Democratic ward leaders on Friday night endorsed Harry Enggasser over state Rep. Joe Hohenstein during a meeting at Gallo’s.
Enggasser won the vote, 36 divisions to three. As leader of the 45th Ward, Enggasser voted for himself. He also received votes from Tom Johnson and Peg Rzepski.
Hohenstein was supported by Tim Savage and Bob Dellavella.
Connie Dougherty and Tina Tartaglione abstained.
Enggasser, married with four kids, said it’s time for a working-class person to represent the working-class 177th Legislative District.
Enggasser formerly worked at Coca-Cola and was a member of Teamsters Local 830. Over the years, he has worked for state Rep. Marie Lederer, state Sen. Mike Stack and U.S. Reps. Bob Brady and Brendan Boyle.
Enggasser said Brady, chairman of the Democratic City Committee, supports him.
Enggasser has been a ward leader for 18 years. He’s been president of the Bridesburg Civic Association, on the boards of Franklin Towne Charter School, the Bridesburg Community Development Corporation and the Bridesburg Boys and Girls Club, plays Santa Claus during Bridesburg’s Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and is a chapter president of the Stars and Stripes Bars and Pipes motorcycle club, which raises money for veterans and first responders.
Hohenstein and Enggasser both addressed ward leaders before the vote.
Enggasser has run for the seat twice before, challenging Republican Rep. John Taylor in 2006 and ‘08. He said he didn’t go negative on Taylor and won’t on Hohenstein, saying it’s just business.
Hohenstein, a lawyer, lost to Taylor in 2016 and ran again in 2018, when Taylor retired. Enggasser supported Maggie Borski in the 2018 primary, saying he backed Hohenstein after he won the four-way race. Hohenstein was elected that fall.
The primary will be May 17.
The Republican candidate is Mark LaVelle.
Also on Friday night, ward leaders endorsed state Sen. Tina Tartaglione and state Rep. Jared Solomon. Both could run unopposed this year. Tartaglione was expected to have a primary challenge until redistricting removed the 63rd Ward from the 2nd Senatorial District. ••