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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
Situated in the south-central part of Pennsylvania, the 9th District contains no booming metropolis -- Altoona, the largest city, is tucked into the Allegheny Mountains and maintains a small-town feel. Most of the 9th's towns have populations numbering less than 5,000, making this one of the nation's 20 most rural districts.
Altoona's early growth was due to the Pennsylvania Railroad; its Horseshoe Curve permitted completion of a trans-Pennsylvania rail line. Dependent on transportation industries for centuries -- first rail and later interstate highway -- Altoona has focused economic development efforts on manufacturing interests and office parks. The city also has been working to repair neighborhoods, reduce blight and address municipal budget shortfalls. South of Altoona, Breezewood, the self-proclaimed "Traveler's Oasis," continues to lure road-weary travelers to hotels and fast-food restaurants with its garish display of signs at the Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange with southbound Interstate 70.
Still, the bulk of the district's land is rural and depends on agriculture. But that rural land is producing more than crops. Since 2001, there are more of the towering windmills that rise above farms in Somerset and Fayette counties (shared with 12th), and the output capacity of these utility- and small-scale windmills is increasing.
Most voters in the 9th oppose gun control and "big government" policies. Its small-business owners and farmers also tend to be fiscally conservative, and the district solidly backs Republicans at all levels. In the 2008 presidential election, John McCain won 63 percent of the district's vote overall -- his best showing in the state. GOP Gov. Tom Corbett won easily across the district in 2010, and only Fayette County offered significant support for Democrat Joe Sestak in the U.S. Senate race.
Agriculture, manufacturing, service
Letterkenny Army Depot, 80 military, 1,716 civilian (2011)
Altoona, 46,320; Chambersburg, 20,268
A memorial to United Airlines Flight 93 is in Shanksville, where the hijacked airplane crashed in a field Sept. 11, 2001.
|2010||general||Bill Shuster (R)||141,904||73.1%|
|Tom Conners (D)||52,322||26.9%|
|2008||general||Bill Shuster (R)||174,951||63.9%|
|Tony Barr (D)||98,735||36.1%|
|2006||general||Bill Shuster (R)||121,069||60.3%|
|Tony Barr (D)||79,610||39.7%|
|2004||general||Bill Shuster (R)||184,320||69.5%|
|Paul Politis (D)||80,787||30.5%|
|2002||general||Bill Shuster (R)||124,184||71.1%|
|John Henry (D)||50,558||28.9%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 35%||John McCain: 63%|
|2004||John Kerry: 33%||George W. Bush: 67%|
|2000||Al Gore: 34%||George W. Bush: 64%|