Despite a number of exciting contests the voter turnout in Schuylkill County for the Primary Election Tuesday was a disappointing 32.92 percent. Of the 80,297 registered Republican and Democratic voters only 26,436 went to the polls.

Those that did vote selected the candidates that won national and state elections, and a hard-fought battle looms in the general election next November.

Schuylkill County Democrats joined with the state in defeating Arlen Specter, who served as the Republican U.S. Senator for five terms, or 30 years, and was seeking his sixth term as senator and first full term as a Democrat.

The county vote gave Joe Sestak, Delaware County, 6,992 votes, or 58.83 percent and Specter, Philadelphia County, 4,848 votes, or 40.79 percent. One Democratic voter expressed his feeling.

"I voted against him five times and I just couldn't see myself to vote for him," he said.

Winning the Republican nominee for U.S. Senator was Pat Toomey, Lehigh County, who received 11,057 votes, or 83.26 percent in defeating Peg Luksik, Cambria County, who received 2,078 votes, or 15.65. It will be Sestak vs. Toomey in the fall.

Holden wins big

Incumbent Tim Holden easily won renomination to be the Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in the 17th District, which comprises all of Schuylkill, Lebanon, Dauphin and parts of Berks and Perry counties. Holden received 9,975 votes in his home county, or 83.14 percent and his opponent, Sheila Dow-Ford, an attorney from Harrisburg received 1,974 votes, or 16.45 percent.

Holden won all the other counties by wide margins, except Dauphin, which is Dow-Ford's home county. In that race Holden won, 10,624 to 10,166. In the other counties Holden took Lebanon, 3,967 to 1,893; Berks, 5,122 to 1,774; and Perry, 746 to 381.

The district totals were Holden 30,434 to 16,188 for Dow-Ford.

There was a four-man race for the Republican nominee for U.S. Congress from the 17th District.

State Sen. Dave Argall, Schuylkill County, continued his winning ways by obtaining a big majority in his home county, getting 9,273 votes, or 67.23 percent. His home county vote saved him from defeat. The final totals showed Argall edged challenger Frank Ryan by just 924 votes.

Ryan, a military veteran from Lebanon County, received 2,498 votes, or 18.11 percent.

The other candidates were, Allen Griffin, Lebanon County, 946 votes, 6.87 percent and Josh First, Dauphin County, 795 votes, or 5.776 percent.

In the other counties, First won his home county of Dauphin with 11,606 followed by Ryan 6,547; Argall 4,587; and Griffin 2,112. In Lebanon Ryan won his county with 7,839, followed by Griffin 4,220; Argall 1,453; and First 640. In Berks Argall won 4,559, followed by Ryan 2,229; Griffin 931; and First 353. In Perry, First won 1,506, followed by Argall 723; Ryan 558; and Griffin 179.

The district totals were Argall 20,595; Ryan 19,671; First 14,900; and Griffin 8,288.

State races

With Gov. Ed Rendell leaving the office after two terms, both parties had contests to see who will be the next governor.

The Democratic Party had four candidates. Schuylkill went with the statewide winner, Dan Onorato, Allegheny County, who received 5,362 county votes, or 46.23 percent.

The vote in the county for the other three candidates was, Jack Wagner, Allegheny County, 4,031 votes, or 34.75 percent; Anthony H. Williams, Philadelphia County, 1,239 votes, or 10.68 percent; and Joseph M. Hoeffel, Montgomery County, 802 votes, or 1.42 percent.

The Republican Paty had only two candidates seeking the party's nomination for governor. State Attorney General Tom Corbett, Allegheny County, received 9,435 votes, or 68.49 percent to defeat Samuel E. Rohrer, Berks County, who received 4,266 votes, or 30.97 percent. It will be Onorato versus Corbett in the fall.

Schuylkill County Democrats preferred H. Scott Conklin, Center County, for lieutenant governor giving him 4,929 votes, or 46.93 percent. The other two candidates were Doris Smith Ribner, Philadelphia County, 3,190 votes, or 30.37 percent; Jonathan A. Saidel, Philadelphia County, 2,322 votes, or 22.11 percent.

The Republican Party had nine candidates running for lieutenant governor. Schuylkill County went with Jim Cawley, Bucks County, giving him 3,390 votes or 67.23 percent.

The other candidates were, Steve Johnson, York County, 1,013 votes, or 7.86 percent; Jean Craig Pepper, Erie County, 676 votes, or 5.24 percent; Russ Diamond, Lebanon County, 1,455 votes, or 11.28 percent; Chet Beiler, Lancaster County, 2,324 votes, or 18.02 percent; Billy McCue, Washington County, 191 votes, or 1.48 percent; Jon Kennedy, Cumberland County, 1,160 votes, or 9 percent; Stephen A. Urban, Luzerne County, 1,971 votes, or 15.28 percent; and Daryl Metcalfe, Butler County, 679 votes, or 0.29 percent.

Legislative race

The Republican Party had a contest to determine who will be their candidate in a bid to regain the state legislative seat in the 125th District.

Mike Tobash, Pottsville, won with 3,961 votes, or 73.27 percent, over Robert M. Loy, Washington Township, who received 1,277 votes, or 23.62 percent.

The incumbent Democrat Tim Seip, Washington Township, was unopposed receiving 3,288 votes, or 96.34 percent. There were 125 write-in votes cast for other candidates. It will be Seip versus Tobash in the fall.

Incumbent Neal P. Goodman, Mahanoy City, was unopposed for reelection to the state house from the 123rd District. He received 5,503 votes, or 98.78 percent. there were 69 write-ins. The Republican chose Ettore DiCasimirro, Mahanoy Township, who received 3,132 votes, or 97.45 percent. There were 82 write-in votes. It will be Goodman versus DiCasimirro in the fall.

Incumbent Republican Jerry Knowles, Rush Township, was unopposed as he seeks his first full term. Knowles won a special election to fill the vacancy left by Argall.

Knowles received 4,168 votes, or 97.73 percent. There were 97 write-in votes. The Democratic Party chose Jeffrey Faust, East Brunswick Township, who received 1,962 votes, or 98.20 percent. There were 36 write-ins.

It will be Knowles versus Faust in the fall.