The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 23, 2013

Tie race hinged on missed chance

Supervisor candidate didn’t make it to polls

David Hurst

JOHNSTOWN — One vote might stop Jeffory McKenzie from becoming a Summit Township supervisor – his own.

McKenzie, 46, apparently tied his opponent in a race for the GOP nomination at 51 votes. The deadlock could have been broken if he made it to the voting booth Tuesday.

“I figured I’d vote after work,” said McKenzie, who works for the Meyersdale Municipal Authority. “But then we had some emergency stuff going on – a line broke – and I missed out.”

“I never would’ve guessed there’d be a tie,” he added.

Now, he and fellow hopeful Greg Brant will have to wait a little longer to see who’ll face Democratic incumbent Walt Lenhart this fall.

And it appears likely it’ll come down to luck of the draw.

Somerset County Election Director Tina Pritts said the computation board will meet to begin officially verifying election counts today, but the Summit Township supervisor seat didn’t earn a single write-in on the GOP side.

That makes it far less likely the total will change in the coming days, she added.

Assuming the tie holds, two pingpong balls and a “blind draw” would settle it, Pritts said.

“One ball will say winner; the other is blank,” she added.

Both men will be invited to come in to the county office and they will be allowed to decide between themselves who gets to choose first, Pritts said.

McKenzie said that, too, was a surprise.

“I figured we’d both get on the ballot,” he said.

“I guess not.”

In small-time municipal races, close contests are common in Cambria and Somerset counties, and 2013 was no exception.

Four votes separated five men seeking four Republican nominations for Loretto Borough Council this week.

And in Gallitzin Borough, candidate Austin Osmolinski fell one vote short of tying fellow candidate Richard Mackey Sr. for one of three Democratic nominations for board seats.

McKenzie said he feels bad about his outcome.

“I had some good people working for me,” he added. “I feel like they did it all for nothing.”

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.