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New congressman to be picked in Pennsylvania special election Tuesday

Trump tries to galvanize Pa. supporters

Voters in a large swath of central and northern Pennsylvania are picking a new congressman to represent them in Washington.

Republican Fred Keller and Democrat Marc Friedenberg are running in Tuesday's special election in Pennsylvania's heavily Republican 12th District. The winner will replace Republican Tom Marino, who resigned in January.

Marino made national news in 2017 when he was nominated by President Trump to direct the country's drug control policy. He withdrew from consideration after a Washington Post/"60 Minutes" report found he helped steer legislation which weakened the Drug Enforcement Administration's power to go after drug distributors.

Marino was elected to the 10th Congressional District in 2010, which was redistricted this year to the 12th Congressional District drawn by a panel of judges last year. His two-year term goes through 2020.

Keller is a fifth-term state House member and one of its most conservative members, with a 90% lifetime rating by the American Conservative Union.

Mr. Trump held a rally in the district Monday evening, in part to support Keller's prospects in the election Tuesday. Speaking at the rally, Keller underscored the importance of the state for the president's electoral prospects.  

"In 2016, Pennsylvania put President Trump over the top. In 2020, we're going to do it again," Keller told the crowd, provoking chants of "USA!"

Friedenberg is a lawyer and Penn State information technology instructor. He lost November's election to Marino by 32 percentage points.

The district covers all or parts of 15 counties, including Keller's home in Snyder County and Friedenberg's home in Centre County.