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CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.
District Profile from Politics in America
The sprawling 5th covers one-fourth of the state's land area and takes in all or part of 17 counties in north-central Pennsylvania. Bordering New York to its north, the district extends as far south as Mifflin County and Centre County, which hosts Pennsylvania's largest university -- Pennsylvania State University -- in State College. The district's small towns are spread among state and national parks and forests.
State College, known by locals as "Happy Valley," is the 5th's most populated city. Despite some job cuts in traditional manufacturing sectors, Centre County has one of the state's lowest unemployment rates and has attracted electronics and computer firms. The global headquarters of AccuWeather is located just outside State College. The county also relies on small businesses.
The 5th's other counties remain tied to timber production, manufacturing, oil refining and tourism. Parts of the 5th's western region -- most of which has experienced massive population loss in recent years -- have been designated as the Oil Region National Heritage Area. Still sparsely populated Forest County, though, has experienced the state's fastest rate of population growth since 2000, and more of the region's towns could welcome new residents and jobs as natural gas drilling increases across the Marcellus Shale.
Many tourists who visit the district travel through the Allegheny National Forest. In the east, the roughly 160,000 acres of the Tioga State Forest include the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. In southern Jefferson County, Punxsutawney, home of the famous groundhog Phil, draws national attention each February.
Much of the 5th -- particularly the northern counties -- votes Republican. Penn State keeps Centre County competitive for Democrats, but John McCain won 55 percent of the district's 2008 presidential vote.
Higher education, timber, tourism, manufacturing
State College, 42,034; St. Marys, 13,070
Drake's Well, the birthplace of the modern petroleum industry, is located on the banks of Oil Creek near Titusville; South Williamsport hosts the Little League World Series.
|2010||general||Glenn Thompson (R)||127,427||68.7%|
|Michael Pipe (D)||52,375||28.2%|
|Vernon Etzel (LIBERT)||5,710||3.1%|
|2008||general||Glenn Thompson (R)||155,513||56.7%|
|Mark McCracken (D)||112,509||41%|
|James Fryman (LIBERT)||6,155||2.2%|
|2006||general||John Peterson (R)||115,126||60.1%|
|Donald Hilliard (D)||76,456||39.9%|
|2004||general||John Peterson (R)||192,852||88%|
|Thomas Martin (LIBERT)||26,239||12%|
|2002||general||John Peterson (R)||124,942||87.4%|
|Thomas Martin (LIBERT)||18,078||12.6%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 44%||John McCain: 55%|
|2004||John Kerry: 39%||George W. Bush: 61%|
|2000||Al Gore: 38%||George W. Bush: 59%|