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Franklin County GOP chief to challenge Punt

January 08, 2008|By DON AINES

MERCERSBURG, PA. ? A showdown between long-term incumbent state Sen. Terry Punt and the chairman of the Franklin County Republican Committee could be in the making as Jim Taylor will announce today that he is running for the GOP nomination in the April 22 primary.

Taylor is scheduled to make the announcement at 9 a.m. on the steps of the Franklin County Courthouse, according to an e-mailed announcement.

The Mercersburg, Pa., man "will run on the issues of state government reform, immigration, and lower taxes," the announcement stated. "Other issues he considers himself a spokesman for are the lives of the unborn, the Second Amendment, and preserving the open and rural nature of Central PA," the announcement read.

Punt, of Waynesboro, Pa., is entering his 20th year as the state senator representing the 33rd District, which is comprised of Franklin and Adams counties and a small part of York County. In a Dec. 3 appearance at a farewell luncheon for retiring Franklin County Commissioners G. Warren Elliott and Cheryl Plummer, he sounded like a candidate for a sixth term.

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"I feel good, I'm ready to go and I'm excited about next year," Punt said at the luncheon. "I am planning to run again next year and with your help, we're going to win next year."

Punt, who did not return a telephone message Tuesday, is vice chairman of the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee and serves on the Agricultural and Rural Development, State Government, Transportation and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees.

In a November interview, Punt also said he was planning on running. He said at the time he felt healthy despite struggles with diabetes and heart bypass surgery in the past three years.

Prior to serving in the Senate, Punt was elected to five two-year terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Taylor was educated at Swarthmore College and the Yale Institute of Far Eastern Languages, the announcement stated, and is founder and president of America's Political Action Committee, which donates to conservative candidates.

Taylor served on the transition team for the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission after Ronald Reagan's 1980 election. During the Reagan administration, he was an appointee to the President's Advisory Council for the Peace Corps and was vice president of the U.S. delegation to the United Nation's International Youth Year Commission.

A Vietnam veteran, Taylor is a member of the Minutemen, the National Rifle Association, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Rotary International.

Because this is a presidential election year, the primary will be held in April rather than May.

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