Meuser Defeats Wolff For 9th Congressional District
Republican Luzerne County businessman Dan Meuser won a seat Tuesday night in the U.S. House of Representatives, triumphing in the newly redrawn 9th Congressional District over Democratic Columbia County dairy farmer Denny Wolff.
Even as incumbent Democrats comfortably won the state’s races for governor and senator, Meuser, 54, of Dallas, defeated Wolff, 67, of Millville, by nearly a 3-to-2 margin.
Meuser had 112,765 votes to Wolff’s 78,687 as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday with 320 of 429 precincts reporting. Wolff conceded the race about 9:45 p.m.
“I attribute it to a campaign that was really about the people,” Meuser said. “That’s not a cliche. We had a very grass-roots campaign. We worked at it very hard.”
Meuser said he also believes his positions align closely with those of most of his new constituents.
“The message reflected the thoughts of the vast majority of the people of the district,” including a strong military, border security and a growing economy, he said. “The people didn’t want to settle for less.”
Meuser’s triumph was the first in the new 9th District, a product of redistricting by the state Supreme Court.
The Democrat-dominated court ruled Pennsylvania’s existing congressional map unconstitutional in February and redrew the district lines.
As a result, the 9th District was moved from the Altoona area to east-central Pennsylvania. It consists of all of Carbon, Columbia, Lebanon, Montour and Schuylkill counties and parts of Berks, Luzerne and Northumberland counties.
While this campaign is the first for elective office for each candidate, they have served in state government. Meuser served as secretary of revenue during the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett, while Wolff served as secretary of agriculture for Gov. Ed Rendell.
Meuser is a consultant for Pride Mobility Products, Exeter, a family-owned business.
Wolff owns Pen-Col Farms, Millville, and is a fifth-generation dairy farmer.
Each candidate ran negative ads about the other, with Meuser criticizing Wolff as a Nancy Pelosi-style liberal whose values did nor represent the district and Wolff criticizing Meuser as an unethical businessman.
Keith Pemrick, Wolff’s campaign manager, said the district itself was the biggest handicap for the candidate.
“It’s a heavily Republican district. It’s a heavily Trump district,” he said.
Pemrick said he hoped Wolff’s lifelong residency in Columbia County and his being a farmer could overcome those, but it was not to be.
“The voters stuck to their nature,” he said.
Pemrick said Wolff wishes Meuser the best in representing the district in Congress.
“It’s about representing constituents, not one person’s agenda,” he said.
Meuser said he is looking forward to working on local as well as national issues.
“I love the emphasis of revitalizing Pottsville and the other cities of the 9th,” he said. “I want to work on the flood issue. I want to work on the opioid epidemic.”
He said he is disappointed that Hazleton’s Lou Barletta lost the state’s U.S. Senate race to incumbent Democrat Bob Casey, but that he will not let that stop him.
“We have to work with the elected officials,” Meuser said.
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