Irvin write-in challenge may take down Fleck

State Rep. Mike Fleck, R-Three Springs, may have been unopposed on the ballot for the 81st District, but whether he survived the primary remains to be seen.

The incumbent faced a blizzard of write-in votes in his home, Huntingdon County. That is also the home of his unofficial opponent, county Treasurer Richard Irvin, who ran a campaign representing himself as the true conservative looking to represent the district.

Fleck ran in Centre County for the first time, thanks to redistricting which will eventually add Taylor, Halfmoon and Worth townships; Port Matilda; and portions of Ferguson and Patton townships to the district, which also serves Huntingdon and Mifflin counties.

With all precincts in, Fleck had 1,943 votes in Huntingdon County. Another 3,231 write-ins were cast.

In Mifflin, he netted 84 votes versus 98 write-ins.

Centre County saw Fleck’s only verifiable win of the evening. He collected 1,367 votes. There were 371 write-in ballots.

“I’m glad to have them in the district,” Fleck said about the new Centre County territories before the primary. “I’m excited that it’s an area that votes more for the person than the party.”

None of that necessarily means that Fleck lost. Not yet.

Write-in votes are tabulated separately, and might represent more than just Irvin’s organized campaign. No date is available on when write-ins will be verified and officially released.

Unofficial estimates compiled by the Centre Daily Times showed Fleck with a 306 vote difference between his 3,394 votes and the 3,700 write-ins at the close of all polls. That means that if just over 8 percent of the write-in votes cast are for anyone other than Irvin, or otherwise invalid, Fleck may have survived the challenge.

Fleck and Irvin were both unavailable for comment Tuesday night.

Lori Falce can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @LoriFalce.