Fleagle might run as a Democrat in general election

May 31, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH


Voters in the 90th House District are looking at another possible matchup between Todd Rock and Patrick E. Fleagle - this time in the Nov. 7 general election.

Rock edged Fleagle in the May 16 Republican primary only to have initial tallies find Fleagle with more write-in votes from Democrats.

Fleagle, an 18-year incumbent, has filed to have those write-in votes consolidated in hopes of appearing as the Democratic nominee to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Rock, a masonry teacher whom estimates have trailing by two Democratic write-in votes, in turn petitioned for a recount in eight of the district's 36 voting precincts.


Fleagle said he will run an active campaign if he is going to be listed as the Democratic nominee in November. He said he will not turn to a write-in campaign if the recount lands in Rock's favor.

"If the courts knock us off the ballot, it's kind of a moot point. To win a write-in is almost impossible against anybody," he said.

Rock and Fleagle said they will spend their time leading up to November in active door-to-door campaigns, something to which Rock largely credits his primary win. Fleagle, however, is pushing for public debates, while Rock maintains they are only attended by voters who have already selected a candidate.

The two did not debate prior to the primary.

"The general public gets left out of that," Rock said, saying he'd rather "see you, talk to you personally."

"I want three or four debates," Fleagle said. "You've got to be quick on your feet in this business."

Even if he appears as the Democrats' nominee to the House, Fleagle said he will remain a Republican.

Rock contends that Fleagle should accept the decision of voters from the primary, saying Fleagle is making it about the person and not the process.

"Maybe he's going to take up Democratic issues, and then there would be something there to debate," Rock said.

The candidates took similar positions on the issues of growth and property tax and health-care reform in the months entering the primary election. Rock campaigned on government reform through term limits and a smaller legislature, while Fleagle touted his nine terms of experience and seniority at the capital.

Rock has been criticizing Fleagle's vote for a pay raise last summer, and Fleagle says his opponent "was out there just beating on me ... (and) worked people up to a fevered pitch."

"That's not negative campaigning. That's the facts. When you have an 18-year voting record, that's out there," Rock said.

"We're going to be gearing up this summer and knocking on doors," Fleagle said. "I'm anxious to get out and defend myself."

Campaigning "is going to be my full-time job for the next five months," Rock said.

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