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Cherepko Cruises To Victory; Some Results Still Out

Returns still incomplete from two precincts; elections board to meet Friday

By Tom Leturgey
The Tube City Almanac
May 17, 2023
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Politics & Elections

(Additional reporting from Jason Togyer)

Incumbent McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko won Tuesday’s primary election, easily defeating two vastly different challengers for the Democratic nomination.

According to incomplete and unofficial returns from the Allegheny County Division of Elections, Cherepko is holding a 20-point lead over his nearest rival, Corry Sanders, 52. Joe Lopretto was in third place with approximately 17 percent of the vote.

However, an official tally may not be available until Friday. Two city precincts — Ward 8, District 4, and Ward 12, District 3 — have not yet reported complete results. Countywide, 29 out of 1,324 precincts have reported incomplete results, elections officials said.

Allegheny County spokeswoman Amie Downs said precincts are listed as incomplete when the electronic memory sticks from the voting machines are unable to be read, or were not turned in at the end of the evening.

Scanners from precincts that did not return memory sticks were picked up from polling places Wednesday by elections officials and secured at the county’s warehouse, Downs said. They will remain sealed until the county elections Return Board convenes on Friday, she said.

There are several back-ups in case a memory stick cannot be read, including the actual paper ballots filled out by voters, and the printed tapes from each of the polls that were signed by the poll workers, Downs said.

Turnout in the city was approximately 33 percent, slightly ahead of countywide turnout of 30 percent, county officials said.

Sanders performed better than Cherepko in Wards 3, 4 and 7. In a few Ward 8 districts and one Ward 12 districts, Lopretto led Cherepko slightly, with Sanders in third place.

When Cherepko last ran, in 2019’s general election, the Allegheny County elections division reported that McKeesport had more than 12,600 registered voters, compared to 7,570 in Tuesday’s primary.

There were no candidates running for the Republican nomination but the county said 213 write-in votes were cast on the Republican side.

In the race for the Democratic nomination for one of four seats on McKeesport city council, returns showed Amber Webb leading the field, with 1,197 votes, followed by incumbents Keith Soles (1,193), LuEthel Nesbit (1,008) and Richard Dellapenna (992). Harold Allen was in fifth place with 943 votes. There were no Republican candidates filed, but there were 127 write-ins.

There were 13 candidates running for five seats on McKeesport Area School Board, with 11 of them cross-filed in both the Democratic and Republican primaries.

The remaining votes yet to be counted could leave several of the races too close to call until Friday.

On the Republican side, according to unofficial and incomplete returns, top five contenders for a nomination were Mark Holtzman, with 519 votes, followed by Jason Pavlecic (446), David Seropian (401), Joe Lopretto (371) and Matthew Mols (357), followed by Diane Elias, Matthew Keller, Thomas Filotei, Tiffany Wampler, James Brown and Cameron L. Preston.

On the Democratic side, again according to unofficial and incomplete returns, Mark Holtzman again was leading the field, with 1,518 votes, followed by James Brown (1,334), Diane Elias (1,209), Matthew Keller (994) and Jason Pavlecic (964), followed by Tiffany Wampler, Joe Lopretto, David Seropian, Thomas Filotei, Cameron L. Preston, Matthew Mols, Nikita Crumb and Jeffery Anderson.

Originally published May 17, 2023.

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