Ross wins Republican bid for coroner post

Blair County Coroner Patricia Ross won the Republican bid for her post Tuesday, all but assuring her re-election in the fall as there were no Democratic challengers on the ballot.

According to unofficial counts, she defeated GOP challenger Erin Kathleen Myers with 76.24 percent of the vote or 9,325 votes. Myers got 23.76 percent of the vote, or 2,906 votes. Barring a write-in challenge in November, Ross will get another term next January.

Ross said Tuesday night that she was grateful for the support.

“I am very thankful and always humbled for the voters of Blair County who continue to have faith in me,” she said when the results were in. “I promise to keep working with the education, experience and compassion to the office of the Blair County coroner, which I proudly serve. Thank you again to my family, staff and friends and my community. I appreciate my opponent’s efforts and wish her well.”

Ross, 65, of Altoona, has served as Blair County’s coroner since 1999. She is seeking her sixth term, which would begin in January 2020. She works as a licensed practical nurse and trauma assistant at UPMC Altoona and she is also an emergency medical technician and CPR instructor.

She served two years as the secretary of the Penn­sylvania Association of Elected Officials and is currently a member of the group’s executive committee. As the county coroner, she also serves on local boards such as Blair County Drug & Alcohol and Operation Our Town.

Myers, 35, of Hollidays­burg, is a licensed practical nurse who also owns a small business. She had said she was the best candidate for the coroner’s job because she would devote all of her work time to the job and not have other employment obligations.

During her campaign, Ross emphasized her years of experience and the concept that the role of coroner is not a job but “a lifestyle,” which has hours that vary from 40 to sometimes 60 hours a week.

Ross and her husband, Bill, have been married 45 years and they have five children. They live in Altoona.