Ward tops Ritchey, aims for Stern seat

Judy Ward is a step closer to her goal of being the successor to state Rep. Jerry Stern in the 80th District.

Republican voters selected Ward, a nurse and Republican Party officer, as their nominee in the primary Tuesday over Hollidaysburg Area School Board member Aaron Ritchey.

Ward won 3,969 of 6,907 votes cast by Republicans in the 80th District, according to unofficial results. She won more than 57 percent of the votes to Ritchey’s more than 42 percent.

Ward said she was surprised to have won about the same number of votes as Ritchey in the southern part of the county.

She said that gave her momentum. Areas of Hollidaysburg and northern Blair County fell heavily in Ward’s favor.

She commended Ritchey for running a positive campaign.

“I hope I earn the respect of his supporters going into the fall election,” she said.

Ward could face veteran Jason Lynn, an independent, in the November general election.

No Democratic candidates were on the 80th District ballot Tuesday.

The victor in the fall election will succeed Stern, R-Martinsburg, who is retiring.

Ward has said she is committed to bringing conservative values to the state Legislature. Good jobs, quality education and personal constituent services are what Pennsylvania needs most, she said.

“I care about people. That’s what this office is about, caring for people of this district,” she said on Tuesday.

Ward and Ritchey shared some similar ideas on issues. They both would consider tax increases only if there is a tradeoff by eliminating school property taxes and making other spending cuts. They also shared concerns for pension reform and reining in state spending.

Ritchey could not be reached Tuesday night for comment.

Ward said she feels good about the campaign she ran. She has had more name recognition and campaign funding than Ritchey because of her position as a Republican Party officer and her family business Ward Transport and Logistics. However, she said that can be spun negatively. She said her campaign has been successful because she has reached out to people during her campaign tours.

“When you are upfront with people, they respect that,” she said.