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Election 2020

Democratic ballot sees more local, contested races for April primary

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Elections Pennsylvania

 "I Voted Today" stickers are displayed at a polling place in Philadelphia on Oct. 29, 2019.

Save for one race replacing an outgoing Republican state representative, the majority of the contested primary races this April will be on the Democratic ballot.

Candidates had until the end of day Tuesday to file their petitions, and the Pennsylvania Department of State has approved a list of candidates that will appear on the April 28 primary ballots. Similarly to the larger primary involving presidential candidates and the races for state positions, such as auditor general and attorney general, it’s mostly Democrats who are lining up for nominations to challenge incumbent Republicans, setting up mostly contested races for all voters for the November election.

Cumberland County’s two congressman will again see challengers this year, though the race for the 13th Congressional District seat won’t be contested until November.

Republican U.S. Rep. John Joyce, who defeated challengers two years ago to take the seat of the newly created 13th Congressional District, will likely face challenger Raymond Todd Rowley of Westmoreland County, who is the only Democrat on the ballot for the April primary. The district covers a wide swath of counties including Adams, Bedford, Cambria, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Somerset, Westmoreland and Cumberland. Cumberland County municipalities in this district are parts of North Middleton Township and all of Dickinson Township, West Pennsboro Township, Penn Township, Cooke Township, Newville, Upper and Lower Frankford townships, Upper and Lower Mifflin townships, North and South Newton townships, Hopewell Township, Newburg, Southampton Township, Shippensburg Township and Shippensburg Borough.

Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry will again fend off a Democratic challenger in November for his 10th Congressional District seat. North York Borough resident and current Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, who constitutionally was not allowed to seek a third term for his state position, is vying for the congressional seat and will take on Thomas Brier Jr. of Derry Township in Dauphin County.

This seat covers all of Dauphin County, northern York County and eastern Cumberland County, which includes the municipalities of Carlisle, South Middleton Township, Mount Holly Springs, Middlesex Township, Silver Spring Township, Monroe Township, Hampden Township, Mechanicsburg, Camp Hill, Lower and Upper Allen townships, East Pensnboro Township, Wormleysburg, New Cumberland, Lemoyne and part of North Middleton.

Only one of the local, state Senate races will be contested in the April primary. While Republican incumbent Sen. Mike Regan will not face a party challenger for his 31st Senatorial District seat, there are three Democrats looking to unseat him in November.

Shanna Danielson of Carroll Township, York County, John Bosha of East Pennsboro Township and Rick Coplen of Dickinson Township will be on the Democratic ballot for the seat. Coplen is a Carlisle school board member, and Danielson previously ran against state Rep. Dawn Keefer in 2018 for the 92nd Legislative District seat.

The 31st Senatorial District covers part of York County and part of Cumberland County, including Cooke Township, Dickinson Township, East Pennsboro Township, Hampden Township, Lower Allen Township, Middlesex Township, Monroe Township, Silver Spring Township, South Middleton Township, Upper Allen Township, Camp Hill, Carlisle, Lemoyne, Mechanicsburg, Mount Holly Springs, New Cumberland, Shiremanstown and Wormleysburg.

Carlisle school board member announces run for 31st Senatorial District seat
Regan, Danielson in contention for 31st District state senate seat

In the 33rd Senatorial District, incumbent Republican Sen. Doug Mastriano will likely face Richard Sterner of Reading Township, Adams County, who is the only Democrat on the April ballot. This district covers Adams County, part of Franklin County, a small portion of York County and a part of Cumberland County, including Shippensburg Borough, Shippensburg Township and Southampton Township.

All but one of the local state representatives is seeking re-election. Rep. Mark Keller announced this year that he will not seek re-election for the 86th Legislative District seat, which covers all of Perry County and a portion of Cumberland County (Hopewell Township, Newburg Borough, Shippensburg Township, Shippensburg Borough and Southampton Township). With the long-time Republican out of the race, three Republicans seek to take his spot for the only contested Republican race this April. Perry County residents Perry Stambaugh of Tyrone Township, Jedidiah Nessinger of Carroll Township and William Benner III of Centre Township will vie for the seat, and they may not face a Democratic challenger in November with no candidate listed on the primary ballot.

The only other contested primary battle will be for the 87th Legislative District seat, where three Democrats seek to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Greg Rothman. Nicole Miller of Hampden Township, Heather MacDonald of Camp Hill and Sean Patrick Quinlan of Camp Hill will be on the April Democratic ballot for the seat, which covers part of Silver Spring Township and all of Hampden Township, East Pennsboro Township and Camp Hill. Miller previously ran for Hampden’s Cumberland Valley School Board seat in 2017 and 2019, and Quinlan was unable to best Rothman in the 2018 election for the seat.

Three other seats won’t be contested in the primary without a write-in challenger, though the incumbents in those races will face challengers in November.

For the 199th Legislative District seat, incumbent Republican Rep. Barb Gleim and Democrat Janelle Crossley of Upper Frankford Township are the only ones on the ballot. The district covers Carlisle, Dickinson Township, North Middleton Township, West Pennsboro Township, Middlesex Township, Upper and Lower Mifflin Township, Upper and Lower Frankford Township, Newville and part of Silver Spring Township.

For the 88th Legislative District seat, incumbent Republican Rep. Sheryl Delozier and Democrat Tara Shakespeare of Lower Allen Township are the only candidates on the primary ballot. The district covers Upper and Lower Allen townships, Mechanicsburg, Shiremanstown, New Cumberland, Lemoyne and Wormleysburg.

For the 92nd Legislative District seat, incumbent Republican Rep. Dawn Keefer and Democrat Douglas Ross of Fairview Township are the only candidates listed on the primary ballot. Monroe Township is the only municipality in Cumberland County in this district, which covers mostly York County.

Republican state Rep. Torren Ecker may not face a challenger in November since he is the only one on the ballot this April for the 193rd Legislative District seat. The district covers parts of Adams County and parts of Cumberland County, including South Middleton Township, Mount Holly Springs, Penn Township, Cooke Township, and North and South Newton townships.

Email Naomi Creason at or follow her on Twitter @SentinelCreason


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