It’s Linhardt for county judge

In perhaps the most widely anticipated local race in this year’s general election, Eric Linhardt defeated Mary Kilgus for Lycoming County judge.

Linhardt captured 71 percent of the votes cast, according to unofficial election results.

Final vote totals were Linhardt, 12,163, and Kilgus, 4,852.

There were 92 write-in votes.

Linhardt, the county’s district attorney, said before the election that public safety would remain his top priority and that he would focus on laws as they are written.

He told the Sun-Gazette a judge’s role was to interpret “the law as it is, not as he thinks it should be.”

Reached at home Tuesday night, he couldn’t pinpoint any single factor that might have led to his victory.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “I continue to be humbled and flattered by the support I receive.”

Linhardt, a lawyer for 27 years, said he campaigned hard to be elected.

“I did campaign heavily,” he said. “I’ve never taken any election for granted.”

He noted his work as a district attorney may have influenced voters.

“I have worked very hard over the past 10 years,” he said. “I am very proud of the work we have been able to do. I think the results of the election speak to that.”

Linhardt said he will miss being district attorney, a job he enjoyed tremendously, which included working with law enforcement agencies.

He noted that the shooting of a city police officer Tuesday evening kept him from being very focused on the election results.

He said his prayers were with the officer and his family.

Kilgus, a city attorney who ran as an independent, could not be reached for comment for this story.

During her campaign, she said she would prioritize implementing a veterans court and programs to help address the opioid problem.