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Topper wins 78th District House seat

Updated: Wednesday, January 29 2014, 03:11 PM EST

By: WJAC Web Staff and The Associated Press

BEDFORD, Pa. -- Voters from across Pennsylvania's 78th Legislative District had to brave the frigid temperatures to cast a votes Tuesday in a special election to fill the seat of longtime Rep. Dick Hess, who died last year.

Republican Jesse Topper, a Bedford minister, won the seat over Democrat Barbara Barron. The unofficial tally showed Topper with 4,269 votes and Barron with 925.

Topper will fill the remaining 10 months of Hess' term. The 78th District includes Bedford, Fulton and Huntingdon counties.

Topper is also a Republican Party officer. Barron, of Everett, is a retired school teacher and works as a coordinator for the Bedford County after school programs.

Hess died in September at age 74 after suffering complications from leg surgery. He spent 26 years in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and was chair of the House Transportation Committee.

Hess is survived by his wife, son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.

The district's boundaries are set to change in the November general election, losing parts of Bedford and Huntingdon counties in exchange for part of Franklin County.

Topper wins 78th District House seat

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Edgar Snyder