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Eichelberger is 4th conservative to enter race for Congressman Shuster's seat

Written by Jim Hook/The Chambersburg Public Opinion | Jan 17, 2018 9:46 AM
john_eichelberger.jpg

FILE PHOTO: Republican state Senator John Eichelberger (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

(East Freedom) -- State Sen. John Eichelberger Jr., R-Hollidaysburg, has announced his candidacy to represent Pennsylvania's 9th District in Congress.

Eichelberger, a former Blair County Commissioner, is the fourth candidate to announce that he is seeking the GOP nomination in the May 15 Primary.

Eichelberger made the announcement on Saturday to 100 supporters at the Freedom Township Volunteer Fire Company, Blair County.

Eichelberger originally sought the seat in 2001 when party leaders chose Bill Shuster to succeed Bud Shuster in the heavily Republican district. In 2006 Eichelberger defeated state Sen. Robert Jubelirer, then president pro tempore, as part of a clean sweep of politicians who in the middle of the night voted themselves pay raises.

Eichelberger, 59, chairs the Senate Education Committee and is vice chairman of the banking and insurance committee. He also runs his own insurance agency when the Senate is not in session. He is a 1985 graduate of Penn State.

Shuster, outgoing chairman of the House transportation committee, announced earlier this month that he would not seek re-election. Potential candidates hail from across the 12-county congressional district and its three population centers - Altoona, Chambersburg and Uniontown.

Travis Schooley of Quincy Township, Franklin County; Art Halvorson of Manns Choice, Bedford County; and Ben Hornberger of Shippensburg, Cumberland County, previously announced they will seek the Republican nomination. State Rep. Dave Reed, House majority leader from Indiana County, and John Joyce, an Altoona physician who operates Altoona Dermatology Associates,also have said they are considering running.

Adam Sedlock -- a psychologist from Uniontown, Indiana County -- is the lone Democrat so far to announce.

Eichelberger, a conservative, is the lone declared candidate to have held office. He represents the 30th state senatorial district consisting of Blair, Huntingdon and Fulton counties and parts of Franklin and Cumberland counties.

Schooley and Halvorson previously ran against Shuster. Halvorson, a retired Coast Guard captain from Bedford County and real estate entrepreneur, ran in 2014 and 2016. Schooley, 43, made a strong showing in Franklin County when he ran in 2014. He ran unsuccessfully in 2015 for Franklin County Commissioner against the two GOP incumbents.

Hornberger, 23, had planned to run in 2020 against Shuster, but changed his plans when the congressman announced his retirement.

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The Chambersburg Public Opinion

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