Lo­cal Dems take state Se­nate, two House seats

Col­lett, Mala­gari, Han­bidge all headed to Harrisburg

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Dan Sokil dsokil@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Dan­sokil on Twit­ter

After a long elec­tion day on Tues­day, the North Penn area woke up to find lo­cal Demo­cratic can­di­dates elected to serve as a new state se­na­tor and two new state rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Win­ning can­di­dates Maria Col­lett, Steve Mala­gari and Liz Han­bidge all claimed vic­to­ries on Tues­day night into Wed­nes­day in their lo­cal races.

12th Se­nate District: Col­lett vs Green­leaf Jr. The next Se­na­tor from the state’s 12th District will have a new name, as Demo­crat Maria Col­lett claimed vic­tory late Tues­day night over Repub­li­can Ste­wart Green­leaf Jr. for the seat held since 1978 by Green­leaf’s fa­ther.

“I feel great. We’re very ex­cited — my op­po­nent called me and con­grat­u­lated me, and said that he is ex­cited that I will do good things for the district, and said we dis­agree on some pol­icy is­sues, but he’s ex­cited to see me rep­re­sent the district,” she said.

Col­lett, a nurse and for­mer deputy at­tor­ney general in New Jersey, led Green­leaf Jr., an at­tor­ney and for­mer Mont­gomery County con­troller, by a mar­gin of 54 to 45 per­cent ac­cord­ing to vote to­tals posted by Mont­gomery County.

“The vot­ers to­day said that they were ex­cited about change, and that they were ready for some­thing dif­fer­ent. A lot of them said that they were vot­ing for women, and new voices,” Col­lett said.

Unof­fi­cial re­sults posted by Mont­gomery County had Col­lett re­ceiv­ing a to­tal of 45,292 votes to 38,045 for Green­leaf Jr., with 31 writein votes for nei­ther and 100 per­cent of votes counted. Green­leaf Jr. did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment by press time, but said on Twit­ter Tues­day night that he was thank­ful to “all of the peo­ple who worked so hard for this cam­paign.”

“My fam­ily and I are over­whelm­ingly grate­ful and will never for­get it. I just called to con­grat­u­late Maria Col­lett on her vic­tory to­day. I wish her the best,” he said.

53rd House District: Mala­gari vs Szekely vs Walden­berger

The 53rd PA House District will also have a new rep­re­sen­ta­tive, as Lans­dale Demo­crat Steve Mala­gari claimed vic­tory over Repub­li­can Andy Szekely and Lib­er­tar­ian John Walden­berger for the seat long held by re­tir­ing Repub­li­can Rep. Bob God­shall.

“This win is a tes­ta­ment to hard work, to build­ing re­la­tion­ships with neigh­bors and fight­ing for the things we should have had long ago. This be­longs to all of us,” Mala­gari said.

“It tells us that we have a new di­rec­tion for the 53rd, that we have new lead­er­ship for the 53rd, and that we are re­ally ex­cited, happy for the re­sults, and we worked re­ally hard for this,” he said.

Mont­gomery County’s vote to­tals had Mala­gari, a Lans­dale coun­cil­man, ahead by a mar­gin of 51 per­cent to 47 for Szekely, a chi­ro­prac­tor and Lans­dale’s mayor from 2008 through 2017, with less than 1 per­cent for Walden­berger, a

small busi­ness owner and mu­si­cian from the Soud­er­ton area.

“From the count­less hours of door knock­ing, count­less hours of fundrais­ing, count­less hours of stand­ing at the polls, not just to­day but in the pri­mary too; this was two big elec­tions that we had to get through, to get to this point,” he said.

“It was an amaz­ing jour­ney, and we’re re­ally ex­cited to move for­ward with gov­ern­ing,” Mala­gari said.

As of Wed­nes­day, Mala­gari had 13,581 votes to 12,724 for Szekely and 288 for Walden­berger, with 34 of 34 polling ar­eas re­ported.

Szekely said in a Face­book post Wed­nes­day that a vic­tory “just wasn’t meant to be,” and thanked the vot­ers, sup­port­ers, friends and fam­ily who helped his cam­paign.

“There is a sil­ver lin­ing to all this in the many new friends I’ve gained and the stead­fast loy­alty of old friends who have re­mained true. I have also had the unique op­por­tu­nity to travel (bike) through­out the 53rd District to wit­ness its bounty and to talk to so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple,” Szekely said.

“It is cer­tainly some­thing I won’t soon for­get. I wish Steve Mala­gari the best in the Penn­syl­va­nia State House,” he said.

Walden­berger said late Tues­day he thought the high turnout was a good sign for third party can­di­dates like him­self.

“I think it’s safe enough to say it’s over for me at this point... This is only the be­gin­ning, tak­ing a lit­tle break, and then on to the

next task,” Walden­berger said.

61st House District: Harper vs Han­bidge

Demo­crat Liz Han­bidge, an at­tor­ney and child advocate from Blue Bell, claimed a vic­tory over in­cum­bent Repub­li­can rep­re­sen­ta­tive and at­tor­ney Kate Harper.

“I’m thank­ful for all of the peo­ple who voted and stepped for­ward to make their voices heard. I’m ex­cited to rep­re­sent con­stituent’s in­ter­ests in Harrisburg, and I look for­ward to get­ting to know them per­son­ally,” Han­bidge said in a state­ment Tues­day night.

“May we be as gra­cious in vic­tory as we might have been in de­feat,” she said.

In a Face­book post show­ing a vic­tory speech Tues­day night, Han­bidge thanked her vol­un­teers and cam­paign staff, and said vot­ers sent an un­mis­tak­able mes­sage. “The 61st District has never been rep­re­sented by a Demo­crat. To­day, we changed that. To­day, we made our voices heard. To­day, we’ve lifted up so many in­cred­i­ble pro­gres­sive lead­ers ready to do us proud. Thank you for rais­ing your voices for me. Thank you for lift­ing me up. I am ready to do you proud,” she said.

As of Wed­nes­day, unof­fi­cial vote to­tals had Han­bidge ahead with 53 per­cent and 17,625 to­tal votes to 46 per­cent and 15,186 votes for Harper, with 12 writein votes and 34 of 34 ar­eas counted.

Harper said late Tues­day night she had just called Han­bidge to con­cede, and to wish her well.

“It’s been an honor to serve the peo­ple of the 61st Leg­isla­tive District for 18 years. I met a lot of won­der­ful peo­ple, and I was part of a lot of won­der­ful things, and so I hope that she has suc­cess, and does a good job for us,” Harper said.

“I love this place. I want it to be well-rep­re­sented, so I do hope she’s suc­cess­ful as our state rep. To­day was an amaz­ing day for many, in many re­spects. The num­ber of peo­ple at the polls was shock­ing, and I think that’s good: democ­racy works bet­ter when the peo­ple par­tic­i­pate in ‘govern­ment by the peo­ple,’” she said.

When asked about fu­ture plans, Harper said it was too soon to look past elec­tion day.

“I haven’t thought that far ahead. When God closes a door, he opens a win­dow,” she said.

151st House District: Stephens vs John­son Roth­man

Repub­li­can Todd Stephens, a for­mer pros­e­cu­tor for the Mont­gomery County District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice be­fore his elec­tion to the state House, ap­pears to have de­feated Demo­crat chal­lenger Sara Roth­man John­son, an ed­u­ca­tion law at­tor­ney, for­mer deputy district at­tor­ney and Up­per Dublin School Board mem­ber. “The re­sults are in and I’m hon­ored to have been re-elected to the PA House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Thanks so much for the faith you’ve placed in me to con­tinue rep­re­sent­ing our com­mu­nity in Harrisburg,” Stephens said in a post Wed­nes­day.

As of Wed­nes­day, Stephens led by a mar­gin of 51 per­cent and 15,269 votes to 48 per­cent and 14,438 votes for John­son Roth­man, with 15 write-in votes and 36 of 36 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties re­port­ing. John­son Roth­man did not re­spond to mul­ti­ple re­quests for com­ment.

152nd House District: Murt vs Bol­ing

As of Wed­nes­day, vot­ers in the 152nd District ap­pear to have re-elected their state rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

In­cum­bent Repub­li­can Tom Murt, a re­tired U.S. Army staff sergeant and for­mer Up­per More­land Town­ship com­mis­sioner and school board mem­ber, claimed vic­tory for an­other

term in the seat he has had since 2007.

Re­sults posted by Mont­gomery County put Murt ahead of Demo­crat chal­lenger Daryl Bol­ing, the CEO of an arts man­age­ment com­pany, by a mar­gin of 54 to 45 per­cent.

“I am very grate­ful to every­one who worked at the polls for me, dropped lit­er­a­ture, posted signs, hung door hang­ers, con­trib­uted money, and ev­ery other type of help that a can­di­date needs to be suc­cess­ful. I could never have done it with­out you,” Murt said late Tues­day.

With 33 of 33 ar­eas re­ported, unof­fi­cial re­sults had Murt re­ceiv­ing a to­tal of 15,150 votes to 12,511 for Bol­ing, with 11 write-in votes for nei­ther.

Bol­ing said early Wed­nes­day that “we have only just be­gun. Tonight may not have turned out the way that we had hoped, but I am more hope­ful than ever that, to­gether, we have all played a part in a mo­ment in his­tory. A mo­ment in time.”

“I may not have won the race, but we all 100 per­cent are win­ning the larger battle for our hu­man­ity,” Bol­ing said.

The Mont­gomery County District At­tor­ney’s of­fice re­ceived “a hand­ful of calls” about elec­tion re­lated prob­lems Tues­day, but none in the North Penn area and none that re­quired in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to Kate De­lano, Di­rec­tor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the DA’s of­fice.

“A few calls were about wait times, lines and park­ing is­sues, which re­flects pos­i­tively on the turnout,” she said.

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Todd Stephens

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Steve Mala­gari

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Thomas Murt

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Liz Han­bidge

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Maria Col­lett

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