Longtime Blairsville Borough councilman Ronald Evanko bested Mayor Joseph Caugherty for the Democratic nomination for mayor.
Caugherty also was defeated by challenger Paul Fodor for the Democratic nomination for a four-year seat on Blairsville Borough council, representing the First Ward.
Evanko received 142 votes and Fodor received 60 votes to win their nominations; Caugherty received 102 votes for mayor and 25 for borough council, according to unofficial results.
Evanko said Tuesday night that he wants to give Caugherty credit “for bringing Blairsville to where it is.” He said the mayor has given his time on council and to the town, having served for 32 years with Blairsville’s law enforcement, six of those as chief of police.
Evanko said he wasn’t sure if he was going to emerge victorious because “it was close in my ward.” He represents the Second Ward.
“I know I got the write-in on the GOP (ballot) also, (but) nothing is ever guaranteed, nothing is clear-cut,” he said.
He thanked the residents of Blairsville for coming out to vote for him.
“It’s a humbling experience being elected for this position. I’m honored to be voted in by the citizens of this town and moving forward with the borough,” he said.
Evanko said he’s looking forward to representing Blairsville as its mayor, and recently said he feels he has something to give to the town after 17 years on council, serving many of those years as president and vice president. He also said he has networks locally as well as in Harrisburg and Washington that he can use to promote Blairsville and move it into the 21st century. He also is affiliated with numerous local and state organizations and associations.
Evanko said he will have time until the first of the year to get a group together to start discussing plans for what he’d like to accomplish as mayor.
He also said he will be getting out and talking to people on the street “about the future of Blairsville and where they want to see it going.”
Fodor said he was surprised to learn he was elected for the Democratic nomination for borough council, and thanked everybody for their votes and electing him.
“It’s very humbling … that people would come out and vote for me,” he said Tuesday night.
The two biggest issues Fodor wants to address as a member of council is bringing a grocery store into Blairsville and dealing with the drug issue in the borough.
“Those are my two biggest pet peeves,” he said.
“The grocery store is a really big thing. I never really thought I’d miss (having) a grocery store. When I need a bottle of ketchup I have to drive all the way out to Walmart.”
He said it has to be especially tough for seniors, and that it would be nice to have a store right in town to ease that burden.
Fodor said he also would like to see Blairsville revitalized and put on the same level as Indiana.