Northeast Times

Dominant Dems

— The Re­pub­lic­ans were not much of a Grand Old Party in North­east Philly last week. Demo­crats won throughout the area.

Allyson Schwartz talks about the ex­cit­ment of the cam­paign while await­ing the elec­tion res­ults at the War­wick Hotel in Cen­ter City, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

Demo­crats have dom­in­ated pres­id­en­tial races in North­east Phil­adelphia since 1992, and the trend grew even big­ger this year. 

In the 14 wards that make up the North­east, a Re­pub­lic­an hasn’t won a loc­al ward since George H.W. Bush did in 1988.

In 2008, Pres­id­ent Barack Obama sur­prised some by sweep­ing the North­east, rack­ing up 64 per­cent of the vote in his race against John Mc­Cain. Turnout was down this year in the race between Obama and Mitt Rom­ney, but Obama’s win­ning per­cent­age was up to 68 per­cent.

The race this year between the pres­id­en­tial con­tenders was closer in Pennsylvania and na­tion­ally than it was four years ago, but not in North­east Philly.

State Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.) said some voters like to stick with the in­cum­bent, even when things aren’t go­ing well. He also poin­ted to Obama’s sup­port among or­gan­ized labor and what he saw as Demo­crat­ic scare tac­tics on Medi­care and So­cial Se­cur­ity.

Re­pub­lic­ans have to get to work win­ning over voters, ac­cord­ing to Taylor.

“We have to reach out. We’re a sales force. We have to make sure what we’re selling, they’re buy­ing,” he said. “This time around, that was not the case.”

Marc Collazzo, Taylor’s chief of staff and Re­pub­lic­an lead­er of the 58th Ward, was pleased when he saw the first re­turns. His polling place is at St. Thomas Syro-Malab­ar Cath­ol­ic Church, at 608 Welsh Road. Four di­vi­sions vote there, and Obama won by just a nar­row mar­gin.

In the end, Rom­ney won more than 45 per­cent of the vote in the 58th Ward. That’s bet­ter than he did in most of the wards, but not good enough, in Collazzo’s view.

“It’s a shame we grade on a curve now,” he said.

Collazzo, whose ward re­ceived help from Rus­si­an-speak­ing poll work­ers re­cruited by at­tor­ney Mar­ina Kats, said in­fight­ing among the two fac­tions of the Phil­adelphia GOP didn’t help. He said Re­pub­lic­ans must work “triply” as hard in the fu­ture.

“The North­east is blue-col­lar uni­on folk who his­tor­ic­ally vote Demo­crat. That’s how they’re told and pushed,” he said. “Those are the hurdles that we face and have to over­come. We have to make our um­brella big­ger.”

City Con­trol­ler Alan Butkovitz, Demo­crat­ic lead­er of the 54th Ward, said loc­al voters star­ted the pat­tern of vot­ing for a Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate with Bill Clin­ton in 1992.

By 2000, loc­al Re­pub­lic­ans be­came vic­tims of straight-party vot­ing, with state Sen. Hank Sal­vatore los­ing his seat and Taylor and then-state Reps. George Ken­ney and John Perzel win­ning nar­rowly.

“The dam broke,” Butkovitz said.

Butkovitz said Medi­care and pock­et­book is­sues are tops on the minds of loc­al voters.

“People in the North­east don’t think the Re­pub­lic­an Party rep­res­ents their in­terest,” he said. “The con­stitu­ency is in a habit of vot­ing Demo­crat­ic at this point.”

State Sen. Mike Stack (D-5th dist.) totaled 71.6 per­cent of the vote to de­feat Re­pub­lic­an Mike Tom­lin­son. The well-fun­ded in­cum­bent de­clared vic­tory at Randi’s Res­taur­ant and Bar.

“It’s heart­en­ing,” he said. “I know Mike Tom­lin­son worked hard. In a lot of ways, that’s why it is a heart­en­ing sign. I ap­pre­ci­ate the con­fid­ence the people of North­east Phil­adelphia have in me.”

Taylor took 56.9 per­cent of the vote in turn­ing back Demo­crat Wil­li­am Dun­bar.

Much of the dis­trict is in trans­ition, and Taylor util­ized more than 40 Span­ish-speak­ing vo­lun­teers.

“They made a dif­fer­ence,” he said.

Still, the bulk of the dis­trict went for Pres­id­ent Barack Obama, push­ing the straight Demo­crat­ic but­ton.

“It’s tough swim­ming up cur­rent,” Taylor said. “I al­ways have to worry about the straight pulls.”

State Rep. Kev­in Boyle (D-172nd dist.) piled up 68 per­cent of the vote to beat Re­pub­lic­an Al Tauben­ber­ger. He be­lieves voters re­war­ded him for what he called a bi­par­tis­an agenda to make neigh­bor­hoods strong and safe.

In an elec­tion night party at Benny the Bum’s, he thanked his fam­ily, of­fice staff, cam­paign vo­lun­teers, uni­ons, some loy­al ward lead­ers and com­mit­tee people.

“I look for­ward to be­ing your ward lead­er in two years,” he said.

Boyle plans to chal­lenge Ber­nice Hill, Demo­crat­ic lead­er of the 63rd Ward, in the spring of 2014. Hill and fel­low ward lead­ers John Sabat­ina and Pat Par­kin­son sup­por­ted chal­lenger Dan Collins in the primary. The law­maker and those ward lead­ers re­main foes.

“I’m go­ing to win if I run,” he said of the 63rd Ward race.

• • •

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th dist.) took 69 per­cent of the vote against Re­pub­lic­an Joe Rooney. She pos­ted her biggest mar­gins in the new areas of her dis­trict.

The in­cum­bent won 91 per­cent in the Frank­ford-based 23rd Ward and 95 per­cent in the 42nd and 61st wards in Ol­ney and Felton­ville. She and oth­er Demo­crats be­nefited from the straight-party vot­ing of Obama sup­port­ers.

Schwartz said her pri­or­it­ies in her fifth term will in­clude tax policy and Medi­care — cut­ting costs while pro­tect­ing be­ne­fits. She ad­ded that she also will con­tin­ue to pro­mote in­vest­ment in bi­o­tech­no­logy, which she thinks will gen­er­ate jobs.

Re­pub­lic­ans main­tained con­trol of the U.S. House, while Demo­crats kept their ma­jor­ity in the Sen­ate. Schwartz, who cel­eb­rated her vic­tory at the War­wick Hotel in Cen­ter City, hopes the par­tis­an grid­lock of the last two years in Con­gress can be re­solved.

“I’ve worked the past two years to find Re­pub­lic­an part­ners and will con­tin­ue to do that,” she said. “I’m hop­ing the Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship will be will­ing to work with Pres­id­ent Obama.”

• • •

Obama crushed Rom­ney in the five di­vi­sions that vote at Ben­jamin Frank­lin Ele­ment­ary School, at Rising Sun and Chel­ten­ham av­en­ues in Lawndale/Cres­centville.

The vot­ing took place in the school cafet­er­ia, and one wall fea­tures a large mur­al of Obama, com­plete with the words “hope” and “change,” a quote and his cam­paign logo.

Re­pub­lic­ans com­plained, and GOP at­tor­ney Linda A. Kerns filed a court mo­tion. Com­mon Pleas Court Judge John Milton Younge Jr. ordered that the judge of elec­tions in the 18th di­vi­sion cov­er the mur­al in its en­tirety so that the mur­al could not be seen.

The pres­id­ent won those five di­vi­sions by a com­bined vote of 1,755 to 140.

The di­vi­sions are filled largely with minor­ity and Demo­crat­ic voters. The mur­al could have fea­tured Rom­ney, run­ning mate Paul Ry­an and their fam­il­ies, and the out­come prob­ably wouldn’t have been dif­fer­ent.

• • •

The stu­dents at Blessed Trin­ity Re­gion­al Cath­ol­ic School par­ti­cip­ated in a mock pres­id­en­tial elec­tion on Nov. 5.

The young­sters in pre-kinder­garten through eighth grade chose Obama over Rom­ney by a count of 402-200.

Liber­tari­an Gary John­son and the Green Party’s Jill Stein, whose names ap­peared on the Pennsylvania bal­lot, were not in­cluded in this elec­tion.

Lib­rar­i­an Susan Mc­Call co­ordin­ated the mock elec­tion.

Un­til this year, Blessed Trin­ity was known as St. Timothy. The new name is the res­ult of a mer­ger of St. Tim’s and Pope John Paul II, in Brides­burg. The merged school is loc­ated at Levick and Hawthorne streets.

The stu­dents learned about the elec­tion from the start of the school year. Teach­ers out­lined the his­tory and the pro­cess of pres­id­en­tial elec­tions. Mu­sic classes sung pat­ri­ot­ic tunes.

The chil­dren in the up­per grades will ana­lyze the vote totals and stat­ist­ics for math class.

Lead­ing up to the vot­ing, the sixth-grade art classes de­signed posters, many fea­tur­ing don­keys and ele­phants, the mas­cots of the Demo­crat­ic and Re­pub­lic­an parties.

The in­cum­bent Demo­crat pre­vailed thanks to posters that read, “Vote Obama all the way” and “Vote for Obama. Not Mitt Rom­ney,” with a slash across a pic­ture of an ele­phant.

The Re­pub­lic­an chal­lenger lost des­pite posters of sup­port that read, “Vote for Mitt. He cares,” “Rom­ney is the bet­ter choice” and “Rom­ney for 45th Pres­id­ent.”

The voters cast their bal­lots be­hind the pri­vacy of a cur­tain. They used cray­ons — one col­or for Obama and an­oth­er for Rom­ney — to mark a pa­per bal­lot. Each voter re­ceived a mini­ature Amer­ic­an flag after tak­ing part in the elec­tion.

Blessed Trin­ity was closed on Elec­tion Day be­cause it is the home polling place for the 55th Ward, 9th and 13th di­vi­sions. ••

Start­Frag­ment

Pres­id­en­tial vote in loc­al wards

Ward    Rom­ney  Obama

23    840    7,889

35    1,648    10,268

41    1,821    5,642

53    1,475    6,608

54    819    5,192

55    3,326    6,489

56    4,836    9,032

57    4,241    6,631

58    8,399    10,110

62    1,238    8,080

63    4,865    5.704

64    2,635    3,909

65    2,941    5,832

66    8,006    10,305

 

NE Total  47,090    101,691

Phila. Total  91,880    558,465

 

Note: Liber­tari­an Gary John­son re­ceived 822 votes in the North­east. The Green Party’s Jill Stein re­ceived 441. There were 117 write-in votes. 

Start­Frag­ment

UN­OF­FI­CIAL ELEC­TION RE­TURNS

Pres­id­ent

Pennsylvania

Barack Obama 2,865,690

Mitt Rom­ney 2,581,357

Gary John­son 48,150

Jill Stein 20,463

U.S. Sen­ate

Bob Ca­sey Jr. 2,900,728

Tom Smith 2,417,779

Ray­burn Smith 93,095

At­tor­ney Gen­er­al

Kath­leen Kane 3,006,580

Dav­id Freed 2,228,564

Marakay Ro­gers 123,823

Aud­it­or Gen­er­al

Eu­gene De­Pasquale 2,624,241

John Ma­h­er 2,455,586

Betsy Sum­mers 202,418

Treas­urer

Rob Mc­Cord 2,763,280

Di­ana Irey Vaughan 2,316,561

Pa­tri­cia Fry­man 182,274

1st Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict

Bob Brady 222,408

John Feather­man 39,128

13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict

Allyson Schwartz 203,673

Joe Rooney 91,994

3rd Sen­at­ori­al Dis­trict

Shir­ley Kit­chen- un­op­posed

5th Sen­at­ori­al Dis­trict

Mike Stack 62,479

Mike Tom­lin­son 24,774

152nd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Tom Murt 18,950

Ron­ald Kolla 10,807

154th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Steve Mc­Carter 25,294

Mark Sirin­ides 8,143

169th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Ed Neilson 15,068

Dave Kralle 7,957

170th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Brendan Boyle- un­op­posed

172nd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Kev­in Boyle 16,226

Al Tauben­ber­ger 7,642

173rd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Mike McGee­han- un­op­posed

174th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

John Sabat­ina Jr.- un­op­posed

177th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

John Taylor 11,801

Wil­li­am Dun­bar 8,774

179th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

James Clay- un­op­posed

202nd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Mark Co­hen- un­op­posed

203rd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Dwight Evans- un­op­posedEnd­Frag­ment  End­Frag­ment

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

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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