Jefferson County voters remain faithful to Republican candidates

BROOKVILLE — Voters strongly supported Republican incumbents and a newcomer for a long-time Democratic U.S. Senate seat in Tuesday’s general election, and opted to close Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell’s eight years in Harrisburg by selecting a Republican candidate to fill his shoes in January.

Jefferson County voters strongly supported Republican Tom Corbett’s gubernatorial bid, as he collected 9,484 votes (or 74 percent) over Democratic Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, who had 3,258 votes (26 percent).

Jim Cawley, on the Corbett ticket, will be the next lieutenant governor, succeeding Joe Scarnati, of Brockway, who assumed the post after the death of Catherine Baker Knoll.

In a hotly-contested race for U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter’s seat that saw both Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak visit the county, county voters chose Toomey, with 8,788 votes (70 percent), over Sestak (3,725 votes, 30 percent).

In races closer to home:

• County voters returned Republican Sam Smith, of Punxsutawney, to another term in the state House of Representatives over two challengers.

Smith gathered 8,624 votes (67 percent) to best Dennis Peck of Falls Creek, a Democrat, who collected 2,863 votes (22 percent), and Independent Luther Yoas, of Sigel, who collected 1,287 votes (10 percent).

During the county Republicans’ fall banquet last Thursday in Reynoldsville, Scarnati expressed hope that Smith would again seek the House majority leader post, provided Republicans again won a majority in the House.

• After electing him to succeed former U.S. Rep. John Peterson in the Fifth Congressional District two years ago, voters returned Republican Glenn Thompson, of Howard, to the post.

Thompson collected 9,440 votes (75 percent) over Democratic challenger Michael Pipe of State College (2,818 votes, 22 percent) and Libertarian Vernon Etzel of Oil City (403 votes, 3 percent).

Sunny weather helped attract voters to the polls in a general election in which turnout was initially predicted to be slow. Still, the total number of ballot cast was 12,905, of 27,885 registered votes.

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