Shuster Picks Up Second Challenger

Travis Schooley
Travis Schooley

The race for Congress in PA-9 is getting crowded.

Travis Schooley, a Franklin County businessman and U.S Army veteran, has announced his intention to become the second challenger against Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Blair). Schooley tried to run in 2012 but was forced to drop out when his ballot signatures were challenged.

“Bill Shuster is not an authentic conservative, because he is not conservative in all regards…” Schooley wrote in his announcement. “It is time to have one of our OWN to REPRESENT, SERVE, and DEFEND.”

Schooley joins businessman Art Halvorson, who announced in May that he will run against the seven-term congressman in the Republican primary.

He had harsh things to say about both candidates in a campaign release, both of whom he painted as carpetbaggers.

“Bill Shuster moved here in junior high and the third candidate, Art, moved here in 2007,” the campaign release reads. “We have to ask ourselves, why do those with Washington D.C. insider connections keep moving into our district to run for Congress? What is wrong with our own people, that we should elect outsiders to lead us in the halls of Congress?”

Schooley claims to have known ancestors in the area dating back to 1765, and says he has “literally thousands of blood relatives in (the) district.”

If all three candidates make it to the ballot, Shuster is the most likely beneficiary of Schooley’s candidacy. The Congressman has not faced a serious opponent in any recent elections. The presence of two challengers would split the anti-Shuster vote.

Halvorson said he’d met with Schooley and seemed to hold out hope that Schooley would decide to not pursue a bid.

“I had the pleasure of speaking and praying with Travis at the Blair County Tea Party rally on July 4. We both agreed to proceed with our campaigns at the time, but that we would meet sometime down the road to discuss an agreeable strategy that would most effectively allow an authentic conservative to represent the people of Pennsylvania’s ninth district,” Halvorson told PoliticsPA.

He had only nice things to say.

“I am encouraged that great Americans like Travis are willing to answer the call to public service. I also believe I am answering that call as we move forward with our campaign.”

Shuster’s campaign is not showing any concern for his primary opponents. Campaign Manager Sean Joyce emphasized Shuster’s GOP bona fides.

“Congressman Shuster continues to focus on promoting conservative solutions for the challenges facing Pennsylvanians. From voting to repeal Obamacare, cutting taxes for 99 percent of our working families, and reigning in the out-of-control IRS, Congressman Shuster has a proven conservative record,” Joyce told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “[Shuster] is not concerned with D.C. special interest groups attempting to cloud the minds of southwestern Pennsylvanian voters.”

But the odds are, if Schooley faces another challenge to his petition signatures, it won’t come from Shuster or his allies.

Update: Halvorson’s campaign categorically ruled out the possibility of challenging Schooley’s nominating petitions should both men remain in campaign.

“We’re not gonna play dirty politics to keep him out of the race,” Halvorson campaign manager Matt Derian said.

22 Responses

  1. Ben rice is money over principles every time. Ben will back someone with money without even knowing where a person stands on the issues – Trust Me. Ben is like the Republicans in D.C., compromising accross the isle and accepting one foot to ten lost. Go Travis We Have Your Back! You Are Principle First Above All – And You Are Our Native Born Candidate For The Small Folks Of This District. I’ll Be Emailing You To Support You.

  2. I personally know Mr. Schooley and I cannot think of a better man to represent the 9th District. He is for the people, passionate in his endeavors, and has many roots in the 9th District as well, which do in fact go back to the 1700’s. With more funding and campaigning, I have no doubt that Mr. Schooley’s name will be on the ballot this time around and he will help make the Nation a better place for us and our future generations.

  3. I too know Travis and don’t know of a better person to pursue this than him. This is something he is passionate about. His determination and stamina are exactly what the 9th district needs in a leader not to mention his astute abilities in understanding bills and the laws of our country. His intentions are pure of heart and he would truly look out for the interests of his constituents in accordance with the Constitution.
    The previous attempt that was mentioned by others was only a gauge of support by signature collection only. There was no fundraising even conducted. Seeing that he was able to defeat Shuster in a precinct with only a write-in option, I can only imagine what he can do with a little fundraising and campaigning.
    His declaration of candidacy that he gave in 2012 was his word and he intends to stand by his word. So Shuster didn’t just pick up a second challenger he has been there and will continue to be there so that HIS people will have a chance to speak. So I say “Go Travis and keep true to your word!”

  4. While I admire Mr Schooley’s political stance, and his energies, I don’t think he has the organizational capacity to mount a serious campaign. In 2012, he was unable to manifest the resources, organizational prowess and talents of persuasion required to build a credible campaign. Shuster marginalised him easily.

    Mr Schooley might win ballot status this time, simply because it isn’t in Shuster’s interest to challenge it in court, as his team did in successfully in 2012.

    But if we’re serious about dislodging Shuster, Schooley simply isn’t the man to accomplish it. Halvorson, by contrast, has a meaningful shot, with or without Schooley on the ballot. He’ll have to look beyond the Tea Party for support, though, and appeal to disillusioned majority who are frustrated with both parties.

  5. Add on: If Rep. Shuster is not concerned then I hope he won’t campaign for the primary just sit this one out . Shuster is not concerned about D.C. special interest groups clouding SW PA voters’ minds—O f course not, his is already clouded. How does someone raise as much money as he does for his campaigns? Not from his district alone. Franklin County is in South Central PA (not SW PA).

    I wanted to clarify I think that Bi-partnership means that both sides come together. In today’s current climate of Washington D.C. the Ds think bipartisan means the Rs coming to their side and nowhere in the image are the Ds moving in the Rs direction. I don’t consider that partnership. I consider that an abuse and control Violence Cycle with the Rpublicans being the ones taking the abuse.

  6. These 435 U.S. Rep seats need individuals that once they get elected to do the work in Washington D.C. represent both their home district and the Country as a whole. The person need to be able to work well with other conservatives representatives in D.C. to pass legislation that impacts on the National scale that trickles down to the state level, county level and then to local communities. That is were I fault Rep. Shuster. He plays with the other side that is why we call him a liberal leaning (left sided Moderate) Republican.

    I don’t know Travis. He may very well be a good person and have the potential but I doubt he is able to win the primary over Shuster (1st off) and if by some chance he does I doubt he can win the general election over the Democrat. Shuster had a hard time in 2012 against someone who had little money. I believe Art Halverson can win both the primary election and the general election.

    We the People, who are truly conservatives, have to look at this for the larger picture that is at stake. I hope Travis Schooley will do the same. He can still offer his skills and talents in public service to help the country and community. He could even think maybe about holding off this time and helping Art Halverson’s race to add more power to it. It is about then one person.

    I learned about Mr. Halverson from reading here on PA Politics and went searching. Please reconsider Mr.Schooley. I think you have the spirit for public service I don’t think this U.S. Rep cycle is the time.

  7. Bob Guzzardi, thanks for choosing CVS pharmacy to service all your psychotropic pharmaceutical needs! Your psychiatric team has called in your prescriptions, all have been filled and are ready to be picked up. You’ll need a photo ID Mr Guzzardi to pick up your meds, and we recommend you don’t drive yourself as these powerful psychiatric drugs will impact your cognitive and motor skills.

  8. Why is Big Money needed to win this race?
    Art is a Washington insider. Republicans are throwing Bill under the bus. I agree with Terry H. Travis stay in the race. I will send you 50.00 and tell all my friends to do the same. The real roots are grassroots!

  9. Hey Bob, why don’t you buy an ad on Politics PA? They could use the cash since you’re using up all their bandwidth for free.

  10. “Several key GOP incumbents already have primary contests, including Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.).
    Both lawmakers were among those who bucked their GOP leadership team to oppose the farm bill last week. Shuster initially voted “yes,” then changed his mind on the House floor.”

    Read more:

    In addition to the final vote, Shuster made sure to vote for all the conservative amendments. He voted to eliminate the Market Access Program, which grants corporate welfare for large producers to market their products overseas (Indian reality TV, wine tasting in Japan, etc.). The timing is quite peculiar because he voted against an identical amendment in 2011. [Roll Call#457, 2011]

  11. Double talking Bill Shuster voted for 8 increases in the Debt Ceiling since taking office in 2001. Bill Shuster voted for every increase in the debt ceiling. How will he vote next time when debt ceiling increase comes up for a vote in September 2013?

  12. Bill Shuster on Ethanol Subsidies

    Double Talking Double Dealing Bill Shuster is railing against Obama’s EPA and driving cost of energy

    But the reality is that he voted for 2007 Energy Bill (CAFÉ standards, ethanol & green energy mandates) (roll call #1177) which was the Obamacare of energy that has placed crushing mandates on the oil industry forcing them to buy renewable fuel credits.

  13. More Bill Shuster Record:

    ” Shuster has represented the most conservative district in Pennsylvania for 11 years, yet he is just as liberal as the members from democrat-leaning districts. In 2011, he supported all the spending bills and the debt limit increase. In the past, he has voted for cash for clunkers, credit card regulations, and TARP. As one of the top members on the Transportation Committee, Shuster is a leading proponent of the current statist federal transportation policy that wastes money on mass transit and blocks devolution of transportation authority to the states. He is a big porker and advocate for high-speed rail. He was one of the biggest supporters of No Child Left Behind until it became very unpopular. He is a true red district statist.”

  14. Bill Shuster’s Record

    [Transportation Committee Chair Bill Shuster joined with Bucks County Union Republican Mike Fitzpatrick, DelCo Union Republican Pat Meehan Establishment Republicans Jim Gerlach and 35 House Republicans along with every Democrat who voted in defeating an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have repealed the 82-year old Davis-Bacon prevailing wages mandate for federal contractors.

    “Such much for cutting federal spending. “Read more Robert Romano 7 June 2013

  15. All these guys want to ride the Republican Party’s train to “Victory” but they have not earned their tickets! Perhaps they are misguided on how to win elections?

  16. Stay in the race, Travis! These other so-called ‘conservatives’ are only in it for the money. Rice is a RINO weathervane, and blows with the wind. Halvorson is trying to buy an election and Guzzardi wants to help him. You’ve been working for this for over four years, Travis, so don’t let the carpetbaggers steal our chance for real conservative representation! Run a real grassroots campaign!

  17. Art Halvorson is the true Conservative candidate running for Congress in the 9th Congressional District. He spent 29 years in the coast guard and will work to cut spending cut taxes and repeal Obamacare. This would only split the vote and help Shuster, Art can and will self fund his campaign as well. Schooley can’t self fund-raise and he failed to even make the ballot in 2012. Think about it Schooley needs to get out of this race.

  18. I think Guzzardi meant “baseD” instead of “bases”…and his point is that the prior failed candidacy would predict–all things being equal–nothing different during this cycle.

    Thus, under these circumstances, it would be his responsibility to explain why he would attempt to undermine the declared-candidacy of an individual who allegedly shares his viewpoints…when charges of “carpetbagger” seem stretched…if the potential outcome is easier renomination for the incumbent he claims has outlived his usefulness.

    He should study-up on the comic-strip “Pogo” by Walt Kelly who–during the height of the Vietnam War–noted, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  19. The only real choice is Art Halvorson. Travis is a great guy, but only Art is ready to lead and serve this district.

  20. Clearly, this divides the anti-Shuster vote and it appears that, empirically, bases on real elections, Travis Schooley is not viable and cannot raise the necessary money.

    Ben Rice is reliable.

  21. Travis needs to get out of the race. As someone who has known Travis for 25 years, I implore him to think about what he’s doing. I supported him the last 2 times he tried, this time around I am supporting Art Halvorson. Don’t split the Conservative vote!

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