Pa. primary election focused on statewide races

April 24, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday for a Pennsylvania primary election that is largely focused on statewide races, including a five-way race between Republican candidates seeking the nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.

Other statewide ballot choices include attorney general and auditor general candidates.

Polls for Franklin County’s 75 voting precincts are open until 8 p.m.

In Franklin County, races for state officeholders representing the county feature mostly unopposed incumbent candidates. Write-in campaigns, however, could affect the lawmakers’ paths to re-election.

Pennsylvania’s Republicans and Democrats can only vote for members of their own party in the primary election. The general election is Nov. 6.

The field of GOP candidates for the U.S. presidency has thinned in recent weeks, with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s announcement that he was suspending his campaign. Front-runner Mitt Romney spoke in Franklin County on Sunday night.

Voter turnout in 2008, the last presidential primary, was 35 percent in Franklin County, according to Chief Registrar Jennie Aines.

Two polling places have changed in Franklin County. Voters in the Borough of Mercersburg will go to Trinity United Church of Christ at 129 E. Seminary St., and voters from the Peters-4 precinct will go to St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church at 8835 Lemar Road outside Greencastle, Pa., Deputy Chief Clerk Jean Byers said.

Because of Pennsylvania’s new voter-identification law, voters will be asked for a photo ID at the polls. Identification is not actually required until November.

State lawmakers who filed for re-election include Todd Rock, a Republican who represents the 90th House District; Richard Alloway, a Republican who represents the 33rd Senate District; and Rob Kauffman, a Republican who represents the 89th House District.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., filed to appear on ballots for another term. Serving for 10 years, Shuster represents all or part of 15 counties, including Franklin and Fulton, in southcentral Pennsylvania.

Political newcomer Susan Spicka, who lives in the Borough of Shippensburg, is a Democrat who will appear on ballots for the 89th House District. She is challenging Kauffman for his seat.

Some challengers have announced write-in campaigns after not obtaining enough valid nominating signatures to appear on ballots:

  • Greencastle resident Sheldon Schwartz is seeking Democratic write-in votes for the 90th House District.
  • James B. “Jim” Taylor of Mercersburg, Pa., is running a write-in campaign for the state Senate seat held by Alloway.
  • Independent candidate Karen Ramsburg of Mercersburg, Pa., wants to unseat Shuster, as does Republican Travis Schooley from Quincy Township, Pa.
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