election results

Shuster given nod for ninth term in congressional bid

Patty Yauger pyauger@heraldstandard.com Updated 7 hrs ago
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R­Everett, appears likely to have sufficient voter support to serve a ninth term as the 9th Congressional District representative.
With all of the 12 counties reporting unofficial counts, Shuster has a strong lead over his Democratic challenger, Art Halvorson of Manns Choice, with about 62 percent of of the precincts reporting.
The congressional district includes the entire counties of Fayette, Indiana, Bedford, Blair, Fulton and Franklin, and portions of Greene, Washington,
Westmoreland, Cambria, Huntingdon and Somerset counties.
Shuster said late Tuesday that voters rejected the “nasty” campaign waged by Halvorson in favor of him.
“This election should have been about Republicans coming together,” he said. “My opponent tried to divide the party for his own selfish interests.
“We should have been out there working for (GOP presidential nominee Donald J.) Trump and (senatorial candidate Pat) Toomey.”
His focus when he returns to Washington will be to unite the party.
“We will not agree on everything, and I will not always get 100 percent of what I want,” he said. “But, if I get a substantial portion, that will be good.
“We have to work together.”
Halvorson applauded the efforts of his supporters.
“While we are all disappointed at the results of (Tuesday’s) election, we can take enormous pride in the tireless efforts of our supporters across the
district,” he said. “They took on this noble challenge with few resources and against daunting odds.
“Their bravery and integrity reflect the very best this country has to offer.”
In Fayette County, Shuster edged Halvorson by 20,267­12,171, while in Greene County, Shuster had a 3,998­1,830 edge, according to unofficial results.
In Washington County, Shuster bested Halvorson by a 10,672 to 7,783 votes.
Halvorson overcame Shuster in Westmoreland County by a margin of 245 votes, according to unofficial results.

Editorial Board Endorsement

9th District

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.

Candidate Legal Issues

Halvorson cited for harassment in alleged Fayette Fair incident

BY KAYLIE MOORE, Connellsville Daily Courier 

Art Halvorson, the Democratic candidate for the 9th Congressional District, was cited for allegedly harassing an opposing campaign staffer during the 2016 Fayette County Fair.

According to the citation, Halvorson “with the intent to annoy or alarm another person, did subject such other person to physical contact,” and “did grab the victim by the wrist and held her wrist for approximately 20 seconds, which was unwanted by the victim.”

The harassment charge was filed Oct. 11 with District Judge Richard Kasunic II.

According to Halvorson’s Campaign Manager, Joe Sterns, Halvorson, 61, of 462 Indian Greens Lane, Manns Choice, entered a not guilty plea Tuesday. There will be a hearing – the date and time of which are to be determined.

“He entered a not guilty plea, because it’s a completely trumped up charge from a month-old encounter that was fabricated into a false police report with the sole purpose of smearing Art Halvorson in the remaining few weeks before the election,” Sterns said.

Meghan Marie Boocks worked for Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Hollidaysburg), who is seeking re-election.

According to a previous report by Keith Weimer, president of Bull’s Eye Security, Boocks, 23, and her fiancé, James Keenan, 27, both of McDonald, were working around 4 p.m. Aug. 6, at Shuster’s campaign booth in the Fayette County Fair’s Commercial Building #3.

Shuster’s Campaign Manager Casey Contres previously said the pair was “there all week distributing campaign literature.”

Boocks told security Halvorson “approached her and grabbed her tightly by the wrist.”

According to the report, Halvorson allegedly questioned her about her involvement with Shuster’s campaign and other related issues.

The report alleges Boocks complained of wrist pain after the incident but did not seek medical attention. It also states security was not contacted at the time of the incident, so no information could be gathered from Halvorson.

Halvorson unsuccessfully attempted to unseat Shuster in May 2014 and April 2016, while running as a Republican. He will oppose Shuster for the third time this November, as he seeks a ninth term as 9th Congressional District representative.

However, Halvorson successfully won a write-in campaign earlier this year, and will appear on the Democratic ballot.

In light of the formal citation, Sterns maintains the claims are false.

“Any report that was filed with the state police had to be false and only made for the purpose of character assassination, right out of the Clinton playbook,” said Sterns.

Kaylie Moore is a Daily Courier staff writer. Reach her at 724-628-2000 orkmoore@dailycourier.com.


Congressional hopefuls weigh in on candidacy, presidential choices

By Patty Yauger pyauger@heraldstandard.com Updated Oct 27, 2016

The three candidates vying for the 9th Congressional District representative seat offered their views on energy, infrastructure and who should be the next president, during their first face-to-face meeting leading up to the Nov. 8 election.

 
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Everett, Republican Art Halvorson of Manns Choice, who will appear on the Democratic ticket, and write-in Democratic candidate Adam Sedlock of Uniontown, took part in the candidate forum Friday at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus.

The forum was hosted by the HeraldStandard, Greene County Messenger and The MonValley Herald Standard, in partnership with the Mon Valley Alliance and the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce.

The unique three-way race has Democratic leaders backing Sedlock, although Halvorson will appear on the ballot. Shuster has the support of the GOP. Halvorson said Democratic voters put him on the ballot because of their shared values. “Party leaders are nice to have on your side, but I have the people on my side,” he said. “The people took this election into their own hands, spontaneously and organically because they didn’t have a choice.”
There was no Democrat on the primary ballot

Halvorson said Sedlock’s lack of serious participation in the primary process — he waged a write-in campaign — provided an opportunity for his Democratic supporters to do likewise. “They nominated a likeminded, conservative Republican to be the Democratic nominee,” he said. “Clearly, I have a lot in common with those pro-life, pro-conservative
values, pro-family Democrats.

“We’re proud to be on the ballot.” Sedlock said that his course of action came after the Democratic Party offered no candidate to challenge the GOP primary candidates. “I saw that there was a vacancy, and a vacancy should not occur in a Democratic society,” he said. “We need to have a choice.” His decision to seek the nomination came after the submission of petition time frame had expired, he said. “The write-in campaign was embraced by the Democratic Party at all levels,” said Sedlock. “All the 12 county chairs in the (congressional district) were grateful and thankful for the decision. “The people did have a voice.” Sedlock claimed that Halvorson thwarted the process by having staffers elicit Democratic votes by advising primary voters that he represented the party.
“He still espouses the tea party values,” said Sedlock. “He does not embrace the Democratic values of the Democratic Party.” Shuster, meanwhile, said he did not actively pursue the Democratic nod, yet still received hundreds of Democratic write-in votes.
When questioned about whether a three-way race will potentially upset his reelection,
Shuster said he feels confident he will be successful in his bid for a ninth term in office.
“I think my record speaks for itself,” he said. “I am motivated by service. “There are some that say this is about power. It is not. The power belongs to the people and the election is when the people have the power to say who is going to represent them. Who they are going to give the responsibility to serve them in congress.”
Two of the three candidates — Halvorson and Shuster — said they plan to cast their presidential ballot for Trump while Sedlock believes the Democratic presidential nominee — Hillary Clinton — is best suited for the office. Shuster, who had been with Trump prior to the forum at a campaign rally in Johnstown, said while there are positions Trump has taken and remarks made by him that he does not agree with or support, he will make the best choices for the U.S. Supreme Court. Currently one position is vacant due to the February death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
“If Hillary Clinton is allowed to become President of the U.S., she will have one nomination and likely two more,” he said. “She will change the Supreme
Court for two generations. “She will appoint someone that is extremely liberal. (A liberal bench) will chip away at our religious freedoms, our second amendment rights, and the
rights businesses care about until we don’t know this country.”
Halvorson said he would pull the lever for Trump, and agrees with his philosophy concerning “career politicians” like Shuster.
Quoting Trump that “career politicians have been a total disaster in Washington,” Halvorson said it was time to rid Congress of the longtime politicians
like Shuster, in November.
“That’s what is a stake here (in the election),” said Halvorson. “Is Congress going to continue to be run by the power brokers supported by their donors and the lobbyists and the corrupting influence?”
Sedlock, meanwhile, said a Clinton presidency avoids a Trump “dictatorship.” his is a gentleman that has not paid (federal) taxes for 18 years,” said Sedlock. “He thinks its smart.
“How do we fund the military? How do we build our roads? “This is a gentleman that demeans women and gets away with it like its nothing.” Sedlock said a future with Clinton at the helm will allow for “clean energy, a clean environment and a future for the children and grandchildren.”

The full video of the forum can be viewed on the HeraldStandard website at http://www.heraldstandard.com.