Democrats, GOP Select Moderates for Pennsylvania Governor’s Race

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Voters picked moderates in both parties for the race to succeed Gov. Robert P. Casey, while Republicans broke tradition by choosing a conservative as their standard-bearer against Democratic Sen. Harris Wofford.

Rep. Tom Ridge defeated Atty. Gen. Ernie Preate on Tuesday in a hotly contested race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. The Erie congressman had 35% of the votes to 29% for Preate. Three other candidates trailed.

On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Mark S. Singel led a field of six candidates with 31% of the votes. State Rep. Dwight Evans was next with 21%. Lynn Yeakel, who had upset Singel in the 1992 Democratic Senate primary, finished fourth with 14% of the votes.

In the Senate primary, U.S. Rep. Rick Santorum, 36, easily defeated former George Bush aide Joe Watkins to win the GOP nomination to challenge the 68-year-old Wofford, who was unopposed.


And Democratic Rep. Lucien E. Blackwell of Philadelphia became the second congressman this year defeated in a primary, losing to state Sen. Chaka Fattah. The first was Democratic Rep. Craig Washington of Houston, who was upset in the Texas primary in March.

Analysts said Ridge and Singel will have to define themselves before the November general election. Both favor capital punishment, abortion rights, a ban on assault weapons, new prison construction and cuts in the corporate net income tax, said political scientist Terry Madonna of Millersville University.

“Both candidates are essentially moderates. They’ll work hard to distinguish differences between themselves to the voters,” Madonna said.

With a campaign slogan of “Ready right now,” Singel had touted his six months of experience as acting governor last year when Casey was recovering from a heart-and-liver transplant.


In voting elsewhere Tuesday:

* Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) defeated two little-known challengers to win the Democratic nomination for a seventh term.

* Newark, N.J., Mayor Sharpe James won reelection to a third term in the state’s largest city.

* A measure that would have made Oklahoma the 37th state to have a lottery was defeated by a 3-to-2 margin.