Ryan Aument received the Republican Committee of Lancaster County’s endorsement for the 36th Senatorial District seat at the GOP convention Tuesday night.
Aument earned the required two-thirds majority vote from committee members in the third ballot at the convention to defeat Gordon Denlinger, 117-56.
Both candidates gave up House seats to run for the state Senate seat left open when Mike Brubaker decided not to seek reelection.
Elizabethtown resident Robert William was bounced after the first ballot at the Farm and Home Center in Lancaster.
“I’m obviously thrilled and extremely humbled by the overwhelming result tonight,” an elated Aument said Tuesday.
Aument, who currently represents the 41st Legislative House District, appeared to be the favorite going into Tuesday night’s convention.
Last month, Aument took the most votes when members of the county GOP held informal straw polls.
“We presented a positive vision, issue-based campaign and these committee members, who work very hard in making a recommendation to the electorate, spent considerable time the last two or three months meeting with candidates and vetting these campaigns,” Aument said.
Denlinger, who currently holds the seat in the 99th Legislative House District, met quietly with his family, campaign team and teary-eyed supporters at 11 p.m. &tstr; four hours after the convention began.
“Certainly, I congratulate Representative Aument on his endorsement vote here tonight,” Denlinger said. “It is the expression of the will of 173 people in a district with 250,000 citizens.”
But despite the defeat, Denlinger would not rule out the possibility of running as an Independent in the November General Election.
“I’m going to take a couple days and think about my future course but I have gotten a lot of encouragement by citizens all across Northern Lancaster County to consider running as an Independent Republican and to fight for them for their values,” Denlinger said.
• It wasn’t easy, but Dave Zimmerman won the GOP endorsement for Denlinger’s open seat in the 99th District. He bested second-place challenger Chris Buck, 27-11, on the fifth ballot to receive the required two-thirds majority vote .
Others in the race included Linda Martin, an outreach specialist for state Rep. Mindy Fee, who was knocked out after the first ballot, and Elanco School Board member Tom Wentzel, who lasted three ballots and trailed only by four votes when he was ruled out.
Martin, Wentzel and Buck each said they will not run as an unendorsed candidate against Zimmerman, meaning he could run unopposed in November in the dominate GOP district.
“I’m excited and I commend my opponents who are all qualified candidates,” Zimmerman said after winning the endorsement.
The 99th Legislative District covers Brecknock, Caernarvon, Earl, East Earl, Ephrata and Salisbury townships, as well as Ephrata, New Holland and Terre Hill boroughs.
“If we get through the May primary we’ll go to the General Election and I don’t know if there is a Democrtic opponent at this point,” he said.
Zimmerman works as the roadmaster for East Earl Township where he also serves as a township supervisor.
If elected, he promised to remain in those positions until the East Earl’s reorganization in January 2014.
The convention kicked off with remarks from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and congressmen Joe Pitts and Pat Meehan.
All three later received unanimous endorsements from the Republican Committee of Lancaster County.
Also receiving unanimous endorsements were Mindy Fee, who is running for reelection in the 37th district.
That district covers the townships of Clay, East Cocalico, West Cocalico, Elizabeth, Mount Joy, Penn and Rapho and the boroughs of Denver, Adamstown and Manheim
Patrick Burns is a staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 721-4455