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Walker retains seat

November 09, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Some Franklin County voters went to the polls Tuesday intent on sending a message about pay raises the Pennsylvania General Assembly granted itself and the judicial branch in July.

The message from county voters for the two state Supreme Court judges up for retention, Sandra Schultz Newman and Russell M. Nigro, was a negative one, according to complete but unofficial results from the county Election Board.

"No" votes were ahead of "yes" votes, 1,530 to 1,508 for Newman and 1,700 to 1,267 for Nigro.

It was a positive message the voters sent to John R. Walker, the president judge of the 39th Judicial District of the Court of Common Pleas. The balloting showed that 77 percent of those who voted want Walker to remain on the bench. The final vote was 2,385-712 in Walker's favor.

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"I came in tonight to see if I'd be working after the first of the year or collecting Social Security," Walker said.

Walker, 62, will have to retire during the calendar year he turns 70, in 2013, and will be unable to serve a full 10-year term, under state law. Walker has been on the bench for 20 years.

Franklin County Republican Committee Chairman Roger Beckner said plenty of voters he has spoken with recently intended to vote against retaining the high court justices.

"If they send a message to the judges, it will make the Legislature act because it proves their jobs are in jeopardy," Beckner said, characterizing what he has been hearing.

"To get rid of those judges," Terry McKee of Chambersburg said when asked why he was voting Tuesday.

Jean McKee said the same thing, but added that she was not going to vote against Walker.

"Doggone it, to send a message," said another man, a state employee who asked that his name not be used.

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