It’s been at least 104 years since the Democratic Party has had a majority on the Dauphin County Board of Commissioners.
Let me say that again – 104 years. 1919!
And Dauphin Dems are on the doorstep of taking the majority away from Republicans after the results of Tuesday’s municipal election.
Justin Douglas has provided the difference.
The pastor of a Harrisburg church, Douglas holds a 42-vote lead over incumbent Republican Chad Saylor for the third seat on the Board. Fellow Democrat George P. Hartwick III and Republican Mike Pries are running 1-2 in the race with approximately 250 military and overseas, as well as provisional votes remaining to be counted.
“I’m profoundly grateful for the voters who demonstrated that local elections indeed have a significant impact, and that change can originate from the grassroots. Our campaign was driven solely by the people, with no special interests involved, and it fills us with immense humility and optimism to see where we stand today,” Douglas said in a statement released early Wednesday morning.
Dauphin Democrats also paved the way for a 3,300-vote margin in the county for Dan McCaffery for Supreme Court, a 1,700-vote advantage for Matt Wolf for Commonwealth Court, a win for clerk of courts Bridget Whitley and sweeps on the Derry Township (Hershey) and Swatara Township board of commissioners.
“Prison reform was a central part of my campaign,” Douglas told PennLive, which included a graphic billboard on heavily traveled Route 322 that highlighted 18 inmate deaths at Dauphin County Prison since 2019, the year of the last commissioners’ election.
“People care about that, and this campaign proved that you can be successful by running on issues that people care about.”
Harris said that was all supplemented by a bigger county party effort on mailing and door-to-door canvassing than in some recent cycles, even as Republican incumbent commissioners Pries and Saylor sat out several pre-election candidate forums.