LAWRENCE SHERIFF Dem's win was narrow
One candidate believes a spelling error on the ballot helped him with the Democratic nomination.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Lawrence County voters are going to have to choose between two longtime law enforcement officials when they vote for sheriff in November.
Anthony Mangino, a constable in New Castle's fourth ward, won the Democratic nomination in Tuesday's election.
He will face incumbent Sheriff Robert Clark who easily bypassed his only opponent, former county commissioner Vern Eppinger, by garnering nearly 78 percent of the Republican vote.
Tight race: Mangino was in a tighter race for his party's nomination against former county commissioner Charles Adamo and Ellwood City Mayor Frank Zona.
Mangino ended up with 35 percent of the vote; Adamo had 32.9 percent; and Zona got 31 percent.
Mangino admits a spelling debacle on the ballot might have given him the edge against his two opponents.
County elections officials mistakenly misspelled his first name on nearly 30,000 ballots. They discovered the error late last week, but it was too late for new ballots to be printed.
Extra exposure: Instead, election officials agreed to advertise in several local newspaper and radio stations stating the mistake and the correct spelling of Mangino's name. Mangino insisted his two opponents be named in those advertisements also.
"It did help," he said of having the extra exposure.
Mangino said he looks forward to the general election and, if elected, still intends to make the sheriff's department a full-time police force that would help patrol the county and do more police work.
The office handles the transport of jail inmates and serves legal documents to residents.
Opposes Democrat's plan: Clark, a three-term incumbent, said he opposes that plan.
"I can't see sheriff's deputies in patrol units. That would cost Lawrence County more money and manpower," he said.
Clark said he wants to buy a new computer system that would coordinate the sheriff's transport system with the court docket. In the last year Clark has complained that his office is understaffed and not well informed about hearing dates.
Clark said he believes he has certain qualities that would make him a better sheriff than his opponent.
"You should have a degree, training and have experience supervising manpower," he said.
Clark cites his years of law enforcement experience with the police force in Washington, D.C., and his education at American University in Washington, D.C., and Youngstown State University.
Mangino also boasts about years of work in law enforcement.
"I came from a family involved in law enforcement. I've been in law enforcement for over 40 years," he said. Mangino is a constable and head of security for New Castle Area School District.