What began as a joint write-in campaign in the primaries appears to have turned into a victory for three candidates in the race for Titusville City Council.
Based on unofficial tallies of Tuesday’s election results, Dennis Peden, Roger Gordon and Jon Crouch have claimed the three open seats on council by sizable majorities.
Peden was the top vote-winner of the night, claiming 840 votes across Titusville’s seven precincts. Gordon followed with a total of 773 votes while Crouch appears to have claimed the final spot with 665 votes.
The final balloted candidate, Jayla Pertz, garnered 517 votes. Write-ins totaled 360 votes, though election tapes printed out by voting machines do not reveal the exact distribution of those votes.
Regardless of how those write-ins turn out, it is likely that Incumbent William Adelman, who launched a write-in campaign after falling in the primary for the Republican ballot, will not receive re-election. Even if every single write-in vote went in Adelman’s favor, he would still be 305 votes short of Crouch’s total.
The race was close in several precincts, with Pertz even beating out Crouch in Titusville’s 1st Ward, 1st District by a single vote. However, larger gaps in other precincts gave Crouch a more comfortable lead, such as in the 2nd Ward, 2nd District where he garnered 170 votes to Pertz’s 130. The largest difference between the two came in the 4th Ward, where Crouch nearly doubled Pertz’s votes with 120 to 64.
Gordon, Peden and Crouch, speaking with The Herald Tuesday night, expressed gratitude for the show of support from the residents of Titusville.
“I would just like to say that I am humbled and honored that the people of Titusville spoke so overwhelmingly for change, and I am honored to be a part of a positive future for this community,” Crouch said.
The three men ran a joint campaign during the primary, during which they were able to knock Adelman and Incumbent Heather Leonardi off of the Republican ballot. While Pertz received the most Republican votes in the primary, Peden and Gordon took the other two spots on the GOP ballot, as well as two parts of the Democratic ballot. Crouch fell short of the Republican line-up, but reached the Democratic spot.
As the only member of the campaign not on the Republican ballot, Crouch said he wasn’t nervous but “optimistically apprehensive” going into the election. However, he felt that local politics are less about the party and more about the person, a view he expressed online.
When speaking with The Herald, after thanking his supporters, Peden gave a positive viewpoint on the impact of Tuesday’s election.
“The second thing I would say is that I look at this as a win for the residents of Titusville,” Peden said. “I wanted to give them a choice and they made their selection, and the City of Titusville is the winer tonight, not just myself, and I look forward to getting down to business on the first of the year.”
Both Peden and Gordon have experience serving on Titusville city government. Peden was first elected to city council in 1979, and later was hired as Titusville City Manager from 1984 to 1993. He later rejoined council in 2005 after launched a write-in campaign, and became mayor in 2008. He resigned near the end of the year to focus on his full-time job and family.
Gordon, meanwhile, was appointed to council in 1993 to serve a vacancy created by the resignation of Councilman Carl Meinstereifel. He became mayor in January 1994, but resigned later that year in March. In an interview with The Herald on election night, Gordon gave optimism toward his future tenure on council.
“We’re very excited about it, and we thank the voters of Titusville for their confidence in our ability to lead the city, and I really look forward to working with the new members of council and the old members of council to forge some new ideas and take this city forward,” Gordon said.
The totals given in this article are unofficial, and have not yet been certified by Crawford County Voter Services. They do not reflect the distribution of write-in or absentee ballots, which will be tallied at a later date by Voter Services. Results are viewable on the Voter Services website, at crawfordcountypa.net/VoterServices/Pages/Election-Results.aspx.
In terms of how the votes were cast in individual districts, Peden received 114 votes in the 1st Ward, 1st District; 129 votes in the 1st Ward, 2nd District; 159 votes in the 2nd Ward, 1st District; 198 votes in the 2nd Ward, 2nd District; 55 votes in the 3rd Ward; 146 votes in the 4th Ward and 39 votes in the Fifth Ward. Gordon, going in the same order of precincts, received 100, 112, 155, 178, 49, 138 and 41. Crouch’s votes across the precincts came in at 86, 87, 126, 170, 45, 120 and 31.
Pertz’s distribution came in at 87, 82, 110, 130, 23, 64 and 21. The write-in votes were dolled out at 59, 49, 90, 115, 15, 29 and three.
In terms of total turnout for the race, 1,169 voters took part in Tuesday’s election out of a registered 3,130, giving a percentage of 37.35%.
In the primary election that led up to Tuesday’s general election, Gordon received 234 Republican votes and 161 Democratic votes. Peden came in with 224 Republican votes and 166 Democratic votes. Crouch received 203 Republican votes and 156 Democratic votes. Pertz, who only ran in the Republican race, received 238, while Adelman, also exclusively competing in the GOP race, took 205 votes.
Elections for the Titusville Area School Board also took place on Tuesday, but each candidate was running unopposed. Incumbents Jean Spence (1,450 votes), Lynn Cressman (1,455), Jack Roberts (1,439), Jeremiah Morrison (1,432) and Carol Shaffer (1,374) all retained their four-year seats, with only 56 write-in votes casts. In voting for the two-year seat left by Rick Skinner, who declined to run for reelection, Keith DeRose appears to have taken the spot easily with 1,650 votes to only seven write-ins.
In the race for Crawford County Auditor, Republicans Kathie Roae and Diana Perry are ahead of Democrat Christopher Seely in unofficial totals released by Voter Services. Perry took the most votes with 11,927, while Roae received 11,519 and Seeley was given 6,938. A total of 102 write-in votes were cast. The top two vote-getters will claim the auditor positions.
Similarly, the race for Crawford County Register & Recorder favored the GOP candidate, with Republican Beth M. Forbes getting 12,609 votes to Democrat Marissa L. McIntire’s 5,834.
Crawford County Coroner Scott Schell (15,876), Crawford County District Attorney Francis Schultz (15,711), Crawford County Prothonotary Emmy Arnett (14,837), Titusville Treasurer Douglas Thompson (925) and Titusville Controller Kathleen K. Barhnhart (958) all took easy victories in their races based on unofficial tallies, as they were running unopposed and with only minor write-in opposition.
Ray can be reached, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.