ROUNDUP: Pennsylvania Democrats Win Big In Local Elections

Democrats across the commonwealth are sweeping into local offices after Tuesday’s election. Check out the coverage here:

Democrats were successful across the state:

City & State PA: Off-year election sees PA Democrats make big gains 

A day that saw spitting rain in Philadelphia and flurries in Harrisburg could not keep voters away from the polls in the 2017 General Election. Turnout was strong for an off-year Election Day that saw a slew of victories for state and local Democrats running in races one year after the election of Republican President Donald Trump.

Democrats were looking to build morale and momentum ahead of a hoped-for wave election in 2018 – and voters delivered in Pennsylvania, as well as in states like New Jersey and Virginia.

WHYY: Democrats dominate major mayors’ races in Pennsylvania

Democrats dominated municipal elections in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, securing the mayor’s offices in Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Lancaster, Erie, State College and Harrisburg. […]

In Harrisburg, incumbent Eric Papenfuse won an uncontested race. But Election Day in the capital city was not without its surprises. A judge had to send out law enforcement to seize raffle tickets that seemingly were meant to drive turnout for a write-in challenger.

Incumbent Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright won a second term, as did Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto – both expected results.

In State College, longtime former borough council member Donald Hahn repeated his primary victory on Tuesday.

And Lancaster City Councilwoman Danene Sorace easily won the race to succeed outgoing Mayor Rick Gray.

And former Erie City Councilman Joe Schember made his “political comeback” to best local attorney John Persinger, a Republican who loyalists had believed had a fighting chance to flip historically deep-blue Erie.

In Northeastern Pennsylvania:

Scranton Times-Tribune: Powell bests Talerico, becomes first Democratic DA since Nixon era

Attorney Mark Powell made history Tuesday night, becoming Lackawanna County’s first Democratic district attorney since President Richard Nixon sat in the White House, according to unofficial election results.

Powell, 53, an accomplished litigator who has never worked as a criminal prosecutor, bested former longtime First Assistant District Attorney Gene Talerico, 50, capturing 51½ percent of the vote.

Addressing a crowd of supporters numbering in the hundreds at Nosh in Dickson City after the outcome became clear, Powell said to loud applause, “The voters of Lackawanna County have spoken, and I am honored and humbled to be your next district attorney.”

Scranton Times-Tribune: Courtright reelected as Scranton Mayor

Looking at times like he would burst into tears of joy, Courtright thanked family, friends and other supporters gathered at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, long a symbol of the city’s slow-going renaissance.

“Four more years, four more years, four more years,” they chanted as Courtright stepped up to a podium in the hotel’s main ballroom.

“So, this isn’t a victory for Bill Courtright, this is a victory for the city of Scranton,” Courtright declared. “We did the right thing for the city of Scranton and we’re going to continue to do the right thing for the city of Scranton.”

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader: Bednar fends off challenge from Griffith in Luzerne County controller race

Luzerne County Controller Michelle Bednar will keep her seat another four years, blocking Walter Griffith’s attempt to reclaim the office, according to unofficial results. 

A 51-year-old Democrat from Conyngham Township, Bednar highlighted her orderly approach conducting in-house audits that recouped $250,000 for the county since she took over in 2014.

”I’m humbled and thank voters who came out and supported me,” Bednar said.

Bednar said she has started establishing goals for the next four years to expand the department’s focus, reserving specifics for a future date.

“I look forward to moving our office forward. There’s much more for us to accomplish,” she said.

And in Southeastern Pennsylvania:

Chester County Daily Local: Chesco Dems poised for ‘blowout’ win in row office elections

The returns were overwhelming in Democratic precincts in areas such as West Chester — where the margin of victory was sometimes more than three to one. But more tellingly the challengers were ahead in rock-hard Republican bastions such as East Pikeland, West Marlborough, and East Goshen, where Democrats had traditionally been hard pressed to compete. In those precincts, each of the four row office candidates – all of whom are women – were leading by sometimes double digits. 

In one West Chester precinct, the GOP candidates did not reach even 10 votes, while their Democratic opponents neared triple figures.

“It might be a Democratic blowout,” said one county elected official.

Bucks County Courier Times: Democrats surged Tuesday night to wins in county row office races.

Bucks County Democrats ended Election Night Tuesday with surprise victories in four of five county row offices.

The results of the county sheriff, prothonotary, recorder of deeds and controller mark the first time in more than 30 years that a Democrat held a single county office other than county commissioner, let alone four.

Republicans held leads as early results came in. As the night continued and numbers slowly trickled into the county board of elections, the Democrats gained ground and eventually ended the night with historic wins.

Delaware County Daily Times: Democrats win countywide races in historic upset

In a major upset, Democrats swept races for two Delaware County Council seats on Tuesday and scored all three row offices. It was the first time in history that the party won competitive countywide races.

“It’s been a long time coming, let me tell you,” Delaware County Democratic Chairman David Landau said. “This is going to be a historic night.”

Democratic council candidates Kevin Madden and Brian Zidek had 61,695 and 60,657 votes respectively compared to the tallies of Republicans Dave White, an incumbent, who had 58,712 votes and John Perfetti with 58,454. Libertarian Ed Clifford received 2,040 votes.

The last time a Democrat served on county council was in 1980. No Democrat has served on the body since the Home Rule Charter eliminated the requirement for minority party representation. In historic win, Delco Dems take council seats

County Democrats had been confident that their anti-Trump message and a registration advantage over Republicans for the fourth year in a row would help them win a County Council seat for the first time since the county moved to an election system that doesn’t promote representation from a minority political party.

One of the country’s most powerful GOP machines ruled the county for more than a century. No Democrat had ever outpolled a Republican in the county for County Council. Democrats also swept the row offices.

Montgomery Times Herald: Montgomery County’s new judges ‘honored’ by wins

The two Democrats who swept the contest for two seats on the Montgomery County bench say they are “humbled” by their wins and eager to begin the next phases of their legal careers in January. 

“I am humbled and honored to have been elected let alone with such huge margins,” Judge-elect Wendy G. Rothstein said on Wednesday. “I will be sad to leave my law firm that I worked for 34 years. However, I am so excited to take the bench and be a public servant.”

From the Lehigh Valley:

Allentown Morning Call: Northampton County Council: Democrats upset Republican domination

Democrats tipped the balance of Northampton County politics, pushing out three of four Republican incumbents on a council that has been GOP-dominated for about a decade, according to unofficial election results.

With all but a few Northampton County precincts reporting, front-runners in the crowded race for five council seats included Democrats Ronald Heckman, Tara Zrinski, Lori Vargo Heffner, William McGee and Republican Peg Ferraro.

In a race where roughly 5,200 votes separated first and last place in a 10-person field, incumbents Hayden Phillips, Glenn Geissinger and Seth Vaughn failed to earn reelection. Ron Angle, former councilman, was set to finish last. Peter Melan was the only Democrat who lost.

The new council alignment comes as Democrat Lamont McClure defeated Republican incumbent John Brown.

Lehigh Valley Live: Lamont McClure claims Northampton County executive win

Bethlehem attorney and former Northampton County Council member Lamont McClure claimed victory Tuesday over incumbent Executive John Brown.

With all 156 precincts reporting, McClure had 22,405 (53.80 percent) votes to 19,216 (46.14 percent) for Brown, according to unofficial county results.

McClure gave a victory speech shortly after 11 p.m., thanking his family and supporters.

Allentown Morning Call: Phillips Armstrong wins Lehigh County executive race

Democrat Phillips Armstrong won the race for Lehigh County executive Tuesday night, but the retired Whitehall High School teacher and basketball coach waited for the final buzzer before declaring victory.

His Republican opponent, Lehigh County Commissioner Brad Osborne, conceded the race shortly before midnight. Armstrong held a 53-47 percent lead, with 24,281 votes to 21,739 for Osborne, according to unofficial results from all but four of the county’s 160 precincts.

To Central Pennsylvania:

Centre Daily Times: Brian Marshall to take seat on county Court of Common Pleas

Voters faced down the first snow of the season to cast their votes for Centre County’s next Court of Common Pleas judge.

And the voters chose Brian Marshall. […]

“While I have diverse experience in civil and criminal law, I have additional training related to family law, which makes up a large portion of a judge’s work,” he told the CDT. “I am trained in and practice collaborative law, which is a commitment by the parties to find mutually acceptable legal agreements while avoiding the cost and damaging effects of traditional litigation.”

Lancaster Newspapers: Sorace wins race to be Lancaster mayor; Democrats sweep City Council

Sorace prevailed over Republican Cindy Stewart and three independent candidates Tuesday, securing a commanding 73 percent of the vote.

The mayor-elect said she feels the gravity of the responsibility to serve all city residents. She thanked voters, saying their “overwhelming” support “is humbling, and I will not take it for granted.”

Sorace’s victory was part of a Democratic sweep, with the party’s four City Council candidates, including incumbent Pete Soto, prevailing over their two Republican counterparts.

The results maintain the Democrats’ lock on elected city positions.

Lancaster Newspapers: Democrats sweep in contentious Manheim Township school board race

And the winner of the Manheim Township school board election is: 

Manheim Township Middle School.

In arguably the most contentious school board race in Lancaster County, Democratic candidates supporting a $65 million project to replace its 49-year-old middle school on Tuesday swept their Republican counterparts, who have long sought to pump the brakes on the project.

In Philadelphia:

Philly Voice: Progressive Larry Krasner easily wins Philly’s district attorney race

“We are looking at a record,” Krasner told a crowd of 100-plus supporters who gathered at the William Way LGBT Community Center. “The first D.A. candidate, we expect, to get well over 100,000 votes. What that says, to me, is this movement is not going away.”

Voter turnout stood at 20 percent, the highest percentage in a district attorney race since 1997, when 22 percent of the electorate headed to the polls.

And it was eight percentage points higher than the last two district attorney races – despite a steady rain that extended throughout the afternoon and evening. Rebecca Rhynhart, government insider and political novice, wins City Controller race

Rhynhart, a Democrat, was leading Republican Mike Tomlinson by a better than 4-1 ratio when the Associated Press called her the winner at about 9:15 p.m. 

“This is just the beginning. We are going to lead a quiet and peaceful revolution in Philadelphia’s political establishment,”  Rhynhart told cheering supporters in a back room of the Continental Midtown Restaurant.

“What my win showed is that the majority of people in the city want change and want change to the political establishment and want new political voices to be heard,” Rhynhart said in an interview after her victory speech.

And in Western Pennsylvania:

Erie Times-News: Schember wins race for Erie mayor

“I feel good,” Schember said while accepting congratulations from political supporters, friends and family at his victory party at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, 55 W. Bay Drive. “The people of Erie elected me, and I’m going to serve all of the people of Erie. … I want every resident of Erie to feel like they can talk to me. … I’m going to be accessible and available to them.“

Schember, a retired PNC Bank vice president, will take office in January.

WJET: Kathy Dahlkemper retains County Executive title

She says during her next term she will continue to support implementation of the Emerge 2040 plan…  Kathy will take a leading role in ensuring access to broadband internet services to empower Erie County’s residents and businesses.  In the coming months, Erie County will see the completion of the Next Generation Radio Project, improving communication and making safety a priority.  Kathy will continue to implement the recommendations in the NACO Prescription for Action Report in the ongoing fight against the scourge of opioid addiction in our communities.

Johnstown Tribune Democrat: Dems dominate City Council; King, Britt to join Mock, Vitovich

Two incumbents and two newcomers – all Democrats – won seats Tuesday on Johnstown City Council.

Marie Mock and David Vitovich retained their spots on the seven-member board. Come January, they will be joined by Sylvia King and Ricky Britt.

Unofficial results had King as the top vote-getter, with 20.8 percent, followed by Mock, 19.7 percent; Vitovich, 19.1 percent; and Britt, 18.9 percent.

“First of all, I’ve got to give thanks to God, the head of my life,” said Britt, a retired corrections officer in the state prison system.

“I just thank him for the victory. It means a lot to be able to serve the city of Johnstown and my fellow citizens. Hopefully, we can bring a kind of stability back to our town and back to our (City Council) meetings and try to get some kind of positive energy running for the city of Johnstown.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Big night for Democrats in Allegheny County Council races

Tuesday was a good night for local Democrats.

Among the four competitive races for Allegheny County council, one GOP incumbent was toppled while a pair of Democratic incumbents cruised to easy victory.

In the northern suburbs of District 3, incumbent Republican Ed Kress slipped behind challenger Anita Prizio, who held tight to a burgeoning lead by Wednesday morning to eventually win the council seat.

Ms. Prizio, 54, garnered 50.8 percent of the vote.

Ms. Prizio, a Democrat from O’Hara, owns a small business and served on O’Hara council from 1998 to 2006. A married mother of two with a law degree and an MBA, Ms. Prizio owns Pittsburgh Crankshaft Service Inc., an automotive supply company with locations in East Liberty and Harrisburg.

During the campaign, she highlighted her business experience, saying “I don’t sell out. I sell engine parts.”