Monday marked the deadline for candidates to file to run for state legislative seats in the May 17 primary.
State Sen. Tina Tartaglione [D-2nd dist.} will be unopposed in the primary and general elections on her way to an eighth term.
In the 5th Senatorial District, Democrat Shawn Dillon and Republican Sam Oropeza will compete in a special election.
In the House, several local incumbents will be unopposed in the primary and general elections, barring write-in campaigns. They are Reps. Martina White [R-170th dist.], Ed Neilson [D-174th dist.], Jason Dawkins [D-179th dist.] and Jared Solomon [D-202nd dist.].
Rep. Joe Hohenstein [D-177th dist.} faces a challenge from Republican Mark LaVelle.
Two seats will be determined in the Democratic primary.
In the 203rd Legislative District, which is open due to Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald being moved to another district, the Democratic candidates are Lawncrest activist Heather Miller, retired police officer Yusuf Jackson and Anthony Bellmon, an aide to U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle.
Rep. Mike Driscoll [D-173rd dist.} is running in the May 17 special election in the 6th Councilmanic District. Republicans have until April 6 to select a candidate.
Driscoll said, “It is with both mixed feelings, as well as a deep sense of accomplishment, that I am formally announcing I will not be seeking re-election to the Pa. House of Representatives. It has been my distinct privilege and honor to serve the residents of the 173rd District in Northeast Philadelphia since January 2015. Please be assured that my 2 offices will remain open to serve all of your constituent needs throughout this year.
“These past 2 years have certainly been trying for all of us, but together we persevered in many ways. Now, I look forward, hopefully, to the next chapter of my life and I personally thank each of you for your continued and valued support. All public service is a trust given in faith and accepted in honor.”
In the 173rd primary, Driscoll is endorsing his chief of staff, Pat Gallagher.
Driscoll said, “Pat Gallagher has been my chief of staff for the last eight years. He knows the people and he knows the job. He has already helped so many people in our community and he will continue to do so as their state representative.”
Gallagher plans to focus on issues such as expanding the rent rebate program, raising wages, creating more grant opportunities for small businesses and ensuring the Northeast gets its fair share of infrastructure funding. As a son of a police officer, he will try to ensure police departments are properly funded and adequately staffed.
“Serving this district the past eight years has been so much more than a job to me. Whether it is helping someone get their rent rebate check or helping a senior with an insurance issue, this community has become my family. I am grateful to have had such a hard-working and experienced mentor in Mike Driscoll. I look forward to building upon the work we have already accomplished,” Gallagher said.
Also running in the Democratic primary is Pete McDermott, a teacher, ward leader and Mayfair community activist. The Republican candidate is Katherine Bohr. If Driscoll wins the Council race, a special election could be called for his 173rd district seat, likely between Bohr and the Gallagher/McDermott primary winner.
Rep. Kevin Boyle [D-172nd dist.} faces primary challenges from Bob Stewart, a former aide to ex-state Sen. John Sabatina Jr., and Nathanael Cheng. Independent Tedi Kotori is also running.
The Republican candidate is former City Councilman Al Taubenberger, who officially announced his candidacy on Saturday at Lions Park, 7964 Oxford Ave.
Taubenberger, whose son Matt is a state trooper, asked the crowd to observe a moment of silence for Troopers Martin Mack and Branden Sisca, who were killed last week on I-95 in South Philadelphia by a suspected speeding drunk driver.
Law enforcement is a dangerous line of work, Taubenberger said, adding that he favors greater pay for officers and more funding for police departments. He said law enforcement is needed for a civil society, and encouraged people to thank police officers for their service when they see them. He rejects the “defund the police” movement.
“I say, ‘Fund the police,’ ” he said. “They’re doing a great job now under really, really difficult circumstances.”
If elected, Taubenberger will attend civic association meetings and hold his own community meetings. He welcomes calls to his cell phone at 215-806-0238.
Aaron Bashir, the Republican candidate in the 2nd Congressional District, spoke before Taubenberger’s remarks. He described himself as a law-and-order candidate who, citing the huge increase in carjackings and other violent crime, said liberal social experiments are not working. He would work to lower inflation and promote Judeo-Christian family values on issues of marriage and gender. ••