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Tokar-Ickes to be sworn in as commissioner

May 22, 2019 GMT

A familiar face will likely return to the Somerset County commissioners office, at least for a while.

Based on unofficial results with 100% of precincts reporting, former Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes took home the most votes Tuesday on the Democratic ticket, clearing the way to be sworn into county office.

In February Somerset County President Judge D. Gregory Geary decided that the highest vote-getter on the Democratic side will be appointed for the remainder of Commissioner John Vatavuk’s term. Vatavuk died in January.

Vatavuk’s term expires this year.

During Tuesday’s primary, Tokar-Ickes received 2,620 votes. The other Democratic candidates were Daniel Hillegas and Frank Pelesky, who came away with 1,948 votes and 1,477 votes, respectively. Hillegas will advance to November’s election.


Tokar-Ickes was first elected in 1999 as the top vote-getter. She served four terms before retiring from office in December 2015.

Tokar-Ickes said that she is proud to be nominated to lead the Democratic team in the fall election.

“I would like to thank the voters of the Democratic Party for their support and confidence they placed in me,” she said. “I look forward to returning to the office of commissioners and serving.”

Hillegas said that moving forward, his campaign is going to work hard to win in November.

“I just want to thank everybody who supported me,” he said. “Thanks for coming out to vote.”

Pelesky will not be on the ticket in the election. He said that he is proud of the candidates and that they all did a nice job.

“I’m riding my horse off into the sunset,” he said. “I don’t want any part of politics anymore.”

Tokar-Ickes will have to be elected in November to remain in office past Vatavuk’s term. She said that she made a commitment to return to the office if nominated after hearing Geary’s decision.

“I made a commitment then that I would be willing and ready to accept the appointment immediately,” she said. “And I certainly am.”

Other than Hillegas, Tokar-Ickes will face Republicans Colleen Dawson and Gerald Walker in November for three seats on the board of commissioners.