Northeast Times

For O’Neill, it wasn’t even close

Demo­crats hold a 25-per­cent­age-point ad­vant­age in the 10th Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict, and Bill Ru­bin spent the cam­paign sea­son knock­ing on doors and knock­ing Re­pub­lic­an City Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill on the De­ferred Re­tire­ment Op­tion Plan.

O’Neill, elec­ted in 1979, had a big cam­paign war chest and al­ways has won a big per­cent­age of votes from Demo­crats. He re­peatedly said he’d nev­er en­roll in DROP. In the end, the race was not close. O’Neill piled up 59 per­cent of the vote in a dis­trict that runs from Burholme to Somer­ton and in­cludes most of the Far North­east.

Ru­bin mon­itored the res­ults from his cam­paign of­fice near Ben­nett Road and Roosevelt Boulevard be­fore mak­ing his way at about 9:45 p.m. to the Red Roost­er, where he was greeted by sup­port­ers and Ber­nice Hill and her crew of com­mit­tee people from the 63rd Ward.

The los­ing can­did­ate was up­beat.

“I feel good. It was a great race,” he said. “We got our mes­sage across.”

Dur­ing the cam­paign, Ru­bin stressed Coun­cil re­form, call­ing for an end to out­side em­ploy­ment and city-is­sued cars and en­act­ment of term lim­its. He hopes the six new mem­bers of Coun­cil lead the ef­fort on some of his is­sues.

“We’ve changed the de­bate in the city,” he said.

Ru­bin was happy with the res­ults in his home 63rd Ward, based in Fox Chase and lower Bustleton. Four years ago, O’Neill crushed Sean McAleer in the ward by al­most 1,900 votes. Last week, Ru­bin cut the de­fi­cit to a little more than 700, al­though turnout was lower than that of 2007.

“There was a huge dif­fer­ence in the 63rd. We picked up a thou­sand votes,” he said.

Ru­bin gave up his job as the city’s su­per­visor of elec­tions and said last week he doesn’t know if he’ll re­turn. He did not rule out a fu­ture run.

“This book is not fin­ished,” he said. “There are a lot of chapters to be writ­ten.”

O’Neill dom­in­ated in the Far North­east’s 66th Ward, win­ning al­most 2 to 1.

The in­cum­bent did not of­fi­cially de­clare vic­tory un­til about 10:25 p.m. at the Know­lton Man­sion.

“It’s al­most a twenty-point win. That’s like a double land­slide,” he told sup­port­ers. “I’ll take ‘too close to call’ like that any time.”

Among O’Neill’s biggest sup­port­ers was Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5. John McNesby, the uni­on pres­id­ent, de­ployed re­tired and act­ive po­lice of­ficers to the polls.

“Our might was be­hind Bobby Hen­on in the primary,” he said of the win­ner in the 6th Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict. “I put eighty-five people on the street in the 10th today. I nev­er thought it would be tight. Bri­an was above board and told the truth. When the phone rings, he an­swers it.”

O’Neill, the son of a po­lice of­ficer, re­cog­nized the FOP’s back­ing.

“Nobody sup­por­ted me like the Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice,” he said. “The FOP stood as tall as you can stand.”

O’Neill also thanked his fam­ily, cam­paign man­ager Joe Mc­Gar­rity and his cam­paign and of­fice staff for win­ning their di­vi­sions and wards.

Look­ing ahead, O’Neill plans to con­tin­ue to op­pose any pro­posed tax in­creases and will con­tin­ue to use the zon­ing pro­cess to keep Far North­east neigh­bor­hoods thriv­ing.

Demo­crats will hold a 14-3 ad­vant­age in the next Coun­cil. O’Neill will be joined by Denny O’Bri­en and Dav­id Oh, who nar­rowly de­feated Al Tauben­ber­ger  for the oth­er at-large seat. O’Neill will need Oh’s back­ing to re­main minor­ity lead­er.

Coun­cil Demo­crats, not happy with a 14-3 edge, passed a re­dis­trict­ing bill that takes Re­pub­lic­an-lean­ing areas of the 57th Ward out of the dis­trict and re­placed them with Demo­crat­ic strong­holds in the Rhawn­hurst-based 56th Ward.

O’Neill ex­pects to have the same pas­sion for the job in 2015.

“I’m run­ning again,” he said. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

10TH DIS­TRICT TOTALS

Ward O’Neill Ru­bin

35  175  160

53  316  320

56  758  849

57 1,558 1,040

58 3,332 2,679

63 2,575 1,847

65   135    48

66 4,555 2,329

Total 13,404

9,272

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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