HomeNewsIn 5th district, Mike aims to topple Mike

In 5th district, Mike aims to topple Mike

Mike Tomlison Headshot

Republican Mike Tomlinson, who was unopposed in the 5th Senatorial District primary, welcomed more than 100 supporters to a rally last week at the Holmesburg Recreation Center.

Tomlinson is challenging three-term Democratic Sen. Mike Stack.

The May 1 event attracted a large crowd despite a Flyers playoff game going on at the same time.

Among those in attendance were Karen Brown, last year’s GOP candidate for mayor; current candidates John Featherman (1st Congressional District), Robert Mansfield (2nd Congressional District) and Al Taubenberger (172nd Legislative District); ward leaders Jim Louis (41st) and Tom Matkowski (65th); and Janet and Suran Seng, from Americans for Cambodians.

Tomlinson is running a grassroots campaign, to say the least.

The candidate chose Kathy Lombardi as campaign manager because she successfully collected nominating petitions for him. He thanked 12-year-old Brandon Riggins and 10-year-old Hakeem Riggins for knocking on doors as he collected signatures and 7-year-old Eniyah Hobdy for designing homemade campaign signs.

Tomlinson, 55, who lives on the 4400 block of Oakmont St., is married with four daughters and three grandchildren. He’s worked as a certified public accountant and teacher. He is legally blind, but functional.

Over the years, he has been active in youth sports, serving as a coach, baseball director for Holmesburg Boys Club, board member of the Northeast Peanut League and vice president of the Philadelphia Spirit.

In addition, he’s been a lector at St. Bernard Church and a volunteer for the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

“I’m not a politician. I don’t owe anybody anything,” he said.

Politically, he was a 65th Ward Democratic committeeman in the 1980s. He’s now a Republican committeeman in the same ward.

The Republican described himself as “pro-union,” but acknowledges that organized labor will back Stack. He also had kind words for new City Councilman Bobby Henon, a Democrat.

He did not have kind words for the past and present performances of city agencies such as the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the sheriff’s office and the School District of Philadelphia.

“We’ve got scandals all over the place,” he said.

Tomlinson admitted that Democrats and Republicans have told him, “You cannot beat Mike Stack.”

Still, he’s running to improve the business climate by, among other things, passing tort reform. He favors a “losers pay” provision for frivolous lawsuits. He cites lawsuits as one reason that Nazareth, Jeanes and Aria-Torresdale hospitals don’t have maternity wards.

“Lawsuits are way out of control,” he said.

Tomlinson hopes to debate Stack.

••

Freshman Rep. Kevin Boyle easily defeated Dan Collins in the Democratic primary in the 172nd Legislative District despite the fact that three of the seven ward leaders in the district supported the challenger.

John Sabatina (56th Ward), Pat Parkinson (57th) and Bernice Hill (63rd) all sided with Collins.

Boyle, who’ll face Republican Al Taubenberger in the general election, took almost 66 percent of the vote.

The incumbent piled up 74 percent of the votes in Hill’s 63rd Ward.

“I want to thank those 63rd Ward committee people who strongly supported me, despite the fact that I wasn’t supported by their ward leader,” said Boyle, adding that the results “speak volumes.”

Campaign finance reports filed with the Pennsylvania Department of State indicated that Sabatina helped fund most of the Collins campaign.

“It’s a humiliating defeat for John Sabatina. He hand-picked Danny Collins to run against Kevin, and he funded most of Collins’ campaign,” said Seth Kaplan, Boyle’s chief of staff. “Sabatina tried to knock us off, and he failed miserably.”

••

Ed Neilson was sworn in Tuesday morning to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, completing the term of former Rep. Denny O’Brien, now a city councilman.

Neilson, a Democrat, defeated Republican Dave Kralle, a former O’Brien aide, in an April 24 special election. He’ll represent the 169th Legislative District through this year. He and Kralle will meet again in the Nov. 6 general election, with the winner earning a two-year term.

However, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission plans to move the seat to York County, starting with the 2014 election.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court still has to approve the maps, and Neilson hopes Democrats fight to save the seat now that the party has won it.

Six members took the oath of office on Tuesday, all winning special elections to replace lawmakers who resigned after winning other offices in 2011.

The other new members are Republican Ryan Mackenzie and Democrats Gary Williams, Harold James, Madeleine Dean and Martin Schmotzer.

Republicans hold a 110–91 advantage with two vacancies.

Republican Curt Schroder, who wasn’t seeking re-election, resigned on Sunday to take a job in the health care field.

Democrat Bill DeWeese, a former House speaker, resigned on April 24, just before being sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years in prison on a corruption conviction. He is running for re-election while he appeals. He is tentatively scheduled to report to prison on Monday. ••

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