5 Incumbents Lose: State House & Senate Primary Recap

The biggest headline of the night was the almost unseating of Speaker of the House Sam Smith in his Punxsutawney based legislative district. He was running against Chris Dush, completely unknown to the Pa. establishment until this evening. In the end, Speaker Smith won by 458 votes out of the 6,381 votes cast in the race.

In the race to replace state Sen. Pippy, D. Raja had a huge night it was supposed to be one of the closest primaries of the night. Raja won by 12 points.

Center City state Rep. Babette Josephs lost her primary to Democratic primary challenger Brian Sims. It was a competitive primary from the start. Sims got the endorsement of the LGBT community and some Democratic activists have been trying to unseat Josephs for several cycles.

Richard Geist is the chair of the House Transportation committee. His district is based in Blair county in south central Pa. He lost by 196 votes out of the 5,104 votes cast. This is a success story for the tea party who managed to knock off another member of the establishment.

Joe Preston from the Pittsburgh-area was also defeated this evening. Preston, elected in 1982 is the senior Democrat on the Consumer Affairs committee. He only received ⅓ of the vote. The Post-Gazette had endorsed Ed Gainey his opponent.

Kevin Murphy, one of the state Representatives from Lackawanna County was defeated by Marty Flynn. Murphy came under fire over the last couple weeks for lying about his college degree from the University of Scranton. He has also tried to remove primary challengers from the ballot the last couple of cycles and failed until this year.

SD-15: On the Republican side of things, favorite John McNally won with 47.6 percent of the vote, or 9,986 votes in the district.  McNally’s two challengers, Josh First and Bill Seeds roughly tied at the polls.  First pulled in 26.3 percent of the vote, while Seeds carried 26.1 percent.  Democrats Rob Teplitz and Alvin Q. Taylor teeter-tottered throughout the night at the polls, with Teplitz eventually coming from behind to claim the nomination with 50.8 percent of the vote compared to Taylor’s 49.2 percent.  “I feel great,” Teplitz said Tuesday night.  “The results came in as we expected and we knew that we would win by the end of the night.  The Democrats have a great chance to win this seat and I’m honored to carry that banner in the fall.

SD-15 encompasses parts of York and Dauphin counties.  The office is currently held by Senator Jeff Piccola, who is retiring.

SD-21: Scott Hutchinson won the GOP primary to replace retiring Mary Jo White.  He was unopposed, and nobody ran in the Democratic primary.

SD-29: Incumbent Dave Argall beat challenger Brian Rich. Argall won by 9.4 points, securing 54.7% of the votes in the 29th District. Argall will now face the Democratic primary winner, Tim Seip who ran unopposed, in the general election. Argall campaign manager Dan Cook stated “We are putting the solutions out there that people want to hear.” The 29th District is composed of parts of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton and Schuylkill counties.

SD-31: Incumbent Pat Vance beat challenger Andrew Shaw in the 31st Senate District Primary. Vance won convincingly by 13.8 points, securing 56.9% of the vote. Vance is currently unopposed by any Democratic candidate. Without any opposition, this will be Senator Vance’s third consecutive term in office. The 31st District is composed of Cumberland County and part of York County.

SD-37: In the three Republican race for the 37th state senatorial seat, which is made up of both Allegheny and Washington County, and is being vacated by the retiring Sen. John Pippy, it was Raja who came out the victor with 44.1 percent of the vote in Alleghany County and  42.7 percent in Washington County. In a surprise, Sue Means finished behind Raja in both Allegheny County with 6,135 votes (31 percent) and collecting 907 votes in Washington County (35.8 percent) .Means kept out of the sometimes brutal campaign mudslinging between Raja and Mark Mustio who finished dead last with 24.9 percent in Alleghany County and only 21.5 percent in Washington County. Raja faces no opposition in the general election from the Democrats.

SD-49: Democrat Sean Wiley outshone his opponents in today’s primary in the 49th District, composed of the city of Erie, Fairview, Franklin, McKen, Washington, Millcreek, Harborcreek, Summit, Springfield, Conneaut, Girard, and Elkcreek Townships. Wiley received 40.3 percent of the vote, with 7,049 votes. “The support that I have received has been overwhelming and we’re looking forward to engaging our Republican and Independent friends as we move forward into the general election. It is clear that our message has resonated throughout the community. We’re excited to move that message forward,” Wiley announced after his victory. John Harkins followed in second place, with 28.4 percent of the votes, totalling 4,966 votes. Terry Scutella came in third with 20.2 percent of the vote (3,536 votes). Brian Pitzer received 11.2 percent of the vote (1,959 votes). Wiley will face Republican Janet Anderson this fall. Anderson ran unopposed in the primary.

HD-3: Jason Owen defeated Regina Smith in the GOP primary, 54%-46%. “The race was close, and the fact is that Jason is a better candidate because I gave him a good contest,” Smith said. “I told him that now we’re on the same team.” Ryan Bizzarro was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

HD-22: In the special election to determine the successor to Chelsa Wagner, who was elected Allegheny County Controller last year.  Democrat Martin Schmotzer defeated Republican Chris Cratsley, 59 percent to 41 percent.  Schmotzer, however, will only serve out the remaining eight months of Wagner’s term, as he was simultaneously defeated by Erin Molchany in the Democratic primary for the ensuing full two-year term beginning in 2013.  Molchany and Cratsley will face off in November.

HD-24: Ed Gainey soundly defeated his old boss, longtime Democratic State Representative Joseph Preston of East Liberty, 66 percent to 34 percent.  It was Gainey’s third attempt at unseating Preston, who has represented the 24th district since 1983.  “The voters in our neighborhoods are looking for new leadership and a vision that will help grow our neighborhoods, keep us safe, and put people to work,” Gainey said in a prepared statement.

HD-31: Anne Chapman defeated Helen Bosley handedly in the Republican primary for the 31st House District. Chapman won by 25 points, securing 62.5% of the vote. Bosley was the GOP endorsed candidate for the primary, but Chapman received individual endorsements from a variety of elected officials. Chapman will be challenging Democratic Incumbent Steven Santarsiero in the November general election. Following the victory, Chapman said “I am very humbled. This is not my victory. It is the victory of the people who voted for me.” The 31st House district is composed of Makefield, Newtown, and Yardley townships.

HD-39: Republican incumbent Rick Saccone beat back a challenge from certified public accountant and small business owner Shaunna D’Alessandro, 63 percent to 37 percent, in the 39th District.  Saccone will embark upon a rematch with former Democratic State Representative David Levdansky, whom Saccone defeated in 2010.  Levdansky beat chiropractor and Elizabeth-Forward school board member Rob Rhoderick, 67 percent to 33 percent, on Tuesday to earn a chance to regain the seat he previously held for 26 years.

HD-56: Democrat Raymond Geissler Jr. easily defeated his primary opponent Marybeth Kuznick by a final tally of 61.1 to 38.6 percent. Geissler will face incumbent of the Westmoreland County seat Republican George Dunbar in the general election.

HD-64: R. Lee James beat out fellow Republicans Thomas Myers and Randall Smith to win the 64th legislative district, which includes Venango and Butler County. Lee won despite losing the Butler County vote to Smith who collected 78 percent of the vote or 351 votes. However, James won convincingly in Venango County by a final tally of 52.9 percent, which translates to 2,742 votes. James will run unopposed in the general election.

HD-66: In a surprisingly close race, Pennsylvania House Speaker Sam Smith narrowly defeated former corrections officer Chris Dush, 49 percent to 42 percent.  A third candidate, James Mark Brown, took 9 percent.  The Speaker of the House taking less than 50 percent has to be one of the biggest surprises of the night.

HD-79: As of 11:4 pm, The Altoona Mirror is reporting that with 48 of 48 precincts in, incumbent Richard A. Geist (who currently serves as chairman of the House Transportation Committee) has lost to challenger John McGinnis, with 49.2 percent of the vote compared to McGinnis’ 50.8 percent.  The unofficial margin between the two candidates is a mere 56 votes (1,786-1,730).

HD-92: 5 candidates were competing for the Republican nomination in the 92nd House district. Mike Regan defeated his rivals Scott Derr, Anthony Pugliese, William Sieg, and Dan Johnson. Regan won by 14.9 points securing 35.7% of, with his next closest competitor being Anthony Pugliese who won 20.8%. Regan will be challenging Democratic primary winner Charles Comrey who ran unopposed. The 92nd House District is composed of parts of Cumberland and York counties.

HD-103: Patty Kim narrowly won the Democratic nomination, defeating runner-up Roy Christ by a mere 45 votes.  Karl Lewis Singleton and Gloria Martin-Roberts trailed only by a few hundred votes.  HD-103 is currently held by retiring Rep. Ron Buxton (D-Dauphin).

HD-112: Challenger Kevin Haggerty beat out incumbent Ken Smith in the Democratic primary.  The margin of victory for Haggerty was narrow, winning by 2.8 points. Haggerty secured 51.9% of the vote compared to Smith’s 48.1%. Haggerty is currently unopposed for the November election, as no Republican candidates ran for the seat. The 112th District is composed of parts of Scranton, the boroughs of Dunmore and Moscow, and surrounding townships.

HD-113: Challenger Marty Flynn defeated incumbent Kevin Murphy in the Democratic primary.  Flynn eked out a slim victory over Rep. Murphy, winning by 2.8 points. Flynn secured 51.4% of the vote, with Murphy receiving 48.6%. Flynn is currently unopposed in November, as no Republican candidates ran for the seat. The 113th District is composed of parts of Scranton as well as Clarks Green, Moosic, South Abington, Taylor, and Throop.

HD-182: Brian Sims pulled out a squeaker, defeating incumbent Babette Josephs by a slim 51.6 percent to Josephs 48.4 percent. The defeated Josephs has held the legislative seat, which encompasses Center City and South Philadelphia, since 1985. Sims, who will be running opposed in the general election, finished with a total of 3,661 votes. Babbet Josephs had 3,428 votes.

HD-188: Incumbent James Roebuck defeated challenger Fatimah Muhammad.  Roebuck won convincingly by 11.6 points, securing 55.8% of the vote. Roebuck will now face Republican challenger Ernest Adkins, who ran unopposed in the Republican primary. The 188th district is in West Philadelphia, composed of Wards 27, 46, 51, and 60.

HD-190: Vanessa Brown beat out 3 other democratic challengers by a final tally of 3,608 votes or 44 percent of the vote to take control of the Philadelphia County seat. Her closest challenger was Wanda Logan with 26.6 percent of the final vote, followed by Audrey Blackwell-Watson 24.4 percent and Lemuel Thornton with 5.1 percent . Brown is unopposed in the general election.

HD-197: Democrat J.P. Miranda will face Republican Steve Crum this fall in the race for the 197th House District seat. Miranda won 40 percent with 2,977 votes., according to the PA Election Returns.  Jewel Williams came in second place in this 4-way Democratic primary, with 33.8 percent, 2,519 votes. Kenneth T. Walker, Jr. received 19.6 percent, with 1,463 votes. Jamil Ali only won 6.6 percent, with 492 votes.

HD-198: In another democratic showdown, it was Rosita Youngblood who carried 47.3 percent of the vote to win the Philadelphia District seat. Youngblood, who will be unopposed in the general election, edged Charisma Presley (28.3 percent) and Malik Boyd (24.5 percent).

April 25th, 2012 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 8 Comments

8 thoughts on “5 Incumbents Lose: State House & Senate Primary Recap”

  1. John says:

    @denny. Slight correction.

    We held a well-attended candidate forum in the District 66 race @IUP to allow the voters to decide. It is not out job to tell people whom to vote for.

    Mr. Dush emerged from that forum as the more serious challenger.

    Mr. Brown was the Rohrer for Senate Jefferson County Campaign Chair. The majority of his votes were from Rohrer supporters.

  2. Mike Moser says:

    Not one thing in this article was mentioned about HD-104 with the Dem. Chris Dietz awaiting the results of his republican opponent Sue Helm that defeated challenger Jenna Lewis. The incumbent Sue Helm has a very long hill to climb into the fall to attempt to retain her seat. Chris Dietz will be a strong challenge going into the fall where he stands a strong chance to turn the RED seat to BLUE.

  3. Don Hart says:

    Sam Smith has been a disappointment as a house leader. Too bad he squeaked through the primary. STOP BLAMING THE GOVERNOR AN GET SOME COSERVTIVE STUFF DONE.

  4. Dan says:

    In SD 37, there over 2800 write-ins for tne Democrats. It is likey Raja will have a challenger in November.

    Also Reps. Jesse White and Brandon Neuman each saw over 400 write-ins on the Republican side, so they may have challengers as welll…

  5. denny bonavita says:

    Sam Smith isn’t out of the woods yet. There were 455 write-in votes for the no-candidate Democratic nomination. If Cris Dush won that, it’ll be head-to-head in November. In Tuesday’s race, there was a third candidate, Tea Party James Brown, who got 573 votes — almost all had to be anti-Smith votes. If Dush had gotten 90 percent of those, which is likely, he would have won. If he gets the Democratic nomination, he might well win in November with a higher voter turnout.

  6. Dan says:

    In SD 37, the Democrats were organizing a write-in candidacy. We should wait to see how that went before saying Raja will be unopposed in November.

  7. Chet royer says:

    Any way Simms can be seated next to metcalfe?

  8. Westmoreland Widow says:

    In Westmoreland 56th District, Kuznik had experience, incredible endorsements, worked hard, and ran a great campaign. But she got NO help from the local Democratic party that endorsed her. NONE. No wonder Republicans are winning everything here. Look for Geissler to lose easily this fall (I’m not voting for him) and George Dunbar will walk away with another two years.

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