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GOP titans squaring off for Dauphin County judge - abc27 WHTM

GOP titans squaring off for Dauphin County judge

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Dauphin County Republicans will have a Solomon-like decision to make come Tuesday's election.

Bill Tully for judge?

Fran Chardo for judge?

It will be no easy verdict to render.

"I would much prefer to have two good choices and a tough decision than no good choices," said Tully "I think it's better to have the feast than the famine."

Democrat Anne Gingrich Cornick will also be on the ballot.

Friday afternoon, Chardo was pressing the flesh in Hummelstown and he took a vacation day to do it. For the past 19 years, he has been a prosecutor in the Dauphin County District Attorney's office and says that makes him the most qualified candidate for the bench.

"The prosecutor seeks justice no matter whom it helps or hurts, so I've been making judicial-like calls for the last 19 years," he said.

Chardo, 45, has two young daughters and is endorsed by District Attorney Ed Marsico.

Tully, 55, has three daughters and is endorsed by Dauphin County Sheriff Jack Lotwick.

Tully is the son-in-law of former state Senator John Shumaker. He spent nine years as Dauphin County prosecutor, but is now in private practice.

Tully was pounding the pavement in Lower Swatara Township Friday and disagreed with the claim that Chardo's nearly two decades as a prosecutor make him more qualified for the bench.

"I think if he was running for district attorney that would be a good argument to make, but when running for judge I think there's more than simply being a prosecutor," he said.

"I think this race is a toss up," said Republican strategist Ryan Shafik of Rockwood Strategies.

Shafik says the candidates are good and the tone of the race has been positive. Shafik says that's because the Dauphin County GOP stayed neutral and didn't endorse either guy.

"I think endorsement is a process that favors insiders, and it seeks to intimidate people from seeking office. It's anti-democratic," he said.

Chardo and Tully have their glossy brochures and yard signs, but it's not always easy earning votes in an off-year election.

Moments after he walked past her yard, I asked Hummelstown's Joyce Beard if she ever heard of Fran Chardo? I asked as Chardo was a few doors away. "No," Beard said. There was a Tully sign directly across the street from her house. Have you ever heard of Bill Tully? "No," Joyce answered.

A Hummelstown man who identified himself only as Bob said, "I don't know nothing about any of them yet."

But in-the-know Republicans say this decision will be painful. Some are comparing it to your two best friends running for the same position. Who do you vote for in that case?

Come Tuesday, we'll find out who has more friends.

Cornick is a former public defender and is now in private practice. She was endorsed by Dauphin County Democrats.

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