GOP reps survive

Taylor on top: State Rep. John Taylor addresses supporters at the United Republican Club on Tuesday night. He defeated Democrat Joe Hohenstein with 55.15 percent of the vote. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

The presidential and U.S. Senate races were going down to the wire early Wednesday morning, but two incumbent state legislators were able to declare victory on Tuesday night.

Reps. Martina White (R-170th dist.) and John Taylor (R-177th dist.) each earned another two-year term.

Philadelphians overwhelmingly backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, but the fight for Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes was too close to call between Clinton and Republican Donald Trump as the Times went to press. Clinton is seeking to become the nation’s first woman president.

Meanwhile, Democrat Katie McGinty — a Rhawnhurst native — was in a tight battle with Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

In the biggest local races, White defeated Democrat Matt Darragh, and Taylor beat Democrat Joe Hohenstein.

Below is a closer look at the results.


Pennsylvania leans Democratic in presidential years, but Clinton and Trump were neck and neck with 88.06 percent of the vote counted. Trump had 48.44 percent to Clinton’s 48.01 percent. Others on the ballot were Libertarian Gary Johnson (2.37 percent), the Green Party’s Jill Stein (1 percent) and the Constitution Party’s Darrell Castle (less than 1 percent).


Pennsylvania also has a hotly contested U.S. Senate race.

Toomey is seeking a second six-year term. Polls showed him in a tight race with Democrat Katie McGinty, former chief of staff for Gov. Tom Wolf. She is a graduate of Resurrection of Our Lord Grammar School and St. Hubert High School.

Toomey has a narrow lead with 48.21 percent to McGinty’s 47.75 percent.

Also in the race was Libertarian Edward T. Clifford III, who has 4.04 percent. Republicans appear to be holding onto control of the Senate.


Pennsylvanians chose candidates for four-year terms as attorney general, auditor general and state treasurer.

In the race for attorney general, Democrat Josh Shapiro, a Montgomery County commissioner, leads Republican state Sen. John Rafferty, 51.99 percent to 48.01 percent.

Democrat Kathleen Kane, elected attorney general in 2012, was sentenced to jail after being convicted of leaking secret grand jury information to the Philadelphia Daily News to discredit former state prosecutor Frank Fina, her archrival.

Democrat Eugene DePasquale, the incumbent auditor general, appears to have won another four-year term with 50.76 percent of the vote. Republican John Brown, the Northampton County executive, has 44.25 percent. The Green Party’s John J. Sweeney (2.76 percent) and Libertarian Roy Minet (2.23 percent) were also on the ballot.

Democrat Joe Torsella, former president and CEO of the National Constitution Center and an unsuccessful candidate in the 2004 primary in the 13th Congressional District, appears to have been elected state treasurer with 51.37 percent of the vote. Republican Otto Voit, a Berks County businessman and former U.S. Army officer, has 43.38 percent. The Green Party’s Kristin Combs (2.95 percent) and Libertarian James Babb (2.30 percent) were also in the race.

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


In races for the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle was unopposed in the 13th Congressional District.

In the 1st Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Bob Brady defeated Republican Debbie Williams with 81.54 percent of the vote.

Republicans maintained control of the U.S. House.


In the 5th Senatorial District, Democratic Sen. John Sabatina Jr. defeated Republican Ross Feinberg with 66.92 percent of the vote.


There are nine districts in the state House of Representatives that include parts of the Northeast.

Reps. Mike Driscoll (D-173rd dist.), Ed Neilson (D-174th dist.) and Jason Dawkins (D-179th dist.) were unopposed.

Also unopposed were Democrats Jared Solomon in the 202nd Legislative District and Isabella Fitzgerald in the 203rd Legislative District. Solomon defeated 42-year incumbent Mark Cohen in the primary. Fitzgerald will replace fellow Democrat Dwight Evans, who won the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Rep. Tom Murt (R-152nd dist.) defeated Democrat Al DerMovsesian with 64.01 percent of the vote.

Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-172nd dist.) defeated Republican Jim Pio with 62.3 percent of the vote in a race that saw both candidates fight it out over sanctuary cities.

In the 170th, White (R-170th dist.) downed Darragh in a battle that saw both candidates beat up on each other in newspaper and television ads and mailings. She won the 58th and 66th wards and finished with an unofficial 54.26 percent of the vote.

White celebrated at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.

“I always had confidence we would be successful,” she said. “My team and I have worked hard. We’re very, very proud of all our accomplishments and the work we’ve been doing. I’m a bipartisan legislator.”

Darragh, who was at Plumbers Local 690, called White to concede. He had backing from President Barack Obama and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack.

“He was very polite and respectful,” White said. “He ran a great campaign. He had a lot of Democratic support.”

White said she wants to work to bring jobs to the district and fight the opioid epidemic.

“I want to continue to work on the issues the Northeast is facing,” she said.

In the 177th, Taylor defeated Hohenstein with 55.15 percent of the vote.

Hohenstein led early, thanks to strength in the 23rd Ward. Both candidates live in Northwood, in that ward.

“It started out a little tense,” Taylor said.

Taylor pulled it out in the Bridesburg, Port Richmond and Mayfair areas. He had 55.15 percent of the vote.

“I’d always like a bigger margin, but it was a volatile, crazy top of the ticket. We got overwhelmed in the 23rd Ward at the top. It was a tremendous challenge at the top of the ticket,” he said, adding that he faced negative advertising.

Taylor and White will continue to serve in the majority. He plans to work on issues such as education and transportation funding, lowering the wage tax and reforming the building code to spur development.

“We have some great stuff. We’re looking forward to continue to work,” he said.

Taylor also plans to focus on constituent service.

“We’re pretty good at that. Our staff is happy. They’re the folks on the front line,” he said.


Voters decided on a city ballot question and a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution.

The city question reads, “Should the City of Philadelphia borrow One Hundred Eighty-Four Million Three Hundred Three Thousand Dollars ($184,303,000.00) to be spent for and toward capital purposes as follows: Transit; Streets and Sanitation; Municipal Buildings; Parks, Recreation and Museums; and Economic and Community Development?”

The question passed with 66.48 percent of the vote.

The proposed constitutional amendment reads, “Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges, and magisterial district judges be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years?”

That’s a complicated way of asking if the retirement age for judges should be raised from 70 to 75.

The judicial measure was passing with 50.58 percent of the vote. ••

White’s night: State Rep. Martina White, a Parkwood resident, celebrates at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 after defeating Matt Darragh in the 170th Legislative District. She won the 58th and 66th wards and finished with an unofficial 54.26 percent of the vote. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO