Topper celebrates ‘quiet’ 78th District win

Jesse Topper said he would celebrate his victory in Tuesday’s primary in a very low-key fashion.

Topper, the incumbent for the Republican ticket in the 78th Pennsylvania House District, said he was monitoring the election results at home, with his wife by his side, in lieu of a big victory celebration.

He said it was nice to take it easy, after winning two campaigns back-to-back. He had his big celebration a few months ago.

“My wife and I are in our living room, watching the numbers come in,” Topper said Tuesday night. “It’s a very quiet evening, and a quiet evening at home is how I’d like to celebrate.”

Topper, a Bedford minister and Republican Party officer, has been the 78th District representative for a little over four months after winning a special election for the seat in late January. He replaced longtime Rep. Dick Hess, who died on Sept. 6, 2013.

Topper defeated challenger Josh Lang by more than 3,000 votes Tuesday night, according to unofficial elections data, with all but one precinct reporting. He took the district 4,942 votes to 1,828 votes, earning 73 percent of those counted.

The district represents a significant chunk of Bedford County, all of Fulton County and part of Franklin County. In Bedford County, Topper earned more than 75 percent of the vote, defeating Lang 3,465 votes to 1,122.

He said his campaign team “worked tirelessly” to help him win the special election, only to then get back on the campaign trail almost immediately. Topper announced his bid for re-election on Feb. 17, just a week after being sworn in to the District 78 seat.

He said he sees two major issues on the horizon for the state legislature: a “very difficult” budgetary process and a need to fix the pension system.

“We’re really going to need to roll up our sleeves as members of the General Assembly, and I have every confidence that we will do just that,” Topper said.

Lang, an Army veteran, said he moved back to Bedford about a year before beginning his campaign.

“I just think it was a matter of not enough people getting to know me,” he said. “We just came up short, and that happens.”

Lang said that a loss in his first campaign has not turned him away from running for office.

He said he will take a few days off to digest the primary’s results before meeting with his supporters to develop a game plan for another possible election.

He said he isn’t exactly sure if that will be another run for the Pennsylvania House or for another position but feels it’s only a matter of time before he gets elected.

“[My supporters] feel that I’m an ideal leader for the community,” Lang said. “I’m young but eager to go back into it.”

Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535.