This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
WEST CHESTER — The bitter campaign between attorneys Jon Long and Marian Thayer Vito for the Democratic candidacy for the Magisterial District Judge seat in District 15-1-04, which is being vacated by current officeholder Gwenn Knapp, who is retiring, has come to an end.
But only briefly as Long’s win on the Democratic ballot in Tuesday’s primary sets up a rematch for the spot come November.
The position in District 15-1-04 encompasses Wards 1, 2, 4 and 5 in the borough.
Though the race was paper thin in Wards 2 East and West and 4, with Long leading by a single vote in the three combined, he ran away with the lead with the help of Wards 1 and 5, giving him a final of 245 votes, or 56 percent, to Vito’s 193, or 44 percent.
… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]
But that only means the two will face each other out later this year. Though Vito lost the Democratic primary, she was the only one of the two to be on both ballots, giving her the chance to run as a Republican against Long, which, to her campaign manager, bodes well.
“Although she didn’t take the Democratic ballot, because she was cross-filed, she did take a total of 358 votes, which is 113 more than Jon received total,” said Diane LeBold, after the polls had closed.
The campaign between the Long and Vito saw a lot of back-and-forth between the candidates as Election Day drew closer.
Most notably, things became heated when the West Chester Borough Democrats endorsed Long in March, making the Vito campaign question the validity of such an endorsement from the entire committee.
Furthermore, Vito said she did not seek any endorsement from either party, being the lone candidate on both tickets, because she believed the position of district judge is non-partisan and shouldn’t be politicized.
She made that clear during a candidates’ forum held at The Hickman a week prior to the primaries when a question was asked if either candidate was, in fact, endorsed by a party.
Vito, a veteran prosecutor who took time off to raise her two children and care of extended family, felt it was the right time to return to her career.
She even took the District Judge course in Harrisburg before deciding to pursue the position.
Long, on the other hand, may not have had as much experience as Vito, but contended that he has the most current knowledge of the legal system and laws because of his current work as assistant district attorney in Bucks County, as he said during the forum.
After the candidates’ forum, the bitterness reappeared as Long attacked the validity of Vito’s statements during the forum, including that she votes regularly in primary and general elections and that she did not seek the endorsements, according to Long’s campaign page on Facebook.
The Vito campaign took to its official site to refute the allegations, creating a ‘Reality Check’ page just for such purposes.
With Long’s win over Vito in the primaries, things may boil over even more in the rematch bout heading into the general election Nov. 3.
All results are unofficial until certified.