2012-02-23 / Features

Obama And 4 GOP Candidates File For Pa. Ballot

By Peter Jackson

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Candidates for scores of public offices ranging from the state Legislature to the presidency lined up to file petitions Tuesday to qualify for the Pennsylvania ballot.

The filings set the stage for the state's April 24 primary and confirmed expectations of nomination fights for U.S. Senate, state attorney general, state auditor general and several congressional districts altered by redistricting.

Tuesday was the deadline for all offices except the state Legislature, which has two extra days this year.

President Barack Obama's re-election campaign filed its petitions on time, as did four of his prospective Republican challengers _ former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, who represented Pennsylvania, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, state elections officials said. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas also qualified for the ballot, State Department spokesman Ron Ruman said Tuesday night.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey filed to run for a second term, while at least four Republicans positioned themselves for a primary showdown that will decide who takes him on: Entrepreneur and party backed candidate Steve Welch, former coal industry executive Tom Smith, former state Rep. Sam Rohrer and lawyer Mark Scaringi.

Primary contests also were shaping up in two soonto be-vacant statewide row offices.

For attorney general, former Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane and former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy filed to compete for the Democratic nomination. Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed was the only Republican to file for the office.

For auditor general, party endorsed state Rep. John Maher of Allegheny County and banking lobbyist Frank Pinto filed for the GOP nomination, according to state and party officials. State Rep. Eugene DePasquale of York County was the only Democrat to file.

State Treasurer Rob Mc- Cord, a Democrat, filed to run for a second term. Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan was the only Republican to file for the post.

Eighteen U.S. House incumbents filed petitions, including two Democrats – Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz – who will be forced by the redistricting law to run against each other in the newly reshaped 12th District.

Pennsylvania's congressional delegation lost one seat, leaving a total of 18, as part of the latest round of redistricting because of slower than-average population growth reflected in the 2010 census.

In the 4th District, the only district where no incumbent is running – due to the planned retirement of Republican Rep. Todd Platts – at least seven Republicans, including state Rep. Scott Perry and York County Commissioner Chris Reilly, and two Democrats filed to compete in separate primary contests.

In the 18th District in southwestern Pennsylvania, fifth-term Rep. Tim Murphy faces what could be a tough GOP primary challenge from conservative Evan Feinberg, a former aide to U.S. Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Candidates for 203 House seats and 25 Senate seats in the Legislature were given two extra days – until Thursday – to file petitions this year. A Jan. 25 state Supreme Court ruling invalidating the legislative redistricting plan was issued after candidates had begun circulating petitions based on the revamped district boundaries.

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