U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Everett, must have thought he had it made when he defeated Art Halvorson in the Republican Primary Election last spring.
With no candidates running on the Democratic ticket in the 9th Congressional District, Shuster appeared to be a shoe-in for victory in the general election.
But things didn’t turn out that way. Art Halvorson won the Democratic Party’s nomination via the write-in route, beating Adam Sedlock by 39 votes. After months of thinking it over, Halvorson, a tea party conservative, decided to accept the nomination and take another shot at Shuster. However, Sedlock then decided to wage another write-in campaign, claiming he’s the only real Democrat on the ballot.
It remains to be seen whether Halvorson, a retired U.S. Coast Guard captain, can defeat Shuster, who is seeking his eighth term in Congress. After all, Shuster only beat Halvorson by 1,120 votes last spring. Then, there’s the question about what impact Sedlock, a Uniontown pyschologist, will have. It all boils down to what should be an very interesting Tuesday night for all three candidates.
They did appear together at a forum held last month at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus. As he did at a similar forum last spring, Halvorson spent much of his time lashing out at Shuster, focusing more on attacking the incumbent rather than spelling out the specifics of his various proposals.
Sedlock followed the Democratic Party line, espousing his support for Hillary Clinton, Obamacare and clean energy.
Shuster said he’s running on his record, noting that as chairman of the House Transportation Committee, he has worked with Democrats for passage of important highway and waterways measures.
The board did not look favorably on Halvorson’s candidacy, noting he’s much more of a right-wing ideologue than a Democrat and should have declined the party’s nomination. They said he appeared more concerned about his own political philosophy rather than the needs of residents in the district. The board was also disappointed that Halvorson knew nothing about the pension crisis facing retired members of the United Mine Workers. That was shocking since the problem has been reported about widely in the media.
Sedlock did a great job at the forum, showing a good grasp of the issues, especially for a newcomer to politics. He was well-spoken and articulate about his views. However, he didn’t offer many specifics on his ideas such as bullet trains and free-tuition for college students. While we couldn’t endorse him this election, we commend Sedlock for entering the race and providing the voters of the 9th Congressional District with an alternative to the conservative views of Shuster and Halvorson, both residents of Bedford County.
We did endorse Shuster, noting that he’s done a good job overall, especially for local residents with various water and sewage projects. We also commended him for reaching out to Democrats in getting important measures passed for the good of the country. Shuster’s conservative, but he’s not rigid. He’s shown time after time that he can break the political gridlock, which has paralyzed Congress. As such, Shuster deserves another two years in our nation’s capital.
The 9th Congressional District includes all of Fayette, Indiana, Bedford, Blair, Fulton and Franklin counties and portions of Greene, Washington, Westmoreland, Cambria, Huntingdon and Somerset counties. The salary for the position is $174,000.