Voting results show political shift contributed to close Erie Co - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Voting results show political shift contributed to close Erie County Executive's race

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Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper edged out Art Oligeri by just 300 votes during Tuesday's election, a much tighter contest than her first bid for that office four years ago. But final voting results released by the Erie County Dept. of Elections & Voting Registration Wednesday morning show a political shift among voters that led to one of the closest contests in county history.

Dahlkemper won all of the heavily populated areas in 2013 over Republican challenger, Donald Tucci, including the City of Erie, Millcreek Twp., Harborcreek Twp., and Summit Twp. Dahlkemper even won more-conservative leaning parts of the county, including Girard and Albion Boroughs.

Millcreek Twp. (by votes)
2013:        Dahlkemper: 7,751; 56.3%
                Tucci: 6,005; 43.7%
                Dahlkemper: 23/24 precincts
Harborcreek Twp. (by votes)
2013:        Dahlkemper: 2,069; 56.3%
                Tucci: 1,605; 43.7%
                Dahlkemper: 6/7 precincts

Summit Twp. (by votes)
2013: Dahlkemper: 931 51.3%
         Tucci: 881 44.3%
         Dahlkemper: 2/2 precincts

But Tuesday's map looked a lot more red. Harborcreek, Summit, and Washington Townships flipped; Girard and Albion Boroughs also flipped. Millcreek Township nearly flipped. Dahlkemper took 23/24 precincts there in 2013. But on Tuesday, it was a near-split with Dahlkemper taking 14/25 precincts.

Millcreek Twp. (by votes)
2017:        Dahlkemper: 7,283; 50.2%
                Oligeri: 7,221; 49.8%
                Dahlkemper: 14/25 precincts
Harborcreek Twp. (by votes)
2017:         Dahlkemper: 2,120; 48.4%
                 Oligeri: 2,257; 51.6%
                 Dahlkemper: 3/7 precincts

Summit Twp. (by votes)
2017:         Dahlkemper: 846; 44.3%
                 Oligeri: 1,062; 55.7%
                 Dahlkemper: 0/2 precincts

About 6,000 more people voted in the Erie County Executive's race in 2017 than in 2013. Those 300 votes separating Dahlkemper and Oligeri are about a half-percent difference.

"I was surprised by the tightness of the race, but I wasn't surprised that it was a close race," Dahlkemper said Wednesday. "If you look historically at the county executive races whether it be Grossman against Kerner or McBriar against DiVecchio, they were very, very close races that were won by hundreds of votes and of course we're at 307 right now."

"I think the key issues were spending and jobs," Oligeri said Tuesday, referring to what closed the gap from four years ago. "It's always taxes, spending and jobs, that does not change."

In 2013, Dahlkemper won by 14 points over Republican Don Tucci.

Oligeri has yet to concede the race as he awaits the final vote count by county officials on Monday.

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