Carbon County Republican voters joined their party members in backing the four winning candidates in contested races that appeared on that side of the ballot.

County voters favored former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the balloting for the GOP presidential nomination; went with Allegheny County State Rep. John Maher who was the party's nominee for the auditor general's race in the commonwealth; gave winning totals to Pa. Sen. David Argall in his bid for re-election; and also favored the U.S. Senate nominee, Tom Smith of Armstrong County.

Presidential balloting

With the party's race for the presidential nomination coming to a close with the momentum swing by Romney, Carbon's GOP voters gave him a victory locally as well.

Romney garnered 2,385 of the 4,304 votes that were cast in the county, for a 56.76 percent advantage.

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, who had dropped out of the race earlier but still remained on the ballot, was the choice of 837 Carbon Republicans (19.92 percent); Texas Congressman Ron Paul received 571 votes (13.59 percent); and ex-U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich from Georgia collected support from 390 county voters (9.28 percent).

Auditor General

Meanwhile, the Republicans had a statewide race for the nomination for auditor general. Maher won both statewide and in Carbon, having defeated Frank Pinto of Dauphin County, the president and CEO of the Pa. Association of Community Bankers.

In county balloting, Maher won by a margin of 60.25-39.48 percent. he received 2,022 Carbon votes, compared to 1,325 that Pinto received.

Maher's November opponent will be Democrat Rep. Eugene DePasquale, a third term state representative from York County who was unopposed yesterday.

State Senator

The Carbon GOP participated in balloting for the nomination in the 29th Senatorial District, where Sen. David Argall was the winner in his re-election bid. The Rush Township resident defeated Brian R. Rich of Pottsville, the current president of Reading Anthracite Company, by an unofficial overall tally of 12,474 to 10,521.

The Carbon Republicans helped Argall win, giving him a victory of 1,065 to 878 (54.59-45 percent) in 20 of the Carbon election districts that are included in the 29th District. They include East Penn, Franklin, Lower Towamensing, Penn Forest and Towamensing and the boroughs of Bowmanstown, Palmerton and Parryville.

The district also includes parts of Berks County; part of Lehigh County, including Heidelberg, Lynn and Washington townships and Slatington Borough; parts of Monroe County, including Eldred, Jackson, Polk and Tunkhannock townships; parts of Northampton County, including including Lehigh Township and Walnutport Borough; as well as all of Schuylkill County.

Argall will face Democrat Timothy Seip of Washington Township, Schuylkill County, a former state representative who is a teacher at Kutztown University who was unopposed yesterday on the Democratic ticket.

U.S. Senate

In the GOP balloting for the U.S. Senate nomination, there were five candidates, including the statewide winner, Smith, and David Christian of Bucks County, Marc Scaringi of Cumberland County, Steven Welch of Chester County and Sam Rohrer of Berks County.

Welch was the state GOP-endorsed candidate while Carbon Republicans were public in their support of Rohrer.

Despite the endorsements, Smith prevailed in Carbon County, collecting 1,299 votes, 34.14 percent. Rohrer was second with 1,250 (32.85 percent); Welch, third with 593 (15.58 percent); Christian, fourth with 492 (12.93 percent); and Scaringi, fifth with 155 votes (4 percent).

Smith will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. in November, Casey was successful in a minor challenge he faced yesterday.

Unopposed candidates

Meanwhile, there were five Republicans who were unopposed in the Primary balloting. They include:

* David J. Freed, the current Cumberland County District Attorney who is running for attorney general. In Carbon, Freed received 3,213 token votes. He will face Democrat Kathleen Kane, a former assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County, who won a two-person race for that nomination on Tuesday.

* Diana Irey Vaughan, a Washington County commissioner who was the lone GOP candidate for treasurer. She garnered 3,198 complimentary votes in the county and will face incumbent Democratic Treasurer Robert McCord of Montgomery County, who was unchallenged in his bid for re-election to a second four-year term.

* Congressman Lou Barletta of Hazleton, who is running for his second two-year term in the 11th Congressional District. He received 1,154 votes in yesterday's Carbon balloting. The district, where Carbon previously belonged as a whole, is changed dramatically, but still includes the townships of Banks, Kidder, Lausanne, Lehigh, Packer and Penn Forest and the boroughs of Beaver Meadows, East Side and Weatherly in Carbon County. It also includes parts of Cumberland, Dauphin, Luzerne, Northumberland and Perry counties and all of Columbia, Montour and Wyoming counties. Barletta will face Gene Stilp, a non-practicing attorney from Dauphin County who won the Democratic Party's nomination yesterday over Bill Vinsko, an attorney from Luzerne County.

* Laureen Cummings of Lackawanna County, a nurse who owns Lorimar Home Care & Staffing Services, Inc., who is running for the 17th Congressional District seat. She received 2,248 votes from Carbon GOP voters in the townships of East Penn, Franklin, Lower Towamensing, Mahoning and Towamensing and the boroughs of Bowmanstown, Jim Thorpe, Lansford, Nesquehoning, Palmerton, Parryville, Summit Hill and Weissport.

The district also includes parts of Lackawanna County, including the City of Scranton, Luzerne County, including the City of Wilkes-Barre, Monroe County and Northampton County, including the City of Easton, as well as all of Schuylkill County.

* And Rep. Doyle Heffley of Lower Towamensing Township, a Republican who was elected to his first two-year term in 2010 and is seeking re-election. He collected 3,912 token votes from his party yesterday. Heffley will face Democrat Ronald Rabenold of Franklin Township in November, the latter having won his party's nomination yesterday over Gerald Strubinger of Jim Thorpe.

For detailed election coverage on any of the above races, see related stories in today's TIMES NEWS.