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Critz wins in Dem primary for Murtha seat

  |   May 18, 2010 at 11:07 PM
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PITTSBURGH, May 18 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak was declared the winner over incumbent Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. Senate primary Tuesday night.

In Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District, where a special election was held to fill the vacancy created by the Feb. 8 death of Democratic Rep. John Murtha, The Washington Post declared former Murtha aide Mark Critz the winner over Republican businessman Tim Burns, who called Critz to concede. With nearly 98 percent of the vote in, Critz had 53.2 percent to Burns's 44.4 percent.

The two will square off again in the fall since both also won their respective primaries for the next full term. In that primary, Critz garnered 72 percent of the vote. Ryan Bucchianeri had 20.2 percent and Ron Mackell Jr. had 7.8 percent. Burns out-polled William Russell 57 percent to 43 percent.

The Post projected Sestak the winner of the Democratic Senate priamry, as he led Specter 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent with nearly 76 percent of the vote counted.

Republicans' choice to face the Democratic winner was already clear: former Rep. Pat Toomey was the winner over Peg Luksik, 79.5 percent to 20.5 percent.

Specter, a five-term incumbent who jumped from the Republican Party last year, had the backing of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell and much of the Democratic establishment. Sestak, however, ran a campaign that, among other things, painted Specter as an opportunist who changed parties to save his political career.

In the race to succeed Rendell, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato was garnering 45.4 percent to 25.4 percent for state Auditor General Jack Wagner, 18.8 percent for state Sent. Anthony Williams and 10.4 percent for Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph Hoeffel on the Democratic side. In the GOP primary, Attorney General Tom Corbett polled 69.9 percent to 30.2 percent for state Rep. Samuel Rohrer.

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