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Rock the apparent winner in 90th District race

May 17, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - It came down to the final precinct Tuesday to determine a nail-biter in the 90th District race for the Republican nomination, but the 18-year career of state Rep. Patrick E. Fleagle could be nearing its end. Challenger Todd Rock was the apparent winner by a 122-vote margin, according to complete, but unofficial, results from the Franklin County Board of Elections.

The final tally was 3,252 to 3,130 for Rock, according to election board figures. The total included absentee ballots.

With about 20 precincts in, Fleagle trailed Rock 1,505 to 1,237. The nine-term incumbent began to make up ground as Waynesboro and Washington Township precincts reported late in the evening, and he pulled ahead by 119 votes with just a few precincts left to report.

Rock, 42, of Mont Alto, Pa., performed strongly in many of the 36 precincts, but in two he dominated. In Guilford Township Two, he outpolled Fleagle 540 to 172. In Hamilton Township Two, Rock got 298 votes to 74 for Fleagle.

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"It's just an election ... Sometimes God puts you some place better than you are," Fleagle said.

"It's exciting to say the least," Rock said. "I wouldn't have gotten there without the help of a lot of people."

At Antrim Township Five, where Rock spent primary day, he said he heard a message from voters.

"People were saying the same thing ... they wanted change," he said.

Fleagle, 55, of Waynesboro, Pa., was red-faced Tuesday night at the county Administrative Annex, but it was from sunburn from working a polling place all day rather than embarrassment over his defeat.

"The people have spoken. They wanted change, and I respect that. I'm a good Republican.

"We're going to feel sorry for ourselves for a day or two and go back to work," Fleagle said.

Fleagle and Rock both campaigned for the open Democratic nomination, but the 769 write-in ballots for that nomination will have to be sorted out in the official count, which begins Friday. Fleagle said he was not sure whether he would run an active campaign for the November election if he picks up that nomination.

His vote for the legislative pay raise in 2005, which later was repealed, and his votes against school property tax reform packages likely played a role in his defeat, Fleagle said.

"I think I made the right votes" on tax reform, Fleagle said. He said a better piece of legislation might emerge before the end of his term later this year.

"I still owe the taxpayers six months of work," Fleagle said.

It was the first serious challenge for Fleagle since he won the GOP primary in 1988.




Staff writer Jennifer Fitch contributed to this story.

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