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Hempfield supervisor to aid Hardy election effort

Multimillionaire and Fayette County commissioner candidate Joe Hardy Monday hired former Westmoreland County GOP chairwoman Kim Ward to coordinate his campaign.

Ward, a Hempfield Township supervisor, is widely credited with aiding the 1999 upset win of Republican Westmoreland County Commissioner P. Scott Connor.

"Kim's a pretty remarkable person in the sense that she can formulate a campaign and get the message out to the people. It's still the candidate that's important, but that said, there's nobody I'd rather have in my corner than Kim Ward," Connor said.

Ward said she's honored that Hardy asked her to help his candidacy.

"He really wants to give the county a better reputation," she said.

Hardy, 80, is the chief executive officer of 84 Lumber and founder of the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa in Wharton Township, Fayette County.

He lists his home at the rear of the posh resort as his address.

Even with Ward's hiring, Hardy has not yet made a public appearance to discuss his candidacy or returned reporters' calls.

In a press release last week, Hardy stated that he would donate his salary to the Fayette County Area Food Bank if he's elected.

"I love Fayette County, and it's my desire to give something back to the community and the area," he stated in the release.

Hardy faces five other Republicans in the May 20 primary.

Businessman David Lohr, a South Connellsville insurance and investment salesman, has run twice unsuccessfully, coming in fourth place as an independent in the general election in 1999.

Angela Zimmerlink, a paralegal and controversial member of the Fayette County Housing Authority board of directors, also ran unsuccessfully in 1999.

Roofing contractor and former Uniontown councilman Donald M. Miller II is making his first run for the office, along with former retail manager and current Careerlink employee John Evans, a director at the Brownsville Area School District.

Ken Firestone, a Bedford insurance salesman from Normalville, also is vying for the nomination.

Ward said her work with Hardy would not affect her position as Hempfield supervisor.

"That's a policy position," she said.

Ward is the owner of Commonwealth Political Associates, a Greensburg consulting firm.

In addition to the Connor campaign, Ward was the Westmoreland County chairwoman for the 1994 Santorum for Senate campaign and the southwest political director for the senator's successful 2000 re-election campaign.

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