Hackett Apparent Victor in Race to Take on Carney; Other Pennsylvania Contests Are Close

Posted April 22, 2008 at 10:33pm

While Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) claimed victory Tuesday night in the pivotal Pennsylvania Democratic presidential primary, voters at every end of the Keystone State had their say in several key Congressional primaries as well. With almost 80 percent of precincts reporting in the 10th district, millionaire businessman Chris Hackett appears to have won the Republican nomination with 54 percent of the vote. Hackett was on his way to defeating fellow businessman Dan Meuser in a negative campaign funded by the Republican duo’s deep pockets, though Hackett was also aided by the Club for Growth. Assuming his lead holds, Hackett will take on freshman Rep. Christopher Carney (D), who defeated an ethically challenged Republican Congressman in the GOP-leaning district two years ago. Meanwhile, in the nearby 5th district currently represented by retiring Rep. John Peterson (R), four candidates are bunched together in the nine-way Republican primary field with no clear leader: Centre County GOP Chairman G.T. Thompson, financial analyst Derek Walker, and businessmen Jeff Stroehmann and Matt Shaner. In the Democratic primary in the 5th district, Clearfield County Commissioner Mark McCracken has a sizable lead over his two opponents, though the district is expected to vote Republican this fall. Businesswoman Kathy Dahlkemper has won the Democratic nomination in the 3rd district, defeating national Democrats’ early favorite, Erie County Councilman Kyle Foust and two other candidates. Dahlkemper will have an uphill battle in her campaign against Rep. Phil English (R) this fall. And in the suburban Pittsburgh 18th district, businessman Steve O’Donnell is on track to defeat consultant Beth Hafer for the Democratic nomination. O’Donnell funded a great deal of his own campaign, though many political observers thought Hafer’s name identification — her mother is a former statewide official — would pull her through in a high-turnout primary. The winner, likely O’Donnell, will face three-term Rep. Tim Murphy (R) this fall. — Shira Toeplitz