Party leaders happy with results, not voter turnout
About 27 percent of registered voters cast ballots for Tuesday's primary. The percentage is in line with last year's primary. (Daily American File Photo / April 25, 2012)
About 27 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the primary, according to officials. Last year's primary also had a turnout of about 27 percent.
James T. Yoder, who ran unopposed for the Somerset County Republican Party chairman seat, said voter turnout needs to increase in the general election.
"Voter apathy really saddens me," he said. "To me, there's no excuse not to vote. Voting is one of our great rights in this country."
Yoder said the fall's presidential election should, however, energize voters.
"Personally, I'm already gearing up for the presidential election," he said. "I support (Mitt Romney) and I hope he picks a dynamic vice president."
Somerset County Democratic Party Chairwoman Shelley Glessner said she's optimistic that voters will support President Barack Obama when it matters most.
"We would've liked to have had a few more people, but the Democratic Party is grateful to those who came out," she said.
Glessner said, anecdotally, that many voters forgot the primary was on Tuesday.
"I saw a lot of people running into the polling place at about 20 minutes till 8 p.m.," she said. "A lot of people didn't know."
Bruce Hottle, who was unseated by Yoder as party chairman, said there were no big surprises Tuesday on the Republican side.
"The biggest surprise was probably (Democrat) Critz's margin of victory," Hottle said of U.S. Rep. Mark Critz. Critz, D-Johnstown, beat U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, by about 75 percent in the 12th Congressional District.
Glessner congratulated Critz on the victory.
"He faced an uphill battle with the redistricting and gerrymandering," she said. "He and his staff did a great job campaigning, and it will be up to us to get him elected in the fall."
Hottle and Yoder were both happy that Republican Tom Smith was nominated for U.S. Senate.
"I think Tom Smith will be very formidable against (U.S. Sen. Bob Casey) in the fall," Yoder said. "We need a conservative leader to combat Casey and I think Tom Smith is the right guy for the job."
Yoder thanked voters for supporting him in the primary and he also congratulated Bob Bastian for winning the Republican party vice chairman seat.