Deadlines come and go; Primary is May 20

It’s officially the first day of spring and that means that primary election season is upon us.

The last day to file and circulate nomination petitions for individuals vying for a spot on the primary ticket as a Democrat or Republican passed on March 11.

Objections to the nomination petitions, such as those contesting number or validity of signatures, were due by March 18 and court decisions involving nomination petitions should be rendered by March 26.

While the Pennsylvania Department of State cast lots to determine the order in which candidates will appear on the Republican and Democratic ballots on March 19, candidates can still withdraw from the elections by March 26.

A final list of candidates which will appear on the Republican and Democratic primary ballots will be provided to county boards of election by March 31.

The primary election, which falls on May 20, will determine who will appear on the ballot for the Republican and Democratic parties in the November general election.

Those not facing a primary election, such as independent and third-party candidates have until Aug. 1 to file and circulate petitions to appear on the general election ballot on Nov. 4. However, unlike candidates for the two major parties in the primary election, they could not start the process until March 12. Primary election candidates were permitted to begin the process on Feb. 18.

According to Warren County Director of Elections Lisa Zuck, absentee ballot applications have already been sent out to voters who regularly use them. For others, the application deadline for an absentee ballot is May 13.

Civilian absentee ballots must be received by the county board of elections by May 16. Military overseas absentee ballots are not due until May 27, but must be submitted no later than May 19.

For voters physically going to the polls on May 20, the final day to register or make changes to their voter registration information is April 21.

In Warren County, depending on where voters reside, they will weigh in on either six or seven election races when they head to the polls for the primary election.

For the majority of the county, the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. representative for the 5th congressional district, state representative for the 65th district, representative to the state committee for their respective political party and representatives to the county committee for their respective political party will appear.

For residents in the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s 50th senatorial district, which stretches into Columbus, Eldred, Southwest and Spring Creek townships, a race for state senator will also appear. The remainder of the county is in the state’s 21st senatorial district and is represented by state Sen. Scott Hutchinson, whose seat is not up for grabs until 2016.

While an official, final list of candidates isn’t available until after the petition objection and candidate withdrawal deadlines, the Pennsylvania Department of State does have listings of candidates who have filed and, thus far, remain valid candidates. The listings include all positions except county-level representative to party committees.

The race for governor currently boasts primary races for both parties. Incumbent Tom Corbett is on the Republican ballot against Robert Guzzardi. Meanwhile, in the Democratic primary race, five candidates are vying for the chance to appear on their party’s ticket in the general election including Rob McCord, Allyson Schwartz, Jack Wagner, Katie McGinty and Tom Wolf.

In the race for lieutenant governor, Republican incumbent Jim Cawley is the sole GOP candidate. Six Democrats are competing for the chance to run in November, including Mark Smith, Jay Paterno, Brad Koplinski, Mark Critz, Mike Stack and Brandon Neuman.

Only the Democrats will see a primary race for the 5th congressional district. Democrats Kerith Strano Taylor and Thomas Tarantella will face each other for the chance to challenge Republican incumbent Rep. Glenn Thompson to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

At the state level, only one candidate is on the ballot for either party in the race to serve in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Republican Kathy Rapp and Democrat Toby Anderson are both the only candidates for the office for their respective parties.

For those who live in the state’s 50th senatorial district, a race is shaping up on the Republican side. Republicans Greg Lucas, Jane MacPherson and Michele Brooks are all vying for the chance to face the sole Democratic candidate, Michael Muha. The seat is being vacated with the retirement of current state Sen. Bob Robbins, a Republican whose term is expiring this year.

On the Democratic side, only one candidate is registered as running to be a member of the party’s state committee, Jeff Eggleston. The sole candidate on the Republican side is Ash Kare.

Candidate listings are not available yet for membership in the Democratic and Republican county committees. Two will be selected from each voting precinct. The Republicans will choose by voting for “no more than two” candidates while the Democrats will choose one woman and one man.

Races for state and county-level party committees only appear on the primary ballot.