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Kathy Dahlkemper greets voters outside Sharon Regional Health System's Diagnostic Imaging Center in Hermitage. Ms. Dahlkemper defeated U.S. Rep. Phil English Tuesday.

Small business owner Kathy Dahlkemper will soon become U.S. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, Mercer County’s representative in Congress.

The Erie Democrat and owner of a landscaping business raked in 130,521 votes to uproot seven-term Rep. Phil English, who garnered 120,331 votes. She was ahead 52 percent to 48 percent with about 83 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Department of State. English conceded the election Tuesday evening.

She won in Mercer County 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent.

“It feels great, it’s what we’ve been looking forward to for a year, and it’s great to have the victory here,” Mrs. Dahlkemper said after the votes were tallied.

She promised her constituents a representative who will focus on the economy, health care and bringing troops home from Iraq. “They’re going to have a representative that’s going to be out there working hard for them everyday.”

But Tuesday night, Mrs. Dahlkemper was enjoying the victory. “They’re waiting for me to come back out and dance. We’re celebrating. A lot of high energy here, a lot of celebrating, and we’re having fun.”

After representing northwestern Pennsylvania and Mercer County since 1994, English said he’s not sure what’s next, except that it will probably be some form of public service. “I am very pleased and very honored to have been able to represent people in our area for 14 years. I think we were able to get an extraordinary number of things done in Congress.”

English said he may be done campaigning. Elected offices, he said, aren’t as satisfying nowadays as when he started.

“What I’d like to do is frankly have a couple of months to adjust my sights and consider options.”

Mrs. Dahlkemper ran as a political newcomer, dubbed a “citizen politician” in some circles and she laid blame for the area’s failing economy at English’s feet.

“I’ve just been a concerned citizen, not a career politician,” she said Tuesday night.

The first signs of a victory for Mrs. Dahlkemper came from independent polls showing her in the lead in early October. Political prognosticators upgraded the race to a toss-up, and then a toss-up leaning Mrs. Dahlkemper’s way.

Mrs. Dahlkemper won a four-way primary in April, garnering almost 40 percent of the vote. Between her spending and that of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democrats spent about $1.5 million getting her message out.

English, along with spending from the National Republican Campaign Committee, unloaded a total of about $2.2 million trying to keep the seat in GOP hands.

Mrs. Dahlkemper was confident Tuesday afternoon in Hermitage. She said the high turnout in Mercer County and the 3rd District was a good sign.

“We needed a good turnout. The weather helps obviously, but people are turning out because it’s an important election,” she said.

English, who visited Hillview school in Grove City, said with high turnout, “I think the results are very unpredictable.” He said he always expected the race to be close.