The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 19, 2010

Burns captures primary over Republican rival

JOHNSTOWN — Though Tim Burns may have lost a battle, he has not lost the war for the 12th Congressional District.

Burns beat back a GOP primary challenge from William Russell on Tuesday, giving the Washington County resident the Republican nomination and setting up a general-election rematch against Democrat Mark Critz.

With 97 percent of the district’s 597 precincts reporting, Burns had garnered 24,725 votes compared with Russell’s 18,443. With his party’s support, Burns pledged to fight on.

“The true patriots around the country will not give up,” Burns said in a speech in Washington, Pa.

Russell said he will “throw my support behind” Burns.

“Whether that means campaigning, we’ll see,” he said.

The Upper Yoder Township resident added that he could not rule out running for office again – though his chance has passed for this year.

“I’m not going to close the door on anything,” he said.

Critz – in addition to winning a special election that sends him to Washington for the remainder of the year – also easily beat two Democrats in the primary.

With most precincts reporting, Critz had 71 percent of the Democratic primary vote.

Runner-up Ryan Bucchianeri had 21 percent, while Ron Mackell Jr. garnered just

8 percent.

When compared with the special-election battle between Critz and Burns, the 12th district primary had been a quiet affair.

Both the front-runners openly declared that they were focusing on the special election.

Russell, who made a spirited run at Murtha in 2008, continued to raise money at a pace that matched or surpassed Burns.

But he had no party backing and could not match Burns’ exposure.

Bucchianeri, of Monongahela, and Mackell, who said he maintains residences in Texas and in the Johnstown area, also ran far behind Critz during the months-long congressional campaign.

Bucchianeri, the youngest candidate at age 35, toured the district extensively and documented his travels on his Facebook and Twitter pages.


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