Key numbers in Indiana County helped Smith win

BROOKVILLE — Updated — yet still unofficial — totals from Tuesday’s primary election show an even narrower margin in the 66th District race between incumbent Sam Smith and challenger Cris Dush in Jefferson County, but at the end of the day, it was other precincts in the district that carried Smith to his ultimate victory.

Unofficial totals that include absentee ballots released by the Jefferson County Board of Elections Wednesday show that Dush, of Pine Creek Township, collected 2,459 (46 percent) votes over Smith’s 2,388 votes (45 percent) — a difference of only 71 votes, compared to initial numbers that reflected a difference of 107 votes.

Totals that include absentee ballots also show that Dr. James M. Brown collected 441 votes, or eight percent.

In Jefferson County, Dush collected more votes than Smith in 18 of the county’s 37 precincts, primarily in northern parts of the county: Barnett, Beaver, Clover, Eldred, Knox, Pine Creek (where Dush lives), Rose, Union, Warsaw and Winslow Township, along with both Brookville precincts and the boroughs of Corsica, Summerville, Timblin and Worthville.

And closer to Punxsy — Smith’s hometown — Dush won the most votes in Henderson and Oliver Townships.

But while Smith lost his home county of Jefferson, the precincts in Indiana County and the sole precinct in Armstrong County delivered the victory.

Unofficial Indiana County results show that Smith collected 689 votes, compared to Dush’s 213 and Brown’s 126, in the county’s 66th District municipalities: Banks, Canoe, Grant, East Mahoning, North Mahoning, South Mahoning, West Mahoning and Montgomery townships, as well as the boroughs of Cherry Tree, Glen Campbell, Marion Center, Plumville and Smicksburg.

In Redbank Township, Armstrong County, Smith collected 62 votes, while Dush garnered 17.

“It was a learning experience, and I learned a lot,” Brown, of Brockway, said Wednesday. “I’ll take the decisions that I made and the knowledge that I gained and decide if I want to do it again.”

He said he also depends greatly on the opinion of his wife, Cheryl, and “if it wore her out too much.”

But looking back, Brown acknowledged that Tuesday’s race stemmed on Indiana County.

“Of the two counties, we lost Indiana County,” he said. “That’s one of the things we learned. Punxsy is in the middle of the whole district, which makes it easy for Sam to reach out. Cris and I are up north and did not get into Indiana County.”

Neither Dush nor Smith returned phone calls from The Spirit Wednesday.