Republican candidate for Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District, Art Halvorson, has not yet made a decision, according to campaign officials, on whether he will venture into a Democratic candidacy against rival and winner of the Republican nomination, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster.
“It is reasonable to anticipate that Art Halvorson will meet the 1,000 write-in vote threshold,” said campaign official Joe Sterns in an email Thursday morning. Richard Latker, Halvorson’s campaign manager, told WRTA today that he expects a total of roughly 1,073 total write-in votes and he expects Adam Sedlock, a Democratic candidate also awaiting write-in totals, to have roughly 1,021. In order to meet the requirement of 1,000 votes, Halvorson’s votes will first have to go through hearings of the respective County Election Boards of Blair, Franklin, and Indiana counties.
Starting today in Blair County, then later in Indiana and Franklin, the County Election Boards must meet, following a legal petition from Halvorson, in order to decide which write-in votes to cumulate to him. The board must determine whether those votes that misspelled Halvorson’s name, the votes that did not include his first name “Art,” or even the votes who wrote the wrong first name, should count. Bedford and Fulton County has already consolidated votes of those type to Halvorson. Adam Sedlock has not had as many of the same types of voter mistake problems.
According to a PA Supreme Court precedent known as The McCracken Precedent, “easy mistake” votes such as those misspelling Halvorson, should be accrued to the correct candidate based on voter intent. Candidates on both sides of the decision have up to five days to challenge the rulings. Halvorson’s campaign manager stated that they have no plans to do so.
Should Art Halvorson net over 1,000 write-in votes and more than Adam Sedlock, he would appear on the Democratic ballot, an outcome his campaign officials say they initially had no intentions of pursuing. “Art Halvorson was NOT actively seeking democratic nomination,” said Joe Sterns. Sterns later added that Halvorson’s estimated write-in vote count was “brought to our attention through grass-roots supporters and members of the media.” As to whether Art Halvorson will continue into a Democratic candidacy, a decision has not yet been made. His campaign officials announced that they first plan to have all votes aggregated into a final total that they hope nets over the requirement of 1,000, then make a decision second.
Adam Sedlock said in a phone interview this afternoon that “the [Democratic] party won’t endorse Halvorson,” even if Halvorson should gather the most votes. Sedlock added that he is confident that he will finish with a larger write-in vote count.
As a result of today’s Blair County Election Board hearing, Halvorson has been credited 53 more votes, pushing his total to 144 Democratic votes in Blair County, according to Sarah Seymour, Blair County Director of Elections. Sedlock gained 9 more votes, increasing his county total to 294.
What do YOU think? Is it fair that a Republican candidate, with little to no comparable political stances, may represent the Democratic party in the election this November? Let us know over on our official Facebook page!