Chester County Republicans to pick slate of candidates

Posted: February 15, 2011

Chester County Republicans, who once outnumbered county Democrats 2-1, will vote Tuesday evening on a slate of candidates vying for the party's endorsement, a designation historically equated with victory in November.

In recent years, the gap in registration has diminished. At the end of January, county records showed 140,005 registered Republicans, 123,232 Democrats, and 55,192 other voters.

Joseph E. "Skip" Brion, the party chairman, said the Republican numbers had recently started to rebound.

Candidates will earn endorsement if they garner 60 percent of the votes of the committee people at the nominating convention Tuesday evening. If, after three ballots, no winner has been determined, the party will recommend the two top candidates and "let the voters decide," Brion said.

The Republican candidates for two commissioner seats are Recorder of Deeds Ryan Costello, Commissioner Terence Farrell, and businessman Jim Jordan.

Four lawyers are hoping to win the party's blessing for two judicial vacancies. In a January straw poll, the front-runner was Mark Tunnell, a private practitioner, followed by Jeff Sommer, also in private practice, Assistant District Attorney Ann Marie Wheatcraft, and former Prothonotary Allison Bell Royer.

The race for the nomination to replace retiring District Attorney Joseph Carroll pits First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Carmody against Tom Hogan, a former assistant district attorney now in private practice, and Deputy District Attorney Steve Kelly.

The race to replace Costello as recorder of deeds features David Cox, a constable; Rick Loughery, a tax collector in Schuylkill Township and assistant to Farrell, the commissioners' chairman; and Pattie Diggin, a Westtown entrepreneur.

Carmen Battavio, an East Goshen Township supervisor, and Terri Clark, a member of the West Chester Area District School Board, are seeking the register of wills post.

Sheriff Carolyn "Bunny" Welsh and Prothonotary Bryan Walters are both seeking reelection and face no party opponents.

County Democrats will meet Saturday to make their endorsements.

Contact staff writer Kathleen Brady Shea at 610-696-3815 or

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