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Democrats in Carbon cast votes differing from party members

Published April 25. 2012 05:01PM

Carbon County Democrats agreed with their party members in two statewide races in Tuesday's primary Election, but differed with their counterparts in two congressional challenges.

There was one self-contained race for the Democratic nomination for state representative in the 122nd Legislative District, while four races on the party's ballot yesterday were uncontested.

Attorney General

The one agreed-upon statewide race was that of attorney general, where the statewide winner, Kathleen Kane, a former assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County, also won in Carbon.

She defeated Patrick Murphy, an attorney from Bucks County who formerly served in the U.S. Congress for the right to meet Republican David Freed, the current Cumberland County District Attorney who was unopposed on the GOP side.

In Carbon's balloting, Kane received 3,011 votes, 68 percent, compared to Murphy's 1,409, 31.84 percent.

U.S. Senator

The other race where Carbon's Democrats were aligned the same way with statewide party members was for U.S. Senator, where incumbent Robert P. Casey Jr. of Lackawanna County faced a minor challenge.

He defeated Allegheny County businessman Joseph Vodvarka to secure the Democratic nomination.

In Carbon, he won easily, by a margin of 3,761 to 632 (85.48-14.16 percent).

Casey will face Tom Smith of Armstrong County, who won a five-candidate race on the GOP side yesterday.

11th Congressional

In the 11th Congressional District, the Democrats had a contest between two candidates, Gene Stilp, a non-practicing attorney from Dauphin County, and Bill Vinsko, an attorney from Luzerne County.

The 11th 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.

The district also includes parts of Cumberland, Dauphin, Luzerne, Northumberland and Perry counties and all of Columbia, Montour and Wyoming counties.

In the Carbon balloting, Vinsko prevailed by a margin of 537 to 271 (66.2-33.4 percent).

By virtue of the district-wide victory, Stilp will face Republican U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta of Hazleton, who was unopposed yesterday.

17th Congressional

The other congressional district, the 17th, where Carbon now finds itself, was the other race in which county Democrats agreed with their party members from other parts of the district.

While Matt Cartwright, an attorney from Lackawanna County, prevailed over U.S. Congressman Tim Holden of Schuylkill County, that was not the case in Carbon, where the Democrats gave Holden a 2,396 to 1,246 (65.68-34.16 percent) win.

Under the new redistricting plan, the 17th district includes the Carbon 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.

It 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.

In November, Cartwright will face Republican Laureen Cummings of Lackawanna County, a nurse who owns Lorimar Home Care & Staffing Services, Inc. She was unopposed yesterday.

122nd District

Meanwhile, the were two candidates seeking the party's nomination for the 122nd Legislative District (Pa. House). Ronald Rabenold of Franklin Township defeated Gerald Strubinger of Jim Thorpe, 2,950 to 1,578 (64.89-34.71 percent) for the right to meet incumbent Republican Rep. Doyle Heffley of Lower Towamensing Township, who was unopposed on the GOP side on Tuesday.

Unopposed races

Meanwhile, there were four unopposed races for other Democratic nominations yesterday, including:

* President Barack Obama, who received 3,241 (95.27 percent) of the 4,887 party votes that were cast in the Primary and will likely face former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in November.

* Eugene DePasquale, a third term state representative from York County, who ran unopposed for the party's nomination for auditor general. He collected 3,244 token votes in the county and will face John Maher, a state representative from Allegheny County who defeated Frank Pinto of Dauphin County, the president and CEO of the Pa. Association of Community Bankers, in yesterday's GOP balloting.

* State Treasurer Robert McCord of Montgomery County, who was unchallenged in his bid for re-election to a second four-year term. He was the recipient of 3,394 complimentary votes from county voters. McCord will Republican Diana Irey Vaughan, a Washington County commissioner, who was the lone GOP candidate yesterday for treasurer.

* And Timothy Seip of Washington Township, Schuylkill County, a former state representative who is a teacher at Kutztown University and who is seeking election to the 29th Senatorial District. Seip collected 1,237 token votes yesterday in 20 Carbon precincts that are in the district. He will face Republican incumbent David Argall of Rush Township, who defeated Brian R. Rich of Pottsville, in yesterday's Primary.

The district includes the townships of East Penn, Franklin, Lower Towamensing, Penn Forest and Towamensing and the boroughs of Bowmanstown, Palmerton and Parryville in the county; parts of Berks County; parts 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 Lehigh Township and Walnutport Borough; as well as all of Schuylkill County.

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

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