Democrats took an early lead in a race for three seats on the Manheim Township Board of Commissioners, ultimately winning two of the seats after a late-night upset handed the third to a Republican incumbent.
Sam Mecum, Tom O’Brien and Bill Ziegler, all Democrats, led the tally for most of the evening as results from Manheim Township’s 24 precincts poured in, but Republican Donna E. DiMeo had a late surge that took her past Ziegler and into the third seat.
Ian Hodge, a second Republican incumbent, came in last in the six-way race — likely due to a divisive campaign ad that irked members of both parties, as well as officials and residents of the city to the south.
Manheim Township is one of five townships in Lancaster County with contested races this year.
Democrats had a strong showing in both Manheim and Lancaster Townships. Republicans won seats in Conestoga, East Hempfield and Warwick townships, according to poll numbers released late Tuesday.
The race in Manheim Township — with three Democrats and three Republicans each contending for three four-year seats — heated up after Hodge ran an ad seen by many from both parties as an attack on Lancaster city.
Voters in five townships face decisions Nov. 7 on who will lead their local governments.
The flier claimed his Democrat opponents were seeking “more low-cost apartments” that would increase taxpayer costs for services, crowd schools and “change our community into Lancaster City north.”
City Mayor Rick Gray said it was an “unneighborly” remark, and the Manheim Township GOP distanced itself from Hodge in the final days of the campaign.
Mecum, the only incumbent among the Democrats, led the pack. O’Brien and Ziegler were close behind.
But in a nail-biter finish, DiMeo edged Ziegler as the last few votes were counted.
Hodge and Greg Strausser brought up the rear.
Still, a look at the township by precinct shows the Democrats held their own even in an areas traditionally dominated by the GOP. The school board race in Manheim Township saw Democrats sweep all six spots.
Key issues in the township range from managing traffic to preserving farmland and holding the line on costs and taxes.
Here are the unofficial tallies in Manheim Township, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting.
Mecum (D): 4,917
O’Brien (D): 4,640
DiMeo (R): 4,451
Ziegler (D): 4,341
Strausser (R): 4,320
Hodge (R): 3,765
Republicans snagged both open seats on the Conestoga Township board of supervisors.
Charles Timothy Byers won the contest for a six-year seat on the board, and William S. Rankin Sr. won the race for a four-year term.
They bested Democrats Scott E. Kriner and Robin Maguire.
Here are the unofficial tallies in Conestoga Township, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
Byers (R): 381
Kriner (D): 232
Rankin (R): 399
Maguire (D): 212
East Hempfield Township
Republicans G. Edward LeFevre and Tom Bennett won a contest against Democrats Ron Rogers and Michael Mezzetti for two six-year seats on the board of supervisors.
Mezzetti and Bennett were both write-in candidates in the spring primary.
Here are the unofficial results, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting.
Bennett (R): 2,498
LeFevre (R): 2,342
Mezzetti (D): 1,988
Rogers (D): 1,943
The Democratic candidate for a six-year seat on the board of supervisors beat his Republican opponent in Lancaster Township.
Democrat Steve Elliott will replace incumbent Kathy Wasong, also a Democrat, who did not seek re-election.
Elliott was challenged by Republican J. Glenn Ebersole Jr.
Here are the unofficial tallies in Lancaster Township, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
Elliott (D): 1,548
Ebersole (R): 925
Republicans captured both of the six-year terms on the board of supervisors that were up for grabs this year.
Jeff McSparran and Andrew E. Spade easily passed Democrats Jack L. Enco and Marcello Medini at the polls.
Here are the unofficial results, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
McSparran (R): 1,862
Spade (R): 1,768
Medini (D): 1,032
Enco (D): 937