Lancaster City Mayoral Race

Out of 7,261 votes cast yesterday in the race for Lancaster city mayor, Rick Gray won re-election by a mere 313 votes. That’s a much slimmer margin (orders of magnitude) than I anticipated.

Mayor Rick Gray declared victory around 10 p.m. He would win by 313 votes.
Mayor Rick Gray declared victory around 10 p.m. He would win by 313 votes.

The slim margin of victory (which at one point, when 79% of precincts were reporting, was as low as a 131-vote lead) raises the question of why Gray (whose re-election I supported) declared victory so early, as reported by the Intelligencer Journal:

Gray claimed victory before a crowd of supporters at his campaign headquarters less than two hours after polls closed.

My friend Russell Frost tells me that there were other facts known at the scene, which justified the early victory declaration. I am interested to learn (from intrepid reporters, I hope) what those other factors were. I just hope it wasn’t my obviously premature call for Gray at 9:15 p.m.

Lancaster City Council Race

I chaired the Democrats for Holden committee, since I favor a diversity of voices in the legislative branch of local government. Matt Holden gave a very strong performance, stacking up 3,303 votes, compared to 3,851 for Todd Smith, 4,007 for Tim Roschel, 4,036 for Jose Urdaneta, and 4,255 for Louise Williams. Artie See reports that Matt congratulated the Democratic candidates in person:

Matt Holden was courteous enough to stop by Rick Gray’s campaign headquarters and personally congratulate Gray and the four Democratic City Council candidates on their victories. But by the time the party broke up, Smithgall hadn’t even called Rick Gray.

Other Races

Patrick O'Keeffe
Patrick O'Keeffe

In Lititz, Democratic challenger Patrick O’Keeffe lost his bid for Lititz Council. It was an interesting campaign to watch. Because he was running in a Republican stronghold, his race looked a lot like a third-party candidacy in a national raceā€”it was driven by the mission of given voice to issues the majority had ignored, and given an alternative choice, even if people didn’t choose it.

In East Petersburg, my friend and local Twitter celebrity Jeff Geoghan won his uncontested bid for borough mayor. (I prematurely called that one, too.)

In Lancaster Township, Democrat Ben Bamford of High Industries was elected to the board of supervisors by 11 votes.

Voters in Donegal won’t pay for a new high school.

7 thoughts on “Mayor Gray Re-Elected by 313 Votes

  1. It’s telling, I think, that the number of votes received by each candidate for city council corresponds with the order in which they were listed on the ballot.

  2. I think it’s a shame that so few people voted. But I’m dismayed at the Mayoral race for a variety of reasons. Clearly, a margin this small in a city where registered Democrats far outweigh the number of registered Republicans is certainly not a mandate. If I were Mayor Gray I would be looking over my shoulder. Crime in the city, and the economy, are issues that are not going to go away by saying everything is OK. Gray also outspent Smithgall.

    Neither candidate ran a campaign that gave me any reason to vote for them. Gray called Smithgall’s campaign negative, but I think both campaigns were equally negative. If you are the challenger, you have to point out what you believe the incumbent isn’t doing properly. If you’re the incumbent, give me more than interviews about your love of bow ties. Convince me why I need to vote for you. Honestly, I still don’t know what either of the candidates have proposed in terms of ideas on how to improve things in the city. I certainly don’t buy that the city needs no improvement.

    And Timothy, I agree and was wondering that myself as I filled out my ballot. What if Matt Holden were listed first? Same for any other race where you get to vote for multiples.

    In the end, the candidates did a horrible job of articulating their ideas. Telling me that they want to make things better without telling me HOW does me no good. And the mainstream media did a horrible job of a)reporting on the candidates, and b) pressing the candidates for answers.

    The arrogance of local politicians can be pretty amazing.

  3. I was also dismayed at the low voter turnout. The fact that 4% of the populace decides these elections is just sad. Regardless of party I think people should at least vote and do a little research on the candidates.

    As for the mayoral race I don’t live downtown so I didn’t have to make the decision (for which I’m glad). We need new faces rather than regurgitating old ones.

    I nominate @DanielKlotz to run next time around.

    1. As a parent of youngsters who just moved into the Donegal School District, I am disappointed in the failure of what seemed to me to be a reasonable proposal for a new high school. My oldest is only four, and I’ve never stepped foot in any of the public schools, but there does seem to be a real disconnect between younger families in newer developments throughout the district and older households. I’m anxious to figure out this dynamic and find a way to get more involved as my kids get older.

  4. @Tim

    How can you say you’re disappointed the people didn’t authorize debt to build a new building when you’ve admittedly never been in it? Besides they somehow found it in their budget to build it anyway. I think people in the current economy want smarter choices instead of going deeper into debt.

Comments are now closed.