An independent news publication of
United Way of Lancaster County


Here’s how the home rule commission, other primary races are shaping up

Prospective candidates for the home rule study commission stand up to introduce themselves during a community meeting at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. (Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

It appears that Lancaster city voters will have 18 candidates to pick from if they choose to authorize the formation of a home rule commission.

That’s how many candidates submitted nominating petitions by the Tuesday deadline, according to the Lancaster County Board of Elections. Their names are as follows (note that candidate listings remain unofficial at this point; among other things, petition signatures can be challenged):

  • Brian Adams
  • Peter R. Barber
  • Darlene Byrd
  • Lisa Colon
  • Maxine R. Cook
  • Ted Darcus
  • Tony Dastra
  • Elizabeth Elias
  • Wesley S Farmer
  • Carl Feldman
  • Jacob Glesnor
  • Dena Maounis
  • Andrew Marshall
  • John McGrann
  • Marshall Miller
  • Ezra Rothman
  • Michael J. Rowen
  • Amy Ruffo

City voters will be asked in the Tuesday, May 6, primary, whether a home rule commission should be formed, and to pick up to nine individuals to serve on it. If the “yes” vote prevails, the commission will be convened with the top nine vote-getters as its members.

Unlike the rest of the primary races, the home rule referendum is nonpartisan: Any registered city voter can vote on the question and the candidate commission members, regardless of party.

For more information, visit the city’s home rule web page.

City Council

The home rule commission candidates are among the scores of individuals who have filed for county and local races. Many are uncontested, but far from all.

In Lancaster, eight Democrats will compete for four nominations to City Council. Three are incumbents, endorsed by the city Democratic committee: Ahmed Ahmed, Jaime Arroyo and Amanda Bakay.

Their five challengers are Ivan Acosta-Velez, Tene Darby, Andre Gilbert, Dayna London and John Hursh. No Republicans have filed.

Darby, Gilbert and Hursh were among the 10 individuals who sought appointment to Ismail Smith-Wade-El’s seat when he resigned to become a state House member. Council ultimately chose Ahmed.

Darby and Gilbert live in Lancaster’s southeast, and London did previously. They say the neighborhood deserves more representation in city government.

County commissioners

Three Democrats are running for two county commissioner nominations: Janet Diaz, Alice Yoder and Bob Hollister.

Diaz is a current City Council member. She ran for state Senate in 2020, winning the Democratic nomination but losing to incumbent Republican Scott Martin.

Yoder is director of community health at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. Hollister retired as superintendent of Eastern Lancaster County School District. A former Republican, he lost a long-shot campaign as a Democrat against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker in 2022.

The top two will face incumbent Republicans Josh Parsons and Ray D’Agostino in the fall. Lancaster County has a large Republican majority and historically has seated a board of commissioners of two Republicans and one Democrat.

School District of Lancaster

Eight candidates are seeking four Democratic nominations for school board: Incumbents Robin Goodson (board president), Kareena Rios (vice president) and Molly Henderson and challengers Katrina Timberlake Holmes, Cheryl T. Desmond, Arthur Mann Sr., Angelica Mallory and Sobeida Rosa. Henderson and Mann have cross-filed.

For more information

Click here for the county’s complete unofficial listing of primary candidates.