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Filing deadline piques state election intrigue

Published On: Mar 11 2014 03:04:36 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 12 2014 09:36:55 AM EDT
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John R. Coughlin/CNNMoney


A highly contested governor’s race, dozens of challenges to incumbents and numerous other candidacy declarations made for an intriguing finish to this Tuesday’s 5 p.m. primary filing deadline.

Following a year of steep decline in public approval rating, Governor Tom Corbett will face seven challengers in his bid for reelection, including one from within his own party.

Republican Bob Guzzardi will seek to replace Corbett in this year’s primary ticket while Democratic challengers Allyson Schwarts and Robert McCord, among others, will seek to capitalize on the incumbent governor’s faltering performance in the elections later this year.


The governor’s race has had a ripple effect into other congressional elections, particularly in Congressional District 13 where the incumbent Schwartz has stepped down to focus on her gubernatorial campaign.

Her vacancy has created a scramble to fill her seat, with six candidates vying for the position including four from the Democratic Party and two from the Republican Party.

In yet another surprise move by an incumbent, Jim Gerlach’s announcement that he is stepping down has brought three hopeful candidates into the fold in the race for Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District.

Among them is two-time Gerlach foe Manan Trivedi who hopes to finally advance beyond the Democratic nomination and into office now that his rival has retired.

On the other end of the competitiveness spectrum Charlie Dent appears poised to be reelected as the representative for PA-15 once again as his campaign will go uncontested by members from either major parties.

This will likely be Dent’s first no-contest election since taking office in 2005.

In other districts several legislative newcomers look to make a splash against Republican incumbents, including La Salle professor Mary Ellen Balchunis in PA-7 and attorney Andy Ostrowski in PA-11.

In the 16th Congressional District, Republican Joseph Pitts on the other hand, far from a newcomer, is seeking to be re-elected for the seventh consecutive time since taking office in 1998.

He faces challenges from Democrat Thomas Houghton and Paja Kittapa.

In Pennsylvania’s 17th, Representative Matt Cartwright stands alone as the only Democratic incumbent to be seeking reelection, making every contest all the more crucial for both sides.

To attain his goal of reelection Cartwright will have to square off against the winner of Republican trio Matthew Dietz, David Moylan and late addition Matt Connolly.

For the Republicans, two other incumbents face challenges from small groups of Democrats.

In the 10th Congressional District incumbent Tom Marino and opposing candidate Scott Brion will go through primaries uncontested before facing off in this year’s congressional elections.

Mike Fitzpatrick will face a similar path in PA-8 where two Democrats will vie to compete against him later in the year.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will hold its primary elections on May 20.

While the Mar. 11 filing deadline for Republican and Democratic primaries has now passed, independent and third-parties may still declare candidacy by Aug. 1.