Tea Party Candidate Could Win Democratic Primary

In early tally, Dems write in retired Coast Guard captain over their own candidate

Not so fast, Rep. Bill Shuster — the incumbent congressman might face a challenge from his Republican primary opponent as a Democrat in the general election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Not so fast, Rep. Bill Shuster — the incumbent congressman might face a challenge from his Republican primary opponent as a Democrat in the general election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted June 1, 2016 at 12:14pm

A Pennsylvania House candidate who lost the Republican primary has been presented with the unexpected possibility that he might compete in the general election — as a Democrat.  

An early tally of write-in votes on Tuesday put tea party-backed conservative Art Halvorson slightly ahead of Democrat Adam Sedlock in the Democratic primary, potentially giving Halvorson the option of accepting the nomination from the rival party, the Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown reported.  

Halvorson, a retired Coast Guard captain and businessman, would then face a general election in the 9th Congressional District against incumbent Rep. Bill Shuster, who beat him in the April Republican primary by a little more than 1 percentage point.  

But first, election officials must finish counting the ballots in a race that was so close that the candidates had to petition some precincts to accept every possible misspelling of their names.  

Halvorson said he did not pursue votes from the other side of the aisle, but, while he had not made a decision about the Democratic nomination, he appreciated the support, the paper reported.  

He nevertheless visited the election boards in the district’s 12 counties during the vote count. By Tuesday, Halvorson — who said his name was tough because it has three syllables — had successfully convinced local boards to accept 18 different iterations, the paper reported. With votes still to count, he had 1,080 and Sedlock had 1,036. The candidate with the most votes will be offered the nomination.  

Shuster beat Halvorson in the 2014 primary as well in the strongly Republican district in the southwestern part of the state.  


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