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|Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 30th district
January 2, 2007
|Preceded by||Robert Jubelirer|
|Member of the Blair County
Board of Commissioners
September 1, 1958 |
|Religion||Church of the Brethren|
Prior to his career in government, Eichelberger was the President of an insurance brokerage in Altoona, Pennsylvania. In 1995, he was elected to the Blair County Commission. He was re-elected in 1999 and 2003. During his tenure as county commissioner, he was a major critic of local Congressman Bud Shuster, focusing on Shuster's "ethical clouds" in the later years of his tenure. When Shuster resigned in February 2001, Eichelberger's name was floated as a possible successor. Instead, the Republican State Committee selected Shuster's son, Bill Shuster, to be the Republican nominee for the May 2001 special election. Bill Shuster won the committee's nomination after replacing 18 members of the Blair County, Pennsylvania Republican Committee with his own supporters.
His Senate campaign was sparked by the 2005 Pennsylvania pay raise. Senate President Pro Tem Robert Jubelirer was a rival in Blair County politics who had supported the pay increase. His campaign was aided by conservative Bob Guzzardi. Eichelberger attacked Jubelirer for his support of the raise as well as his stance on abortion. During the campaign, Eichelberger received support from conservatives such as former congressman Pat Toomey and former Lieutenant Governor Bill Scranton. Jubelirer counter-attacked, noting that Eichelberger had benefited from pay raises as a commissioner. In addition, Jubelirer alleged that Eichelberger had a poor voting record on the commission.
On primary election day, Eichelberger took 44% to Jubelirer's 36% and C. Arnold McClure's 20%. Jubelirer and David Brightbill were the first top-ranked General Assembly leaders to be defeated in a primary since 1964. Eichelberger went on to defeat businessman and Democratic candidate Greg Morris in the general election with 62.7% of the vote.
He was unopposed for re-election in 2010.
Gay/Lesbian Radio Debate Controversy
On Friday, June 19, 2009, Senator Eichelberger debated State Senator Daylin Leach on WHYY, a Philadelphia radio station, about homosexuality and same-sex relationships. Eichelberger called such relationships "dysfunctional" and stated, "They’re [homosexuals] not being punished. We’re allowing them to exist, and do what every American can do. We’re just not rewarding them with any special designation." Gay and Lesbian organizations such as the Empowering Spirits Foundation responded harshly to the senator's comments, asking that he immediately apologize for his remarks.
|Pennsylvania Senate, District 30: May 2006 Primary Election|
|Republican||C. Arnold McClure||7,097||20.2|
|Pennsylvania Senate, District 30: November 2006 General Election|
|Pennsylvania Senate, District 30: November 2010 General Election|
- Gizzi, John (2001-01-19). "Cracks in the house of shuster". Human Events. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
- Gizzi, John (2001-03-19). "Shuster's son also rises". Human Events. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
- Barnes, Tom (April 30, 2006). "Anger over pay raise dogs Jubelirer campaign". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh).
- Tom Barnes, Pay raise support imperils Jubelirer's re-election bid, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 5/12/06
- Neri, Al (February 2006). "State Senate Outlook". The Insider.
- Rhonda J Mangus, Senator Eichelberger's comments incense LGBT Activists, Now Public, June 2009
- "ESF Condemns Eichelberger for Bigoted Remarks, Asks for apology" (PDF). Empowering Spirits Foundation Press Release. 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
- State Senator John Eichelberger official website
- I Like Eich official campaign website
- Archived Campaign Webpage
|Pennsylvania State Senate|
|Member of the Pennsylvania Senate for the 30th District