Solomon swept 202nd district wards in win

Highs and lows: Jared Solomon won 57 percent of the vote in the 202nd Legislative District race, defeating Rep. Mark Cohen (pictured above), who will leave office at the end of the year after 42 years. DONNA DIPAOLO / FOR THE TIMES

In 2014, there was low turnout and a nailbiter in the 202nd Legislative District Democratic primary, with Rep. Mark Cohen beating Jared Solomon by 158 votes in a race that attracted just 4,406 voters.

Last Tuesday, there was a much bigger turnout, with 8,875 casting a ballot. And it was a blowout, with Solomon prevailing by a count of 5,071 to 3,800, with four write-ins.

Overall, Solomon won 57 percent of the vote. He won all five wards in the district.

Cohen, elected in May 1974, will leave office at the end of the year.

The Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club issued the following statement: “For decades, state Rep. Mark Cohen has stood as a progressive champion in the state legislature. While Rep. Cohen did not win his primary election for re-nomination for another term in the House, Liberty City recognizes his longstanding commitment to the rights of the LGBT community. Thank you, Rep. Cohen, for your 40 years of service to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and our community.”

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In another hard-fought and nasty Democratic primary, state Sen. John Sabatina Jr. turned back state Rep. Kevin Boyle in the 5th Senatorial District.

The final unofficial count was 17,186 to 16,584.

Boyle won four wards, piling up big margins in the 58th and 66th wards.

Sabatina won six wards, with the difference being his home 56th Ward. In that ward, the lifelong Rhawnhurst resident rolled to a margin of 4,040 to 1,785, winning 69.36 percent.

Sabatina will face Republican Ross Feinberg.

Boyle also ran for his 172nd Legislative District seat, and was unopposed in the primary. He’ll face Republican Jim Pio.

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U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-13th dist.) was unopposed in the primary, and the only Republican who filed nominating petitions dropped out of the race.

On the Republican side, there were 1,539 write-in votes. Most of them were probably cast for Dr. Robert B. Sklaroff. Election officials in Philadelphia and Montgomery County will determine if Sklaroff has the minimum 1,000 votes to be placed on the general election ballot.

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In the 170th Legislative District Democratic primary, each candidate won on his home turf.

Fran Nelms, of Somerton, took the 58th Ward by a count of 2,041 to 2,036.

However, that wasn’t nearly enough to beat Parkwood’s Matt Darragh, who won the 66th Ward by a vote of 1,929 to 1,095.

Darragh will face Republican Rep. Martina White in the general election.

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City voters approved, 63 percent to 37 percent, creation of a Commission on African-American Males.

The measure passed in the five wards (23rd, 35th, 53rd, 54th and 62nd) in the Lower Northeast.

However, Northeast voters in nine wards soundly rejected creation of the commission. Local wards voting against the commission were the 41st (57 percent), 55th (67 percent), 56th (60 percent), 57th (68 percent), 58th (71 percent), 63rd (72 percent), 64th (71 percent), 65th (64 percent) and 66th (75 percent).

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The ballot included a question on raising the retirement age of judges from 70 to 75. But a judge delayed the vote until the general election because of confusion over the wording.

Still, the state counted the votes that were cast, and 50.99 percent of the people rejected the proposed constitutional amendment.

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State Sen. John Rafferty, the Republican nominee for attorney general, wants Democrat Josh Shapiro to agree to not run for higher office.

“The race for the Office of Attorney General is critically important to the future of the commonwealth, and I believe it is imperative that we take politics out of the office,” Rafferty said. ldquo;I have pledged that I will only run for the Office of Attorney General and not seek higher office. Today, I challenged my opponent, Josh Shapiro, to join me in pledging to take politics out of the AG’s office by promising not to seek higher office. We cannot afford to allow the Office of Attorney General to be used by candidates who simply see it as a stepping-stone for the governor’s mansion.”

Rafferty has launched a public petition at www.TakePoliticsOut.com

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Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders recently weighed in on Mayor JIm Kenney’s proposed soda tax, with Clinton in favor and Sanders opposed.

Daniel Grace, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 830, said, “With all due respect to Secretary Clinton, her stated support of Mayor Kenney’s regressive three-cents-an-ounce sugary drinks tax is misguided. We sincerely doubt she was made aware of the significant loss of family-sustaining jobs‎ that will result if this outrageous tax is passed. Similarly, she likely has no idea that the projected revenues from the tax will never come to fruition as a result of the precipitous decline in sugar-sweetened drinks and the rise of underground markets that will surely occur if the tax proposal becomes law. Politicians have been known to pander for votes, even presidential candidates, especially when they’re less than a week out from Election Day. We suspect Secretary Clinton was simply currying favor with Mayor Kenney. Ultimately, her position on a tax that will only affect already tax-weary Philadelphians is irrelevant.”

Grace also thanked Sanders for “having the courage and conviction to speak truth to power. Working-class people need champions like Bernie Sanders.”

Philadelphians Against the Grocery Tax, a coalition of citizens, businesses owners, movie theaters and community organizations, issued the following statement: “We appreciate Sen. Sanders standing up for the hard-working Philadelphia families who would be harmed by this destructive tax. Pre-K is a worthy program, but a regressive tax borne most heavily by low-income and middle-class Philadelphians is not the right way to pay for it. The fact is we can protect the future of our children and not harm these families in the process with more burdensome taxes. It’s disappointing that Secretary Clinton chose to play old-school politics rather than take into account the full impact of this local issue. We urge both candidates to call upon the administration to redirect existing federal funds for early education to Philadelphia to support the proposed initiative and, if elected president, to commit they will send these federal funds to the city to support Pre-K for the future.”

Jeremy Adler, communications director for the conservative America Rising Advanced Research, said, “While the Philadelphia soda tax won’t reduce childhood obesity, it will cost consumers and disproportionately impact lower-income Americans who can least afford it. If Hillary Clinton is ready to raise taxes on family groceries, what won’t she tax?”

Philadelphians for a Fair Future, a coalition of more than 50 organizations citywide that support the tax, claimed that Clinton’s win in last week’s presidential primary demonstrates that voters support her endorsement of the proposed sugary drinks tax as the best way to pay for expanded pre-K services throughout the city.

Clinton’s victory “demonstrates that Philadelphians strongly support the effort to invest in our children’s future,” said Kevin Feeley, spokesman for Philadelphians for a Fair Future. Voters understand that our children can’t wait any longer for programs that will provide them with a quality public education, and they said so in overwhelming numbers in this election.”

Meanwhile, the America Rising political action committee is criticizing Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Katie McGinty for twice failing to answer whether she supports the soda tax during a Sunday interview on NBC 10.

“Katie McGinty has a record of pushing massive tax hikes like the Philly soda tax, so her dodge is cynical politics at best and proves she’s willing to say or do anything to get elected. Katie McGinty won’t be able to avoid tough questions forever; sooner or later, she will have to say whether she stands with hard-working Pennsylvania families that are tired of tax-and-spend politicians, or with Secretary Clinton and liberal Democrats’ nanny state agenda,” said Amelia Chassé, America Rising PAC press secretary.

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Newsmax has published a list of the 10 hardest-working U.S. senators, and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey is on the list.

Newsmax, which did not rank the top 10, said, “ ‘The best place to catch Pat Toomey’ ,” goes the joke on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, “ ‘is at Union Station (the Washington, D.C. train station) on Thursday or Monday.’ There, the junior senator can be found heading back to Pennsylvania, where he is highly visible meeting constituents over the weekends. In Washington, he is considered a driven lawmaker who embraces small government issues as well as working with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia) on a modest gun control measure (which never got out of the Senate and caused Toomey some discomfort on the right). He is considered one of the more vulnerable GOP senators facing the voters in ’16, but no one writes him off.” ••

Highs and lows: Jared Solomon (pictured above) won 57 percent of the vote in the 202nd Legislative District race, defeating Rep. Mark Cohen, who will leave office at the end of the year after 42 years. DONNA DIPAOLO / FOR THE TIMES