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Primary winners in 89th exchange openers

April 29, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Republican primary winner Rob Kauffman says he will try to unify his party within the 89th District, while Democratic nominee Doug Harbach says his campaign will define the differences between the candidates.

Kauffman, a Greene Township supervisor, won the three-man race for the GOP nomination in Tuesday, capturing 51 percent of the vote to 26 percent for attorney Chris Sheffield of Shippensburg, Pa., and 22 percent for Chambersburg businessman Fred Stenger. Harbach was unopposed in his run for the Democratic nomination.

Kauffman and Harbach will face each other in the Nov. 2 general election.

"Chris and Fred ran a good campaign and I applaud them for it," Kauffman said Wednesday. "I look forward to talking to them about their support and with the people who supported them."

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"This election is not going to be about party affiliation, but who is best prepared to serve in Harrisburg," Harbach said.

"My opponent has very few life experiences outside of working for government," said Harbach, the vice president of e-LYNNX Corp. in Chambersburg.

Keeping Republicans in the fold will be key for Kauffman, while getting Republicans to cross party lines to join Democrats and independents is crucial for Harbach, both candidates agreed.

"I will gain votes when people meet me and get to know me. Guaranteed," Harbach said. "Voters are smart when it comes to picking the person who has broadened their background to represent all the citizenry."

"That's why Jeff Coy was elected over and over when facing a registration minority," Harbach said.

Coy, the incumbent 89th District representative who is retiring after 11 terms, has endorsed Harbach.

Harbach cited his experience as a legislative assistant to Coy, as well as his years in the private sector and work with community organizations.

Republicans in the 89th outnumber Democrats 21,354 to 11,933, according to voter registration records in Franklin and Cumberland counties. The Franklin County portion of the district has more than 3,500 voters registered independents, according to voter registration records.

Numbers for Cumberland County independent voters in the district were not available Wednesday.

"I believe we will be successful with bringing in the remaining Republicans, as well as many independents and conservative Democrats," Kauffman said. "The key is we carried a message about what people want to see happen in Harrisburg."

"Gov. (Ed) Rendell and the Democratic leadership in Harrisburg don't share our values," Kauffman said. He said he will continue to go door-to-door with that message into November.

"I think he showed in the primary campaign ... he won't be an independent voice to represent the diverse needs of this district," Harbach said."

Kauffman's campaign did receive financial support in the primary from the House Republican Campaign Committee. About two weeks before the election, he said the figure was about $40,000, but said Wednesday the figure has since exceeded that amount.

Kauffman said he would not know how much was spent on his campaign until the post primary campaign finance reports to the state are submitted. Those reports are due May 27, according to Pennsylvania's election calendar.

"We felt we ran a very positive campaign," Stenger said Wednesday. Stenger said he criticized Kauffman's campaign "based on the money he received from out of town, but we made no personal attacks."

As for whom he will support in November, Stenger said, "I think we're going to wait for the dust to clear."

"I'll be more than happy to talk to Mr. Kauffman if he calls," Sheffield said.

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