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Strong turnout in municipal election shows intense political interest and polarization

Political polarization and strong interest in municipal races were evident yesterday as over 30 percent of registered Adams County voters turned out for a municipal race which normally draws many fewer voters. Over 250 candidates ran for office in this year’s election.

The polarization was clear as Gettysburg Borough overwhelmingly supported Democrats while the county as a whole favored Republicans.

Supporting Chad Alan Carr's candidacy for Gettysburg Borough Council last evening were his mother Karla Carr (left) and aunt Cindy Kilgore Peterson (right), with local supporter Sue McCleaf.

The new mayor of Gettysburg is Democrat Rita Frealing, who soundly defeated former County Judge Tom Carr for the position. And Democrat Chad-Alan Carr defeated Republican Brian Hodges for the At-Large Borough Council position.

“Thank you Gettysburg,” we did it,” said Frealing after the results were in. “The next step is to keep moving on and help our community and its citizens: thank you gratefully from my heart that you chose me to help in this effort I will always do my best to represent you and Gettysburg to the best of my ability. I am honored and humbled.”

“I’m ecstatic.  I’m so proud of our town,” said Carr. “It was an incredible turnout of voters.”  Carr thanked his opponent Brian Hodges for running a great campaign and said he hoped to stay in communication with him. “Everyone has to work together.  It doesn’t mean we are opposing each other.  We have a lot more in common that some people think we do,” he said.

“My first goal is to listen and learn. I want to hear from the residents,” said Carr.

If we don’t stop putting up walls we won’t get anywhere.  I think unity is what is going to make this town beautiful.”

Republicans Take GASD School Board

The new members of the Gettysburg Area School District Board of Directors are all Republicans, with Democratic candidates being locked out. Winners are incumbent Kenny Hassinger, and newly-elected directors Jeremy Davis, Michelle Smyers, and Ryan J. Morris.

Incumbent Democrat Carrie Soliday lost to Morris by only 27 votes.

Commenting on the outcome of the Gettysburg School Board race, Democratic County Commissioner Marty Qually said Democrats had done everything they could to win. “The challenge is overcoming a very polarized electorate and a large Republican majority in that district. I think the message for the GASD race is that advocates need to keep up the pressure. In two years there will be another election and our students deserve school board members who put students before politics,” he said.

“I’m so sorry to see Carrie Soliday lose,” said Qually. “She’s been a great school board member. She had a great showing for only being listed as a Democrat.”

Other Candidates Weigh In

Christine Biggins, winner of a position as Cumberland Township Supervisor said she was “honored by the support from fellow township residents.”

Ed Riggs who will be the Judge of Elections for Gettysburg Ward 2 said he was moved by the civic responsibility expressed by the voters. “I was able to view the entire day’s election process up close and personal, as I worked at the polls,” he said. “I was so impressed with the integrity and good work of the poll workers, and also with the entire process as we conduct elections in Adams County. I am proud to say that I am now a part of that.”

Jeremy Smith, newly-elected supervisor in Hamilton Township, thanked all of the voters who came out to the polls despite the weather. “It was great getting to talk with many of you and I look forward to serving you. The future is bright and I encourage you all to get involved as community takes every one of us,” he said.

More results are on our elections page.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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