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Tough races could mean a big turnout in Pa. primaries

April 26, 2004|By DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Contested races for the Republican nominations to the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and two seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives could mean a large turnout among Franklin County's 76,000 voters in Tuesday's primary.

"I would think Republican turnout will be tremendous. ... If we could see 40 percent among Republicans, that would be thrilling," County Commissioner Bob Thomas said.

In years when its members are not running for election, the Board of County Commissioners serves as the board of elections.

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First elected in 1980, Sen. Arlen Specter is facing a primary challenge in his bid for a fifth term from U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Toomey, a three-term representative from Lehigh County. U.S. Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel of Montgomery County is unopposed in his run for the Democratic nomination.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th, winner of a 2001 special election after his father resigned from the U.S. House, is being challenged for the GOP nomination by Michael DelGrosso of Blair County. Paul I. Politis of Greencastle, Pa., is uncontested in the Democratic primary.

There is a three-way race in the Republican primary for the 89th District seat to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Attorney Chris Sheffield of Shippensburg, Pa., the 2002 nominee, is running against Greene Township Supervisor Rob Kauffman and Chambersburg businessman Fred Stenger.

State Rep. Jeff Coy, who announced earlier this year he would not seek a 12th term, has endorsed Chambersburg businessman Douglas P. Harbach to succeed him. Harbach is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Republican State Rep. Allan Egolf, R-86th, also decided not to run again. The district includes Perry County and a portion of Franklin County. Perry County Commissioner Mark Keller and Sharon Cole, a Rye Township supervisor in Perry County, are the Republican candidates.

The winner will be a virtual shoo-in in November because no Democrat is running.

State Sen. Terry Punt, R-33rd, has a clear field in his party's primary as he seeks a fifth term in office. He will face Donald R. Richards of Greencastle, chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Committee, in November.

Rep. Patrick Fleagle, R-90th, is unopposed. No Democrat filed to run in the primary. Rep. Stephen R. Maitland, R-91st, also is unopposed and no Democrat is running in the primary.

In statewide races, Republicans will choose between Bruce Castor and Tom Corbett for attorney general. Joe Peters is unopposed for auditor general and Jean Craige Pepper is unopposed for the state treasurer's nomination.

Democrats will choose among John M. Morganelli, David Barasch and Jim Eisenhower for attorney general. Jack Wagner is unopposed for auditor general and Bob Casey Jr. is the only candidate for treasurer.

Although the Democratic presidential nomination was sewn up weeks ago by John F. Kerry, the names of Howard Dean, Dennis J. Kucinich, John Edwards and Lyndon H. Larouche Jr. remain on the ballot. George Bush is alone on the Republican ballot.

Debt referendum


Independent voters will be able to cast ballots, but only on a statewide referendum.

"I don't think a lot of people are aware of that," Thomas said.

In the referendum, voters will decide if Pennsylvania will incur $250 million in debt to pay for grants and low-interest loans to municipalities for water and sewer projects.

There also will be changes in the way people vote as a result of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and state legislation. First-time voters and those who are voting in a precinct for the first time will have to show identification before they receive a ballot.

Thomas said everyone should bring identification, just in case.

If someone is omitted from voter rolls by mistake or otherwise, they will be issued a provisional ballot, Thomas said. The board of elections will examine registration records to determine if the ballot should be counted.

"No one will be turned away," Thomas said.

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