Skidmore to take on Gast for coroner

Democrat Peter "Pete" Skidmore, a private investigator, defeated James "Jim" Chapman Jr. in Tuesday's Democratic primary for York County coroner.

Skidmore will face off in the November election against Republican candidate Sabrina Gast, who formerly served as the county's interim coroner.

"I'm overjoyed," Skidmore said Tuesday night. "The voters spoke tonight. I am very thankful to all the people throughout York County who supported me."

Skidmore credits his first political victory to his family and campaign committee.

Election results will be certified Thursday, according to York County Election Commission.

"Politics is either win or lose," Chapman said Tuesday night. "We didn't win it this time, but there's always the next election."

Chapman, a former York County coroner, said he was concerned about voter turnout.

"I'm disappointed that less than 12 percent of the registered voters turned out to vote for this Democratic primary," Chapman said. "If more Democratic voters had turned out, the election results could have been different."

Chapman served as coroner from 1984 to 1994, when he stepped down after a dispute with the York County Council. At issue were hours and salary.

The council at that time said Chapman did not live up to his full-time status after the county raised his salary from $7,000 to $32,000. Six months later, the council cut Chapman's salary and returned the coroner's office to part time.

York County Coroner Doug McKown took over the post after Chapman. In 2006, McKown was suspended from the post after his arrest on four drug charges.

Gast, a registered nurse who holds a master's degree in forensic nursing, was appointed to the coroner's post in 2006 by Gov. Mark Sanford. Last week, McKown returned to the coroner post after a jury found him not guilty on three drug-related charges. He was convicted on a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully possessing a prescription drug.

McKown did not seek re-election.

The York County coroner serves a four-year term and earns $63,521 annually.