Independent candidate Karen Ramsburg, seeking to unseat Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster in the 9th Congressional District, has won the Democratic nomination, her campaign announced.
Ramsburg received more than 1,643 confirmed Democratic write-in votes. Democratic voters rejected the "Democrats for Shuster" effort by large margins in every county except Fayette, the campaign said.
Ramsburg also did well among Republican write-in voters, winning up to 16 percent against Shuster among Republicans in at least one Blair County precinct. Campaign manager Lou Mollica said Ramsburg's bipartisan popularity offers the first real chance in decades of dislodging the 40-year "Shuster Dynasty."
Ramsburg needed a minimum of 1,000 Democratic write-in votes to meet the November ballot-access requirements. She said that she had the option of seeking a similar number of signatures on a ballot-access petition, but going directly to voters was the most viable option.
"Karen has real support among small business owners, landowners, and others struggling to make ends meet in Shuster's Wal-Mart economy," Mollica said. "She also supports gun rights. Unlike Shuster, she is developing a real plan for revitalizing manufacturing in the district and extricating the country from the suicidal trade relations that politicians like Shuster have fostered with ultra-low-wage countries like China."
Another issue that concerns Ramsburg is gas fracking on the Marcellus Shale formation.
"Pennsylvania needs to harvest its gas, but Shuster and his allies are treating the state like a third-world resource colony, leaving local landowners and townships virtually powerless to advance their own interests," Ramsburg said. "Many of the leases landowners have signed are laughably inequitable. Thanks to Shuster and [Gov. Tom] Corbett, the government will side against the landowners every time."