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Write-in Campaign Impacts East Greenville’s Mayoral Race
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2021-05-26

            Lon Brinckman II went to bed the night before the primary election thinking he would breeze to victory in the race for East Greenville mayor as the only candidate on the ballot.

            However, evidence of a write-in campaign for the current mayor – facilitated by council President Angie Fegely – that emerged the next morning may have cost Brinckman the race.

            Brinckman, a current Republican member of council, received 72 votes. However, 113 write-in votes were cast on the Republican side of the ballot – as well as 81 Democratic votes – on May 18, according to unofficial information posted on the Montgomery County Voter Services website. Brinckman said he expects most of those votes to have been cast for Steven Wescott, the incumbent mayor who is a registered Democrat.

            "It's extremely probable" that Wescott will be the Republican and Democratic nominee in November, Brinckman said Saturday afternoon.

 

            Election officials began tabulating the write-in votes Monday. They will post the unofficial results around June 3, according to information provided by Kelly Cofrancisco, the director of communications for Montgomery County.

            According to Fegely, Wescott reversed his decision not to run for re-election. The night before the election, the two had a conversation in which the mayor agreed to mount a write-in campaign, according to an email message received Sunday from the council president. 

            "Steve is currently doing a good job and I've heard nothing but positive feedback about him," Fegely wrote. "I feel Steve is a better candidate to continue as our mayor."

            Wescott, who was appointed to his current position Jan. 4 to replace Keith Gerhart, previously said that he would not be running for a full term as mayor. He cited personal reasons for his decision following a Feb. 15 council meeting.

            In an email message received Friday, May 21, Wescott declined to provide any details on his decision to run or the campaign.  "I have no comment. Thank you and have a good day," the incumbent mayor wrote in the message, received at 7:35 a.m.

            The Montgomery County Republican Committee did not endorse a candidate in the East Greenville mayor's race, according to a photo posted on Brinckman's council Facebook page. The council member said he is not interested in raising "holy hell" over the results. However, he expressed objections over the process.

            "It was deplorable," said Brinckman, whose current term on council ends at the end of the year and is not seeking reelection.

            In a post on his council Facebook page, Brinckman claims that the green sheets circulated by the Montgomery County Republican Committee at the polls – containing its endorsed candidates – included Wescott's handwritten name. He argues that the inclusion of a registered Democrat creates an ethics issue for local party officials.

            Brinckman also accused Fegely, Member Joe Rock, John Dingler and Wescott of mounting "an apparently successful clandestine write-in campaign" for the incumbent. He wrote that the manner in which they acted "cast a stain" on borough council.

            "They have planted seeds of mistrust," Brinckman wrote in the post.

            Dingler, a Republican candidate from council, said he received a Facebook post from elected officials at 9 a.m. on May 18 urging voters to write in Wescott's name for mayor. The Jefferson Street resident said he considers the current mayor a "gentleman" who votes with the best interest of the public in mind. 

Under Pennsylvania code, the mayor is limited in voting responsibilities because they are not a member of borough council.

            "Steve doesn't have any ties to the community, so he doesn't owe anyone anything," Dingler said. "He listens to the people and he doesn't argue with the board. I'm not saying he always follows the board."

            According to Dingler, Wescott's personality is much better suited to get along with council members. He said Brinckman "sometimes looks out for himself and not the people of the Valley."


 

 

 

 

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