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GOP picks Shuster in Pa. primary

May 22, 2002|BY STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster easily advanced through Tuesday's Republican primary in Pennsylvania's 9th Congressional District, soundly defeating two local candidates.

With 98 percent of the vote in, the Associated Press reported that Shuster had received 32,747 votes, or 74 percent, across the district. Keller received 6,171 votes, or 14 percent, while Bahr collected 5,306 votes or 12 percent.

With all 75 precincts reporting in Franklin County, Shuster received 3,570 votes.

Hamilton Township resident David Keller secured 2,081 votes, or 28 percent of the Franklin County vote, and Greene Township resident David Bahr took 1,555 votes, or 21 percent.

While both men attempted to get their name out around the 14-county district, including Keller's two-month walking tour that took him more than 300 miles, they could not overcome Shuster's name recognition.

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Shuster won a special election last May after his father Bud Shuster, who represented the district for 28 years, retired at the start of his 15th term.

Shuster, 41, said he has spent the past year working to bring nearly $2 million to Franklin County for water projects, and he hopes to garner transportation funds for work on Interstate 81.

Shuster celebrated his victory at the Altoona Ramada with about 150 friends and supporters, his campaign manager Angelo Terrana said.

"We are elated with the support we have received across the district. It shows that the Republican party is going to be united going into the general election. Tomorrow is the next day and it will be business as usual working for the people of the 9th District," Terrana said Tuesday night.

He said Shuster hopes to provide tax relief for families and to create incentives to bring jobs to the struggling region.

Shuster will face Democrat John Henry, of Breezewood, Pa., in the Nov. 5 general election.

Henry was unopposed in the Democratic primary. He received 3,302 votes in heavily Republican Franklin County.

The 9th District includes all or part of 14 counties, including: Bedford, Blair, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Clearfield, Mifflin, Perry, Indiana, Somerset, Cambria, Cumberland and Fayette.

Political newcomer Keller, 32, had hoped his enthusiasm and lack of political baggage would appeal to voters.

Keller had a strong showing in Franklin County and said Tuesday night he was pleased with how he had done.

"I knew this would be a learning experience, the first step win or lose," he said. "I would not trade this whole experience for anything."

Keller said he will try again for political office.

The computer network consultant for digital Sunrise, in Chambersburg, had said he would like to see better jobs in the region and the federal government start a pilot project to address rising health insurance and drug costs.

Bahr, 63, had said his experience in the military and civil services gave him a solid foundation on government.

He said he was running for the people, not the office.

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