Gregory wins GOP nod for 80th

05/15/18 By Gary M. Baranec Jim Gregory (left) checking election results on his phone with campaign manager Joe Carper Tuesday at the Duncansville VFW.

DUNCANSVILLE — Repub­lican voters of the 80th state House District have spoken: Jim Gregory is their candidate for the general election.

Gregory, a Hollidaysburg Area School Board member, and Chris Creek, vice president of the Blair County Farm Bureau, were locked in a tight primary race Tuesday night across a legislative district that includes all of Blair County’s municipalities except Altoona, Logan Township and part of Allegheny Township.

Unofficial results Tuesday showed Gregory winning by 355 votes.

He totaled 4,375 votes or 52 percent compared with 4,020 votes for Creek.

Gregory was at the Duncansville VFW surrounded by supporters and family. It had been a long day, and he was tired, but when asked how he felt, three words came to his mind.

“Exhilarated, grateful, fulfilled,” he said. “I really just want people to know I appreciate all they did for me. Chris ran a tough campaign. He had people helping at the polls who were well-known in the precincts, and it showed today.”

Gregory said the 70 people who worked for him at the polls Tuesday made the difference.

“The faces we had working at the polls — voters knew them, and when you know the faces working the polls, that means a lot,” he said. “And that certainly was important today. Every vote counted.”

Creek was at the Eldolyn Terrace in Altoona on Tuesday when the news came that Gregory had won the nomination.

“Voters of Blair County have clearly made a choice but obviously closely divided,” he said. “I’m at a loss for words, which is unusual for me.”

He attributed his loss simply to the message people wanted to hear, pejoratively referring to Gregory as an “establishment candidate.”

“Clearly the message I had wasn’t what people wanted,” Creek said. “They are looking for an establishment-type candidate, happy with where the tax system is.”

Laura Burke ran uncontested as a Democrat, gaining 1,783 Democratic votes. She moves on to face Gregory in the November general election.

Gregory’s campaign manager, Joe Carper, said their sights will now shift to the November election.

Democrats are energized, Carper said, with a candidate in many races that are typically dominated by Republican candidates.

“We expect a strong showing,” he said. “Democrats are energized, and we in the Republican Party need to do everything we can to get out in November and vote.”

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.