Dr. John Joyce, a Blair County dermatologist, narrowly came out on top in Tuesday night’s crowded field for the Republican nomination in the 13th Congressional District.
Joyce received 14,603 votes, about 22 percent of the 66,519 ballots cast in the GOP primary. The votes were split among eight candidates.
The race’s only two sitting elected officials — state Rep. Stephen Bloom and state Sen. John Eichelberger — came close to topping Joyce, with 12,186 and 13,089 votes, respectively.
However, Joyce’s late-breaking campaign was aided by copious amounts of cash, most of it Joyce’s. Through April 25, his campaign took in $518,492. Of this, $461,000 consisted of loans to the campaign from Joyce himself, according to federal election filings.
Joyce has spent $325,642, according to federal election filings, leaving him with a $192,850 war chest heading into the general election, where he will likely face Brent Ottaway, the sole contender for the Democratic nomination.
The 13th District is an open field, given the retirement of Congressman Bill Shuster — the only potential incumbent in the district after it was re-drawn by the state Supreme Court in the recent gerrymandering decision.
The district stretches from the western half of Cumberland County to the eastern end of Westmoreland County, including all of Adams, Franklin, Fulton, Bedford, Huntingdon, Blair and Somerset counties, as well as a small part of Cambria County.
However, the partisan preference of the new district is unlikely to change. Shuster’s old 9th Congressional District swung for Donald Trump in the 2016 general election by 43 points; the new 13th District would have swung Republican by 46 points if it existed in 2016, according to data published by the New York Times.
Joyce’s financial disclosure with the U.S. House of Representatives indicates he holds stakes in a number of companies throughout the state, including natural gas drillers, a metals manufacturer and physical therapy clinics. He also earned $641,841 in salary last year from Altoona Dermatology Associates.