On Nov. 7, the city of West Chester voted Dianne Herrin as the borough’s new mayor in the first contested mayoral race since 2013 when Carolyn Comitta, now a State Representative, ran as a Democrat while also garnering write-in votes as a Republican.
Herrin won the election with a vote count of 2,213 accounting for 72.13 percent of the vote, while her main opponent Tommy Ciccarone Jr. ended the day with 839 votes or 27.35 percent of the vote. The remainder of the votes went to a write-in candidate whose signs appeared on election day; write-in votes accounted for only .52 percent of the vote.
The Herrin campaign knocked on over 1,000 doors since this past January making a hard push to get the vote out. Campaign Manager Kevin Carson, a student at West Chester University, attributed the win to the hard work done by the campaign staff that was made up largely of WCU students. Carson indicated that the need for volunteers in a local election is crucial to earn votes.
When asked about challenges the campaign faced, Carson said, “Really, the biggest obstacle is making sure the campaign reaches all of the voters in the borough,” going on to say that “[he] believe[s] the people of West Chester are starting to get more engaged with what’s happening in the community.” This sentiment is supported by the rise in votes from the last time that a mayoral candidate was on the ballot in the borough. In 2013, there was an 18.9 percent voter turnout compared to 25.8 percent in the 2017 election.
Dianne Herrin has served the borough for over 10 years. Before the election she served on a number of committees including the Borough Council Sustainability Committee, which pushed for the adoption of the Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” pledge. This pledge commits the borough to 100 percent renewable energy used to power the borough’s energy usage. The Herrin campaign ran on three things: Protect, Preserve, Prosper, and according to the Daily Local, Herrin plans to make good on those promises and “want[s] to work on renewable energy goals and self-sufficiency by 2050.”
The next four years will be a time for Herrin to use her position as mayor to impact the local community. Herrin said on the night of the election after the results had come in that, “Some people dream about being on the beach, I dream now about being right here in West Chester.”
Julien Sherwood is a fourth-year student majoring in political science. She can be reached at JS829466@wcupa.edu.