GOP’s Torres kicks off campaign at Holmesburg Rec

The self-declared non-politician believes he can do well in Northeast Philly.

TOM WARING / TIMES PHOTO

David Torres spoke last week at Holmesburg Recreation Center to officially kick off his campaign in the 2nd Congressional District.

Torres, a veteran North Philadelphia businessman, was unopposed in the May 15 Republican primary. He declared himself “not a politician.”

In the general election, he will face Rep. Brendan Boyle, who won 64 percent against Michele Lawrence in the Democratic primary.

Mike Tomlinson, last year’s Republican candidate for city controller, introduced Torres. The crowd included party boss Mike Meehan, ward leaders and Beth Grossman, last year’s GOP candidate for district attorney.

The Torres campaign believes he can do well in the Northeast portion of the district.

“Both Beth Grossman and I won the Northeast,” said Tomlinson, who won eight Northeast-area wards while Grossman won 11.

Torres supporters believe he can do well in areas that are new to Boyle following redistricting, such as Logan, Kensington and North Philadelphia.

Meehan likes Torres’ views on opioids, school safety, special education and wasteful spending.

“David is a passionate guy,” he said.

Torres faulted federal officials for allowing the debt to grow to $21.3 trillion.

“We spend too much money,” he said.

Torres also spoke of MS-13, a criminal gang whose members mostly came illegally from Central America to the United States. President Donald Trump recently described members of MS-13 at “animals.”

“We need to secure that damn border, without a doubt,” Torres said.

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Joe Hohenstein last week celebrated his victory in the 177th Legislative District Democratic primary by mingling with supporters at Miller’s Ale House on Roosevelt Boulevard.

Hohenstein said, since the May 15 primary, he’s been reaching out to supporters of his three opponents. He’ll await the outcome of ward leader elections on June 4 to try to consolidate the backing of the Democratic Party, which was split in the primary.

The candidate will continue his campaigning at doors.

“Walking and talking to people is what got me here in the first place,” he said.

Hohenstein challenged Republican Rep. John Taylor in 2016, taking 45 percent of the vote.

Taylor is not running for re-election, and has endorsed community activist and former city parks director Patty-Pat Kozlowski, who was unopposed in the Republican primary.

Hohenstein did not have the money of union-backed Sean Kilkenny, but had enough funds to keep close to him in the number of mailings and get a head start on Maggie Borski.

An immigration lawyer, he campaigned on more funding for public schools, increased funding for mental health services to combat gun crimes, a $15 an hour minimum wage, a nonpartisan commission to create legislative districts and a severance tax for gas drillers.

“One of the big reasons I did well was I had a consistent message,” he said.

Hohenstein had a name recognition advantage based on his 2016 run, while Kilkenny, Borski and Dan Martino had to introduce themselves to voters.

Kozlowski is making her first run for office, though she does have a fairly high profile in Bridesburg and Port Richmond due to her activism.

“I’ve been running this campaign for two years,” Hohenstein said. “I’m going to try to build on that head start.”

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee hopes Hillary Clinton campaigns for Democratic U.S. Bob Casey Jr.

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Senate Democrats’ campaigns, said he would welcome Clinton’s support in this year’s races during a talk at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Clinton, who had Casey’s backing, lost Pennsylvania to President Donald Trump.

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta is challenging Casey. Libertarian Dale Kerns also plans to run.

“Red state Democrats’ infatuation with the Clintons will be catastrophic for their electoral prospects,” said NRSC spokesman Bob Salera. “With Hillary hitting the campaign trail, Pennsylvania voters are going to be reminded day in and day out of her toxic agenda and why they rejected the left-wing ideas Bob Casey enthusiastically backed.” ••