Meadville Tribune

Opinion

March 2, 2014

‘Dance’ cards for upcoming primary election beginning to fill up

The “dance” cards are filling up for the upcoming primary election as candidates are circulating their petitions to get on the ballot for their respective party nominations.

It appears only a few candidates will have a “bye,” meaning they won’t have any competition in this round.

At this point, it appears incumbent state Rep. Republican Brad Roae and Democrat Juanita Shusta will not have competition for their party nominations for the Sixth District House of Representatives.

The 17th District State House seat is drawing interest from both parties as they choose nominees to succeed Republican Michele Brooks, who will seek the state Senate seat and not be on the ballot for state House. Four Republicans — two from Crawford County, one from Mercer County and one from Erie County — are among those who have announced. They include Ed Franz of Conneautville, Gary Temple of the Atlantic area, Parke Wentling of Hempfield Township, Mercer County, and Patrick Gehrlein of Girard Township, Erie County. Democrats will choose between Wayne Hanson of the Linesville area and Dennis Webber of Hempfield Township. Hanson’s candidacy was a surprise to many, but those who know him know he is a strong campaigner. He is a former district justice and member of the state Democratic Committee.

Three candidates are vying for the GOP nomination for state Senate to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Bob Robbins. They include Brooks, Republican state Rep. Greg Lucas of the Edinboro area and Jane MacPherson of Hermitage. It appears whoever is nominated will face Michael Muha of Hermitage, the only Democrat on the ballot at this point.

Of course those races have nothing on the gubernatorial candidacy in terms of numbers. Seven candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination. One dropped out recently but then another, former Auditor General Jack Wagner, jumped in. Polls this week favor Tom Wolf, but with a wide slate of candidates and millions of dollars to spend, it’s anybody’s guess who may win.

Others expected to file their nominating petitions are Allyson Schwartz, state Treasurer Rob McCord, Katie McGinty, John Hanger and Jo Ellen Litz. The winner is expected to face Gov. Tom Corbett in the fall.

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