Bucks County election: Live updates as GOP sweeps county row office races, ousting three incumbents

Voters in Bucks and Montgomery counties flocked to the polls on Tuesday to elect candidates for county row offices, municipal offices and school boards.

Voting is now closed. Results slowly trickled in early into Wednesday morning. With 100 percent of votes counted, the Bucks County Republicans swept the county row offices.

Check our websites for the latest results.

Live results from Lower Bucks: Get the latest results for Lower Bucks County races

Live results from Central Bucks: Get the latest results from Central, Upper Bucks & Eastern Montco

Here are what our reporters saw at the polls Tuesday:

GOP sweeps Bucks County row offices

Republicans may not control county government as two of the three commissioners as Democrats, but the GOP members will head the row offices of sheriff, district attorney, recorder of deeds, prothonotary and county controller.

The wins of Pamela Van Blunk for controller and Dan McPhillips for recorder of deeds and Colleen Christian for prothonotary mean three incumbents, Neale Dougherty, Robin Robinson and Judi Reiss, respectively, lost their seats.

Incumbent District Attorney Matt Weintraub was the only incumbent row officer to hold onto his elected post. The Republican bested political newcomer and former assistant district attorney Antonetta Stancu, who is now in private practice.

In an Election Day decision that will have a ripple effect, Bensalem Public Safety Director Fred Harran won the elected office of county sheriff over newcomer Mark Lomax. Harran will not hold both the township job and county post.

The county GOP also claimed the lone Court of Common Pleas seat that was up for election with Stephen Corr winning over Tiffany Thomas-Smith.

The GOP victories come on an Election Day that was good for the GOP in Pennsylvania and nationwide, including a Republican taking the Virginia governor's race and the GOP's candidate for the governor's seat in New Jersey locked in a too-close-to-call race with incumbent Phil Murphy.

Bucks County Controller: Republican attorney to take seat

Bucks County prothonotary: GOP's Christian takes lead

Recorder of Deeds: Republican Dan McPhillips defeats Democrat Robin Robinson i

Bucks County sheriff: GOP's Fred Harran defeats Democrat Mark Lomax

Bucks County district attorney: Weintraub headed to second term

— Danielle Camilli

A Republican committee person explains the ballot measures to a voter outside the Central Bucks Senior Center polling location in Doylestown on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Bucks County results delayed by vendor issues

Bucks County unofficial election results are no longer appearing on the county website.

Instead a notice appears at the top of the page: "Our election night reporting vendor is experiencing widespread technical issues across several counties. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope to see the site up and running as soon as possible. In the meantime, we will be posting a summary PDF of unofficial election results momentarily."

Before the issue, the county had reported about 14 percent of the results, representing about 42 of 306 voting precincts. The races for the county row offices were extremely close and not able to be called.

A PDF released at 11:32 p.m. showed 196 precincts counted and the GOP row office candidates pulling ahead slightly, but with two-thirds of the votes left to count it was too early to make any predictions about the ultimate outcome.

In addition, county officials said they called in more employees to help open envelopes to count ballots faster.

Some 68,606 Bucks voters requested a mail-in ballot ahead of Tuesday's election. As of Tuesday morning, 51,836 had been returned, said a county spokesman. Voters have until 8 tonight to return those ballots

— Danielle Camilli

Lessons from grandfather, Harry Fawkes, resonate on Election Day

All afternoon in a steady drizzle, people streamed into the polling place at VFW Post 1597 on Bellevue Avenue in Croydon.

“Because of mail-ins, 90 percent of the people showing up in person are Republicans,” said Kelly Bellerby-Allen, who handed out literature and sample ballots, sheltered from the weather under a nearby picnic pavilion. “But if we didn’t have mail-ins, it would be 50-50.”

Politically, it’s a balanced precinct, she said.

Among those arriving to vote was Susan Fawkes, granddaughter of the late Harry Fawkes, who chaired the Bucks County Republican Party for decades. Her grandfather instilled values and political wisdom, she said.

Susan Fawkes, granddaughter of the late Harry Fawkes, shortly after she voted in the Nov. 2 election, at her polling place at VFW Post 1597 on Croydon.

“He said if you don’t help the little guy, you get nowhere,” she said.

Part of helping the little guy is voting, especially in off-year elections, like this one. In politics, all big changes in America come from little changes. If you don’t like what’s happening in the country, vote to change a local town council or a school board or a judge or two.

“When you make the changes you want locally, you change the big picture,” said Fawkes, who grew up in Croydon and graduated from Harry S Truman High School.

All those council and school board seats should be seen as a party’s bench, she said.

“That’s where most of them come from,” she said.

Clear it and start again, if you don’t like what’s happening.

“My grandfather knew that. When you fix the small problems, it works its way up and takes care of the big problems. If you don’t vote them out, they won’t get the message. That’s why these local elections are so important.”

— JD Mullane

Ballot issues in Bristol Township; polls extended in Norristown, East Norriton

Early Tuesday, an issue at the Bristol Township municipal building forced some residents to vote by provisional ballot. The wrong voting machines were delivered to the township building, said James O’Malley, county spokesperson.

“The situation was resolved pretty quickly,” he said.

In Montgomery County, operating hours at two polling locations have been extended to 9 p.m. by court order, after a similar issued occurred.

The issue affected Norristown precincts 2-2 and 2-3 at Gotwals Elementary School, and East Norriton 2-2 and 2-3 at Cole Manor Elementary School.

All other polling locations in Montgomery County will close at 8 p.m. tonight.

Buckingham voters come out to support GOP, 'send a message to Washington'

At Cold Spring Elementary in Buckingham, a local school board race was the chance to send a message to Joe Biden.

“I’m out here to support the Republican Party,” said Susan DelMoore. The township resident said she hoped large numbers of Republican voters would turn out for local school board races and that it would be a referendum on national politics.

“We need to send a message to Washington,” DelMoore said. “Joe Biden is weak. Kamala Harris is weak. Critical race theory is going to bring them both down.”

Poll workers asked voters to wear masks because they were inside a school. By noon, about five voters had refused to wear masks and voted without a face covering inside the school gymnasium.

Shortly after 11:30 a.m., one unmasked woman pointed at the county election machines and stated that they could be easily manipulated. A judge of elections then attempted to explain to the woman that the machines kept a paper copy of every ballot and that the machines were not connected to the internet.

“I do not know why I even vote,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.

Also voting at Cold Spring Elementary, Peter Russ said he came out to vote because he was upset at Democrats and discussions of race in schools.

“Teachers and unions want to convince all the kids that some of them are oppressors,” said Russ. “When I went to school, they taught us that everyone was equal.”

Robert Battler said he voted for Republican candidates because he was concerned about crime that could someday spread from cities into the suburbs. “The crime is out of control and the Democrats won’t do anything about it.”

— James McGinnis

A vote for representation: 'We need to continue to break down walls'

Nancy Jackson hiked up the collar of her topcoat to fend off a chilly breeze before heading in to vote for one specific reason.

“In this day and age, so many LGBTQ people, especially young kids, are mocked for expressing who they really are,” she said at St. John’s Lutheran Church on York Road in Hatboro.

“I came to vote specifically for Alex Myers for council. We need more figures in politics like him, not afraid to come out publicly, to show people this country is made up of all kinds of people who can serve the community.”

Jackson noted her vote for Myers, a Democrat and twice-decorated Army veteran, was inspired by political aspirations of her 20-something nephew, who is gay. Myers would become the first openly LGBTQ+ member of Hatboro council as a transgender man.

“We need to continue breaking down walls for people like my nephew,” she said. “Making sure we elect people like him to public office will go a long way toward changing prejudiced perceptions of those who are different than others.”

Central Bucks goes to the polls with lots on voters' minds

On a chilly fall morning, voters stood six feet apart, donned masks, and entered the Bucks County Administration Building in Doylestown to drop mail-in ballots in a secured box.

Many said they were driven to vote by concerns about mask and vaccine mandates, politics in schools, and events in other states.

Pennsylvania would be just like Texas, if not for a Democrat in the governor’s mansion, said Joseph McQuillan, of Chalfont. Measures to restrict abortion and discussions of race in schools would go forward if not for Democrats, he said. “The Republican Party has gone insane.”

Unfortunately, many Americans don’t have time to study the issues, said McQuillan.

“They’re working 10 to 12 hours a day. They are not going to come home and watch CNN, or MSNBC or Fox News. They’re struggling to survive.”

Local politics has turned pugnacious, said Micky Stamps, a mother of two from Buckingham.

“We have teachers who are quitting their jobs because it’s getting so crazy. People come to these school board meetings, and they are so belligerent. They want to change history. It’s like a mild civil war.”

Central Bucks School Board:: Ten candidates vying for five seats in general election

Analysis for subscribers: What is critical race theory, and could it be taught in Pennsylvania schools?

Tom Altmeier of Chalfont was concerned by efforts to change history. He said liberals wanted to make to American history more politically correct.

“They are trying to change history,” said Altmeier. “History is good and bad and sometimes you have to face it. Sooner or later, they’re going to take down the Washington and Jefferson monuments because they also had slaves.”

Tom’s wife Beverly Altmeier said too many ignored local politics. As a result, bad people rise from local races to reach state and national offices, she said.

“It all starts at the local level – the foundational level,” she said. “It’s got to change. We need new people. We need new blood.”

— James McGinnis

Bucks voter: 'Trying to find some sense of sanity'

Scott and Fran Klinger of Levittown came out to cast their ballots at the polls.

They arrived Tuesday morning to a peaceful and nearly empty polling place at the county library. There was no particular issue or candidate that brought the couple to vote.

“We’re just trying to find some sense of sanity, given all that’s happening,” Scott said.

Said Fran: “And we don’t believe our voting system is rigged. We believe in our system, and we don’t like how it’s been used to divide our country.”

Former longtime Democrat voter Sandra McCauley said she was also out due to concern for the country. “I usually don’t vote in this election only the presidential election,” she said at her polling place at Pennsbury High School in Falls.

McCauley, who said she voted straight Republican ticket, believes there is a growing communist influence in the United States. Its why she switched political parties last year at age 76.

“Don’t get me started,” she said. “I think China is behind everything.”

— JD Mullane and Jo Ciavaglia

Military families represented at the polls in Hatboro-Horsham District in Montco

Early morning on Election Day at Keith Valley Middle School polling place in Horsham had light turnout about an hour after the polls opened Tuesday.

With her 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son in tow on a brisk Election Day morning, Nina T., of Hatboro, made her way to the polls.

“We are a military family; my husband is in the Air Force and deployed right now,” she said outside Crooked Billet Elementary School after voting this morning. “I came out to vote during this midterm election because we have kids in school and want to make sure their needs are being addressed by the school board.”

The woman requested her surname be withheld from her comments not be for safety concerns while she and her children await the return of her husband.

“I’m hoping the school board will develop some programs for kids of military families who have a parent deployed,” she said.

“We just moved back to the area two years ago from Washington State, a very liberal state, where there were support groups for families like ours. I know those programs currently don’t exist in our district.”

Ron Parham was also out in Horsham. He usually doesn’t vote during non-presidential year elections. This year is different, he said.

“With everything going on with school boards making decisions that are diametrically opposed to the wishes of parents of students, more and more people are voting now to voice their displeasure,” Rarham said. “We need board members who are going to reflect the wishes of the people who put them there.”

— Phil Gianficaro

Voters drop off mail-in ballots in Bucks County

Roseanne Elcenko, of Langhorne, with the help of her daughter, Kassandra, 9, drops off her ballot inside the Bucks County Government Services Center in Levittown, during the 2021 general election, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2021.
At the Bucks County Government Services Center in Levittown, during the 2021 general election, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2021, I Voted stickers were being given out,

Joann Oberhau of Levittown was among the early arrivals to drop her ballot in the mail-drop box at the county government services building in Bristol Township.

“I just don’t like standing in line and having to go through all those people handing out literature. It’s too much,” she said, as she hurried out of the building on her way to work.

She was one 68,606 Bucks voters to request a mail-in ballot ahead of Tuesday's election. As of Tuesday morning, 51,836 had been returned, said a county spokesman. Voters have until 8 tonight to return those ballots

But, many voters are doing it the old fashion way and going to the polls, including Oberhau's husband, Fred.

“He’s on his way to vote, but he likes to do it the other way, in person.”

Midge Embrico, of Bristol Township, as she headed into the polling place at the Bristol Township municipal building on Bath Road Tuesday Nov. 2, 2021.

At the Bristol Township municipal building, Midge Embrico came out to vote as a civic duty. She would never vote by mail-in ballot, she said.

“Oh, no. I’d rather be here voting in person than by mail,” she said, who worked as a claims rep for the Social Security Administration.

“I worked for the government for 43 years, so I’ve seen up close and personal how the government can screw things up, get things wrong. So, with the mail-in, I’m skeptical that my vote won’t be counted.”

She’s less skeptical of voting by machine. It’s always seemed to work before. “As long as I can be here, I’m here,” she said.

— JD Mullane

Pennsbury debates over masks and diversity, inclusion and equity bring voters out

At Oxford Valley Elementary school in Falls there was a slow but steady trickle of voters shortly before 9 a.m..

A voter who only gave her name as Nicole said that the district’s mandatory mask policy and its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts brought her to the polling place.

She believes facemasks should be optional, and that the diversity programming sends the wrong message. “I want him not to feel divided because of the color of his skin,” said Nicole, who is white, of her child in the schools.

She also bristled that those against mask mandates are being described by district officials as “domestic terrorists.”

“It’s not acceptable at all when we are trying to be involved in our schools,” she said.

The current controversies facing Pennsbury school district is also what but Paul and Kathy Adkins to the Oxford Valley Elementary School polls.

Pennsbury School Board election:: Candidates face off amid merger talks, lawsuits and diversity discussions

But for very different reasons.

“I’m concerned about all the silliness going on in the school board meetings,” Paul Adkins said. “People are overly excited.”

Paul Adkins, who said he was a registered Republican, said he voted for the incumbent School board candidates, who are Democrats.

Pennsbury School Board directors have been targeted by those speaking out against the school’s diversity, equity and inclusion work, the board president said last month. A vigil calling for unity was held Monday night. The issue is often confused with critical race theory, which is not being proposed in any school district in Bucks County.

Some emailed threats included calls for the recipients to take their own lives, while others include blacked-out transphobic and anti-Semitic slurs. Some board members were also told their personal information, including home addresses, would be shared online.

Kathy Adkins said that there was no particular political issue that brought her to the polls, though gender was on her mind.

“I want to make sure women are well represented,” she said.

On school face mask mandates, a hot button issue in Pennsbury, parent Gil Arriola said he is against masks but he has his son follow the protocols. He was voting at Manor Elementary School in Falls on Tuesday.

“It’s difficult on the kids. I think it’s a punishment on him,“ he said. “COVID-19 is gone.“

He said he was not aware of discussions about Pennsbury merging with the nearby Morrisville school district, another hot issue, but he has no problem with the idea.

“So long as taxes come down,” Arriola said.

He also said he wished he knew more about the pressing local issues before he cast his ballot. The political parties send way too much campaign literature in the mail, which he doesn’t read, he said.

— Jo Ciavaglia

GOP poll worker at Oxford Valley Elementary in Falls goes through a tote container with snacks & water on Tuesday morning.

While some voters head to polls, others are dropping off their ballots in Bucks County

t the Bucks County Government Services Center in Levittown, during the 2021 general election, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2021, Stephen Stanec, of Levittown, starts to fill out his ballot.

Stephen Stanec, a tile setter from Levittown, emerged from the county annex in Bristol Township on Tuesday morning after voting, among the first at the polling place.

“I’m out here today because it’s my Constitutional right to, and to have a voice in how things are run.”

The location on New Falls Road is also home to one of 11 ballot drop boxes in Bucks County, where voters who sought mail-in ballots can securely file their ballot.

All mail-in ballots must be returned to drop boxes or at election offices by 8 p.m. on Tuesday to be counted.

Ballot boxes are available while polls are open at:

  • Upper Bucks Government Services Center, 261 California Road, Quakertown

  • Bucks County Administration Building, 55 E Court St., Doylestown

  • Lower Bucks Government Services Center, 7321 New Falls Road, Levittown

  • Perkasie Library, 491 Arthur Ave.

  • Warminster Library. 1076 Emma Lane

  • Bensalem Library, 3700 Hulmeville Road

  • Bristol Hall, 250 Pond St., Bristol Borough

  • Bucks County Free Library Yardley-Makefield Branch, 1080 Edgewood Road

  • Northampton Library, 25 Upper Holland Road, Richboro

  • New Hope Library, 93 W. Ferry St.

For more on drop boxes: Everything you need to know for Election Day in Bucks County

— JD Mullane

Early morning voters hit polls in Bensalem

Voters hit the polls at Valley Elementary School in Bensalem on Tuesday morning. The polls opens at 7 a.m. and will remain open till 8 p.m.

Nearly three dozen voters hit the polls at Bensalem’s Valley Elementary School off Bensalem Boulevard before 8 a.m. Tuesday. It was a far cry from this time last year when lines to vote in the presidential election stretched around the school with people lining up at 6 a.m.

There was virtually no wait to vote Tuesday compared to 90 minutes or more wait times in 2020. The quick-moving line was a good thing as it's a chilly morning in Bucks County with the temperature expected to only reach the low 50s by noon. Bring a jacket, folks.

The ultimate results of one county row office race — the one for sheriff — could impact Bensalem directly. The race pits the township's public safety director against a retired Pennsylvania State Police trooper. If Fred Harran wins the post, he will not continue on in his township role. Mark Lomax does not currently hold elected or public office.

Bucks County sheriff:: Candidates Fred Harran, Mark Lomax boast similar credentials, differing styles

— Jo Ciavaglia

Voters hit the polls at Valley Elementary School in Bensalem on Tuesday morning. The polls opens at 7 a.m. and will remain open till 8 p.m.

State judicial races are also on the ballot Tuesday

Pennsylvania voters will pick four jurists to serve on statewide appeals courts Tuesday, although the marquee race for a seat on the state Supreme Court will not change Democrats' partisan control of the high court.

Democrats went into Election Day with a 5-2 majority on the court that in recent years has played critical roles in election litigation and the COVID-19 pandemic response.

The sole vacancy, opening with the mandatory retirement this year of Republican Justice Thomas Saylor, is being contested by two lower-court judges — Republican Kevin Brobson from Commonwealth Court and Democrat Maria McLaughlin from Superior Court.

There are also contested races for a single spot on Superior Court and two seats on Commonwealth Court.

The courts are currently grappling with important issues, including abortion, education funding, mail-in voting, 2020's presidential election, voting machines, mask mandates and redistricting.

For Superior Court, former Chester County and state prosecutor Megan Sullivan faces Democratic Common Pleas Judge Timika Lane of Philadelphia.

The Democrats seeking Commonwealth Court seats are Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Lori Dumas and Allegheny County Common Plea Judge David Spurgeon. The Republicans are Bradford County lawyer Stacy Wallace and Drew Crompton, running for a permanent spot on the court to which he was appointed early last year.

Four statewide judges are also seeking to stay on the bench for 10 more years via up-or-down “retention” races: Superior Court judges John T. Bender and Mary Jane Bowes and Commonwealth Court judges Anne E. Covey and Renee Cohn Jubelirer.

— Associated Press

This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Bucks County election: GOP sweeps county row office races, ousting two incumbents