Sabatina finishes strong

In the 170th Legislative District, Matt Darragh defeated Fran Nelms (pictured) in the Democratic primary. Darragh prevailed, 57 to 43 percent. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

While much of the attention on primary election day was focused on several big statewide races — the winners were Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for president, Katie McGinty for U.S. Senate and Josh Shapiro for attorney general — there were three key local races on the ballot.

In the 5th Senatorial District, Sen. John Sabatina Jr. appears to have edged state Rep. Kevin Boyle in what was a nasty Democratic primary fight. Sabatina led by a count of 17,009 to 16,337, with 251 of the 255 divisions reporting. He will face Republican Ross Feinberg in the general election.

In the 202nd Legislative District, challenger Jared Solomon defeated longtime Rep. Mark Cohen, 57 to 43 percent, in another contentious Democratic primary. Cohen was first elected in 1974. Solomon will be unopposed in the general election.

In the 170th Legislative District, Matt Darragh defeated Fran Nelms in the Democratic primary. Darragh prevailed, 57 to 43 percent. He will face Republican Rep. Martina White in the general election.

Here is a closer look at Tuesday’s results:


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton easily won the Democratic primary, capturing 55.57 percent of the vote with 73 percent counted. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took 43.57 percent. San Diego businessman Roque Rocky De La Fuente received .86 percent.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump was the winner, receiving 56.73 percent of the vote. He was followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who took 21.6 and 19.36 percent, respectively. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Dr. Ben Carson remained on the ballot after dropping out of the race, and they combined for 2.31 percent.

Republicans in the 1st Congressional District had only three delegate candidates for three slots.

There were seven delegate candidates for three slots in the 13th Congressional District. The winners were Cruz delegate Michael McMonagle and Trump delegates Tom Ellis and Gilbert Cox.

U.S. Senate

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is unopposed.

The winner of the four-way Democratic primary was Katie McGinty, former chief of staff to Gov. Tom Wolf. She is a Rhawnhurst native who graduated from Resurrection of Our Lord Grammar School and St. Hubert High School.

McGinty, the establishment candidate, came from behind to defeat former Delaware County congressman Joe Sestak, who narrowly lost to Toomey in 2010. She trailed in polls for much of the campaign, but was heavily funded in recent weeks by unions, the pro-choice EMILY’s List and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

McGinty led Sestak, 44.99 to 34.36 percent.

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman was third with 20.61 percent. Conservative Allegheny County businessman Joseph Vodvarka took .03 percent.

Attorney General

Democrat Kathleen Kane has had a disastrous term, including being indicted on charges of perjury and obstructing administration of law. She did not seek a second term.

The Democratic candidates were Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala.

The well-funded Shapiro prevailed with 47.76 percent of the vote. Zappala, who had the support of many unions and elected officials in Philadelphia, trailed with 36.67 percent. Morganelli took 15.57 percent.

The Republican candidates were state Sen. John Rafferty, who was endorsed by the party, and Joe Peters, a former police officer, state and federal prosecutor and official in the office of the White House drug czar.

Rafferty won easily, 64 percent to 36 percent.

Auditor General

Democratic incumbent Eugene DePasquale and Republican challenger John Brown, the Northampton County executive, were unopposed.

State Treasurer

The state treasurer seat is open, as Democrat Rob McCord resigned and pleaded to charges he attempted to shake down state contractors for campaign donations in the 2014 primary for governor. He awaits sentencing.

Both major-party candidates were unopposed in the primary.

Well-funded Democrat Joe Torsella was the founding president and CEO of the National Constitution Center. He ran for the Democratic nomination in the 13th Congressional District in 2004, but lost to Allyson Schwartz.

Republican Otto Voit is a Berks County businessman.

5th Senatorial District

Sen. John Sabatina Jr. celebrated his apparent victory at the Townsend Room, 12273 Townsend Road. He was introduced by union leader Gary Masino and addressed the crowd at about 11:05 p.m.

“I’m up by 637 votes. There are five divisions unreported. It’s not a done deal. It’s not official. It’s probable. I feel good,” he said.

Sabatina thanked the unions backing him for their support. He also gave credit to everyone in the room.

“I won because I had you,” he said. “We worked our butts off. Let’s go on to November. It’s going to be a good four years.”

Sabatina will face Republican Ross Feinberg.

“I like Ross. I respect Ross,” he said.

State Rep. Kevin Boyle gathered with supporters at the Sheraton hotel, on Roosevelt Boulevard, near Grant Avenue. He was joined on stage by his wife and toddler daughter.

“This is an extremely tight race,” he said. “We’re going to make sure every vote is counted.”

Boyle is hoping the remaining divisions, along with absentee, provisional and military ballots, can make up his deficit.

Boyle thanked, among others, his dad and brother, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, along with unions, ward leaders and state Reps. Ed Neilson and Mike Driscoll.

Sabatina and Kevin Boyle, who is also running for re-election to his House seat, went negative against each other in mailings and on television.

Unions and ward leaders were split, though Sabatina received an early jolt when Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 went with the challenger.

Sabatina ripped Boyle for missing more than 250 votes and for running for the House and Senate at the same time. Boyle noted that Sabatina was given the Democratic nomination for special elections to the House and Senate thanks, in part, to the fact that his dad is a ward leader. He hammered the incumbent for votes on payday lending and oil drilling.

Sabatina, a state representative for nine years, won the Senate seat in a special election last year to replace Mike Stack, who was elected lieutenant governor.

Boyle was elected state representative in 2010.

152nd Legislative District

Republican Rep. Tom Murt and Democrat Al DerMovsesian, a dining services manager at a retirement community, were unopposed in the primary.

170th Legislative District

Democrats Fran Nelms, an aide to Brendan Boyle, and Matt Darragh, a liquor store examiner for the state auditor general’s office, battled to see who will take on Republican Rep. Martina White.

Darragh, who had the support of the ward leaders, celebrated his win at Santucci’s, 4050 Woodhaven Road.

“It’s a relief. I knew Fran was going to work very, very hard,” he said. “I feel incredibly lucky. We’re enjoying tonight, and hopefully we’ll run a great campaign in the general election.”

Nelms joined Kevin Boyle at the Sheraton.

“This past eight months has been a whirlwind,” he said. “I’m proud of what everyone in this room did.”

In the general election, Darragh will enjoy a large voter-registration advantage, but White has strong union support.

172nd Legislative District

Democratic Rep. Kevin Boyle and Republican Jim Pio were unopposed.

173rd Legislative District

Democratic Rep. Mike Driscoll was unopposed in the primary and has no Republican opponent.

174th Legislative District

Democratic Rep. Ed Neilson was unopposed in the primary and has no Republican opponent.

177th Legislative District

Republican Rep. John Taylor and Democrat Joe Hohenstein, neighbors in Northwood, were unopposed in the primary.

179th Legislative District

Democratic Rep. Jason Dawkins was unopposed in the primary and has no Republican opponent.

202nd Legislative District

Rep. Mark Cohen faced a rematch with Jared Solomon in the Democratic primary. In 2014, Cohen won by 158 votes. This time, Solomon had the official party endorsement.

Solomon held his victory party at the Michael J. Crescenz Rising Sun VFW Post 2819, 6850 Martins Mill Road.

“I’m elated,” he said. “People want a new day in the Northeast.”

Solomon is a lawyer and president of the Take Back Your Neighborhood Civic Association.

A key supporter was Bill Dolbow, Democratic leader of the 35th Ward.

“With Take Back Your Neighborhood and everything he’s involved in, our people like him being community oriented,” he said.

Cohen joined supporters at his campaign office at Castor and Longshore avenues.

“We had ward leaders go the other way,” he said in giving one explanation for losing the rematch.

Cohen’s top issues over the years have included increasing the minimum wage and legalizing medical marijuana.

“It does appear that Mr. Solomon has won a victory,” he told supporters shortly after 9:30 p.m. “He has a very substantial lead. It’s unlikely that I will win re-election. I have greatly enjoyed my years in the legislature.”

In a silver lining, Cohen was elected a Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

203rd Legislative District

Democratic Rep. Dwight Evans sought the 2nd Congressional District seat, and the only candidate for his House seat is fellow Democrat Isabella Fitzgerald, an Evans aide and ward leader.


State voters approved an amendment to the Constitution to permanently abolish Philadelphia Traffic Court, which was shut down in 2013 after a ticket-fixing scandal involving some of the judge. The count was 59.72 to 40.28 percent.

City voters approved an amendment to the Home Rule Charter to create a Commission on African-American Males. The amendment was passing by a margin of about 2 to 1. ••

A tight race: State Rep. Kevin Boyle gathered with supporters at the Sheraton hotel on Roosevelt Boulevard on Tuesday night. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

Sen. John Sabatina Jr. thanks supporters at the Townsend Room, 12273 Townsend Road, on Tuesday night. Sabatina led Kevin Boyle by 637 votes with five divisions to be counted in the 5th Senatorial District. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO