Early reports show mostly strong turnout in Pa.
PHILADELPHIA - November 2, 2010 -- Early reports from around the state indicated Tuesday that voters were showing stronger than expected interest in casting ballots in a midterm election in which Pennsylvanians will pick a new governor and U.S. senator.
Voters were choosing between U.S. Senate candidates Joe Sestak, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Republican, and Democrat Dan Onorato and Republican Tom Corbett for governor. Sestak beat the five-term Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary, and Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell is leaving office after serving the maximum two terms.
The closely watched Senate race is being viewed as a referendum on the first two years of President Barack Obama's administration.
Sestak was fourth in line to vote at the Edgmont Township Municipal Building in Gradyville, and said he believes the near non-stop politicking he did Monday would yield results for him and other Democrats.
"I think you're going to see the turnout that is really going to put us over," he said.
Republican Pat Toomey had to wait about 20 minutes in Old Zionsville, near Allentown, before voting.
One poll watcher in the small Pittsburgh-area borough of Economy, Roger Kowal, said turnout was strong in his district, particularly among older voters who are worried about what the sweeping new federal health care law signed by Obama in March will mean for Medicare.
That may be bad news for Sestak, he said.
"If I was a guessing person, I would say they're going the other way," Kowal said.
Several news outlets reported above-normal voting in some districts in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh's suburbs, Hershey and the Lehigh Valley, although the Times-Tribune of Scranton reported light turnout in some northeastern Pennsylvania districts.
The sunny, albeit crisp, weather across Pennsylvania should help turnout.
Two registered Democrats in Philadelphia, Priscilla Molina, a 50-year-old dog walker, and Jeffery Williams, a 37-year-old Drexel University student, voted the straight party ticket because they view Democrats as the best party to lift the country out of recession.
Obama's "inherited a huge problem," Molina said. "The expectation that he would have this fixed (already) is unrealistic."
Said Williams, "Any plan is going to take a while. If we're on a path and on a plan, changing that plan I don't think is going to make it quicker."
A dispute over absentee ballots may become a factor in the closely contested race between Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy and the Republican incumbent he beat in 2006, Mike Fitzpatrick.
Elections officials in Bucks County north of Philadelphia said they may not be able to finish counting absentee ballots by Wednesday, or later in the week, the Bucks County Courier Times reported Tuesday.
Last week, the Bucks County Board of Elections agreed to impound more than 8,500 absentee ballots to preserve alleged evidence of voter fraud.
The Republican Party had challenged about 270 approved absentee ballots, claiming they bore problems such as having signatures that did not match voter registration records. Republicans also asked elections workers in Bucks County to look for ballot applications received by what they call a fictitious agency set up by Democrats.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, election, inside politics
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