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Keefer wins close race for Dillsburg-area House seat

Greg Gross
Dawn Keefer greets a voter at the polls at Celebration Community Church near Dillsburg Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Keefer is a candidate in the race for the 92nd House District. Bill Kalina photo
  • Dawn Keefer beat out two other candidates to secure the GOP nomination for the seat

Dawn Keefer eked out a Republican primary win for a Dillsburg-area state House seat by the slimmest of margins Tuesday night.

All that separated the 43-year-old Franklin Township woman from third-place finisher Kraig Bruder was less than 2,000 votes

In the middle and in second place was Anthony Pugliese, 29, of Fairview Township, who received 4,319 votes to Keefer's 5,116, according to unofficial results from the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Bruder, 29, of Newberry Township, garnered 3,357 votes, the results show.

"It's very humbling," Keefer said in a phone interview.  "I'm happy. I'm excited."

The three candidates varied little when it came to the issues, with each saying during a York County Economic Alliance debate last week that they support reforming the pension and state liquor systems, as well as changing the state's prevailing wage law.

Kraig Bruder gets a laugh from Naomi Gross of Carroll Township outside the polls at the township municipal building Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Bruder is a candidate in the race for the 92nd House District. Bill Kalina photo

Voters: The main draw for Tuesday's primary voters was the presidential nominating contests.

The race for 92nd House District, as well as the race in the 31st state Senate District, was relegated to a lower standing. Numerous voters said they cast their ballots based purely on name recognition.

"I'm familiar with the name," said Bernadette Avari, a Fairview Township resident who voted for Pugliese. She also voted for Jon Ritchie in the Senate race because of his name recognition.

Lee Cordes, also of Fairview Township, also voted for Pugliese and Ritchie, but did so because of their politics.

"I like his (Pugliese's) stance on the issues," he said after voting at the Fishing Creek Community Building.

The current seat-holder, state Rep. Mike Regan, did not seek re-election in the 92nd because he ran for the 31st Senate District seat. Regan won the Republican primary in that race. Sen. Pat Vance, who holds the seat now, is retiring after this year.

Anthony Publiese talks to a voter outside the polls at the Carroll Township Municipal Building Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Bruder is a candidate in the race for the 92nd House District. Bill Kalina photo

Contested election?  A Dillsburg Democrat has tossed his hat into the 92nd House race as a write-in candidate, which means the contest could now be decided in the November election.

Curt Werner, a freelance photographer, needed to receive 300 write-in votes in the primary in order to appear on the November ballot.

Curt Werner has launched a write-in campaign as a Democrat in the 92nd House District.

Write-in results are expected to be released in the near future.

Though Keefer may face Werner in November, she said she sees the primary victory as winning the seat.

"I would be surprised if they get everything they need together," Keefer said of the Werner bid.

The 92nd state House District includes a large swath of northern York County, from Fairview Township in the north to Washington Township in the south. It also includes Monroe Township in Cumberland County.

Rank and file members of the House are paid $85,339 yearly, according to the state website

— Reach Greg Gross at