Carmella Yenkevich will appear on the Democratic ballot for Hazleton Area School Board in the General Election in November.
A special election held Tuesday for four open seats on the Hazleton Area School Board yielded different results than the botched May primary, giving the previously unsuccessful incumbent candidate a shot at keeping her seat. Yenkevich, of Hazleton, came in fifth on both the Democrat and Republican ballots for four open seats in the May primary.
“But I’m very happy on the Democrat side and we’ll see what happens in November,” a tired Yenkevich, who was at home when the results came in, said in a phone interview Tuesday night.
She was appreciative for the support she received and grateful to those who came out to vote for a second time.
Yenkevich in June filed a court action, contending it’s possible she could have won the nominations for both Republican and Democratic parties to retain her school board seat if votes weren’t cast for a candidate whose name should not have appeared on the ballot in Schuylkill and Carbon counties.
Steve Hahn had filed withdrawal papers with Luzerne County before the May primary, but Marissa Crispell-Barber, director of Luzerne County’s Election Bureau, failed to inform election officials in Schuylkill and Carbon counties that Hahn had withdrawn. So, Hahn wrongfully appeared on the ballot in those counties and received 279 Republican and 273 Democratic votes that could have gone to other contenders and altered the outcome.
Yenkevich won 1,850 votes on the Democratic ticket in May, eight shy of the 1,858 votes Jarred O’Donnell took to come in fourth. She was 33 votes behind Clarence John on the Republican ticket, taking 1,589 votes to John’s 1,622.
Luzerne County judges Thomas Burke and Michael Vough ordered the special election and also ordered that Luzerne County reimburse Yenkevich’s attorney $871.20 for costs associated with the lawsuit.
It was decided that those voters from Carbon and Schuylkill counties who voted in the May primary would be allowed to vote in the special election. The results from Luzerne County from the May primary were valid and certified.
On Tuesday, Yenkevich won 1,630 Democrat votes compared to O’Donnell’s 1,614. On the Republican side, John knocked out Yenkevich by 33 votes — the same edge he had in May — to retain his fourth-place win.
James G. Chapman, Bob Mehalick and John retained their first- through third-place rankings on the Democrat ticket on Tuesday, while Mehalick, Chapman and O’Donnell kept theirs on the GOP roster.
“I did overcome Jared on the Democrat side, I just came up short on the Republican,” Yenkevich said.
She said she worked hard campaigning in Schuylkill and Carbon counties prior to the special election, but it was easier in a sense than campaigning before the May primary because she was able to target only those registered voters who voted in the primary — 1,382 in five precincts in Schuylkill County in 561 in two precincts in Carbon County.