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State Rep. Jim Gregory loses primary challenge

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(The Center Square) – State Rep. Jim Gregory, renowned for his tireless advocacy against childhood sexual abuse, lost his primary reelection bid on Tuesday.

Unofficial election returns show Gregory trailing challenger Scott Barger 55%-45%. Barger will run unopposed in November.

Barger, general manager and talk radio host for WRTA in Blair County, bills himself as a voice for taxpayers who will uphold constitutional principles and reject the “culture of dealmaking” that he says harms voters.

One of those deals, brokered by Gregory himself, brought legislative work to a halt for months in the state House in early 2023.

At the time, a rare even-split between the parties meant lawmakers stalemated on nominating a House speaker – until Gregory backed Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Temple, on the condition that he switch his affiliation to independent.

That didn’t happen. Rozzi and the rest of Democratic leadership stalled legislative session for more than two months while negotiating new House rules and demanding action on a constitutional amendment to relax the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse survivors.

Gregory came to Harrisburg in the aftermath of a 2018 grand jury probe that revealed six Catholic dioceses across the state – including one in his legislative district – covered up allegations of sexual abuse involving more than 300 priests and 1,000 children.

He, alongside Rozzi, championed reform for years. But when Rozzi soured on their deal, he also blocked a constitutional amendment to enact universal voter ID.

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