The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 22, 2010

GOP sets meeting to pick nominee for special election

By Mike Faher and Sandra K. Reabuck

JOHNSTOWN — Republicans will meet March 11 in Latrobe to choose the person who they hope will fill the unexpired term of the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha.

Each party will nominate one candidate for the May 18 special election in which voters will send someone to Washington to serve through year’s end.

While Democrats still are working out their nomination process for that election, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania on Monday announced its plans to select a candidate.

The GOP meeting will be held at

7 p.m. at the Fred M. Rogers Center at St. Vincent College. Making the final decision on a candidate will be “conferees” from each of the nine counties

– including Cambria and Somerset

– that are partially or wholly included in the 12th Congressional District.

Each potential candidate “will have the opportunity to make a short presentation and take questions from conferees,” Republican officials said.

A vote of those conferees will follow.

To secure the nomination, a candidate must win a “majority plus one” of all votes cast.

Officials said the nomination is open to any registered Republican age 25 or older who lives in Pennsylvania and has been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years.

Those who are interested should call (717) 234-4901, ext. 111, or e-mail mdowning@pagop.org.

Jack Hanna of Indiana, chairman of the state Southwest Democratic Caucus, said Monday that procedures still are being worked out on how his party will select a nominee for the special election.

But he said that the choice hopefully would be made no later than March 9.

Hanna said the final decision on the special-election nominee will be made by the state Democratic Committee’s 50-member executive committee.

But he added that Democratic committees in each of the nine counties in the 12th district wil have an opportunity to make their preference known to the state executive committee.