GOP Committee Members Quit to Back Shuster Opponent

Challenger lost primary but got enough write-ins to win Democratic nod

One of the members of the Franklin County committee criticized Rep. Bill Shuster's relationship with a lobbyist (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans in Pennsylvania's Franklin County are divided about whether to support Rep. Bill Shuster or his tea party opponent running as the Democratic candidate.

Four Franklin County Republican Committee members resigned on Monday over their support for Art Halvorson, who narrowly lost the GOP primary to Shuster in April but because more than 1,000 Democrats wrote in his name in their own primary, he won the Democratic Party nomination.

[Tea Party Candidate Could Win Democratic Primary]

The members said they were forced to resign because party rules require them to support the GOP candidate.

Erich Hawbaker, one of the four who resigned, criticized Shuster's relationship with an airline lobbyist, saying, "He should give up his office or his girlfriend."

In their resignation letter, the four said they will continue to support other Republicans on the ballot.

Committee Chairman Robert J. Ternes explained: “The people who decided to withdraw did so to support the candidate. It’s still America ... kind of,” he told The Herald-Mail.

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