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9th district post could spur Tuesday's vote

May 14, 2001

9th district post could spur Tuesday's vote



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Candidates for the 9th Congressional District could draw a larger voter turnout than usual in Tuesday's primary and special elections.

That is because independent and minority party candidates traditionally barred from voting in primary elections can vote in the special election to replace retired Republican U.S. Rep Bud Shuster.

Of Franklin County's 72,622 registered voters, the more than 8,000 registered with minority parties or as independents may cast a ballot in the race, said Jean Byers, deputy chief clerk for the county.

Shuster's son, Republican Bill Shuster, of Hollidaysburg, Pa., Democrat Scott Conklin, of Phillipsburg, Pa., and Green Party candidate Alanna Hartzok, of Chambersburg, are all making last-minute pushes with increased radio and television ads and personal appearances throughout the 11-county district today and Tuesday.

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The election will determine who will fill the House vacancy left when Shuster retired Jan. 31 after 28 years in office.

Bill Shuster, a 40-year-old Chrysler dealership owner, likens his views to those of President George W. Bush, and promises he will strengthen Social Security and Medicare programs.

A Centre County commissioner, Conklin, 42, lists education, an improved economy and security for veterans, farmers and senior citizens as his top priorities.

Hartzok, 52, has battled both name and party recognition to spread her message of the dangers of the growing wealth gap and her support for locally-owned businesses.

Allen Twigg, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party, said he doesn't expect a large turnout, but predicts enough Republicans will vote for Shuster that he will carry the county and win the seat.

"I don't think this will create a big interest," and increase voter turnout, Twigg said. "But I still think he will win Franklin County. Enough Republicans realize we need that vote down there in Washington. We don't want to lose that seat."

There are 42,057 registered Republicans and 22,545 registered Democrats in the county, according to figures from the Voter Registration Office.

Historically, primaries have drawn 9 percent to 19 percent of voters, although the special election might be enough to boost it over 20 percent, said Jennie Aines, chief registrar.

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