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November 7, 2012

Decision 2012: Kelly turns back challenge

NEW CASTLE — U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly won re-election to a second term Tuesday, handily defeating his Democratic opponent, Missa Eaton.

The Butler Republican received 159,630 votes in the 3rd District that spreads over seven counties. Eaton, a Sharon resident, received 119,905 votes. Independent candidate Steven Porter had 12,308 votes.

Kelly won the Lawrence County portion of the district by approximately 2,500 votes. The northern three-fourths of the county was added to the 3rd District the past year as the result of redistricting to reflect the 2010 census.

“Lawrence County was important,” the 64-year-old Kelly said. For us to win Lawrence County was a big deal.”

He thanked people in the county, including Republican county chairman William Schafer, for “working very hard” on his behalf.

Asked what he believed was key to his victory, Kelly said, “I have a lot of friends in the Democratic party.”

Noting that he has “good conservative values,” Kelly said, “I think they looked at who’s the most qualified person.”

Despite the loss, Eaton said, “We did really well.”

She said she was “at a disadvantage with money. But not at a disadvantage with heart.”

Eaton, 49, a former assistant professor at Penn State Shenango, commented, “We ran a clean race. We worked as hard as we could.”

She said she had “wonderful people working for me.”

As for the future, Eaton said, “I’ll be involved integrally in the district.”

Kelly won every county with the exception of Mercer and Erie counties. She won Mercer County by about 1,200 votes and Erie County by about 13,000 votes.

Kelly carried his home county of Butler by about 33,700 votes.

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)

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