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Dush carries county; Smith wins race

April 24, 2012

Chris Dush(left) and Sam Smith at a candidate forum last week. (File photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

BROOKVILLE — In a very close yet stunning race, a Brookville area challenger collected more votes in Jefferson County for the 66th District seat in the state House of Representatives than did the incumbent who has held the post since 1986.

Unofficial results from Tuesday night show that Cris Dush collected 2,402 votes (47 percent) over Sam Smith’s 2,295 votes (45 percent). A second challenger for Smith, Dr. James M. Brown, collected 428 votes (eight percent).

Although results from other parts of the 66th District — part of Armstrong County and most of Indiana County — were unavailable at Spirit press time, at 11:06 p.m., The Associated Press reported that Smith had indeed been nominated to run for another term as the representative in the 66th District in the general election.

Also, absentee votes were not yet counted at Jefferson Place Tuesday night at press time.

Smith, of Punxsy, was first elected to succeed his father, L. Eugene “Snuffy” Smith, in the state House of Representatives.

Since 2000, Smith has served as a member of the state House leadership, having been elected majority whip and later as both majority and minority leader. In January 2011, he was elected House speaker.

Dush, of Pine Creek Township, served as a master sergeant in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and retired earlier than planned from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to run for the 66th District seat.

Brown is an educator at Jeff Tech.

There were eight write-in votes in the 66th District race.

Both U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-5) and state Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-25) ran unopposed in the Tuesday primary.

Also in Tuesday’s voting:
• Jefferson County voters largely supported Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney with 2,753 votes (54 percent), but despite the fact that he left the race a few weeks ago, Rick Santorum collected a fair number of votes (1,215, or 24 percent).

Ron Paul collected 554 votes (11 percent) in Jefferson County, while former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich collected 516 votes (10 percent).
There were 35 write-ins.

• County voters also supported Tom Smith in his bid for the U.S. Senate with 3,231 votes (66 percent), followed by Steven Welch (597 votes, 12 percent); Sam Rohrer (575 votes, 12 percent); David Christian (243 votes, five percent); and Marc Scaringi (202 votes, four percent).
There were 19 write-in votes.

• In the race for auditor general, John Maher, with 3,290 votes (73 percent), handily defeated Frank Pinto (1,204 votes, 27 percent).
There were eight write-in votes.

On the Democratic side of the ballot, county voters supported incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, who collected 1,371 votes (73 percent), over challenger Joseph Vodvarka (455 votes, or 24 percent). There were 41 write-ins.

• In the race for state attorney general, Kathleen Kane outpaced Patrick Murphy. She collected 1,175 votes (62 percent) to Murphy’s 718 votes (38 percent). There were 14 write-ins.

• Eighty-three percent of county voters supported incumbent President Barack Obama in his run for reelection with 1,214 votes. There were also 257 write-in votes.

All results are unofficial until certified by the county Board of Elections.

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