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Campaign sniping stirs many in Alle-Kiski Valley to vote

Chuck Biedka
| Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010

Many who went to the polls for Tuesday's midterm elections said they wanted to help their favorite candidate, while others voted to throw out someone they didn't like.

No matter the motive, a spot check at polling places around the Alle-Kiski Valley showed that voting was higher than usual for a so-called off-year election.

Voter turnout was about 50 percent in Buffalo Township with three hours to go; one voting place in Oakmont had a 50 percent turnout shortly after noon.

Campaign tone lamented

Lucille Ellias, of Sherman Avenue, New Kensington, said she didn't like the amount of campaign money originating in Virginia and elsewhere used in the state House race pitting Democrat incumbent John Pallone and Republican Eli Evankovich.

Ellias also lamented that information stating the candidates' positions on key issues largely were replaced in many races by vicious campaign sniping on TV and elsewhere in the media.

In Buffalo Township, Sally Bagdon, of Riemer Road, shared the thought.

"This shouldn't be allowed. And what a waste of money," she said.

"It's garbage," said Walter Schultz, of Strawn Avenue, voting in New Kensington. Candidates and lobbies "spent all that money. All that mudslinging.

"They should have put that money into a hospital or something."

Michele Szitas, voting in Harmar, said the negative campaigning was "full of half-truths, that got half-truths in reply." Voters needed to check the facts and make up their minds before going to the polls, she said.

Specific races draw voters

She specifically made the trip for the Congressional race, although she made choices for the other races.

Some said they wanted to start over with all new candidates.

"I looked for a 'throw-out-all-of-the-above' button," said Ed Householder of Seventh Street in New Kensington.

Dave McClain of Smith Road, Buffalo Township, also was unhappy with the "politics as usual" attitude of some candidates.

"They need to stop lying to the people," he said.

The overall negativism might have caused some people to stay home, said Martha Lawver of Florian Drive, Harmar. She doesn't buy it.

"I told my friends that if you don't vote, then don't complain," she said.

"That's right," said her husband, Ira, outside a Harmar polling place.

The state 33rd Legislative District race also attracted partisans on each side.

"I always vote. But I came out today specifically for Frank Dermody," said Sophia Facoros of 13th Street in Oakmont.

John Michanowicz, of Harmar, said he went to the polling location yesterday just to vote against Dermody.

"I e-mailed him many times about taking the pay raise and he never even got back to me," he said. "The voters just have to change the people in the state and federal government. They have to start listening to the voters."

A sense of duty

Some saw voting as their duty.

Matthew Hayden, of Buffalo Township, said he took the mudslinging in stride and picked the best candidates.

"I was here to vote for all of them, not just one candidate in one race," he said.

First-time voter Tara Wisniewski, of Route 356, Buffalo Township, wasn't deterred by the negative tenor of most campaigns.

In fact, she was simply excited and pleased to vote.

She wasn't fazed by the verbal political bloodletting.

"If you like politics, then you'd like it. If not, then you wouldn't," she said.

"But we need to vote."

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