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Raja to face off against Parks
By Barbara S. Miller Staff writer
The Allegheny County elections office reported this week that Greg Parks of Pleasant Hills received 2,106 write-in votes in the Demo-cratic primary, meaning he will likely face Republican D. Raja in a state Senate race in the November election.
A total of 2,758 write-in votes were cast on Democratic ballots after the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee sent out a mailing on Parks' behalf. Republican state Rep. Mark Mustio, who finished third on the GOP ballot, came in a distant second to Parks on the Demo-cratic ballot with 58 write-in votes.
The Allegheny County election board plans to meet Monday to certify election returns, and until then, the count is considered unofficial.
Washington County's canvass board completed its task Wednesday. Totals showed Parks receiving 79 votes to add to the tally to be submitted to the state, and, as in Allegheny County, it was awaiting the signatures of the election board.
A state Senate write-in candidate needs at least 500 votes in a primary, equal to the number of signatures on a nominating petition.
The 37th Senatorial District includes several communities in Pittsburgh's South Hills and western Allegheny County, and Peters Township in Washington County.
Parks, 50, is a treasurer of his local Democratic committee and a former Pleasant Hills councilman.
He said Thursday he intends to accept the write-in nomination. Parks said he was Republican until 2008.
"I found they didn't quite fit with what I was thinking," Parks said. "The working people didn't seem to be a priority for them."
The uncertainty of boundaries in the district inhibited him from collecting enough signatures from voters in the redesigned district by the February filing deadline, Parks said, noting that he was about 200 signatures short on nominating petitions.
"We thought it was important for Democrats to contest the seat, especially as Raja, who has a history of outsourcing jobs, began to gain momentum," wrote Mark Nicastre, spokesman for the state Democratic Committee, in an email.
Parks said he didn't expect to raise as much campaign cash as Raja, a former Mt. Lebanon councilman, but planned to do a lot of door-knocking.
Raja spokesman Mark Harris wrote in an email that Raja also would be taking his message to the voters "door-to-door just as he did in the primary. Raja is looking forward to the fall campaign."
In another area write-in race, John Maher fell short in his attempt to capture a
Democratic nomination in the 40th Legislative District.
Smith runs successful write-in campaign
State Rep. Matt Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, was unopposed on the Democratic ticket during the April 24 primary, and recently learned he was the successful write-in candidate on the Republican ticket.
His name will appear on the November ballot as both the Democratic and Republican candidate and he appears the likely winner for the seat. A person needs 300 write-in votes to gain a party nomination in the primary, equivalent to the number of signatures on a nominating petition. “I am very happy to announce that I secured well over 300 write-in votes on the Republican side for State Representative in the 42nd Legislative District,” Smith said in a prepared statement. “I view this as an affirmation of my commitment to work everyday in a bipartisan manner towards finding solutions to the problems we are currently facing in Pennsylvania. I have worked hard to bring people together to better our community and I have worked with others on both sides of the aisle to reform Harrisburg, improve the quality of K-12 education and to make higher education more affordable, and make government work for my constituents.
“There is much more work to be done and I will continue to try and solve problems in a bipartisan manner. I appreciate the support I have received from my constituents on both ends of our political spectrum and will keep fighting for our community.”
Two candidates who dropped from the ballot because of a mistake have won seats on the Rome City School District Board of Education.
Primary 2012: Write-In Candidate James Mace Secures Ballot Spot
Carissa Wolf on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 7:34 AM
At least one Democrat broke into a happy dance after Tuesday's primary races. Many toasted in celebration. And a few were angry.
Some Democratic Party loyalists felt a twinge of a wild mood swing Tuesday night, knowing that not every one of the tribe members voted in an election that saw a slew of Democratic winners.
“We have no losers in the Democratic Party. We are all winners,” more than one blue camp loyalist said Tuesday night.
Democrats welcomed handfuls of so-called "recovering Republicans" to the party and cheered vows to keep Idaho from looking a little too red.
“Idaho is too red. Schools are in the red. Workers are in the red,” First District Congressional Democratic candidate Jimmy Farris said. “Our campaign is all about getting Idaho out of the red.”
Anna Marie Rhodes considered herself a happy blue girl in a red state Tuesday night. She found plenty of company and a number of reasons to volunteer for the Buckner-Webb and LeFavour campaigns. Environmental sustainability, equality and civil liberties topped Rhodes' laundry list.
“Being part of their success is important to me,” Rhodes said.
A first sign of success came at 9:43 p.m. A tally of just a handful of votes had campaign manager Lisa Perry calling victory. The count of mostly absentee votes showed that her candidate, District 20 Democratic Senate hopeful James Mace, had secured all the write-in votes he needed to make it onto the November ballot.
“I’m dancing! Fifty-five votes so far!” Perry shouted across party headquarters at Beside Bardenay’s banquet hall. Mace only needed 50 of those votes to go head-to-head against Boise Republican incumbent Sen. Chuck Winder in November.
But the night left some wondering if the final tally might have looked a little different had the GOP not insisted on a closed primary.
“We are concerned that a lot of people left the polls without casting a vote,” Boise Democrat Rep. Cherie Buckner-Webb said.
The closed primary forced voters to align with a party and register as Democrat, Republican or unaffiliated so that only Republicans could vote Republican in the election. The closed primary, in theory, keeps Democrats from crossing over and sabotaging the Republican frontrunner with a vote for the GOP underdog, but plenty of Democrats reported changing party affiliation at the polls for the moment. Others, however, left their precincts without even casting a vote when they found out that what team you pick isn’t exactly a secret. It’s part of the public record.
“It’s pretty bad because people are refusing to vote. I reached out to a lot of people and found many people who wanted to keep their vote private,” Boise Democrat Rep. Sue Chew said. “There’s a lot of anger right now from people who didn’t feel like their vote was heard. But they’ll be out in November.”