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This Bud's not for them

Anti-Shuster write-ins include Bill, Monica, cartoon characters

Friday, December 11, 1998

By Jim Strader, The Associated Press

HARRISBURG -- Bud Shuster may not have had an opponent on the ballot in his Congressional race last month, but that didn't satisfy all voters.

Snoopy and Elmer Fudd, Monica Lewinsky and Hillary Clinton, Bill Cowher and Bill Cosby all received write-in votes against the 13-term congressman in Franklin County. Also in that race, ballots were cast for "anyone better than Shuster," "not Bud," "anyone but him," "pork Shuster" and "anyone honest."

Voters all across the state vented their electoral frustrations and made personal statements in write-in votes for Congress, the U.S. Senate, governor, and the General Assembly. The write-in votes accompanied official returns from each county, filed with the state elections bureau.

Cartoon figures and television characters received plenty of notice. People in the news, for deeds famous and infamous, showed up on write-in ballots. Historical figures, entertainers and athletes all received votes.

Like every vote cast in Pennsylvania, the write-in ballots are secret, and the reason for the votes can't be known. But some voters seemed to be making statements of one sort or another.

In the year Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battled for the major league baseball home run record, the man who set the mark each surpassed, Roger Maris, received a vote for Congress in Elk County.

Anita Hill, whose claims of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas led to sharp questioning by U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, received a write-in vote against the Pennsylvania Republican in his race this year.

Radio shockjock Howard Stern and children's television host Fred Rogers both got votes for governor in Centre County. Microsoft chief Bill Gates got a vote for the state's top office in Somerset County.

Former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura, the governor-elect of Minnesota, was one voter's choice for state representative in Westmoreland County.

Former state Sen. Dan Delp, who chose not to run for re-election after it was reported that he hired a prostitute and bought her alcohol, got a vote for U.S. Senate in his home county of York.

In Bradford County, one person voted for Barnett Slepian for the state House. Slepian, a Buffalo, N.Y., obstetrician who performed abortions, was killed by a sniper in late October. Others voting in that same race were not so serious, casting ballots for Humpty Dumpty, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and "Anyone Q. Public."

The names of the Founding Fathers also showed up in the returns. Someone voted for Thomas Jefferson for the state House in Franklin County -- and someone else cast their ballot for Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president, in the same race.

John Hancock got a vote in the Shuster race, as did Robert E. Lee.

Write-in votes against Shuster filled eight pages in the Franklin County filing with the state elections bureau. St. Francis of Assisi received a vote, as did artist Andrew Wyeth of Chadds Ford and outlaw Jesse James.

Shuster's former congressional chief of staff, Ann Eppard, received a handful of votes against her boss. She was indicted in April by a federal grand jury on allegations of wrongdoing in a Massachusetts transportation project.

Shuster easily won re-election by having his name appear on the ballot as a Republican, the party in which he is registered, and as the Democratic nominee. After challenging the electoral filings of a Democratic candidate, Shuster was able to win that party's primary -- with write-in votes.

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