HD-81: Upset Alert: Fleck Trails Write-in Votes for GOP Nom

Rep. Fleck

Rep. Fleck

Voters in central Pennsylvania’s 81st district cast 302 more write-in votes than votes for State Rep. Mike Fleck in the Republican primary.

Fleck, who is seeking his fifth term, is the state’s first openly gay GOP lawmaker.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, “write-in” took 3,700 votes to Fleck’s 3,398. Fleck won precincts in Centre County, but badly lost his home county of Huntingdon.

“At the end of the day, I’m still standing, this race is not over yet,” Fleck wrote on his Facebook page. “Thank you so very much to all the volunteers, my friends and family. You have no idea how much your support has meant to me and how proud I am to still be your representative, only time will tell for how long.

Most of the votes presumably went to Huntingdon County Treasurer Richard Irvin, who had filed to challenge Fleck but was stricken from the ballot due to faulty petition filing.

But Fleck may not be out of the running yet. The county boards of election first need to certify the total of write-ins won by Irvin; it is possible voters wrote other names or misspelled Irvin’s.

Even if Irvin takes all of the write-ins, he might face Fleck again in the fall. There are 1,887 Democratic write-in votes to be counted. If Fleck takes a plurality of those (totalling at least 300), he will be on the ballot as a Democrat in the fall.

It’s the latest chapter in a fascinating story. Fleck made national headlines in December 2012 when he became the first openly gay, sitting Republican lawmaker in Pennsylvania history. At the time, he was one of just two in the nation.

It was a major liability in his deep red district, which comprises parts of Centre, Huntingdon and Mifflin counties.

In a lengthy Wednesday morning Facebook post, Fleck upbraided opponents who he said targeted him with homophobic attacks.

“I am gay. I don’t wear it on my sleeve, it doesn’t define who I am, and quite frankly it’s the least interesting part about me. Nevertheless, I knew that when I came out this race would be nothing more, nothing less than whether my constituency could wrap their mind around the fact that I was a gay man,” Fleck wrote. “I knew back then, as I do now that my political fate was out of my hands. I would continue to do what I have always done, and that was to represent my district to the best of my ability.”

But his sexual orientation wasn’t the only fodder for conservative critics. Even back in 2011, a year before Fleck came out, the conservative group Citizens Alliance for Pennsylvania was on TV in his district. Their ad slammed Fleck over his support for green energy programs and votes in favor of appropriations during Ed Rendell’s administration.

 

May 21st, 2014 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 25 Comments

25 thoughts on “HD-81: Upset Alert: Fleck Trails Write-in Votes for GOP Nom”

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  6. Carlos E. says:

    I thank God that I don’t live in the middle of that judgmental, hypocritical herd of haters.

    Just a reminder: 1) Christians follow the teachings of Christ, 2) there is NO reference in the Gospels about homosexuality so 3) if you are condemning homosexuals you’re referring to the Old Testament and that makes you Jewish.

    You people aren’t just egomaniacs who think anyone different from you is wrong, you’re also a bunch of mindless donkeys following a carrot called righteousness.

    Get off the cross. We can put the wood to better use.

  7. jjcnpa says:

    chrisb, sorry you are wrong. Look at the spending of federal funds in red states vs blue states and you will find that much more is spent in the red states. Also, 8 out of the 10 richest counties voted for Obama, don’t tell me the red counties is where people pay the most income taxes. Also 9 out of the 10 top states where people have college degrees and thus earn more money and pay more taxes voted for Obama. Fleck was a conservative he was voted out because of narrow-mindedness. He overwhelmingly won Centre County where people are more educated and lost big in Huntingdon County where people live sheltered lives fearing anything or anyone who is different.

  8. Taoiseach says:

    HAS ANYONE HEARD A FAT LADY OR ANY OTHER PERSON SING YET ? I HAVE NOT. THIS ONE DOES NOT GET SETTLED FOR A WHILE.

  9. Since Irvin was (1) taken off the ballot for not filing a financial disclosure form with his nominating petitions and (2) his campaign was a write-in, it would seem if his write-in is not successful, it would appear on the surface he would not be subjected to the sore loser law and could run as an independent, if he so chose.

  10. Watching and Waiting says:

    As far as the story is concerned, his only hope is that not all of the write-in votes are for one person, and/or they aren’t all valid.

    Running as a Democrat in that district will only mean he gets to lose a second time – something it seems he was already expecting nearly 2 years ago, given his decision to announce his homosexuality right after the 2012 election.

  11. Watching and Waiting says:

    Look, regardless of who lives in his district, he made a calculated decision not to make public the end of his marriage and his sexual preference until after he won the 2012 election.

    Honestly, marriages end far too often, so that’s not a big deal, and I could care less what his sexual habits are. And no one else would have cared if he had kept them to himself as he obviously did for the six-plus years he was in office.

    But when he goes public with something, and cynically after an election he knew he might not have won if he had gone public with the information before the election, that does break your trust with the voters. It indicates he didn’t trust them to make the correct decision at the polls, and he wasn’t willing to have that conversation with them before that election.

    Now maybe they are as closed-minded in that district as some of the posts have painted that district. But he acted like he didn’t want them to have the chance to make their own decision – after listening to his side – waiting until just after the election to make his announcement … and that sits well with no one, not even broader-minded individuals.

  12. chris b says:

    to jjcnpa
    Your comment is almost funny. You mock the very ones who pay the most income taxes, property taxes, own the most land, provide you with food to eat from their farms, produce the cotton that you are wearing in your t-shirt and in your socks, collect the least in unemployment benefits and welfare benefits, and have the most stable families. Next time a Democrat wins the presidency, take a look at the Blue/ Red map, the country is mostly red, despite the loss. The “poor, white , rural conservatives are the ones who keep this nation”.
    Unfortunately, its the Democrats that have enslaved the minorities to be dependent on government entitlements.

  13. jjcnpa says:

    Rural conservative, poor white voters are clueless. They vote “values” while the conservatives they support vote against their economic interest.

  14. chris b says:

    to happy valley

    good point… ,but yes, homosexuality is much worse to Christians because the Bible makes it clear that homosexuality has many unseen consequences and that God hates the act of homosexuality, but loves the homosexual who can choose to abstain and still lead a happy life. True Christians are compelled to this truth.

  15. chris b says:

    to call on saul..
    Mr. Fleck was voted in office by the constituents of the 81st district because he ran as a conservative family man which represents the values of the 81st district. After he was elected in the last election 2 years ago, he then announced the bombshell that he is gay and that he divorced his wife. No one is perfect, however, after making this announcement, he clearly violated the trust of his constituents by waiting until after the election knowing that he would not have been voted in if the announcement had been made prior to the election. A man of character would have been transparent about this issue. You must reflect the values and needs of your particular constituents to “be fit for office”, otherwise the election process is vain. Mr. Fleck pulled a complete 360 on his constituents, even though this issue had been stirring for sometime.

  16. chris b says:

    to someone smarter….
    I didn’t quote scripture, but I would be happy to show you the scripture that supports the love of the truth. Though we don’t live in a theocracy, the founding forefathers based many constitutional principals on the Bible… remember where we get our laws. This teaching that sin harms all people is not bigotry, its the truth, which had been honored in our country until the 1950’s.
    It is not a coincidence that since abandoning the Bible in our schools and in our government that the USA has become a drug addicted, obese, materialistic, divorce happy, sexualized country that has the highest rate of suicide, crime, welfare beneficiaries, and mass shootings in the industrialized world.

    Keep in mind, the people of Pennsylvania, through their legislators, passed a law banning gay marriage in 1996 and certainly would have supported a State constitutional amendment. Remember, our founding forefathers who wrote the constitution would certainly not approve of homosexual marriage as they also believed in the Bible as the bedrock to our nation.

  17. Someone who is obviously smarter than Chris B says:

    @ Chris B.
    You can take your bible brow beating, bible thumping bigotry and stick it up your a$$. The New Testament says a lot of things that you conveniently chose to ignore, so don’t cover up your delusional hatred of people with quotes or rather misquotes of scripture.
    People like you are the reason for abortion. If there is a God, he’ll strike you down!

  18. better call saul says:

    @Chris B

    What the Bible says or does not say has no bearing on whether someone is fit to serve in elected office.

  19. chris b says:

    To the John M.
    The Bible clearly states in the old and new testament that homosexuality is a sexual perversion which is not only a sin, but is also damaging to the sinners spiritual and emotional state(because of sexual activity outside of the marriage bond). It is also described in the old and new testament as one of the worse sins, yes, there are some sins that are worse than others and homosexuality is one of those as it perverts the symbolism of marriage between a man and a woman reflecting the marriage between Christ, the groom, and the church, the bride. It is an abomination to God to live in active homosexuality as it is a perversion of the very nature God created where the man and woman were created for sex to procreate and to consummate the marriage. Therefore, marriage between two of the same gender will never be recognized as married in the eyes of God.
    If you are truly interested in the truth, you will find that the Bible is crystal clear on God’s view of homosexuality and I will certainly supply those passages and explanation of such upon request.
    I should add that since homosexuality is sin, just as lying is sin, the sinner can repent and no longer engage in homosexual sex and ask God for forgiveness and He will give that person a new life and Christ will redeem that person from the bond of sin, any sin…..even homosexuality.

    Government was instituted by God and it should reflect the morality of the people it represents.
    H

  20. John M. says:

    As a former resident of Huntingdon County, I can attest that bigotry is strong there, and until the backward-thinking element is eliminated by attrition (we are all mortal, and subject to the march of time and progress), there will be those who feel they are granted the right to judge others. I applaud Mr. Fleck, and mock the bigots’ entitlement to “authority,” whether it be the mistaken idea that God somehow loves them more than gay people, or that He gives them the power of Judgement. Their sense of entitlement is not only unsupported by the teachings of Christ, it is tremendously unattractive to prospective new Christians, who will simply look elsewhere for guidance. In the end, Christianity and bigotry do not mix.

  21. Happy Valley says:

    So him being gay is worse than that judge you have in Huntindon who got drunk at a judicial convention and tried to bang down a woman’s hotel room door, and had to be dragged away by hotel staff? You reelected that guy.

  22. John says:

    I see a lot of the bigots have raided the article comments.

  23. Whistle Pig says:

    Seems Mr. Fleck’s managed to destroy his marriage and now his credibility with his personal choice. And his deceptions, i.e. lying.

    Some will say his defeat in the Republican party is a function of values.

    Others will say his downfall is a failure to support conservative policies and choosing to support liberal, “progressive” policies.

    And most will confirm that his demise is a function of character. He has lied to his ex-wife about his sexual preferences. She left upon discovering his desire for others who are males. Fleck announced it in a front page interview … conveniently and deceptively … some 2 weeks after winning his last election, despite announcing his homosexuality to his Harrisburg mates some months before. And obviously either announcing it to his then-wife, or her discovering his deception, some years prior to. She departed in 2010 according to Fleck’s NY Times centerfold piece. He indicated his desire to make his homosexuality an issue that his red-necked homies might be “enlightened.” Then his deception continued, noting a piece mailed to all of the District, covertly denying or at least choosing to ignore the truth that he is a registered Republican, as he sought democrat write-in votes. He obviously anticipated his defeat in the Republican primary. Of note, that mail piece featuring Mike Fleck was sent by the left-wing PSEA teachers union. Quietly deceptive.

    As we learned during and since the Clinton/Lewinsky sex scandal, character does count. Deception is merely a deceitful word for lying by commission and/or convenient omission. Or in the case of his public announcement that he loves to love men … timing. Imagine if he’d told the electorate of his desires in 2010, when his wife departed her fallen soulmate … instead of December 2012.

  24. Jake says:

    The people of Huntingdon County still have morals and refused to be bullied by the liberal mob into accepting what is perverse.

    Congrats to all of my fellow Huntingdon County voters for standing on principle!

  25. Porter Randolph says:

    Ah, Pennsyltucky covers itself in glory once again!

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