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Ferguson Township Democrat Marc Friedenberg falls in special election for open House seat

Marc Friedenberg addresses State College crowd after special election

Democrat Marc Friedenberg addresses a State College crowd on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, as results showed Republican Fred Keller was projected to win the special election for Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District.
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Democrat Marc Friedenberg addresses a State College crowd on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, as results showed Republican Fred Keller was projected to win the special election for Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District.

In an expected outcome for a district that voted Republican since 2010, Fred Keller, a state representative from Snyder County, has won a special election for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District.

“I’m honored to have the support of the hardworking people of the 12th Congressional District and for their trust in electing me to represent them in Congress,” Keller said in a statement Tuesday night. “Tonight is the beginning of us working together to address the issues that the people have told us will positively impact every family across central and northeast Pennsylvania.”

Keller, who received the Republican nomination over 13 candidates in March, took the vast, 15-county district by 68.3% with 93% of precincts reporting as of 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Associated Press unofficial vote totals.

Ferguson Township Democrat Marc Friedenberg had 31.7% of the vote at 11:15 p.m., according to AP unofficial vote totals.

At the Hyatt Place in State College on Tuesday night, Friedenberg addressed supporters with his wife and two daughters standing close by.

“I am unwilling to concede this district to a rising tide of hatred, misogyny, and divisiveness, made worse by politicians who want to look the other way or, even worse, benefit from them,” he said. “Now we’ve made progress here in this campaign. This is the beginning of a real movement. I see activists fighting all across this district, fighting for a path forward. The days of conceding rural Pennsylvania are over.”

In the 2018 midterm elections, Friedenberg ran against incumbent Republican Tom Marino, who represented the northcentral Pennsylvania Congressional district since 2010, and lost by 32 percentage points. Marino resigned abruptly in January, three weeks into his term, due to health issues.

President Donald Trump, who in 2016 won most of the counties in what is now the 12th district, held a rally in Montoursville on Monday to garner support for Keller, touting the country’s low unemployment rate and criticizing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for moving away from Pennsylvania, reported the Associated Press.

Jon Anzur, communications director for Keller’s campaign, said Keller was “excited to join President Trump in Montoursville for the president’s first visit to the 12th District during his Administration and to highlight the work he is doing on behalf of every Pennsylvania family.”

The 12th District, which was redistricted in February 2018 due to a state Supreme Court redrawing of Congressional districts, is comprised of parts of Centre and Northumberland counties and all of Potter, Clinton, Lycoming, Tioga, Wyoming, Sullivan, Bradford, Susquehanna, Union, Snyder, Mifflin, Juniata and Perry counties.

Redistricting effectively split Centre County in half, leaving the western part of the county in the 15th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard.

Friedenberg, an assistant professor in cybersecurity at Penn State, captured 67.3% of the vote in Centre County with 33 out of 46 precincts reporting, according to unofficial vote totals. That’s on track to beat his 2018 midterm total, when he secured 63% of the county’s vote. Centre County is typically the lone “blue” county in its Congressional district, and voted for Hillary Clinton nearly 3 percentage points above Trump in 2016.

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