Several countywide officials who went unopposed in this election will return to office.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Only 623 votes separated Democrat Thomas M. Piccione from his Republican opponent John Hodge.
Piccione came out on top for the new fourth judgeship in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.
"It was a good race. It was an arduous one, but one put at a good level," Piccione said.
He will take office in January and become Lawrence County's 20th elected judge since the county was formed in 1863.
Little separated Piccione from Hodge in qualifications. Both are longtime attorneys who have served as solicitors for various boards and commissions in the county.
Hodge ran his campaign on the fact that he had more courtroom experience, and he ended up with 48.78 percent of the vote.
Piccione received 51.22 percent of the vote.
Sheriff returns: In other countywide races, Sheriff Robert Clark will return to a fourth term in office.
His Democratic opponent Anthony Mangino received 39.68 percent of the vote to Clark's 60.32 percent.
"People realized that they need an experienced elected official," Clark said.
Clark has been in office for 12 years. Mangino, a constable, has never held elected public office.
Coming back: In other countywide races, District Attorney Matthew Mangino will return to a second term in office. He was not opposed in the primary or general elections. Register and recorder Janet L. Kalajainen also ran unopposed and will return for another term in office.
County jury commissioners A. Wayne Yoho, a Republican, and Democrat Amy Elizabeth Shea will take office in January. Shea received 53.17 percent of the vote, and Yoho, 46.83 percent. Both were assured victory in this election after beating out opponents in the primary.
Two district justices, Melissa Amodie and James A. Reed, will also return to office. Both were unopposed in this election.