Kanjorski Wins Primary With Plurality

Posted May 18, 2010 at 10:47pm

Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) on Tuesday was nominated for a 14th term with less than a majority of the primary vote against two challengers.

With 96 percent of the Democratic vote counted in the Scranton-area 11th district, Kanjorski had 49 percent of the vote to 34 percent for County Commissioner Corey O’Brien and 17 percent for Brian Kelly, an information technology consultant.

Kanjorski’s Republican opponent will be Lou Barletta, the Hazleton mayor who lost to Kanjorski by 52 percent to 48 percent in 2008. Barletta, who also lost to Kanjorski in 2002, was unopposed in the GOP primary.

O’Brien charged that Kanjorski, a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, was more concerned about Wall Street than Main Street. The 36-year-old challenger also tried to project a more vigorous image than the 73-year-old Congressman, but he struggled to raise money late in a race in which Kanjorski emphasized his seniority.

In the Democratic primary in the east-central 17th district, nine-term Rep. Tim Holden beat Harrisburg lawyer Sheila Dow Ford by 66 percent to 34 percent. Holden has long been a popular figure in the district but he lost some support in his party, including the backing of the AFL-CIO, after voting against the health care overhaul.

Holden will face the winner of a four-candidate Republican primary in which state Sen. Dave Argall narrowly led retired Marine Corps Col. Frank Ryan 34 percent to 31 percent with 92 percent of the vote counted.