Primary turnout heavy

April 28, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas came close when he predicted the Republican turnout in Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary would be around 40 percent, which he said was one of the highest he's seen in the nine years he's been in office.

The actual percentage when the votes in all 75 voting precincts were in and counted was 37.33 percent. A total of 21,848 votes were cast, with 16,687 of them cast by Republicans.

Thomas said two big Republican races - the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Arlen Specter and U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey and the 9th District U.S. House race between incumbent Bill Shuster and challenger Michael DelGrosso - brought out the voters.


"We don't need a change there," Ricky Truett of Fayetteville, Pa., said after he cast his ballot for Shuster.

Truett called the GOP primary in the 89th District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, in which three Republicans were vying for the seat of outgoing Rep. Jeff Coy, "the dirtiest I've ever seen." He said he wasn't interested in what church a candidate attends or their personal background.

"I voted for Bill Shuster," said Lucille J. Sellers of Chambersburg, Pa. "He's been doing a good job so far."

In the 89th District race, Sellers said she voted for Rob Kauffman because "he seems like a very nice young man and I think he would do a good job."

Sellers said she voted for Toomey in his race against veteran Specter, citing Toomey's position against abortion.

Susanne Cramer, a Democrat, and her husband, Harry Cramer, a Republican, voted a split ticket. Susanne Cramer wrote in Republican Rob Kauffman's name on her Democratic ballot. Harry Cramer wrote in Democrat Bob Casey Jr. for treasurer on his Republican ballot.

Harry Cramer said he voted for DelGrosso in the 9th Congressional District race because he didn't like the way Shuster was elected to office after his father, Bud Shuster, resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives.

At the Guilford One Precinct, one of the largest in Franklin County, with 2,671 registered voters, there was a steady stream of voters coming in around 10:30 a.m. By that time, 217 Republicans and 56 Democrats had voted, precinct officials said.

"It's been pretty steady. We don't have time to goof around," said Rhoda Duke, the judge of elections at that precinct.

According to county voter registration records, Franklin County has 76,717 registered voters, including 44,702 Republicans, 23,096 Democrats and 8,919 registered as Independents or with other political parties.

Staff writer Don Aines contributed to this story.

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