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Holden (D) vs. Wertz (R)

October 27, 2006

PA District 17 Race

The Pa District 17 race began with Democratic incumbent, Tim Holden,
campaigning against the Republican candidate, Matthew Arlington Wertz
for a seat in Congress. District 17 was considered a safe Democratic
district prior to the 2006 campaign and remains so today because of
gerrymandering. It is comprised of Dauphin, Lebanon, Schuylkill, and
parts of Berks and Perry Counties. The 17th District includes the city
of Harrisburg as well as rural farmlands and coal rich mountains.

Representative Holden sought his eight consecutive term as a member of
Congress this election having been the choice of voters since his first
term in 1992. He ran unopposed in the primary and is considered a very
conservative Democrat. Representative Holden’s official website
displayed his dedication to agriculture, rural development, and
conservation. The website highlighted his memberships in the Committee
on Agriculture, the Department Operations Oversight on Dairy Nutrition
and Forestry Subcommittee, and the Conservation Credit and Rural
Development Research Subcommittee. As of October 5, he raised $804,265
for his campaign. He spent only $349,799 and is currently reported to
have $584,312 cash on hand. PACs were responsible for funding most of
his campaign providing $515,486. Individuals gave $278,117 for campaign
expenses. Holden used no money of his own for his campaign.

Contrary to Holden, Republican Matthew Wertz sought his first term as a
member of Congress and faced an uphill battle from the start against his
heavily favored opponent. Wertz, a war vet, also ran unopposed in the
primary and was quoted saying that he was quite happy about coming home
to run for office. Wertz campaigned on three main issues: keeping the
middle-class tax cuts permanent, ending our dependency on foreign oil,
and supporting the President on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He
offered a statement saying, “…and this war on terrorism will be ended on
our terms…” Yet, Wertz struggled with financial issues while
campaigning. He only raised $12,400 for his campaign. Wertz spent
$12,463 and was reported as having $1,231 cash on hand. He received no
money from PACs, and only brought in $2,400 from individuals. Wertz
used $10,000 of his own money to fund his campaign. This lack of
funding may have been due to the fact that District 17 is a safe
democratic district with Tim Holden as the favorite choice of voters.

On September 20, Wertz announced his decision to stop actively
campaigning for a seat in Congress thus essentially giving the election
once again to Tim Holden. Because Wertz did not withdraw before the
specified time, his name will remain on the ballot come Election Day.
More on Wertz’s decision to stop actively campaigning will be presented
in the next web log…

Aaron Warchal

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