Election 2013: Most officials returned to seats by voters


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While most incumbents easily won re-election Tuesday, some council members and school directors in North communities and school districts were defeated. Here's a roundup of some North races, according to unofficial results from the Allegheny County Division of Elections:

Bellevue

Paul Cusick is mayor again.

Mr. Cusick, who is the borough's treasurer, defeated Joe Scioscia, a former council member, by a 53 percent-to-47 percent margin, according to unofficial results among more than 1,100 votes.

Former 1st Ward council member Jane Braunlich received 100 write-in votes.

Mr. Cusick has lived in Bellevue for more than 40 years. He was a council member for eight years -- five of them as president -- and for eight years served as mayor. Mr. Scioscia, an intelligence officer with the U.S. Air Force, had been a councilman for nine years. He resigned when he was deployed by the military.

Mrs. Braunlich, vice chair of the Democratic Party, said she will continue to be a voice in the community.

"I'm not at all disappointed, because I did what I set out to do," she said. "I wanted to make sure the people all knew that they had a choice. ... I feel good about the votes I received, because I believe that's 100 people who were educated."

Her husband, Mike Braunlich, attempted to secure a seat on council to represent Ward 1, but he finished behind competitors Henry Lenard and incumbent Kathy Coder.

Mrs. Coder served as council president from 2008 to 2011. She said she looks forward to working with the new council members with the expectation that Bellevue will become a more cohesive group, focused on making the community's historic town center a destination.

"We were at a tipping point," Mrs. Coder said after her win, "and now we're tipping in the right direction."

Matthew Senvisky and Vencent Menosky were elected without opposition to council in Ward 2. Incumbent Lynn Tennant-Heffley defeated Grant Saylor in Ward 3.

Joe Nolan was unopposed as tax collector. In a last-minute write-in campaign, his son, Michael Nolan, was elected auditor.

-- Jill Cueni-Cohen

Cranberry

The contest for a six-year seat on the board of supervisors ended in a landslide victory for Republican contender Bruze Hezlep, president of the township's volunteer fire company.

Mr. Hezlep, who has lived in Cranberry with his wife since 1994, raising two children there, claimed more than 75 percent of the total votes cast, according to unofficial tabulations by the Butler County elections bureau. His competitor was Michael Warrington, a Democratic newcomer who is a manager of a local restaurant.

They were vying for the seat left vacant by Democrat Dave Root, who's term expires at the end of this year. He did not seek re-election.

"I truly love Cranberry Township and I've enjoyed my role in serving the citizens in connection with the fire company. I'm looking forward to expanding that service to the community and continuing to [develop the township] as an attractive place to raise a family," Mr. Hezlep said.

A graduate of Grove City College, the 46-year-old works in information technology with L.B. Foster in Green Tree.

He has served on the board of directors of the fire department since 2006.

Under his leadership, he has overseen construction of a 9-11 memorial in front of the Route 19 fire station, construction of a public safety classroom building, and has started a golf fundraiser that benefits the fire department and the Cranberry Township Community Chest. He also is involved in Boy Scouts and the Cranberry Sunrise Rotary.

Supervisor Bruce Mazzoni, a board member for eight years and chairman for two years, said Mr. Hezlep will be a "major asset and contributor" to the board. "He's been a great community leader in his role with the fire department and we look forward to him joining the board."

With Mr. Hezlep's election to the board, the entire panel of five will be Republicans.

-- Karen Kane

North Allegheny

A slate of candidates opposed to closing an elementary school and higher elementary class sizes will hold four seats on the school board.

Because three candidates endorsed by the Save NA Schools group won nomination in May on both the Democratic and Republican tickets, the race was basically between incumbents Thomas Schwartzmier on the Republican ballot and Daniel Hubert on the Democratic ballot for the fourth four-year term.

Mr. Schwartzmier received 62 percent of more than 5,300 votes to defeat Mr. Hubert. Tara Zimmerman Fisher, who received the most votes (4,917), Scott Russell and incumbent Ralph Pagone were the other winners.

"It's incredible to see what has been achieved by a group of thoughtful, committed residents in this district," said Mrs. Fisher, a 1994 graduate of North Allegheny.

Mr. Russell said he was "excited to serve as a school director for North Allegheny. "I look forward to working with the current and new board members."

"The results of yesterday's election were a huge win for the current students, future students, and taxpayers of the North Allegheny School District," Mr. Pagone said.

"Thank you to our friends and citizens for being informed and educated voters, and congratulations on having your voices heard."

A candidate endorsed by Save NA Schools also took the two-year term created when Beth Ludwig resigned.

Kevin Mahler, who was running as an Independent, defeated the endorsed Republican candidate, Gary Wenig. The Democrats did not nominate a candidate for the special election.

"I greatly appreciate the efforts of everyone who helped with my campaign," Mr. Mahler said. "As a school director, I will work hard to represent the best interests of the whole NA community."

With the election, seven of the nine school board seats will be held by McCandless residents. Mr. Schwartzmier lives in Franklin Park, while board President Maureen Grosheider lives in Marshall. Linda Bishop, who also lives in Marshall, did not seek re-election.

-- Sandy Trozzo

Northgate

Bryan Johnston defeated incumbent Dan Klicker for a school board seat. He will join Amy Joy Robinson, Lisa Saylor and Jennifer McWilliams as new school board members.

-- Jill Cueni-Cohen

Ross

There will be three new faces among the commissioners.

Gerald O'Brien was elected tax collector, and will be resigning his 7th Ward seat. There are two years remaining on his term. Mr. O'Brien, a Democrat, defeated Clifford Bright.

"It was very gratifying and humbling to win. People liked the message I had, what I want to do with the office," Mr. O'Brien said, adding that he believes he is the first Democrat to win as tax collector in decades.

"Historically, Ross votes for Republicans for tax collector," he said. "I was facing pretty tough odds." Mr. O'Brien defeated two primary challengers.

In the commissioners' races, Democrat Stephen Korbel defeated Republican Jeff Meyer in the 2nd Ward. Incumbent Chris Eyster did not seek re-election.

Republican Jeremy Shaffer defeated Walter Salachup in the 8th Ward. Longtime incumbent Peter Ferraro did not seek re-election.

Democrats David Mikec Sr. in the 6th Ward and Lana Mazur in the 4th Ward were unopposed.

-- Sandy Trozzo


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