Rock claims victory in Pa. House showdown

November 08, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County voters ousted 18-year incumbent Patrick E. Fleagle from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Tuesday, sending challenger Todd A. Rock to the state capital for a two-year term.

Rock, a Republican, received 11,558 votes compared to Fleagle's 9,856, according to complete but unofficial results from the county board of elections.

Rock carried 20 of the 90th District's 36 precincts

"Reform has to come first. I want to solve the property tax issues, but reform has to come first. Property taxes come a close second," Rock said, adding that he won't serve in the General Assembly for more than 10 years.

Rock's campaign, which emphasized Fleagle's vote for a legislative pay raise in 2005, provided the 55-year-old incumbent with his only serious re-election challenge since his first term in 1988.


Both men are registered Republicans, and Rock, 43, won the party's primary election in May by 111 votes. However, Fleagle had more write-in votes from Democrats then and, on Tuesday, was listed on the ballot as the Democratic nominee.

The 2,200 absentee ballots distributed for the general election were counted Tuesday.

Fleagle, vice chairman of the appropriations committee, said he will enjoy the holidays before deciding what to do next.

"I've basically been away from my family for the last year campaigning," Fleagle said.

Fleagle, who said he has been most proud of constituent services, expressed disappointment for "myself and my friends and supporters who were so looking forward to finishing what we started." He also shared concern that good people serving in Harrisburg also lost their seats.

"I don't think we cleared out the legislature of the people who should be cleared out," Fleagle said.

Rock had a strong showing in the Chambersburg, Greencastle and Mercersburg areas, while Fleagle generally outpolled in the Borough of Waynesboro and Washington Township.

At 9:30 p.m., 90 minutes after polls closed, 13 90th District precincts had reported and gave Rock a lead of 3,230 to 2,856. The gap soon expanded. By 10 p.m., with 25 precincts reporting, Rock led 6,662 to Fleagle's 5,861.

Rock, a member of the Waynesboro Area School Board, spent election day at polls in Antrim Township with his opponent. There, both said they exchanged pleasantries.

"He's a fine person," Rock said. "I have nothing negative to say about him."

"I congratulate Mr. Rock on a hard-fought election victory," Fleagle said.

Rock, a Mont Alto, Pa., resident and Franklin County Career and Technology Center masonry teacher, said he took pride in his door-to-door campaign, which he said made him a visitor to 10,500 people.

Rock's annual salary will be $72,187 during the two-year term. The House is back in session next week.

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