Toomey upsets incumbent Apfelbaum for Sunbury District Judge

Trisha Snyder of Sunbury looks over election results with Mike Toomey at the Elks in Sunbury on Tuesday evening.

SUNBURY — Political newcomer and Northumberland County Assistant District Attorney Michael Toomey defeated incumbent Sunbury District Judge Benjamin Apfelbaum on Tuesday, according to unofficial election results in Northumberland County.

Toomey received 55.58 percent of the vote, or 2,405 votes. Apfelbaum received 1,920 votes. Although both are Republicans, the two candidates cross-filed in the May primary election and the voters put Toomey on the Republican ballot and Apfelbaum on the Democratic ballot.

"I feel pretty good," Toomey said at a celebration party at the Sunbury Elks on South Second Street. "It was a 50/50 shot. He is the incumbent. I campaigned hard and we had a lot of support. I want to thank Ben for running a clean campaign and I want to thank the voters."

Toomey said an early prediction on Tuesday was not possible. For every supporting word he heard for himself, he said he heard the same for Apfelbaum.

"I was always thinking it would be close," he said.

Toomey also thanked his wife, Tammy, for being the "backbone" of his campaign, he said.

Apfelbaum, an attorney, said he plans to return to private practice.

"Being a magistrate judge has been the happiest experience of my life," he said. "I got to serve my community and it was very meaningful to me. I gave it my best."

Apfelbaum was appointed by the Republican party to run in 2011 after the death of District Judge Carl Rice. Instead of appointing an interim district judge, the county board of elections asked the two party committees to submit one name each. Apfelbaum defeated Democrat and attorney Kymberley Best, who would later be elected as county commissioner.

The Sunbury district judge seat covers 24 districts: Herndon, Jackson Township, Jordan Township, Little Mahanoy Township, Lower Augusta Township, Lower Mahanoy Township East, Lower Mahanoy Township West, Northumberland wards 1,2 and 3, Rockefeller Township, Sunbury wards 1 through 9, Upper Augusta Township Northeast, Upper Augusta Township Northwest, Upper Mahanoy Township and Washington Township.

The two other district judges races in Northumberland County were uncontested.

Northumberland County Assistant District Attorney William Cole, who was on both the Republican and Democratic ballots, had 2,692 votes in total, securing the position for Mount Carmel District judge. Berwick Senior District Judge Richard Cashman has been the Mount Carmel district judge since Hugh Jones was elected as one of the county’s three judges in 2015. Cashman did not run for election.

Incumbent Shamokin District Judge John Gembic, who was on both the Democratic and Republican ballots, had 2,584 votes in total, and will remain in the position he has held since 2000.

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