2010-05-13 / Front Page

Spring Primary Election Slated For May 18

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Registered voters will head to the polls next Tuesday to cast their vote and help decide several hotly contested statewide races.

Republican and Cambria County resident Peg Luksik will be squaring off against former Congressman Pat Toomey for the Republican Party’s nomination for United States Senate on May 18.

Luksik was raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and graduated with a degree in special education and elementary education from Clarion. Over the years Luksik has reviewed grants for the U.S. Department of Education and is touted as a nationally recognized expert in various reforms such as outcome-based education.

Luksik last ran for public office during the 1990 spring primary as a Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania. Through her latest campaign for U.S. Senate, Luksik announced her plans for a Constitutional Compact – Ten Steps to Put America Back on Track.

Fellow Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Pat Toomey previously spent three consecutive terms of office between 1999 and 2005 as a member of the 15th Congressional District of the U.S. House of Representatives. Since that time, Toomey, 48, has served as the president of the Club for Growth, which focuses on a variety of issues such as limited governmental control and free enterprise.

His last attempt to secure the Republican’s nomination for U.S. Senate occurred in 2004 when he lost to then Republican Sen. Arlen Specter by a slim margin of 1.7 percent.

Specter, who is now listed on the Democratic ticket as one of two candidates up for nomination for U.S. Senate, was first elected by the people in 1980. He is currently in his fifth term and most notably in 2005 became Pennsylvania’s longest-serving U.S. senator. He is also a senior member of the Senate Judiciary, Appropriations and Veterans Affairs committees.

Describing himself as a “frequent visitor” to all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, the senator notes that constituent service ranks high on his list of priorities along with “promoting Pennsylvania’s interests in agriculture, high-tech, steel, coal, tourism, mass transit, highways and military installations.”

Facing off against Specter on the Democratic ballot on May 18 will be Joe Sestak of Delaware County, who was elected to Congress in 2006 to represent his native 7th Congressional District. In addition to a stint in Congress, Sestak has logged 31 years with the United States Navy, during which he attained the rank of three-star admiral and served in the White House, Pentagon and various operational commands at sea.

Sestak believes in restoring “hard work, honesty, and accountability to Washington, D.C., to address the challenges the nation faces” as well as creating a better country for the next generation. has thrown his hat into the ring in hopes of securing the Republican Party’s nomination for governor of Pennsylvania. Since first becoming attorney general in 2004, the former criminal prosecutor from Allegheny County has strived to create several departments, including the Child Predator Unit to capture Internet predators; an Elder Abuse Unit to protect our senior citizens from fraud and abuse; and a Public Corruption Unit to protect citizens from abuse of power and government corruption. He has also waged a war against illegal drugs, gangs and drug trafficking.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Samuel E. Rohrer of the 128th Legislative District has also announced his candidacy as a Republican candidate for governor. First elected to office in 1992, Rohrer serves as Republican chairman of the Game and Fisheries Committee and was a “proponent” of conservation policies that protect the property and rights of sportsmen. He is also chair of the House Finance Committee and supports structural limits on governmental taxes and spending.

Three years ago he was appointed to serve on the Speaker’s Commission on Government Reform that reportedly increased transparency to the state Legislature.

On the Democratic ticket, Dan Onorato of Allegheny County is a native of Pittsburgh’s Northside as well as a graduate of Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He first joined the world of politics in 1991 when he won a seat on the city council, to which he was re-elected four years later. Since his start he has served as Allegheny County controller and executive of Allegheny County and hopes his insight and new ideas on reforming government, creating new 21st-century jobs, strengthening the educational system and investing in new energy solutions will serve him well in the role of governor.

Fellow Allegheny County resident and public servant Jack Wagner is also vying for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010. A former marine, Wagner followed up on his military service by attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania and graduating with a degree in safety management. He was first elected to office in 1984 as a member of the Pittsburgh City Council, a position he held for 10 years. He moved on to an additional 10-year stint with the state Senate and currently serves in the capacity of the state’s auditor general.

State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D) serves as Democratic chairman of the State Government Committee and is a member of the Education, Banking and Insurance, Finance, Environmental Resources and Energy committees, and the Life Sciences Caucus. In wishing to secure his party’s nomination for governor, Williams states he relies on using the best ideas, regardless of what party they originate from, in his “peoplecentered approach to leadership.”

Williams is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College with a degree in economics and previously worked as an executive for PepsiCo before launching his own vending company. He currently resides in Philadelphia County where he was raised.

Boasting a 30-year record of “progressive politics, effective and pragmatic leadership, and fiscal responsibility,” gubernatorial candidate Joseph M. Hoeffel (D) has worked his way up the ranks serving as state representative and U.S. Congressman.

Hoeffel is a native and lifelong resident of Montgomery County, where he currently holds the position of vice chairman of the Board of County Commissioners and promotes issues such as “economic opportunity, improving the county government, protecting the environment and expanding healthcare.”

Lieutenant governor

Registered voters are asked to cast only vote for the position of lieutenant governor. Republicans will choose between nine candidates, with only the highest vote recipient slated to be on the fall ticket. Among those up for consideration are Steve Johnson, York County; Jean Craige Pepper, Erie County; Russ Diamond, Lebanon County; Chet Beiler, Lancaster County; Jim Cawley, Bucks County; Billy McCue, Washington County; John Kennedy, Cumberland County; Stephen A. Urban, Luzerne County; and Daryl Metcalfe, Butler County.

Democratic voters have a much smaller selection for lieutenant governor during the May 18 primary. The three candidates include Doris A. Smith-Ribner, Philadelphia County; H. Scott Conklin, Centre County; and Jonathan A. Saidel, Philadelphia County.

Additional races

Congressman Bill Shuster is running uncontested on the Republican ticket for the position of 9th Congressional District, while state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. (R) of the 30th Senatorial District is also heading into the primary election unchallenged.

Republican Rep. Dick L. Hess is again seeking re-election to the state’s 78th District of the General Assembly and is running uncontested to date.

Republican state Committeeman Stanley J. Kerlin is unopposed in seeking re-election, as is Democratic state Committeeman David E. Gourley. Democratic Party county Chairman Rheon O. Gelvin is the lone candidate listed on the ballot this spring for county chair, while Democratic committee candidates seeking nominations from voters in their respective townships include: Kathleen Hendricks, Jack Hendricks and Joy Dasher of Ayr Township; Pauline L. Lynch, Belfast Township; William E. Whiteside and Myra E. Hendershot of Brush Creek Township; Robert Ray Messick and Brandon L. Fletcher, Licking Creek Township; Wilda Charlene Gordon and Wilfred K. Ford, McConnellsburg Borough; Mike Kligerman, Thompson Township; and Verna J. Petty-John, Betty Shelley and James R. Butts, Todd Township. Voters may vote for no more than three committeeperson candidates.

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