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Top Ten Local Races to Watch this Tuesday

pa-state-capitol-b175d9a07740ecf3With so many exciting statewide and congressional primary contests this year you may have missed some of the important local races.

Well, we’ve got you covered. We’re breaking down the top ten state Senate and House primary contests that you should keep an eye on come Tuesday night (in numerical order).

SD-4: Sen. Leanna Washington vs. Brian Gralnick vs. Art Haywood

Sen. Washington, who has represented the district since 2005, should’ve coasted to easy re-election in her district, which covers parts of Montgomery County and Philadelphia. Then, she was charged by the Attorney General for improperly using her staff to work on a birthday party for herself. Since then, Brian Gralnick has emerged as a major challenger, winning the endorsement of NOW, Americans for Democratic Action and the Ward 9 Democratic Committee of Philadelphia. Art Haywood, though he has scored less traction, is also running in the Democratic primary. Will voters stick with Washington through troubled times or will the allegations of corruption cost the Senator her seat?

SD-36: Rep. Ryan Aument vs. Rep. Gordon Denlinger

This seat opened up after the retirement of Sen. Mike Brubaker, setting up a contest between two State Reps. both looking to move on up to the upper house. In January, Aument won a straw poll among GOP committee members then won the party’s endorsement in February. Nonetheless, Denlinger is staying in the race and is seeking an upset.

SD-50: Rep. Michele Brooks vs. Rep. Greg Lucas vs. Jane MacPherson

Another case of an incumbent, Sen. Bob Robbins, retiring and opening up a solid Republican seat. State Reps. Brooks and Lucas are competing for a promotion while businesswoman MacPherson has also thrown her hat in the ring. The victor will face Democrat Michael Muha in the fall, but will likely prevail in the deep red seat.

HD-20: Rep. Adam Ravenstahl vs. Tom Michalow

State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl is facing a primary challenge from his left in the form of schoolteacher Tom Michalow. Michalow is a progressive ally of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. As a result, the contest has become a proxy battle between the old and new guards of the Democratic party in Pittsburgh.

HD-36: Rep. Harry Readshaw vs. Rep. Erin Molchany

Thanks to redistricting, two Democratic State Reps. are forced to compete against one another for survival. Arguably the most high-profile local race, the candidates have traded TV ads back and forth. Most of the new district contains parts of Readshaw’s old district yet Molchany has the advantage of being the fresh face and the support of Mayor Peduto. Politicos statewide will be watching this one on Tuesday night.

HD-46: Rep. Jesse White vs. Thomas Casciola

Last summer, Rep. White was publicly humiliated when it was reported that he was anonymously attacking his constituents over the internet. Now he is facing a challenger in Cecil supervisor Thomas Casciola. Will White be forgiven by the voters or will his political career be sunk?

HD-74: Josh Maxwell vs. Josh Young

Another case of redistricting brings us a Democratic primary that will likely decide the race. In the battle of the Joshs, Downingtown Mayor Josh Maxwell faces off against Caln Township Supervisor Josh Young. The two young guns have split up party and union endorsements, making for an entertaining and potentially close race.

HD-112: Rep. Frank Farina vs. Rep. Kevin Haggerty

Once more redistricting pits two State Reps. against each other. 49% of the registered Democrats in the newly drawn 112th lived in Haggerty’s district while 43% lived in Farina’s, meaning this could be a very close contest. Haggerty, however, had a rather infamous gaffe in the form of a rambling Facebook post that criticized President Obama. That may hurt him in the Democratic primary.

HD-164: Rep. Margo Davidson vs. Billy Smith vs. Dafan Zhang

Now we come to arguably the most anticipated and contentious primary, the Democratic race for House District 164. Incumbent Rep. Margo Davidson made headlines, and progressive enemies, with her votes on abortion and school vouchers. Since then defense attorney Billy Smith and IT professional and immigrated citizen from China Dafan Zhang have jumped into the race. A PoliticsPA reader poll from January found that 57% of respondents believe Democrats should nominate Smith.

HD-193: Rep. Will Tallman vs. Brian Gembusia

Finally, there is the contest for the GOP nomination between incumbent State Rep. Will Tallman and South Middleton Township Commissioner Brian Gembusia. The two men have met for several debates and have tried to prove their conservative bona fides to the conservative electorate. Just this week, Gembusia released an ad on property taxes. A straw poll by the done by a conservative York County PAC found Tallman in the lead but it did not survey the whole district.

9 Responses

  1. One newsletter was sent out by Rep. Tallman to both the old and the new parts of the 193rd district to alert residents that they were being redistricted. This standard practice ensures everyone is aware of the change. Others were grateful for the information. Rep. Tallman does not do campaign robocalls, period. By law, any legislative calls and newsletters must be made before the 60-day blackout period prior to the election.

    Thanks very much!

  2. What about this write-in candidate against Rep. Metcalfe that has the endorsement of the Butler County Republican Party?? I would think that dethroning someone like him would qualify as a list-maker. Especially considering Metcalfe’s recent political pandering to those that think Kane should be impeached.

  3. Maxwell & young are both idiots. Which one has the drunk driving arrest? The Mayor? Ashamed Kane was not AG during the booze cruise. KANE lets crooks off scot free if they are dems. Maybe Kane will endorse the booze cruise

  4. SD 50 is anything but a shoo in for the Republicans, especially if it’s Michele Brooks.

  5. Maxwell won the county endorsement by three votes Adam; don’t make it sound like this is a ringing excitement of that dirty dawg. Maxwell is always in it for himself.

  6. Tallman was one of the representatives that used taxpayer money to do newsletters and robocalls directed at those not yet in his district, but those who would be when the new boundaries take effect. This tactic was roundly criticized by editorial boards and is the subject of a lawsuit. Tallman got asked about it at a debate Thursday night and gave the coward’s answer that he followed what the Ethics Commission permitted. He then got caught in a lie about a robocall. Tallman is going to lose.

  7. Maxwell and young did not “split” party endorsements. The 74th is contained in one County – Chester. Maxwell got the endorsement of the Chester County Democratic Party. He also has the endorsement of the County Commissioner (the only countywide elected Democrat) and Senator Dinniman (the only sitting Democratic legislator from the County). Maxwell is the Party’s candidate.

  8. One additional race that has been interesting to watch thus far is the three-way Democratic primary in the 2nd Senatorial District. The race features incumbent Tina Tartaglione, former City Councilman Danny Savage, and Tomas Sanchez, the spouse of City Councilwoman Maria Sanchez.

    I live in this district and have seen more political activity in my area over the past three months than in the four years that have passed since moving here. The Savage campaign has been hitting Tartaglione hard with very well done direct mail since March. It took the Tartaglione campaign about three weeks to respond. Sanchez has done a few direct mail pieces, but nothing like the dozen from Savage and almost 10 that we have received from Tartaglione. Sanchez is up on television with a pretty decent spot.

    Unfortunately, I am unaware of any polling on this race but it still seems to be one to watch on Tuesday night.

  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
    • More Likely (34%)
    • Makes No Difference (30%)

    Total Voters: 112

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