Fleck Loses Primary, Earns Democratic Nod

By Jim Madalinsky

Published 05/27 2014 05:17PM

Updated 05/28 2014 03:37PM

HUNTINGDON - The race for the 81st District seat in the House of Representative will continue into November, but with one major change. Incumbent Mike Fleck will be forced to run as a Democrat after losing to write-in challenger Richard Irvin and Fleck nearly lost both races.
The incumbent edged out Irvin on the democratic side with 901 votes. Just 15 more than Irvin.
Irvin was able to capture the republican nomination with 3,600 votes, a little more than 200 ahead of Fleck.
 “It has been a very trying week not knowing where we were at or how it was going to turn out but it's been very exciting and I know the phone has been ringing off the hook constantly,” District 81 Republican candidate Richard Irvin says.
Fleck says reaction from his supporters has been the same, but for a very different reason.
“The vote last week wasn't necessarily for Rich Irvin. I think it was against Mike Fleck and now they can choose what candidate they want to vote for after there is a full vetting of both of us,” Representative Mike Fleck says.
As the first openly gay member of Pennsylvania's general assembly, Fleck knew he would be in for a battle in a mostly conservative district.
“I'm a proud gay man, but you're not going see on my website anything that says the ‘1st Openly Gay Member of the General Assembly’ so I hate when people try to put me in a box like that and that's what happened last week,” Rep. Fleck says.
Irvin, though, maintains Fleck's sexual orientation isn't why he's running.
“I stated from the beginning and will continue to state it that we're running for the position of state representative and we're focusing on the issues at hand which would be jobs, cutting waste out of government, pension reform and reducing property taxes,” Irvin says.
As this race heads to November, Fleck says he's looking forward to a different campaign, one he hopes will focus on some of the real issues facing the people in this district.

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