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Abington, PA 19001
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P.O. Box 132
Abington, PA 19001

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Agostine out, other incumbents in for board of commissioners

Several close races for commissioner in Abington's odd-numbered wards yielded only one real upset Tuesday.

According to unofficial totals from the Montgomery County Web site, with 100 percent of the vote counted, Abington has gained a Democratic commissioner with Ernie Peacock defeating incumbent Doretta Agostine, 708-534, in Ward 7.

Along with the Ward 7 victory, Democrats took another seat as Steven Kline defeated Republican Jeff Schaffer 760-603 for control of Ward 1 - a race in which both of the candidates were newcomers.

Peacock, greeted by cheers when he arrived at The Wet Whistle, Election Night gathering place for Abington Democrats, said though he was extremely excited, his goal was to differentiate himself from incumbent Agostine.

"I felt I needed to states a clear distinction between my opponent, and I thought she did not do a good job ... and I said why," Peacock said.

Reached Wednesday, Agostine initially said she wasn't looking to comment on her loss Tuesday, but then opened up - and had some pretty harsh words for her opponent as well as all of the Abington Democrats seeking election in the race.

"My opponent and all Democrats for commissioner spent money like it was a congressional race," Agostine said. "This is the most distorted, lie-ridden, negative campaign I have seen [with the exception of] presidential races."

Agostine said the Democrats made false allegations of corruption at the township level. And she said she was also upset that State Rep. Josh Shapiro, D-153, campaigned against the Republican commissioners.

Agostine, sounding upset, said she took the blame for the Rydal Waters developers going bankrupt and said, "If people want a change, they'll get a change - and I'm OK with it."
At the Abington Republicans' gathering at the Ukrainian Cultural Center Tuesday night, Ward 12 Commissioner Carol DiJoseph said Agostine was ousted simply because she has issues happening in her ward.

"It's a shame," DiJoseph said. "When you have things happening in your ward, sometimes it goes against you ... and when things are happening in your ward, it means more work for [the commissioner.] If there are no issues, things will stay the same."

The "issues" in Ward 7 surround development of the Baederwood Plaza and Rydal Waters. Peacock said he is looking to resolve the issues, but they need to be done "the right way."

Kline said he was excited and a little surprised in his victory.

"There's nothing wrong with Jeff [Schaffer,]" Kline said. "He's a great competitor and I'm glad to know him now."

Kline said he is going to take the energy he had on the planning commission and run with it on the board of commissioners.

"I'm not really a 'blend-in' type of guy," he said.

In a close race for Ward 3, Democrat Michael O'Connor narrowly defeated Republican Richard Gaglianese 684-633, though he was losing with 67 percent of the vote reported on the county Web site shortly after midnight.

Dennis Zappone, incumbent Republican commissioner for Ward 9, defeated Democrat Kathleen Joyce 602-423. William Lynott, incumbent Republican commissioner for Ward 11, hung on to defeat Democrat Robert Niewodowski 539-459. Michael Gillespie, incumbent Republican commissioner for Ward 13, defeated Democrat David Ennis and Libertarian Jude Hanrahan 602-447-14. And John Carlin, incumbent Republican commissioner for Ward 15, handily defeated Democrat Angel Gauthier 545-305.

Wayne Luker, Democratic commissioner for Ward 5, ran unopposed and was re-elected.

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