Democrats added net one to their caucus on Tuesday. Well, maybe net 1/2. Democrat Ed Neilson captured the seat of former Rep., now Philly Councilman, Denny O’Brien (R-169). He defeated long time O’Brien aide, Republican Dave Kralle. While in Harrisburg, O’Brien voted with Democrats often.
The margin in the Pa. House of Representatives will now be 111 Republicans to 91 Democrats (Rep. Bill DeWeese resigned Tuesday).
Neilson is a former political director of the IBEW Local 98, one of Philadelphia’s most potent political labor unions. He also worked in the Rendell administration. He and Kralle will face off in a rematch in November.
As expected, Democrats held three city districts: HD-22 in Pittsburgh, and HDs 186 and 197 in Philadelphia. They also won HD-153 in Montgomery County, which Republicans had hoped to contest.
Republicans held on to HD-134, fighting back a last-minute $100,000 ad buy by Planned Parenthood against candidate Ryan Mackenzie. He defeated Patrick Slattery for the Berks/Lehigh seat of now Lehigh Co. Judge Doug Reichley.
HD-22 was an unlikely turn of events; the Dems nominated Marty Schmotzer to replace now Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner. He won the special election and will serve the final 8 months of Wagner’s term, but Erin Molchany will be the Dems’ candidate in the fall; she beat Schmotzer in the primary.
Dem Harold James won now-Philly Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s seat in HD-186; Gary Williams defeated T. Milton Street for now-Philly Sheriff Jewell Williams’ seat.
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.
In HD-153, the seat of now Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, Democrat Madeleine Dean comfortably defeated Republican Nick Mattiachi.