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BREAKING: HD-170: White Wins Special Election

Martina WhiteMartina White is going to Harrisburg.

The 26 year-old Republican first-time candidate pulled off an upset and defeated Democratic nominee Sarah Del Ricci in the 170th State House District special election.

With 59 of the 59 precincts reporting, Martina White received 3,536 votes (55.76%) while Sarah Del Ricci brought in 2,802 votes (44.19%). Three people, (0.05%) wrote-in another name.

She celebrated her victory at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.

“Our campaign put doing what’s right before partisan politics,” White stated. “We focused on the issues that matter to real people. And by doing that, we emerged victorious.”

“I said from day one of this campaign that I will put partisan politics aside and work to do what’s right,” she continued. “That’s exactly what I will do in Harrisburg. We all want to live in safe neighborhoods. We all want good-paying jobs to support our families. We all want quality schools that prepare our children for a successful future. These issues aren’t partisan, and they are what I will focus on as Representative.”

“I thank Sarah Del Ricci for caring enough about Philadelphia to step forward and run,” the newly-elected State Rep. said. “I thank her supporters for the work they put into this campaign. Now I hope we can all come together because we share the same goal: a stronger, better Northeast Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.”

She concluded by thanking supporters for giving their “time and treasure in this campaign. I know that I would not be standing here this evening without the support you provided.”

Speaker Turzai scheduled this election on a day other than the Philly Mayoral Primary in the hopes of pulling off such an upset. Still, despite that fact and a Democratic Party split (more on that soon), this was still an impressive victory for White.

Of course, any Republican win in Philadelphia is amazing in itself as White will be just the second GOP State Rep. to emerge from the state’s most populous city.

Last weekend, the GOP candidate stated in an interview that she had personally knocked on over 5,000 doors in the Northeast Philadelphia district. Apparently that hard work paid off.

In contrast to White, who was backed by her party from the start, the Democrats entered this race split.

Lt. Governor Mike Stack, the local ward leader, favored John Del Ricci for the nomination. Meanwhile, the seat’s prior occupant and now Congressman Brendan Boyle (as well as his brother State Rep. Kevin Boyle) wanted their top staffer Seth Kaplan to get the party’s support.

Ultimately, in a process that was never made clear, the Democrats chose John’s wife Sarah as the nominee. Kaplan threatened to run as a third-party candidate but eventually decided not to.

White took advantage of this divide and was able to secure an extraordinary amount of labor support for a Republican candidacy. She also scored the backing of Sam Katz and former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille.

Del Ricci received her own endorsements, including campaign appearances from former Gov. Ed Rendell and of course Lt. Governor Stack. Stack even called voters this morning alongside the candidate at campaign headquarters.

It is expected, though nothing has been announced as yet, that Kaplan will run next year in opposition to White. It is unclear what effect, if any, this race will have between Stack and the Boyle Brothers.

For now, though, Martina White is the Keystone State’s newest State Representative.

Update: Seth Kaplan spoke to PoliticsPA about tonight’s results:

“I’m not going to focus on what is obviously a very embarrassing night for Lt. Governor Stack that his hand picked candidate lost by 15 points. I will say I am proud of my work to help Brendan Boyle become the only Democrat to win this historically GOP seat. Tonight’s results are a reminder that for Democrats to win we need to nominate hard working, qualified candidates.”

38 Responses

  1. I’m hearing a lot of rumors on Seth Kaplan. He’s running this Somerton Civic into the ground for his own political use. I think it’s a disgrace. Civic Association’s should never be political. The comments on Facebook are ridiculous for our group. Please board remove him off of it. If it’s true of him being a women abuser this needs to get addressed. This is the fourth time of me hearing about this.

  2. Well, it appears the FOP-5 and IAFF-22 still do wield a powerful axe, at least up here in the far northeast. Intrigued to see what happens next.

    Does McNesby run as a Democrat in 2016?
    Since he endorsed a Rep., he cannot be endorsed by Dems.
    Does Kaplan run as a Democrat in 2016?
    Do Republicans try to capture the likely vacated PA-174?
    I do not believe that the Boyles or Kaplan helped Martina, but it appears they did nothing to keep the seat Democratic either. If Boyle cared about the Dem. party and the 170 seat, he wouldn’t have ran for the two seats at once, allowing a proper democratic primary last spring.

    I think Republicans can still be relevant and competitive in compact representative in the general assembly races, but have little to no juice in senate and council district races.

    Still unanswered questions, what is Martina’s stances on pending legislation? Legalizing medicinal cannabis? Privatization of liquor? The proposed speed cameras? Charter schools?

  3. I hope this puts to rest, once and for all, the mistaken notion that Fast Eddie Rendell’s support is worth ANYTHING in a Pennsylvania election. He has ZERO influence on the electorate. If anything, he is a lightning rod for the opponent’s supporters. Can we please ignore him going forward? All Dems should steer a wide course away from his endorsement.

  4. Hopefully Martina’s election and her subsequent actions will be a beacon for younger voters that if they are sick of the slimy Democrats that run Philadelphia that the Republican Party is one of opportunity. Where else could a hard working 26 year old get the opportunity to beat a candidate that no can explain how she was nominated.

  5. Just when I was feeling sad about the presence of looney toon, unreasonable activists on my own side, Bob Guzzardi pops in and reminds me that the Republicans have the same problem on their side as well.

  6. @ Guzzardi:


    That the winner was able to garner some union support has not yet “translated” into her being compromised by, for example, opposing the sale of the State Stores, the need to defuse the Pension Bomb, or the desire for Paycheck Protection.

    Shall we maintain an open-mind?

  7. Seth Kaplan is a dickhead. I would have loved for Martina to have clobbered him (by double digits), but glad she beat the Democrat pick, regardless. The Democrats are the Republican’s of the 1950’s. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  8. I don’t mind Martina won, as she was clearly the more polished of the two candidates, and probably more qualified. Not the end of the world. In the meantime, people should get off their butts and get out to vote!! btw, When B. Boyle first came into view, I thought he was a nice young man getting into politics because he wanted to help, but since I have concluded he is just another “ambitious” politician, eager and hungry for power and perks. .. along with his brother. I get it. He will not be getting my vote again.

  9. I don’t mind Martina won, as she was clearly the more polished of the two candidates, and probably more qualified. Not the end of the world. In the meantime, people should get off their butts and get out to vote! byw; When Boyle first came into view I thought he was a fresh, clean face.. a normal young guy trying to help by running for office… But since I realize he is only another overly “ambitious” for power and perks politician.. Both brothers. He will not have my vote in the future for this reason.

  10. I wonder what the unions were promised in order to back a Republican, especially a white collar Republican. As a union member my entire life, I personally cannot say that much good has come to union labor through the votes of the Republican party. I am guessing some back door deals were made. Though, I personally feel the deals will not benefit the union membership as a whole, but rather the union elite individually. Our forefathers must roll when they observe the broken system. By the way, what ever happen to the Civil Servant? You know, serving the public without the receipt of income? Strict reimbursement for travel to the capitol only? I think elected officials should only make the national average wage… bet the candidates will not be white collar workers any longer, but rather “average joes” that may actually give a darn! Just my opinion.

  11. The one person that White forgot to thank was Brendan Boyle and the ego that never stops. He took the PA House Democratic Campaign Committee and ran that into the ground, and instead used it as his springboard to Congress. She forgot to thank a dysfunctional PA State Committee who can’t find its own butt with two hands and a flashlight. Terzai knows a disaster in the making when he sees one.

  12. Congratulations White on running a good race. I hope the people who voted for you hold you to the promise of being a voice of reason in the State House and truly supporting the unions that helped put you in office. My guess is from day one White will join Turzai and will be a vote for Right to Work Legislation. This race was really about the feud between Stack and the Boyle Brothers. Philly Politics to the Max. Before White gets to used to that seat Boyle and Johnny Doc will replace her with a Dem of their choosing next year. Just watch what Johnny Doc will do for his brother in the State Supreme Court Race. Again it’s just Philly.

  13. The highly paid Union managers and business agents are thrilled. This is not a win for The Forgotten Taxpayer. The Democrats continue their advance into the Republican Party, neutralizing limited government, free market, low tax wing of the party.

  14. Kaplan sure sounds like sour grapes, but he has a point. Stack is an egomaniac and he got his teeth kicked in. What a joke.

    As for all the Del Ricci supporters in the comment section. Maybe if their “campaign” spent more time actually campaigning than spreading fictitious rumors about Kaplan you wouldn’t have been embarrassed.

  15. No, David Diano, you can’t beat Taylor if you want to have enough money left over to play in any other Republican districts. It’s arithmetic. The Dems don’t have the money to drop a ridiculous amount of money in a race that will piss off stakeholders.

  16. It’s amazing that Kaplan could even make a comment like that when his wife has a restraining order on him for abusing her outside a bank. He used Somerton Civic for his own political abuse. The Boyles and Doc funded money to White and worked behind the scene. The Boyles and Doc will drop Kaplan very quick. Plus the drug use with Kaplan should be a concern. He was removed from MAST because they found out about the real Kaplan. Why was he not hired back by the Boyles??? People need to open there eyes

  17. Moderate Dem-

    Well, you can’t beat Taylor if the Chairman of the Philly Democrats stops candidates from running so that Taylor can run unopposed.

  18. You can’t beat John Taylor. Democrats have tried since the 80s. Not to mention the city would be in a bad way without him. The trouble with you activists types is you place party over what is good for your hometown. I will always try to make sure we have a D Governor but I am not going to spend time and money knocking off a moderate R who is an effective advocate for their community.

  19. Brady and Stack are such a joke. They decided to bottom feed by getting in bed with low life Sabatina. Boyle, Johnny Doc and the mechanical trades are the real deal. They run the Northeast.

  20. “It is unclear what effect, if any, this race will have between Stack and the Boyle Brothers.”

    ““I’m not going to focus on what is obviously a very embarrassing night for Lt. Governor Stack that his hand picked candidate lost by 15 points.”

    Um….. I’d say it was pretty clear what the effect is.

    As for Taylor… Bob Brady was behind the sabotage of HDCC efforts to recruit a Dem candidate to run, and the seat was unopposed in the election.

    I don’t know where Brady was on this particular race, but I suspect he’s been distracted by another underhanded effort underway this past week that is due to be decided in court tomorrow. (more on this after the verdict).

  21. Finally a candidate that will not support a corrupt party in Philadelphia and cares about our kids and is for school choice . Thank you. Voter for making the right choice

  22. For the Record, You are 5 to 20 years behind. The 2 Republican State Senators lost a long time ago Marks 94, Salvatore 2000. Most of the State Reps (Perzel , Wogan, Kenny and O’Brien) have been gone for a couple t is years or more. The only 1 left is Taylor. One other note is that the Registration was only slightly Democratic 10 years ago. Now it is 2 almost 3 to 1 in the most places. Which does makes these seats almost impossible to Win.

  23. THE PEOPLE have spoken. The Best candidate won. The new lackluster liberal Governor & his sidekick Lt Governor have been sent a message. Republicans increase control of the General Assembly. Democrats shine through with their true colors. Philadelphia has just taken a step in the right direction. Congratulations Martina White. I’m proud to have been a part of your team & this United Republican effort.

  24. It’s not an “impossible seat” for the GOP to win as someone said. In fact it’s always been Republican at the local level despite the D registration. All the state reps except Boyle were R’s and the City Councilman is an R.

  25. Lt Guv Stack lost his own home precinct by over 40 points!! He’s really “beloved” there. Ha ha ha! Now the GOP has another seat thanks to this clown.

  26. Awesome job, Dems. Another feather in the hat of the least productive caucus in modern PA history…

  27. Losing an election 57% to 43% with a 2 to 1 registration advantage is very pathetic for the whole Democratic party. This does not bode well for the 2015 general election and beyond. Thank you Governor Wolf and your tax hike proposals. You are just the best thing ever for the Republican party. You already helped us win 1 almost impossible election tonight. I predict a Republican sweep in this years statewide Judicial elections. Thank you again Governor Wolf, for your extreme liberal agenda.

  28. Who ran the Del Ricci campaign? Anyone? Seriously. Also, when is Stack getting indicted? Will the Boyle Brothers pay for this? Tons of questions.

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