April 28, 2020 General Primary Candidate List

President of the United States – Vote for One– All Precincts within Fayette County

Democratic

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Joseph R. Biden
  • Tulsi Gabbard
  • Elizabeth Warren

Republican

  • Donald J. Trump
  • Roque Rocky De La Fuente
  • Bill Weld

Attorney General — Vote for One– All Precincts within Fayette County

Democratic

  • Josh Shapiro – Montgomery County

Republican

  • Heather Heidelbaugh – Allegheny County

Auditor General — Vote for One — All Precincts within Fayette County

Democratic

  • H. Scott Conklin – Centre County
  • Michael Lamb – Allegheny County
  • Tracie Fountain – Dauphin County
  • Rose Rosie Marie Davis – Monroe County
  • Nina Ahmad – Philadelphia County
  • Christina M. Hartman – Lancaster County

Republican

  • Timothy DeFoor – Dauphin County

State Treasurer — Vote for One — All Precincts within Fayette County

Democratic

  • Joe Torsella – Montgomery County

Republican

  • Stacy L. Garrity – Bradford County

Representative in Congress – 14th Congressional District –Vote for One—All Precincts within Fayette County

Democratic

  • Bill Marx – Westmoreland County

Republican

  • Guy Reschenthaler – Washington County

REPRESENTATIVE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY –49th Legislative District – Vote for One–

Belle Vernon Borough, Fayette City Borough, Franklin Township, Jefferson Township, Newell Borough, Washington Township

Democratic

  • Randy J. Barli – Washington County

Republican

  • Bud Cook – Washington County
  • Tony Bottino – Washington County

REPRESENTATIVE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY– 50th Legislative District – Vote for One

Brownsville Borough, Brownsville Township, Luzerne Township, Masontown Borough, Redstone Township

Democratic

  • Pam Snyder – Greene County

Republican

  • Larry Yost – Greene County

REPRESENTATIVE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY– 51st Legislative District – Vote for One —

Fairchance Borough, Georges Township, German Township, Henry Clay Township, Markleysburg Borough, Nicholson Township, Ohiopyle Borough, Point Marion Borough, Smithfield Borough, South Union Township, Springfield Township, Springhill Township, Stewart Township, Uniontown City, Wharton Township

Democratic

Republican

  • Matthew Dowling – Fayette County

REPRESENTATIVE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY– 52nd Legislative District – Vote for One

Bullskin Township, Connellsville City, Connellsville Township, Dawson Borough, Dunbar Borough, Dunbar Township, Everson Borough, Lower Tyrone Township, Menallen Township, North Union Township, Perry Township, Perryopolis Borough, Saltlick Township, South Connellsville Borough, Upper Tyrone Township, Vanderbilt Borough

Democratic

  • Harry Young Cochran – Fayette County

Republican

  • Ryan Warner – Fayette County

Delegate to the Democratic National Convention – 14th District – — Vote for Five, Three Males and Two Females — All Precincts within Fayette County

Democratic

  • Casey Konopisos (F) – Committed to: Bernie Sanders
  • Robert Sabot (M) – Committed to: Elizabeth Warren
  • Bibiana Boerio (F) – Committed to: Joseph R. Biden
  • Robert Mason (M) – Committed to: Bernie Sanders
  • Mike Cordaro (M) – Committed to: Bernie Sanders
  • Kevin D. Jones (M) – Committed to: Michael R. Bloomberg
  • Christian Sesek (M) – Committed to: Joseph R. Biden
  • Janice Foley (F) – Committed to: Bernie Sanders
  • Brayden Campbell (M) – Committed to: Bernie Sanders
  • Nate Regotti (M) – Committed to: Joseph R. Biden
  • David J. Deitrick (M) – Committed to: Pete Buttigieg

Delegate to the Republican National Convention – 14th District – — Vote for Three– All Precincts within Fayette County

Republican

  • John Ventre
  • Scott Avolio
  • Jon R. Marietta
  • Scott R. Day
  • Daryl William Price
  • Eric J. Sivavec
  • Guy Reschenthaler
  • Rose Tennent
  • Thomas J. Uram
  • Susanna DeJeet
  • Jill Cooper

Alternate Delegate to the Republican National Convention – 14th District – — Vote for Three– All Precincts within Fayette County

Republican

  • Scott R. Day
  • Sonia Stopperich Sulc
  • Thomas J. Uram
  • Pat Geho
  • Melanie Stringhill Patterson

National election playing havoc with local races

By Christine Haines chaines@heraldstandard.com

Published Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:15 AM EST

The presidential election is a wildcard in area legislative races, with some political leaders thinking it may help their candidates, while others doubt there are any coattails to ride.

One thing is certain — voter registration has swelled in recent weeks in both Washington and Westmoreland counties, with temporary staff brought in to help process the paperwork in a timely fashion.

In Washington County, 14,000 new voters registered in the past year, with a net increase of 10,000 voters over last year.

“Over 5,000 of those new registrations were dumped on us on deadline day. We brought in extra help. We couldn’t close out our books for the election until those were processed,” said Wes Parry, the assistant director of the Washington County Elections office.

Parry said there is one polling place change to note in California Borough. Precincts 1 and 2 will move back to the borough building to vote. Those precincts had been voting at St. Thomas Aquinas Church because of construction at the borough building, but that is now complete.

Westmoreland County Elections Director Beth Lechman said there are no changes in her county.

“We did not change any polling places this election from the last election. They’ll still have the same voting machines and we trained our poll workers the same way,” Lechman said.

Because of increased voter registration, there will be a few more voting machines in place and extra poll workers will be on hand, Lechman said. The county usually puts out 850 voting machines, but will be using about 880 this election. With 246,000 registered voters, Westmoreland County is at an all-time high.

“The margin between Democrats and Republicans is closer than it has been,” Lechman said.

The senatorial race, much like the presidential race has been contentious since the start with incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and former state Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection Katie McGinty, a Democrat, criticizing one another’s record as they crisscross the state seeking voter support.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Everett, will again face his primary challenger, Art Halvorson of Manns Choice, who now will appear on the Democratic side of the ballot in the 9th Congressional District race.

Although he lost the GOP nod to Shuster, Halvorson received enough Democratic write-in votes to secure the party nod.

While not on the ballot, Uniontown psychologist Adam Sedlock, who has the backing of the Democratic party, is waging a write-in campaign for the seat.

In the state legislative race, Westmoreland County Republican Party Chairman Michael Korns said he expects Justin Walsh to do well in the race for the seat in the 58th Legislative District.

“I think Donald Trump is going to do well in Westmoreland County and very well in the 58th District. I think it will help Justin, but Justin’s also been out working for himself,” Korns said.

Korns said Trump’s popularity in the county offers two advantages locally.

“It helps get more Republicans out and it also helps us in making a pitch to traditional Democrats who may not have considered us before,” Korns said.

Walsh is running against Democrat Mary Popovich, with both vying to replace retiring state Rep. Ted Harhai, D-Monessen.

Westmoreland County Democratic Party chair Lorraine Petrosky said it’s hard to predict how the national election will affect local races.

“I’ve been looking at some of the early voting and exit polls that are going on and is there going to be ticket splitting? Possibly. I’m at a loss for words on how this is going to go,” Petrosky said.

Petrosky said Popovich has had strong support in the district.

“We feel very good about Mary Popovich. She is a very good candidate and she has worked really hard for this,” Petrosky said. “You need to have cooperation in the state House and the Senate. You need people who understand compromise.”

Petrosky said as the election nears, the campaign is continuing to knock on doors and make telephone calls.

Washington County Democratic party chairman Ron Sicchitano said that’s the way campaigns are won in this region, face-to-face, with eye contact and a handshake, a technique he admits both his candidate in the 49th Legislative District, Alan Benyak, and Republican candidate Donald Bud Cook, have both been doing plenty often. The men are running for the seat held by longtime state Rep. Pete Daley, who is retiring.

“I anticipate a tight race. On Bud Cook’s side, he’s been campaigning very hard. On Mr. Benyak’s side, he’s very qualified and he’s also worked very hard,” Sicchitano said. “I anticipate a four point difference between them election night.”

Sicchitano said he doesn’t expect the presidential election to have as much impact on the legislative race as it could.

“In the presidential race they’re deadlocked right now, so there won’t be any coattails. This is an election unlike any that has occurred. They’ll be writing books about this election for years, because of the lack of civility. It’s no holds barred. It’s been in the gutter,” Sicchitano said. “There are no champions. The lesser of two evils will be elected.”

Washington County Republican Party chairman Scott Day said he’s expecting a high voter turnout locally.

“There seems to be a lot of energy for Trump in this area and I think it’s going to help the local Republican candidates on the ballot,” Day said.

Day noted that the state Republican committee has also taken an interest in the local races, particularly the race for the 49th Legislative District.

“Bud has not raised near the money Benyak has, but the state Republican Committee has pumped a lot of money into that race as well. They feel it’s a seat that can be won,” Day said.

For his part, Day said, Cook has been working the district hard, knocking on an average of 90 doors a night, expecting to reach some 21,000 households before Tuesday.

Day said the Republican Party has been gaining momentum in Washington County, gaining steadily on the Democrats who had enjoyed a 3-to-1 registration advantage over the Republicans 30 years ago.

Day said the current ratio is 1.2-to-1, with the registration rapidly approaching the point where the two parties are even. Day said that growth is also showing in the number of Republicans being elected to the state legislature from the county.

“We’ve done quite well over the past five to six years,” Day said. “A lot of the people who are moving into the area for the oil and gas industry are Republicans.”

Day said he is hoping on the national level for a decisive victory for one side or the other, not a vote decided by a slim margin that will result in challenge after challenge.

“We’re going to be bogged down in lawsuits. It’s nothing I want to see. It’s going to be a long, drawn-out affair,” Day said.

Voters will also pick the state’s next attorney general, auditor general and state treasurer, and decide whether the state’s constitution should be amended to allow justices serving at the Supreme Court level, along with other judges and magisterial district judges be permitted to serve until the age of 75. The current retirement age is 70.

The polls will be open today from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Election brings out the good and bad with people’s political beliefs

By Mark Hofmann mhofmann@heraldstandard.com

Published 2:30 AM EST

As either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump verbally fight their way to the White House, people’s political beliefs in some cases have gone past the boiling point.

A few weeks ago, a GOP office was firebombed around the same time a Clinton campaign sign was vandalized outside of a county Democrat office, both in North Carolina.

In Pennsylvania, someone upturned the tombstone of Clinton’s father, Hugh Rodham, at a Scranton cemetery, and just last week, someone spray painted several homes in Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s Zionsville neighborhood with anti-GOP messages.

Locally, however, things have been quiet.

John Hartman, the chief of the Southwest Regional Police Department, said the civilians have remained civil.

“I hope it stays that way,” he said.

“I’ve never had anything more serious than the questioning of a missing sign,” said Uniontown police Lt. Tom Kolencik. “Occasionally we get that call, and weather is normally a factor.”

Kolencik said in his years of law enforcement, he has never had to respond to a bar fight or a domestic assault that stemmed from a difference over politics.

“It never amounts to anything more than a disagreement,” Kolencik said. “Everyone remains pretty civil and cordial.”

While he hasn’t seen any, Hartman said politically-motivated crimes have become a sobering reality of this election cycle.

“Part of that is not only the national news, but social media bringing everything worldwide,” Hartman said.

Margaret L. Signorella, professor of psychology and women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Penn State’s Greater Allegheny Campus, said social media has led to a new level of intensity in opinions.

“(A) lot of the nasty discourse online is because it is anonymous, and consists of behaviors that the individuals would probably not do face to face,” Signorella said. “It is well established that people will engage in more antisocial behavior when anonymous.”

Justin Hackett, social psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at California University of Pennsylvania, said in an online environment, people who may already lean one way or another create a bubble with others that share the same viewpoint.

“We become more solidified and confident, and make our attitudes more extreme,” Hackett said. “We only expose ourselves to people who enforce our preconceived notions.”

The extreme partisanship typically eases after the election is over, he said.

“In that moment in time, the reconciliation process will start to happen,” Hackett said.

Until that happens, Signorella has advice for someone caught in a politically heated conversation: distract or de-escalate.

Finding common ground can also cool down a heated debate, Hackett said.

“That’s always a way to minimize the uncomfortableness,” Hackett said. “Or just end the conversation.”

While some with differing political views have trouble getting along during the election season, there are others who truly show that opposites attract.

That’s the case for state Rep. Ryan Warner and his wife, Leslie Warner.

The Perryopolis couple has been together for eight years, and although she’s a staunch Democrat, and he’s firmly GOP, the two put politics aside when they walked down the aisle.

Ryan Warner said a bumper sticker on the back of wife’s car first tipped him off that they had differing political views.

“(I)t wasn’t really a shock,” he said. “Leslie had an open mind anytime that we would talk about politics so I guess, even though we didn’t always see eye to eye, it was never as issue for me.”

Leslie Warner said even though they have different viewpoints on some issues, she admires her husband’s sense of love and pride for the country and the community.

“He constantly suggested that I trade my Volkswagen for a vehicle made in the USA, and he anticipates the 4th of July like a child does Christmas,” she said.

“There are plenty of times that we have discussions back and forth regarding politics, but I don’t think either of us takes our differences personally,” Ryan Warner said. “I respect her opinions and she respects mine and often times, with civil discussions, we can find some common ground to agree on.”

Leslie Warner said humor goes a long way when you don’t agree with someone’s political views. Understanding plays a vital role, too.

“I think our relationship has helped him as state representative,” she said. “He knows the other side and the other views and issues before he ever steps into the capitol, so he is very aware of how the other side feels.”

In reality, said marriage and family therapist Sacha Martin, the divide from the Democrats and Republicans in this area isn’t so big.

“Most Democrats in (this area) support gun rights, are religious and believe in other conservative values,” said Martin, of Mount Pleasant. “Basically, they are Republicans except for two things….unions and pulling that ‘D’ lever.”

That said, Martin believes two people in a blue-state/red-state relationship can make it work based on the respect they have for each other.

“Most people identify as a Democrat or a Republican, but never think of it beyond that,” Martin said. “For those that are more political and think of it more, they need to be able to respect each other enough to accept that the other holds a different opinion on things.”

Leslie Warner said she considers herself more of an Independent, learning as much as she can about a candidate and voting for the best person for the job.

“I enjoy listening to Ryan talk about politics,” she said. “And, in turn, he seems fascinated by my point of view.”

She said she sees her husband less as a public official, and more as her best friend, business partner and a dedicated father to their two children.

“Just like in politics, before we are Republicans or Democrats, we are all Americans and we need to remember that common bond,” Ryan Warner said. “That same approach should be taken in marriage, before you’re a liberal or a conservative, you should be husband and wife.”

For those opposites who end up attracting, Martin said a peaceful coexistence would probably depend on how different each person’s belief system is.

“If one believes a woman’s role is to be barefoot and in the kitchen and the other is a hardcore feminist, I doubt they can coexist peacefully,” Martin said. “If the differences are not that severe, then it is more about communication and acceptance that the other believes something different.”

Of course, once Election Day has come and gone and America’s new president is chosen, Martin said there is another tried-and-true method to avoid a conflict if one person in a relationship didn’t see the outcome for which they voted.

“I’ve heard someone say that there are two things you don’t talk about in polite company, religion and politics.”

Opioid epidemic topic of candidates

Fayette, Westmoreland see high number of confirmed overdoses

BY TONY SONITA

With the 2016 presidential election less than two weeks away, the United States’ current opioid epidemic has been a topic of discussion.

Currently, Fayette County has experienced around 30 confirmed drug overdose deaths in 2016, while Westmoreland County has recorded 87 confirmed drug overdoses with 28 pending. At this rate, both county’s will eclipse last year’s numbers.

Because of Pennsylvania’s status as a battleground state, representatives from both Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have addressed this issue in policy discussions.

Anne Holton, a former chief judge and education secretary in Virginia and the wife of Democratic vice-presidental nominee Tim Kaine, said that the opioid crisis has reached critical levels.

“It’s a crisis,” she said. “We all got to dig in and address it. We have opportunities to make strides with more effective prescription drug and treatment programs.”

Holton referenced Clinton’s plan to create a $7.5 billion fund to combat addiction. The plan, hosted on Clinton’s campaign website, says that a Clinton White House will “launch a $7.5 billion fund to support new federal-state partnerships over 10 years, through which stakeholders will come together to prevent and treat addiction.”

Holton also criticized Trump’s plan to battle opioid abuse.

“They have no plan,” she said. “Hillary has put out a serious plan to attack the opioid crisis. I love that she’s a serious person with serious proposals. There are ways we can step up to the plate. Hillary is talking about it. The other side isn’t serious about pretty much anything.”

Representatives from Donald Trump’s campaign did not respond to e-mails requesting comment on the opioid crisis. During an Oct. 15 speech in Portsmouth, N.H., Trump said his plans to build a wall along the Mexican border “will also keep out the drugs and heroin that’s poisoning our youth.”

Trump’s prepared remarks for that Oct. 15 rally, hosted on Trump’s website, reference Christopher Honor and Courtney Griffin, “a young Rockingham County couple who died of an overdose within a year of each other.”

“Their story of prescription drugs, heroin, wait times for treatment, and missed opportunity in the court system are a tragic reminder of why we need a plan to end the opioid epidemic,” the remarks read. “First, we will stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country. The number of heroin seizures on the border has tripled since 2008.”

On the local level, local officials are calling for cooperation from both sides of the aisle to defeat the heroin epidemic. State Sen. Pat Stefano has taken part in several opioid-related events, the most recent being a Oct. 17 tele-townhall.

“Working together, we need to find ways to battle this growing public health crisis,” Stefano said prior to the event. “This tele-townhall offers residents in my district a chance to join in the conversation about this crisis facing our Commonwealth.”

State Rep. Ryan Warner told The Daily Courier that everyone must work together to defeat drug abuse and overdoses.

“I don’t believe that this is a Republican of Democrat issue. I agree with a lot of the recommendations from the governor’s office,” Warner said. “My personal take from it is the first thing we need to do is cut off the source. We need to reduce the supply of painkillers. We must reduce the pills in the area by monitoring who is getting what pills.”

Warner said that he believes the majority of heroin addictions start with prescription painkillers.

“You have people that a being prescribed these pills legally. Some are overprescribed. It’s also easier for kids to pick this stuff up off the streets,” he said. “There’s not the stigma to take a legal pill verses shooting yourself up with heroin.

“It’s definitely an uphill battle. We have to secure the borders. If we can’t stop illegal people from coming into the country, we don’t have a chance of stopping illegal drugs coming into our county.”

Tony Sonita is a Daily Courier staff writer. He can be reached at 724-628-2000, ext. 111, or at tsonita@dailycourier.com.