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Voters re-elect mayor and choose two commissioners Election called
 'mandate for sanity and civility'

Re-Elected to a second term, Emmitsburg Mayor James Hoover (L) toasts newly elected Commissioners Christopher Staiger (C) and Glenn Blanchard at the Main Street Grill this past Tuesday night. 
(Photo by: Raymond Buchheister of Dispatch)

The voting results in Emmitsburg's April 26 election sent a clear "mandate for sanity and civility," according to departing Commissioner Dianne L. Walbrecker.

Re-elected was incumbent Mayor James E. Hoover, whose campaign slogan was "a voice of reason in Emmitsburg Town Government." Hoover received 357 of the total 537 ballots cast for mayor, nearly seven out of every 10 votes.

Two new commissioners, Christopher V. Staiger, currently chair of the town planning and zoning commission, and Glenn E. Blanchard, who chairs the water and sewer committee and is a member of the parks and recreation committee, together received 41% of the total 1049 votes cast for commissioner. Staiger received 221 votes and Blanchard received 214.

It took the election judges nearly three hours to count the votes. Although the overall percentage of voter participation was down given the sizeable increase in registered voters, the total number of ballots cast increased by more than 100, from 437 last year to 540 useable ballots this year.

Mayoral candidates Commissioner Arthur Elder received 126 votes and Stanley C. Mazaleski received 54 votes.

In the commissioners' race, incumbent Commissioner Joyce A. Rosensteel received 199 votes; former Commissioner Clifford L. Sweeney received 189 votes; Catherine Forrence received 125 votes; and Harold C. Craig, Jr., 101 votes.

Hoover will serve a three year and five month term. Staiger will assume the three year and five month position vacated by Commissioner Joyce Rosensteel. Blanchard will serve out the two-year remainder of Walbrecker's term, who resigned.

Victors rallied at Main Street Grill

Many of the candidates waited with Hoover at the Main Street Grill as the vote count began. Few seemed confident there would be a clear-cut victory.

Other candidates reportedly attended a private gathering and chose not to comment about the election until Wednesday.

Upon learning of his landslide re-election, Hoover told The Emmitsburg Dispatch, "The results speak very clearly. The residents of Emmitsburg are looking for changes and improvements. They want a board that will work together professionally with the best interest of the town in mind and less special interest issues."

Blanchard told The Dispatch, "I am grateful to all of the Emmitsburg voters who have voted for me and expressed their trust in me as a commissioner."

A seemingly stunned Staiger responded, "It's a great honor that the voters of Emmitsburg were willing to support me and let a relatively new resident participate in the town government. What we all expect is some progress where everyone's voice can be heard."

Sweeney said that, in spite of his defeat, "I think it's (the voting outcome) wonderful. I did win. I beat COPE. I was ecstatic. We sent the message to COPE that 'our town is tired of you and want you out (of our government).' I think Glenn and Chris are wonderful people and will make wonderful commissioners."

Defeated incumbent Commissioner Joyce Rosensteel said, "I'm a little disappointed, but I'm happy that COPE didn't get in. I'm sure both of these men (Staiger and Blanchard) will do a good job."

Later comments from candidates

Interviewed by The Dispatch the day after the election, Elder said he was hurt by what he saw in the town election. He said he felt the ethics investigation was, "dirty politics to destroy my name. They started six months ago in destroying me and they got their wish," he said. Elder added that he was also upset because everyone on the new board will be relative newcomers. He said he will serve out his term on the board, but now feels a strong emotional separation from the town he once loved. "I don't feel the way I used to about the town, I can tell you that," he said.

Craig said he was disappointed but not surprised by the election results. He told The Dispatch, "The powers that be didn't want COPE to control the board of commissioners and so they smeared COPE." He said he was grateful to those who helped him in the election and voted for him, and to those who did not vote for him because they saved him from a "thankless task and further loss of reputation."

Forrence told The Dispatch she had called to congratulate Staiger. She said, "I think he will do a very good job and he's aware of the major issues in town. He'll treat residents' concerns with respect." Forrence hopes to be appointed to the planning and zoning commission if a vacancy occurs, and plans to work with Sabrina Paxton-Daily to develop a community garden, which she's wanted to do for more than a year.

Mazaleski was contacted for comment, but did not respond to The Dispatch by press time.

Read why residents talk about why they voted

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