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Congressional race "too close to call" for Republican candidate

Republican candidate for Congress Jim Bognet addresses supporters and family on election night.
Sarah Scinto
WVIA Photo
Republican candidate for Congress Jim Bognet addresses supporters and family on election night.

As election day drew to a close, Republican Jim Bognet said it would take time to determine the winner in the 8th Congressional District race.

He asked his supporters to be patient during an address on election night.

“This race is too close to call,” he said. “Due to the unprecedented screw-ups in Luzerne County today, all of Luzerne County has yet to be reported as of 11 o’clock.”

Bognet, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright for the seat, waited until around 11 p.m. to address the crowd of family and supporters gathered at The Pines Eatery and Spirits in downtown Hazleton.

By that time, polls in Luzerne County had only been closed for an hour. Voting in the county was extended until 10 p.m. due to paper shortages at polling places throughout the area.

Bognet is a business owner and conservative policy adviser from Hazleton who worked in former President Donald Trump's administration. Bognet was a senior vice president for communications in the U.S. Export-Import Bank and has also worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. This year marked the second time he has faced Cartwright.

As midnight loomed, Bognet still felt the race was too close to call and said he would wait for provisional ballots to be counted.

He thanked the voters for making him the republican nominee and for putting him “on the cusp of victory.”

By midnight, Cartwright was leading Bognet in Lackawanna and Monroe counties, according to unofficial results. Bognet held the lead in Luzerne, Wayne and Pike counties.

Sarah Scinto is the local host of Morning Edition on WVIA. She is a Connecticut native and graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, and has previously covered Northeastern Pennsylvania for The Scranton Times-Tribune, The Citizens’ Voice and Greater Pittston Progress.

You can email Sarah at sarahscinto@wvia.org