Pols On The Street: Democrats Sweep Phila. Special Elections As Expected

Filed under: Politics,Pols on the Street |

by Joe Shaheeli

HONORING 50th anniversary of US Voting Rights Act., State Sen. Vincent Hughes vowed to extend its reach in Penna. by introducing universal voter-registration bill. He was joined at Independence Hall by colleague Art Haywood, City Commissioner Stephanie Singer and Penna. Working Families head Kati Sipp.

HONORING 50th anniversary of US Voting Rights Act., State Sen. Vincent Hughes vowed to extend its reach in Penna. by introducing universal voter-registration bill. He was joined at Independence Hall by colleague Art Haywood, City Commissioner Stephanie Singer and Penna. Working Families head Kati Sipp.

Councilman Ed Neilson is expected to resign shortly from his at-large council post to return to Harrisburg to serve the unfinished term of the 174th Legislative seat he had held before going to City Council. He easily trounced Republican candidate Tim Dailey with 95% of votes tallied, 2,301 to 1,383, taking almost 63% of the vote in one of three districts contested in a special election in this city Tuesday.

Neilson knocked and rang bells at over 4,000 homes in the district as of a week ago, indicating he understood this contest was the only real bet the Republican City Committee had of succeeding with the Dailey challenge. The other two districts have almost a 90% Democratic registration.

The votes gotten by Dailey were the most garnered by any of the three candidates fielded by the GOP, indicative of the fact the district also has the distinction of having the most Republican registrations in Philadelphia. Popping up is this thought: Republican voters may no longer be concerned and don’t value their vote as essential, though some may have voted for Neilson whom they know well.

Joanna E. McClinton did not take for granted the strength of the Democratic City Committee and the long Democratic hold on the 191st would mean an easy win. Republican Charles A. Wilkins, Jr., of Yeadon, was a weak candidate scoring only183 votes. Yet McClinton was all over the district because her real competition came from a third-party candidate Tracey Gordon, a former Deputy City Commissioner. McClinton pulled 1,377 votes to Gordon’s 501 for over 70% of the vote.

As hard as she worked, seasoned neighborhood activist Gordon was not able to put together an election-day defense team, with experienced watchers in every division in the district. Being short on street money, she was outgunned by the Democratic machine in every polling place on election day. That obviously did her in.

Donna Bullock pulled in 2,278 votes for an impressive 84% of the vote in the 195th Dist. GOP candidate and Ward Leader Adam Lang could only squeeze out 385 votes, though his activism in the district has earned him name and face recognition.

Write-in candidate Judith Robinson pulled in just 65 votes, proving write-in campaigns in any election, special, primary or general, face an almost impossible task of getting one elected.

CELEBRATING with Joanna McClinton, who easily beat back opposition in 191st Dist. special election, were State Rep. Margo Davidson, State Sen. Anthony Williams, McClinton, Ron Waters and State Rep. Jordan Harris. Photo by Bill Myers

CELEBRATING with Joanna McClinton, who easily beat back opposition in 191st Dist. special election, were State Rep. Margo Davidson, State Sen. Anthony Williams, McClinton, Ron Waters and State Rep. Jordan Harris. Photo by Bill Myers

With Democrats winning special-election Legislative District seats, State Chairman Jim Burns said, “We are very proud of the Democratic candidates who ran in the special elections and of the Democratic performance in their districts.”

Leanne Krueger-Braneky, the Democratic nominee of the 161st Dist., won her race a week earlier, with 52.89% of the votes in a district where just the previous year she had received 44.07% of the votes. The 87th Dist. in Central Pennsylvania, one where the Democrats have not had a candidate since 2010, saw an 11-percentage-point increase in Democratic performance since that year, though it is still a Republican seat.

Burn explained, “Numbers show the growth in the Democratic base across the state. The message is clear Republicans have to worry about upcoming statewide races.”

12 Independents Filed, Four Were Challenged

Three independents have filed for mayor, four for Council at Large, one for City Commissioner and one each for the 5th, 8th and 9th Council Dists.

Four from the group were challenged and were heard yesterday. By press time, we hadn’t gotten the results.

Obviously, newspaper publisher Jim Foster was the only one targeted for Mayor. His campaign could take votes away from either candidate of the two major parties. Foster is expected to survive since he filed 3,468 names on his mayoral petition. Boris Kindij and Osborne Hart will also appear as mayoral independents on the ballot in the November general-election ballot.

5th Council Dist. Free Dominion Party candidate Leah Wright was challenged. Free Dominion Party candidate Michael Galganski for the 8th Council Dist., and Bobbie Curry, an independent running in the 9th Council Dist. were not challenged.

Lone challenger for City Commissioner, Green Party candidate Glenn C. Davis, was challenged.

Only Andrew C. Stober’s council-at-large petition was challenged of the four that filed for that office. The other three are Kristin Combs, Sheila E. Armstrong, and John Staggs.

Some Legislators Nix Pay During Stalemate

As the budget stalemate presses on, some legislators have refused to take paychecks.

“If schools and human service agencies aren’t getting paid, I ought not be paid either,” said Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna). Others however, continue to draw pay even as the stalemate has reaches its 41st day with no end in sight; but some may reevaluate that if local nonprofit agencies start to experience serious financial problems next month due to delayed state payments.

COUNCILMAN AND State Rep. Ed Neilson is congratulated by ward leaders Pat Parkinson and Shawn Dillon.

COUNCILMAN AND State Rep. Ed Neilson is congratulated by ward leaders Pat Parkinson and Shawn Dillon.

The current stalemate differs from earlier ones because state agencies are open for business and state employees are paid.

Cruz Legislation Would Ban Realistic Toy Guns

State Rep. Angel Cruz (D-Kensington) is collecting co-sponsors for legislation that would outlaw the sale of toy or imitation firearms unless constructed in a way that they obviously do not resemble real firearms.

“In a situation where someone is defending themselves against a perceived threat, the determination as to whether a gun is real or fake needs to be made within a split second,” said Cruz. “Unfortunately, with how lifelike toy guns have become, that decision is not easily made and can have life-altering consequences for both parties.”

COUNCILMAN Brian O’Neill was prominent supporter of City Commissioner Al Schmidt at Schmidt’s fundraiser. Photo by Bill Myers

COUNCILMAN Brian O’Neill was prominent supporter of City Commissioner Al Schmidt at Schmidt’s fundraiser. Photo by Bill Myers

Rendell’s Words Could Haunt Him

Will former Gov. Ed Rendell’s words come to haunt him in some fashion after he threw his support behind his former business partner Katie McGinty? She came in last in the four-way race for Governor but will have the Democratic endorsement in a primary fight with Admiral Joe Sestak to take on US Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) in the general election. Ed is now her campaign chairman.

What Rendell said much earlier: “Anyone who thinks Joe Sestak will be easy to beat in a primary is crazy. Joe has worked extremely hard the last four years. Joe is a guy who marches to his own drum, no question. But he’s listening more than last time, and he’s learned from his mistakes.”

And again: “Sen. Toomey has done a good job politically. I think he strengthened his position in the Philadelphia suburbs with his leadership on the gun issue.”

In July: Rendell said national Democrats have contacted Gov. Tom Wolf’s top aide about running for US Senate. However, Rendell said he doesn’t think Katie McGinty will run and that she’s committed to working through a budget standoff with state lawmakers as Wolf’s chief of staff.

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