Primary, special elections pave path to change

Tuesday’s primary and special elections brought some familiar voting patterns, some surprises, and a path toward change.

It was of little surprise that Republican Fred Keller won the 12th Congressional District seat vacated earlier this year by Lycoming Countian Tom Marino, a fellow Republican. This is GOP territory, after all. Regardless of political party, we stand with the voters and believe Keller is the right man for the job, based on nearly a decade of valuable experience in the state Legislature and his conservative voting record.

What may have been a surprise was the voter turnout. In Lycoming County, 41.84 percent of the registered voters went to the polls. In a typical local primary alone, that number might be about half of that. Besides the special election for Congress, there were many hotly contested primary races.

And that’s where the surprises poured in. There were many, many solid and qualified candidates on the ballot, so the outcome was not easy to predict. But the idea that incumbents and familiar names usually win, maybe — or maybe not so much.

Ryan Tira appears to have sealed up a fall election as county judge, and Ryan Gardner will be the sole name on the ballot for district attorney.

A full nine candidates fought over two GOP nominations for county commissioner, and incumbent Jack McKernan did not make the cut. Instead, Scott L. Metzger’s name likely will appear as a Republican nominee along with incumbent Tony R. Mussare. They and Democrats Elliott Weiss and Rick Mirabito, incumbent, appear poised to do battle for the three commissioner seats this fall.

A political newcomer took on an incumbent councilman to get on the November ballot for city mayor, which will see a contest between Republican Eric Beiter and City Councilman Derek Slaughter, a Democrat.

Of course, there’s always the chance of a write-in campaign to stir things up, so who knows how things will shake out by the time November rolls around. The only thing that’s predictable at this point is that change is ahead in Lycoming County and beyond.

And with change comes hope.