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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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