BY JOE SHAHEELI/Â A potentially record-setting wave of almost 60% of the cityâ€™s eligible voters â€“ more than 650,000 â€“ swept away almost every vestige of a Republican presence in Philadelphia, and literally was responsible for breaking the over three-decade hold the GOP had on the State Attorney Generalâ€™s office.
So strong was the tidal wave generated by the wake of Democratic voters of Philadelphia, it easily sank Republican efforts to swing the state to Presidential challenger Mitt Romney and US Senate challenger Tom Smith, giving an easy ride to victory for President Barack Obama and US Sen. Bob Casey.
There was one GOP survivor! State Rep. John Taylor (R-Kensington), 57, easily held onto his 177th Legislative Dist. in the River Wards, encompassing Bridesburg, Port Richmond and Kensington. Taylor beat back Willie Dunbar 11,801 to 8,774. It was obvious many Democrats appreciated the service he has given them over the years and cut Dunbar in favor of the incumbent.
This was not one small feat. It took place in a deluge of straight-ticket voting that should have benefited Dunbar, but didnâ€™t.
Dunbar had a good press campaign, raised a big chunk of change, claimed to have worked every division and shook thousands of hands in his bid to unseat Taylor in the battle. He was also aided by an increase in Black and Latino voter registrations in the district.
Though Dunbar raised enough bucks to wage a strong campaign, he did make one mistake. He should have committed a tiny bit of his campaign chest to do what Taylor did: take out a full-page advertisement in this paper. But he didnâ€™t, although he flooded us with campaign releases.
Taylor is, for sure, the only Republican who will remain seriously uncontested in future elections, especially since the redistricted 177th seat two years hence brings in additional Republican registrations. Heâ€™ll continue to be the cityâ€™s voice in the still-GOP-dominated General Assembly.
Any chance the Republicans hoped to regain the other Northeast legislative seatsÂ they lost two years ago is gone for good as freshman State Reps. Ed Neilson and Kevin Boyle easily defeatedÂ the strongest-possible challengers the Republicans could muster, Dave Kralle and Al Taubenberger, respectively.
All of the cityâ€™s Democrat incumbents were easily swept back into office, an expectation that would have occurred even without the tsunami generated for Obama. These included Congress Members Bob Brady, Chaka Fattah and Allyson Schwartz along with State Sens. Lawrence Farnese, Shirley Kitchen, Michael Stack and Vincent Hughes.
The cityâ€™s landslide made it easier for the Democrat sweep in the statewide offices. Winning were Kathleen Kane for Attorney General, Eugene DePasquale for Auditor General and Bob McCord for State Treasurer.
Credit goes to State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Northeast), chairman of the House Democratic Campaign Committee, for his efforts to win back Democrat seats lost in the last go-around. Pennsylvania House Democrats appeared headed toward a net pickup of three seats, which would represent the second-best result for the House Democrats since the 1990 election. In addition, for the first time in a decade, not one House Democratic incumbent lost. The House Democrats picked up the following Republican-held seats this cycle: Dists. 39, 131, 146 and 169. The only Democratic-held seat HDCC lost was the open seat in the 74th Dist., the seat held for decades by Bud George. In addition, there is still the possibility of an additional pickup in the 163rd Dist. as Democrat Sheamus Bonner, who is only a few tenths of 1% behind longtime incumbent Nick Miccozzie, with provisional ballots and absentee ballots still yet to be counted.
When Brendan Boyle became chairman in July 2011, the HDCC faced a $2 million deficit. Boyle instituted the first-ever RFP process in HDCCâ€™s history and restructured it so to make the campaigns more efficient. This fiscal discipline, combined with a new high in door-to-door campaigning, proved successful. According to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the national committee for all legislative races, House Democratic candidates in 2012 knocked on more doors than any other caucus in America and broke the previous record.
PRESIDENT OWES BRADY BIG-TIME
Philadelphia delivers the votes time and time again that deliver this state into the Democrat win column for US Presidents.
Ask President Bill Clinton. He credited the cityâ€™s turnout and thanked Congressman Bob Brady (D-Phila.) for the fact it assured his return to the presidency. That election was appreciated by the Congressional caucus members who stood up to applaud in tribute when Brady entered their first meeting.
Pennsylvania went to President Barack Obama in 2008 and again this time, thanks to the huge city turnout this time, a princely margin of over 470,000 votes. Credit the Democratic City Party, its ward leaders and committeepeople under Bradyâ€™s leadership. Itâ€™s a well-oiled get-out-the-vote machine, and despite the disparities that periodically occur during primary elections, the Party presses on like a juggernaut when itâ€™s time to take on the Republican Party challenges. Thatâ€™s when it is obvious Bob Brady has his hands on the throttle, with everyone in synch, knowing what their leader expected.
LOCAL G.O.P. BOASTS 2 FIRSTS
Take note, all you duffers, Republican Counsel Michael Meehan has proven he is adept on the golf course as he is in matters political.
He demonstrated this with a hole in one on the 4th hole at the Bala Club as he took part in the annual Navy League Charity Outing on Columbus Day. He now is the holder of the official recognition by the Philadelphia Public Recordâ€™s City Party Leaderâ€™s Hole In One Award, with this commentary.
Another GOP first comes from Rick Hellberg, chair of the state-sponsored Republican City Committee, who credits Pam Warren and his marketing and PR committee with their first newsletter. It included quotes from local candidates as well as US Senatorial candidate Tom Smith. Hellberg also credited Roman Sosalski for his work with Philadelphia Victory office volunteers and Anne Havey and her interns who succeeded in adding 307 new minority inspectors to the polls election day.
The next big question State GOP Chairman Rob Gleason must now answer is whether he intends to continue funding the state-sponsored Republican City Committee, as he has for the past two years in an effort to take over undivided control of the partyâ€™s affairs in Philadelphia. Although the state-sponsored RCC dramatically outperformed Meehanâ€™s RCC in recruiting minority inspectors â€“ the only possible way for the GOP to grow again in this city â€“ this gain did not translate to gains in Republican votes, especially in the cityâ€™s African American community, as the state faction had hoped.
No doubt, the feud will continue â€“ but at what intensity?
TERESHKO STILL HOLDING COURT
An apology is owed Judge Alan Tereshko, who last week was reported in this column as resigning from the bench. Judge Tereshko is still sitting as a judge on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Civil Trial Division. He had only resigned from his position as Supervising Judge of the Civil Trial Division. We thank his Law Clerk Jessica Varzaly, Esq., for help in correcting our earlier report. Glad to see heâ€™s still where he belongs.
WHAT’S WITH CLINTON – AND PHILADELPHIA?
Seems no campaign, be it citywide, statewide or presidential, would be memorable without President Bill Clinton showing up to lend his support and rev up the troops … and he does it well.
This time around was no exception. He went on robocalls for Kathy Boockvar in the 8th Congressional Dist., messaging Bucks and Montgomery Co. voters, and then popped back into Philadelphia to rally with local Democrat leaders at an afternoon event election eve at the Palestra, 215 S. 33rd Street. Earlier, Monday afternoon, he was boosting Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz at a Blue Bell rally. He has that charm!
JUDGE SINGLETARY IS DUE FOR SANCTIONS
Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Willie Singletary lost his effort to have the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania dismiss charges lodged against him. The Board will determine the appropriate disciplinary sanction to be imposed on him at a hearing open to the public on Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. in Commonwealth Court Courtroom 5001 at the Judicial Center, 601 Commonwealth Avenue in Harrisburg.
EARTHQUAKE MOORE RUNNING FOR TURKEYS
Philadelphia community activist Paul â€œEarthquakeâ€ Moore is running again for donations of turkey and stuffing, and is looking for running enthusiasts as well to participate in his annual turkey run and food drive.
What started as a one-man jog-a-thon 11 years ago down S. Broad Street, has become the Paul â€œEarthquakeâ€ Moore Annual Celebrity Turkey Run down Woodland Avenue. The run will start on Woodland Avenue at 50th Street and end at Island Avenue/Cobbs Creek Parkway at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17.
A 24-hour food-a-thon drive will be held by Moore the weekend before the run in the parking lot at the Island Market, Island & Woodland Avenues at Cobbs Creek Parkway, beginning at noon on Saturday, Nov. 10 and ending at noon on Sunday, Nov. 11.
Monetary donations, turkeys and accessories will gladly be accepted on the day of both events. Any well-wisher can mail a donation to PO Box 5323, Philadelphia, PA 19142.
ANOTHER FAREWELL EVENT FOR JOSEPHS
State Rep. Babette Josephs (D-S. Phila.) has been kept busy with farewell events in her honor.
The latest will be held next Thursday at Ten Stone, 21st & South, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. RSVP is required to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THANKS BE TO GOD, OBAMA EMAILS END
Got an email from Rufus Gifford, BarackObama.com, who informed us he was saying goodbye to our inbox.
Before we could congratulate ourselves, he asked for a donation to the campaign.
Rufus was one of dozens of authors of news releases, campaign blurbs, and fundraiser appeals inundating us every week for the last three months. Weâ€™ll miss them, since many were signed by the President and started off â€œDear Jimâ€. Maybe we should have saved some, printed them out, and framed them for our walls to show visitors how close we had become to the President.
The few we did get from Mitt Romney groups also started as though written by the candidate, â€œDear Jimâ€. We lost the golden opportunity to show off those, as well, since all were deleted shortly after they came along.