Gaughan Tops Tonkin In Pike DA Contest
MILFORD — It was nip and tuck all night in the Republican Primary race for Pike County district attorney, but challenger Kelly Gaughan (2166) finally slipped by incumbent DA Ray Tonkin (1974) by 192 votes. Round about midnight, while Gaughan announced that she had won, Tonkin indicated that it was too close for him to concede. Tonkin said, “I am waiting for the Democratic write-in votes, then we will see if it goes to the November General Election.”
The mood at the Gaughan headquarters at the American Legion on Route 2001 was high after the polls closed at 9 p.m. From 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., when the results were being posted on the www.pikepa.org site, at times Tonkin led, then Gaughan, then Tonkin, and finally Gaughan moved ahead slightly. Bevies of Pike County attorneys and veterans who heavily supported Gaughan were glued to a screen that posted the incoming results. By midnight as the final tallies for Delaware 1 and 2 and Dingman rolled in, Gaughan began Tweeting and Facebooking statements that she had won.
The mood was more subdued at the Tonkin camp at the Boat House Restaurant in Palmyra, even when he was in the lead, because Gaughan stayed close all night. Then, when Gaughan started moving ahead slightly as most of the precincts were tallied, Tonkin backers stopped talking about victory and began talking about the need for Tonkin to carry the Democratic write-in votes if he wanted to carry on the fight into November. Backers on both sides agreed that the primary was a brutal fight. The mailings, ads, and sign campaign were among the most intense and ferocious observers had seen for many a year.
If Tonkin tops Gaughan in the Democratic write in, he can contest the race in the November General Election by getting listed on the Democratic line. If Gaughan corners the Democratic write-ins, the race would be over for Tonkin. The write-ins are scheduled to be counted on Friday. Tonkin released the following statement Wednesday morning: “Thank you to my family, especially my wonderful wife Michelle and my two boys, Garrett and Grant. I would not be who I am today without your love and support.
“Also, I extend a huge thank you to each and every one of my supporters and volunteers. Everyone has contributed so much to this beginning part of my campaign, where we were outspent by a nearly 2 to 1 margin. I deeply appreciate all of their hard work in my campaign efforts toward re-election. While we await the final tally of all votes cast by each person who exercised their sacred American right to vote yesterday, I will continue to focus on doing the best job I can to keep Pike County a safe place to live, work and raise a family."
In the Democratic primary for two places on the November ballot for county commissioner, there were three candidates: David Ruby and Steve Guccini, who ran as a team, and John “Jay” Tucker. Ruby, with 1,020 votes, and Guccini, with 944, won, with Tucker coming in third with 684 votes. On the Republican side, incumbent commissioners Rich Caridi and Matt Osterberg ran unopposed. Osterberg had 2,975 votes and Caridi had 2,801 in the unofficial count Tuesday night.
Ruby, of Milford, and Guccini, of Greentown, on Wednesday morning: “We are honored and humbled to be the Democratic nominees for Pike County Commissioners and extend our heartfelt appreciation to all of the voters and volunteers who supported us in our successful primary campaign. “We thank Jay Tucker for running a dignified campaign and look forward to opportunities for collaborating on shared goals –– including establishing a Drug Court in our county. We stand ready to represent ALL of Pike County as a new majority with new ideas to improve our community, and we will work our absolute hardest to earn the support of every Democratic, Republican, and independent voter between now and November."