Wednesday, May 22, 2013

3 women to vie for 2 open seats on Berks County Court

A crowded field of eight candidates seeking two open seats on the Berks County Court of Common Pleas was narrowed to three by primary voters on Tuesday.

And voters clearly liked the female candidates more, setting up a three-way contest in November among the three female attorneys on the ballot.

Berks County First Assistant District Attorney M. Theresa Johnson, a registered Democrat, rode her reputation as a tough, no-nonsense prosecutor to win nominations in both the Democratic and Republican primaries

Final but unofficial results show Johnson topping the Democratic primary with 6,513 votes. Johnson, 47, of Brecknock, also finished second in the Republican primary with 5,092 votes, virtually assuring her a seat on the Berks County bench after the November general election.

The top vote-getter in the Republican primary was Madelyn Fudeman, 56, of Cumru, who finished with 6,370 votes. This was Fudeman’s second attempt to win a seat on the Berks bench.

The second Democratic nomination went to Eleni Dimitriou-Geishauser, 42, of Exeter, who finished with 5,377 votes in the Democratic primary.

All eight candidates cross-filed in both the Democratic and Republican primaries. By winning the second GOP nod, Johnson prevented James A. Smith, 43, of Richmond, from advancing to the November election. Smith, making his first election run, finished with 4,972 in the GOP primary.

The other Republican candidates were John Muir, 45, of Lower Heidelberg, who finished with 4,840 votes in the GOP primary, Peter Schiaroli, 53, of Reading with 1,721 votes, and Mahlon Boyer, 35, of Exeter, with 1,151 votes.

The third Democrat in the race was Patrick Barrett, 53, of Maidencreek, who finished with 3,233 in the Democratic primary. Fudeman, a registered Republican, made a strong showing in the Democratic primary, receiving 5,129 votes.

There are openings on the Berks County Court because Judge Linda K.M. Ludgate retired in December and Judge Peter W. Schmehl will retire in January.

Judges serve 10-year terms, then face a retention vote to stay on the bench for another 10 years. The current annual salary is $173,271.

Berks County Treasurer

The only other contested countywide primary race on Tuesday was for the Republican nomination for Berks County treasurer. Dennis Adams, 61, of Amity, easily won the race with 9,042 votes, defeating Pat Lupia, 53, of Muhlenberg, who finished with 4,108 votes. There was no Democrats on the ballot so unless a third-party candidate emerges in November, Adams will succeed current Treasurer Nelson H. Long, a Republican who did not seek re-election.

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