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Judge resigns to mull Pa. Senate bid

January 19, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Magisterial District Judge Richard Alloway resigned from his job Friday to explore running for the Pennsylvania State Senate seat now held by Terry Punt.

"I'm going to explore my options and make my decision this weekend and announce Monday whether I intend to run," said Alloway, 39, who was elected the magisterial district judge for Hamilton, Lurgan, Letterkenny, Fannett and Metal Townships in 2003.

"I have to give up my seat to even go out and discuss my running, and I think that's the right thing to do," Alloway said shortly after arriving at the Franklin County Courthouse to speak with elected officials there. Resigning the seat was required by law if he were to run for any office other than another judicial position, he said.

"If we get our team together down here, I think we can do some good in Harrisburg," Alloway said.

If he makes his run official, Alloway will be the second candidate to announce a bid for the office Punt has held the past 20 years. Last week, Jim Taylor of Mercersburg, Pa., the chairman of the county Republican Committee, announced his candidacy.

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"He's Terry Punt's hand-picked successor, and Terry Punt took him up to Harrisburg (Pa.) yesterday to meet with the leadership of the Senate," Taylor said Friday.

"How does a senator get to pick his successor? This is a democracy, not a monarchy," Taylor said.

If Alloway wins the nomination and the election, "it will be business as usual," Taylor said.

"I'm looking forward to it," Taylor said of the primary. "Maybe he'd like to debate me ... I think that would be good for the people to come out and see."

Punt announced Thursday he would not run for the GOP nomination in the April 22 primary, citing his health and a wish to spend more time with his family.

Punt, who underwent heart bypass surgery a few years ago, said two new blockages were discovered during medical tests last week.

"That changed my thinking about everything," said Punt, whose daughter is expecting a child. "I want to be around to see my grandchild."

Punt said Friday he did not take Alloway to meet with Senate leaders in Harrisburg.

"Instead of being negative, he should focus on issues affecting the 33rd District and the commonwealth," Punt said of Taylor. "He's scrambling. His whole campaign was geared against me."

"I'll support Rich if he runs. He's a good young man, he's dedicated and he'll work hard," Punt said. "Obviously, he's committed," Punt said, referring to Alloway's resignation.

Alloway, who once worked on Punt's staff, said he left that position years ago to attend law school. He has a law office in Chambersburg.

The 33rd District seat encompasses all of Franklin and Adams counties and a portion of York County. Candidates may circulate nominating petitions to appear on the primary ballot between Tuesday, Jan. 22, and Feb. 12.

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