The potential uncertainty surrounding the Schuylkill County Commissioners race coming into Election Day dissipated rather quickly Tuesday.
Larry Padora got the most votes, Boots Hetherington finished second, and Gary Hess was third on Election Day 2023 in a race that really wasn’t very close in the end.
The results mean the Republicans maintain their strong dominance in Schuylkill County politics and really, the only thing that changes from the current Commissioners setup at the Courthouse is that Padora will replace departing Commissioner George Halcovage.
Democrat Rita Anczarski-Baldino finished in 4th place on Tuesday, picking up 9,330 votes. Libertarian Gregory Woll collected 3,062 votes.
There was an inordinate number of write-in votes (4,463 in total) recorded by voters in Schuylkill County. Presumably, many of those will end up going to Republican Mary Jo Moss, who staged a write-in campaign after she finished in 3rd during the GOP Primary in May.
Still, in the end, it was the GOP’s day once again on Election Day.
At a victory party held in Port Carbon on Tuesday night, soon after it was clear the GOP was dominating the returns, incumbent Hetherington talked about the campaign that led he and Padora to the big win.
Each of them were quick to take swipes at the outgoing Halcovage, who finished in 7th of 8 GOP candidates in the Primary, essentially ending his time as Commissioner.
“I’ve said it all summer, I was looking forward to having a functional and dedicated Commissioner as a running mate and a teammate, Larry Padora,” Hetherington told The Canary. “We’ve got to get past these off-the-field issues, the sexual harassment scandal, and move on. We’ve spent way too much time on those issues.”
Padora, who got 303 more votes than his running mate in the 2023 Election, said, “I’m looking forward to moving Schuylkill County forward and the future of Schuylkill County, putting all the nonsense behind us and giving people a respected County Commissioners office because it hasn’t been that in 4 years.”
Each of the winning Republicans on Tuesday night credited their campaigning over the summer to helping them get the win.
“We’ve been to every block party. You name it, we did it,” Hetherington said. “We gained weight this summer.”
The winners outlined their initial plans for their term together. Padora and Hetherington say the first items on the agenda are to establish the fire training school that was initially started during the current administration.
Both identified a “pre-release center” as another top priority they would like to get done.
Hetherington added that he wants the broadband expansion project to get completed, too.
|Top 3 win||Votes (100% in)|
|Larry Padora (R)||15353|
|Barron Boots Hetherington (R)||15050|
|Gary Hess (D)||14324|
|Rita Anczarski Baldino (D)||9330|
|Gregory Woll (L)||3062|
A late effort to reach Hess on Election Night was unsuccessful but we’ll catch up with him on Wednesday.
NOTE: Election results reported here are technically unofficial until they’ve been certified by the Schuylkill County Election Bureau.