Congressman Tim Holden won another term as he successfully held off the national wave of anti-incumbents to defeat fellow Schuylkill County resident state Sen. David Argall. Holden, won the race by over 24,000 votes. For Argall, it was his first defeat in a political contest.
The final tally in the 17th Congressional District had Holden getting 114,269 votes to 89,467 for Argall. Holden had 56 percent of the vote to 44 for Argall.
Both candidates have enjoyed success throughout their political careers and both were undefeated until this election. Republicans hold a majority in Schuylkill County, but the voters in the county went for Holden in a big way. He got 29,747 votes in the county compared to 15,743 for Argall, or 65.27 percent for Holden and 34.55 percent for Argall.
This year's election brought out a good number of voters. Out of the 88,386 who were eligible to vote in the county, 46,382 cast ballots or 52.48 percent went to the polls. Voting were 8,396 Republicans compared to 6,327 Democrats, or 51.44 percent to 38.76 percent, which shows that Argall failed to win over the block of Republicans who vote for Holden and failed to harness the independent vote.
Holden accepted the victory in a subdued manner. Last week, his 96-year-old mother, Catherine Holden, passed away.
At his headquarters in his hometown, Saint Clair, Holden commented, "I am very appreciative of the belief and support of the people of my district. I carried out a campaign on a high level, addressing the important issues facing us in Congress, which we will have to deal with in the coming years."
Holden said Congress must address the highway problems and the fate of farms to prevent loss of valuable farm lands.
Argall, after conceding to Holden said, "In the textbook I use when I teach my course at Penn State, it cites that one in 10 are successful when taking on an incumbent, so we knew it was an uphill battle. I have no regrets. It was a wonderful effort through the hard work of my volunteers, or else it would not be as close as it was. We were outspent 5-to-1."
He added, "I joked with Tim Holden when I made my concession call that I'm not very good at it, because I had never done it before."
When Argall served in the state house and in his recent election to the state senate, he always polled a huge vote from his home legislative district, the 124th. For the first time he failed to win the district. The totals showed Holden with 6,300 and 5,843 for Argall.
Holden carried Deer Lake, Kline Township, McAdoo, Orwigsburg, Schuylkill Township, East Union Township, Tamaqua and West Brunswick Township. Argall carried Coaldale, East Brunswick Township, New Ringgold, North Union Township, Port Clinton, Walker Township and West Penn Township.
The Tamaqua vote was, First Precinct, Holden, 269, Argall, 198; Second Precinct, Holden, 262, Argall, 198; Third Precinct, Holden, 242, Argall, 274; and Fourth Precinct, Holden, 226 and Argall 155.
Walker Township, Holden, 200, Argall, 227; Rush Township, East, Holden, 316, Argall, 356; Rush Township, West, Holden 206, Argall, 246; Rush Township, Elixir, Holden, 99, Argall 55; Schuylkill Township, Holden 221, Argall, 177; East Brunswick Township, Holden, 324, Argall, 346; North Union Township, 168, Argall 229; New Ringgold, Holden 41, Argall, 55.
Argall was soundly beaten in the 123rd District by a 12,287 to 3,873 vote. He failed to carry one precinct, losing even in Republican stronghold Ryan Township by a 438 to 233 vote. Saint Clair, Minersville, Frackville, Mahanoy City and Shenandoah voted heavily for Holden.
It was no better in the 125th District, which went for Holden by a 9,650 to 4,851 vote. Holden carried all the precincts. He got a big vote from Pottsville, Schuylkill Haven, Pine Grove, Tower City, Tremont, Washington Township and Wayne Township.
Holden also won big in Dauphin County gathering 50,456 votes to 36,646 for Argall.
However, Argall managed to win in the other two counties that make up the district. The northern end of Berks votes in the district and Argall won that area, 16,972 to 15,860 for Holden. In the part of Lebanon County that votes in the district, Argall got 20,106 to 18,206 for Holden.
(TIMES NEWS Reporter Joe Plasko contributed to this story.)