Aument joy

By on February 20, 2014

GOP picks their Senator

Ryan Aument received the Republican Committee of Lancaster County’s endorsement for the 36th Senatorial District seat at the GOP convention Tuesday night.

Aument earned the required two-thirds majority vote from committee members in the third ballot at the convention to defeat Gordon Denlinger 117-56.

Both candidates gave up House seats to run for the state Senate seat left open when Mike Brubaker decided not to seek reelection.

Elizabethtown resident Robert William was bounced after the first ballot.

“I’m obviously thrilled and extremely humbled by the overwhelming result tonight,” Aument said Tuesday at the Farm and Home Center in Lancaster.

Aument, who currently represents the 41st Legislative House District, appeared to be the favorite going into Tuesday night’s convention.

Last month, he took the most votes when members of the county GOP held informal straw polls.

“We presented a positive vision, issue-based campaign and these committee members, who work very hard in making a recommendation to the electorate, spent considerable time the last two or three months meeting with candidates and vetting these campaigns,” Aument said.

Denlinger, who currently hold the seat in the 99th Legislative House District, met quietly with his family, campaign team and teary-eyed supporters at 11 p.m. – four hours after the convention began.

“Certainly I congratulate Representative Aument on his endorsement vote here tonight,” Denlinger said. “It is the expression of the will of 173 people in a district with 250,000 citizens.”

But despite the defeat, Denlinger would not rule out the possibility of running as an independent in the November general election.

“I’m going to take a couple days and think about my future course, but I have gotten a lot of encouragement by citizens all across Northern Lancaster County to consider running as an independent Republican and to fight for them for their values,” Denlinger said.

The convention kicked off with remarks from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and Congressmen Joe Pitts and Pat Meehan. All three later received unanimous endorsements from the Republican Committee of Lancaster County.

As expected, Rep. Steve Mentzer also received the unanimous endorsement of the RCLC for his first reelection bid in the 97th District, which covers most of Manheim Township and all of Warwick Township and Lititz Borough.

Mentzer rose out of a crowded field of nine Republicans seeking to replace three-term incumbent Rep. John Bear and ran unopposed in the 2012 general election.

He said the first year was a learning experience in the House, “but also frustrating” due to the prevailing partisan makeup of Pennsylvania lawmakers.

“The one thing we have been able to accomplish is the unity of our (seven-member) Lancaster Republican delegation,” he said. “On major issues we’ve been able to stick together, and so seven votes out of 203 are much more powerful than just one.”

Mentzer is expected to face Democrat Charlie Hample, A Lancaster City school teacher from Lititz in the general election in November.

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

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