced.

And, of course, we will elect a new governor next year as incumbent Tom Wolf cannot seek a third term because there are term limits for governor.

Many candidates are lining up for that job as well.

It should make for an interesting election year!

• • •

It also will be interesting as well to see what Wolf proposes in the 2021-22 state budget, which is due July 1.

Jane Smith is a retired Meadville Tribune reporter who specialized in covering government and politics.


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