Pennsylvania: Tom Smith, Tim Murphy Win GOP Primaries

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted April 24, 2012 at 11:02pm

Former coal company executive Tom Smith defeated a crowded GOP field tonight for the right to face an uphill battle against Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) this fall.

After spending $3 million of his own money, Smith defeated the state GOP’s endorsed candidate, businessman Steve Welch, who also boasted the support of Gov. Tom Corbett (R).

Smith won with 41 percent of the vote, followed by former state Rep. Sam Rohrer with 21 percent, with 87 percent of precincts reporting. In a devastating result for Pennsylvania Republicans and the governor, Welch came in third with just 20 percent.

In south-central Pennsylvania, state Rep. Scott Perry easily won the Republican primary for retiring Rep. Todd Platts’ safe GOP seat. Perry defeated York County Commissioner Chris Reilly, who had the support of Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and will become the next Member from that district in all likelihood.

In the southwest corner of the Keystone State, Rep. Tim Murphy (R) easily won his primary by defeating former Senate aide Evan Feinberg. Murphy defeated Feinberg 63 percent to 37 percent with 88 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.

Feinberg had the support of some national conservatives. But many of these groups, including the Club for Growth, declined to help his campaign financially in the final weeks after it was clear he did not have the means to give Murphy a tough challenge.