Hopefuls file for a primary that could be delayed


Can­did­ates last week filed nom­in­at­ing pe­ti­tions for an April 24 primary that might not take place.

The Pennsylvania Su­preme Court ruled last month that the plan passed by the Le­gis­lat­ive Re­ap­por­tion­ment Com­mis­sion was un­con­sti­tu­tion­al be­cause it un­ne­ces­sar­ily split town­ships, bor­oughs and cit­ies.

The com­mis­sion might try to pass a new plan this week, but it’s un­clear wheth­er those lines could be used in time for the reg­u­larly sched­uled primary. It’s pos­sible the primary date could be moved to a later date.


The primary could be really ex­cit­ing if the Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion re­mains up for grabs. The lead­ing con­tenders are former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick San­tor­um and former Mas­sachu­setts Gov. Mitt Rom­ney. They’ll be joined on the Pennsylvania bal­lot by former U.S. House Speak­er Newt Gin­grich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Pres­id­ent Barack Obama is the only Demo­crat on the bal­lot.


In the race for U.S. Sen­ate, Demo­crat­ic Sen. Bob Ca­sey Jr. faces a primary chal­lenge from Joseph Vod­varka, a small-busi­ness­man from Al­legheny County who vows to serve only one term and is cam­paign­ing on a plat­form of mak­ing Eng­lish the of­fi­cial lan­guage, build­ing a fence along the bor­der with Mex­ico and drilling for oil in the United States.

Re­pub­lic­ans have en­dorsed Mal­vern busi­ness­man Steve Welch.

Four oth­ers re­main in the race. They are Dav­id Chris­ti­an, a dec­or­ated Vi­et­nam War vet­er­an and pres­id­ent of a Holmes­burg-based de­fense man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany that builds ground sup­port equip­ment for U.S. Navy air­craft car­ri­ers; Marc Scaringi, a Perry County at­tor­ney and former aide to San­tor­um; former state Rep. Sam Rohr­er; and Tom Smith, a wealthy former coal com­pany own­er and Tea Party lead­er from Arm­strong County.


Pennsylvania voters will elect a new at­tor­ney gen­er­al and aud­it­or gen­er­al and de­cide wheth­er to keep the in­cum­bent treas­urer.

Cum­ber­land County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Dav­id Freed is un­op­posed for the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion for at­tor­ney gen­er­al. He’ll face the win­ner of the Demo­crat­ic primary between former con­gress­man Patrick Murphy and former Lack­awanna County As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kath­leen Kane.

Re­pub­lic­ans have won every con­test for at­tor­ney gen­er­al since it be­came an elec­ted of­fice in 1980. Freed is the son-in-law of former At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Leroy Zi­m­mer­man.

However, sev­er­al of the races have been close, and Demo­crats en­joy a big voter-re­gis­tra­tion ad­vant­age. Moreover, the Demo­crat will have money in the gen­er­al elec­tion. Murphy ex­cels at fund-rais­ing, and Kane is wealthy.

Aud­it­or Gen­er­al Jack Wag­n­er, a Demo­crat, is not per­mit­ted to seek a third term.

The Re­pub­lic­an-en­dorsed can­did­ate is state Rep. John Ma­h­er, of Al­legheny County. He’s be­ing chal­lenged by Frank Pinto, a South Phil­adelphia nat­ive who ran for City Coun­cil in 1975 and once worked as le­gis­lat­ive dir­ect­or for Charlie Dougherty when he served in the state Sen­ate. Pinto has been a long­time res­id­ent of Dauph­in County and is pres­id­ent and CEO of the Pennsylvania As­so­ci­ation of Com­munity Bankers.

The Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate is state Rep. Eu­gene De­Pasquale, of York County. De­Pasquale and Ma­h­er are hedging their bets, hav­ing filed to seek re-elec­tion to the state House. Both will be un­op­posed in the primary and gen­er­al elec­tions for their House seats.

Demo­crat­ic Treas­urer Rob Mc­Cord, a rising star in the party, will face Re­pub­lic­an Di­ana Irey Vaughan, a Wash­ing­ton County com­mis­sion­er.


U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D-1st dist.) faces a primary chal­lenge from former Mu­ni­cip­al Court Judge Jim­mie Moore. The Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate is Re­altor John Feather­man, who ran for may­or last year.

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th dist.) is be­ing op­posed in the primary by Nath­an Klein­man, a mem­ber of the “Oc­cupy” move­ment who has worked as an aide to then-state Rep. Josh Sha­piro and in the cam­paigns of Obama and U.S. Sen­ate can­did­ate Joe Ses­tak.

The win­ner of the Schwartz/Klein­man con­test will face Re­pub­lic­an Joseph Rooney, a Delta Air­lines pi­lot and re­tired Mar­ine.


State Sen. Shir­ley Kit­chen (D-3rd dist.) is guar­an­teed an­oth­er four years. She has no Demo­crat­ic or Re­pub­lic­an op­pos­i­tion.

Sen. Mike Stack (D-5th dist.) will seek a fourth term against Re­pub­lic­an Mi­chael Tom­lin­son, who earli­er planned to run in the 1st Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict.


In loc­al races for state House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives, Reps. Mike McGee­han (D-173rd dist.) and John Sabat­ina Jr. (D-174th dist.) are un­op­posed in the primary and gen­er­al elec­tions.

Also sail­ing to a two-year term will be Demo­crat Steve Mc­Carter in the 154th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict. A re­tired high school so­cial stud­ies teach­er, he won the un­an­im­ous back­ing of Chel­ten­ham Demo­crat­ic lead­ers and re­tir­ing Demo­crat­ic Rep. Larry Curry. That sup­port caused Jeff Har­bison to exit the Demo­crat­ic race. He’s a soft­ware com­pany CEO, Spring­field com­mis­sion­er, pres­id­ent of Wyndmoor Civic As­so­ci­ation and treas­urer of Con­gress­wo­man Schwartz’s polit­ic­al ac­tion com­mit­tee.

The gen­er­al elec­tion con­tests are set in three dis­tricts. Rep. Tom Murt (R-152nd dist.) will face Demo­crat Ron­ald Kolla. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-170th dist.) faces a chal­lenge from real es­tate broker/own­er George Weiss, a Re­pub­lic­an. Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.) will be op­posed by Demo­crat Wil­li­am Dun­bar, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Chaka Fat­tah.

There are primary con­tests in five oth­er dis­tricts.

Fresh­man Rep. Kev­in Boyle (D-172nd dist.) faces a chal­lenge from Dan Collins, a teach­er from May­fair. Both ran in a three-way primary two years ago. The Boyle/Collins win­ner will face Re­pub­lic­an Al Tauben­ber­ger, a Fox Chase res­id­ent and pres­id­ent of the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Rep. Tony Payton (D-179th dist.) is be­ing chal­lenged in the primary by James Clay. No Re­pub­lic­an filed.

Rep. Mark Co­hen (D-202nd dist.) has a primary chal­lenge from Numa St. Louis, a 61st Ward com­mit­tee­man. No Re­pub­lic­an filed.

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-203rd dist.) has two primary op­pon­ents, Sab­riya Bilal and La­mont Thomas. No Re­pub­lic­an filed.

The 169th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict has been va­cant since Re­pub­lic­an Denny O’Bri­en joined City Coun­cil at the start of the year. The seat was to be moved to a fast-grow­ing area of York County un­der the lines that were re­jec­ted.

For now, the primary will be held in Phil­adelphia.

Five Re­pub­lic­ans filed — two from the North­east and three from York County.

Party lead­ers have en­dorsed Dave Kralle, who worked for O’Bri­en at his dis­trict and Coun­cil of­fices. Also run­ning is teach­er John Mc­Cann.

York County res­id­ents Leroy Wentz, Al­lan Case and Marc Wo­ern­er filed pe­ti­tions but prob­ably will be re­moved from the bal­lot be­cause the sig­na­tures came from the bound­ary lines that were re­jec­ted.

The Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate is Ed Neilson, who handles gov­ern­ment re­la­tions for a law firm and is the former polit­ic­al dir­ect­or of In­ter­na­tion­al Broth­er­hood of Elec­tric­al Work­ers Loc­al 98.

Shawn Dillon, a vet­er­an of the aud­it­or gen­er­al’s of­fice and Demo­crat­ic lead­er of Ward 66-A, col­lec­ted 1,500 nom­in­at­ing pe­ti­tions but did not file.

“There was too much un­cer­tainty. I had too much to give up,” he said. “If it in­volved ten years, it would be totally dif­fer­ent.”

Ward lead­ers prob­ably would have en­dorsed Dillon, while Loc­al 98 would have thrown its con­sid­er­able might be­hind Neilson.

“Ed­die wants it,” Dillon said.

Dillon thanked his com­mit­tee people for col­lect­ing the pe­ti­tions by throw­ing a pizza party at San­tucci’s. ••


You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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