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Early calculations show Cheplic ahead by 2 votes |

Early calculations show Cheplic ahead by 2 votes

| Wednesday, November 5, 2003 12:00 a.m

UNION TOWNSHIP – After 13 hours of voting and an agonizing night of tallying and re-tallying, it appears the race for two Union Township supervisor seats is too close to call.

With 100 percent of the precincts in, the unofficial tally for the Democrats has incumbent Steve Parish ahead with 1,063 votes, write-in candidate George Cheplic next with 986 and incumbent Scott Tkach just behind with 984.

Cheplic’s tally was according to individual numbers listed at all seven precincts.

On the Republican side, John Schneider received 283 votes and Randy Gleason picked up 263.

The top two vote-getters earn six-year seats on the board of supervisors.

Cheplic, a township businessman, did not enter the race until six weeks ago when the township’s supervisors voted to lay off four police officers in a budget-cutting move.

“I really don’t know what to say. It’s too close to call right now,” said Cheplic. “But we gave it a good try.

“For six weeks, I don’t think we did too bad. I really appreciate how the people came out and supported me in such a short time.”

Supervisor Linda Levandosky was one of the people who worked hard for Cheplic. She said she has mixed emotions at this point.

“We worked so hard. We had a really good committee,” said Levandosky.

“I expected George to win. I think he would make an excellent supervisor because he is such a quality individual.

“We might not know for another week or so who won. At least, for now, I’m happy for him to be two votes ahead. But I really expected him to win.”

It is not very often that a write-in candidate stands much chance in a general election. However, with the recent controversy over the police layoffs, the township election was no ordinary race.

Political signs for Cheplic were prevalent throughout the township as well as smaller signs proclaiming support for the police.

“That issue was pretty much the main reason I got in the race,” said Cheplic. “I’d say that’s safe to say.”

“Ninety-nine percent of this election was over the police issue,” claimed Levandosky.

Levandosky said she was in favor of raising taxes to bring the police back.

Currently the township millage rate is 9 and can go as high as 14. Levandosky said the last tax increase in the township was in 1997.

Parish, who has been a supervisor for 28 years, said he did not want to comment on the election until the results were final.

“I don’t know the final results yet,” said Parish. “I really didn’t know what to expect with the financial condition of the township. I’ll make a final comment when the results are in.”

Efforts to reach Tkach, who is currently the supervisor chairman, were unsuccessful.

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