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Politics & Government

Long-time PA House Republican Hopeful for Primary Win; Awaiting Absentee Ballot Count

Five state House incumbents have lost their seats in the primary, according to the latest vote counts. But one longtime Republican lawmaker is holding out until the absolute last vote is counted.

Rick Geist has been in the Legislature for 33 years, and if you thought his Tuesday night concession speech was the last word, well, think again. The House Transportation Committee chairman is down by 196 votes to Republican opponent John McGinnis. But there are some-470 absentee ballots that have yet to be counted.

And Geist said Tuesday's speech was not a concession; he's waiting to see what those absentee ballots hold for his future as a Republican candidate.

"I will anxiously await and then I'll decide whether to fill out my retirement papers or see what we're going to do in the fall," he said.

Geist has another iron in the fire, as well: as a potential Democratic candidate. He ran a write-in campaign and needs at least 300 votes to seal that nomination. House Republican Leader Mike Turzai isn't saying yet whether he'd support Geist as a Democrat.

"Many of us are hoping that he won the Republican primary. Although — yeah. Let me leave it at that," he said.

Four other House incumbents lost their primaries, all Democrats: Philadelphia's Babette Josephs, Joe Preston of Pittsburgh, and Kevin Murphy and Ken Smith, both of Lackawanna County.