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Friday, June 3, 2011

In county exec race, anti-fracking activist earns 490 write-in votes

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Dana Dolney's last-minute write-in campaign for county executive yielded 490 votes May 17, according to unofficial results from the Allegheny County Elections division. (Write-in results take longer to tabulate, and only became available in the county exec race today.)

Some 990 write-in ballots were tabulated in the Democratic primary; Dolney topped the write-in field, followed by 212 write-ins for D. Raja, who won the primary on the Republican side. 288 votes were cast for various other names. 

Dolney -- an environmental activist opposed to natural-gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale -- jumped in the race because she felt both the two Democratic candidates, Rich Fitzgerald and Mark Patrick Flaherty, were too cozy with the gas industry. Flaherty had proposed investing county money in drilling ventures, while Fitzgerald, the race's eventual winner, was embarrassed days before Dolney entered the race, when an email was leaked showing him begging the drilling industry for campaign contributions.

Dolney hadn't yet returned our calls Friday, but when she spoke to us the morning before the election, she was hoping to get about 1,000 votes.

She'll have to settle for half that, but 490 votes might not be so bad. Especially when you consider that City Paper's blog post was the only media attention she got, and that she only "officially" began campaigning the day before the primary was held. 

In fact, if you count votes on a per diem basis, Dolney actually outpaced Flaherty. He announced his campaign January 19, and ended up with 52,802 votes -- garnering an average of 444 votes per day. (Fitzgerald formally announced his campaign later in the month, and racked up 609 votes per day of campaigning.) 

In any case, Dolney shows little sign of stopping. 

On her campaign Facebook page, she indicates she is likely to give it another shot in November's General Election -- this time against Fitzgerald and Raja.

"I assure you that I am not done yet, " Dolney wrote. "This is an issue that transcends party, which is why we should run as an independent candidate against these guys ... they have no idea what we have in store for them come fall!"

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