By Kim Lux
Several county-level races were decided by narrow margins during the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Voter turnout across Erie County was at about 29.5 percent, with 57,039 ballots being cast across the 149 precincts.
Locally, 1,385 ballots were cast in North East Township and 742 were cast in North East Borough.
Across all four North East polling locations, voters preferred Republican candidates.
The North East School Board race was a contested one, with seven candidates vying for five open seats.
Incumbents Paul Behnken and Eric Riedel held on to their seats and will be joined by newcomers Sally Abata, George Sucha and Jim Wargo.
Unofficial numbers, as of early Wednesday morning, show Abata garnering the most votes with 1,681. Wargo was next with 1,481, followed by Sucha with 1,457. Riedel earned 1,324 votes while Behnken secured 1,292.
Also running were incumbent Erin Janes, who received 777 votes, and newcomer Alene Rohde, who earned 813 votes.
As of Wednesday morning, Democratic challenger Kyle Foust won the county controller race by a narrow margin. He was facing Republican incumbent Mary Schaaf, who North East voters favored.
Foust secured 27,633 votes to Schaaf’s 27,581 across the county.
However, in North East Borough Schaaf received a total of 426 votes to Foust’s 303 votes.
In North East Township, Schaaf secured 820 votes across the two polling locations and Foust garnered 527.
The race for County Council’s District 5 representative was also close.
Republican challenger Brian Shank received 5,247 votes across all polling locations, while Democratic incumbent Kyle Foust earned 5,088.
Local voters showed their support for Shank as well.
In the borough, he received 413 total votes across the two polling locations and Foust tallied 305.
Township residents cast 797 votes for Shank and 527 votes for Foust.
Erie County selected David Ridge and Erin Connelly as the next two judges of the Court of Common Pleas.
Early numbers show Ridge received a total of 38,932 votes, Connelly garnered 30,137 votes and Ed Smith claimed 26,866.
North East voters preferred Ridge, who cross-filed, and Smith, a Republican.
Borough residents cast a total of 477 votes for Ridge, 443 for Smith and 322 for Connelly.
In the township, Ridge collected 909 votes, Smith received 862 and Connelly claimed 539.
Voters also filled three North East Borough Council seats and a North East township supervisor seat.
In the First Ward of North East Borough, Democratic Incumbents Denise McCumber and Jeffrey Morealli ran unopposed. McCumber received 224 votes and Morealli got 211.
Second Ward residents supported Democrat Bill Beardsley. He earned 343 votes.
In North East Township, Republican incumbent Fredrick “Fritzer” Shunk ran unopposed for township supervisor. He collected 507 votes in District 1 and 602 votes in District 2.
Township residents also re-elected Republican incumbent Julie Reynolds as auditor. Reynold received a total of 1,090 votes across the two polling places.