The seat stays blue.
State Rep. Marty Flynn (D-Lackawanna) has defeated Lackawanna County GOP Commissioner Chris Chermak in the special election for the state Senate’s 22nd District in Northeast Pennsylvania.
According to Decision Desk HQ, Flynn held a 12% lead over Chermak (51.18%-to-38.45%) with 95% of votes reported. Green Party candidate Marlene Sebastianelli tallied 9% of the vote, while Libertarian Party candidate Nathan Covington secured 1%.
“I worked hard,” Flynn said to reporters on Tuesday, according to the Scranton Times-Tribune. “People see me for what I am, a hard worker, and I’m committed to bringing economic development back to the area. I’m committed to serving the people of northeastern PA.”
This special election was to fill the vacant seat previously held by state Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna), who resigned from office on March 8 to join Rep. Matt Cartwright’s office to lead economic development initiatives across the 8th Congressional District.
Blake was first elected to represent the state Senate’s 22nd District in 2010 and won by 22 points over Republican Frank Scavo in his most recent reelection bid in 2018.
Although Blake won by a comfortable margin in his most recent victory, Republicans hoped to flip the seat in a region where they have gained some momentum in recent years. On Friday, President Joe Biden endorsed Flynn’s campaign for the state Senate.
According to the Scranton Times-Tribune, Flynn earned the Democratic Party nod from local party officials over fellow state Rep. Kyle Mullins (D-Lackawanna) in March. Flynn tallied 206 votes, while Mullins garnered 118 votes.
Flynn said that the Democratic strength in Northeast Pennsylvania for generations has been “built on the support of working-class voters” and that his nomination shows that Democrats “stand by candidates who stand for working-class Pennsylvanians.”
“There’s going to be a battle for this seat in the upcoming special election, and our opponents will make us fight hard to hold this seat- but the voters of Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Monroe counties know that our only shot is to run a campaign that represents the grit of our community here in Northeast Pennsylvania,” Flynn said to PoliticsPA after earning the Democratic Party nomination in March. “I will not back down- and I will continue to work to protect our workers, seniors, teachers, unions, and families- just as I have for the last eight years in the Pennsylvania State House. I’ll fight to win this seat, and I’ll fight even harder to deliver results as the next State Senator in Pennsylvania’s 22nd District.”
“The Democratic Party has always been a coalition of the working people— and in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Monroe counties, we are the definition of that coalition,” he continued. “Between the organization we have built these past months, and my unparalleled record of results for my constituents, I am confident that I will be representing my community as their State Senator.”
Flynn was first elected to serve the 113th state House District in 2012 by defeating incumbent state Rep. Kevin Murphy in the Democratic primary by 3 points then running unopposed in the general election. Flynn most recently won reelection by just under 37 points in 2020.
Flynn’s term in the state Senate will expire in 2022.