Write-in effort falls short in 66th District race
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
By Randy Bartley
BROOKVILLE - There will be only one name on the ballot in November for Representative for Pennsylvania's 66th District: Republican Sam Smith.
Smith, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, narrowly defeated a pair of political newcomers, James Brown of Brockway and Chris Dush of Brookville in the Republican primary.
In the primary election Smith received 3,138 votes, Dush 2,675 and Brown 573, giving Smith a margin of 463 votes. Dush actually won Smith's home county by 67 votes but the townships in Indiana and Armstrong counties that are included in the 66th District went heavily for Smith.
There was no candidate on the Democratic ballot for the 66th District leaving open the possibility that a candidate could mount a successful write-in campaign. If any candidate received enough write-in votes the winner would become the Democratic nominee regardless of party affiliation.
Late Friday afternoon, the Jefferson County Election board finished counting the write-in votes for the Democratic nomination and found Chris Dush had 239 votes in Jefferson County, 15 in Indiana County and one in Armstrong County for a total of 255, 45 votes short of the state requirement of 300 votes to be placed on the ballot as a write-in for state representative.
James Brown, who also ran for the Republican nomination, received about 70 write-in votes for the Democratic nomination. Smith, the incumbent, had 67 write-in votes.
The write-in votes must be claimed by the candidate due to the variation in the spelling of the candidates' name.
Although no candidate's name may be added to the ballot, any candidate can stage a write-in campaign in the general election.
A candidate cannot run as an Independent in the general election without having declared as an Independent prior to the primary election.
Tuesday, Jefferson County Chief Clerk Karen Lupone said Smith's margin of victory was large enough to rule out an automatic recall by the state. Lupone also stated there were no challenges to any of the precinct results.
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