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Dems in Harrisburg Gain Modest Success

November 22, 2006 By:
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Josh Shapiro

Democrats did not enjoy the same kind of stunning victory in Harrisburg that their fellow party members had on Capitol Hill, but they did make substantial gains and may still have a chance of claiming a narrow majority in one chamber. All told, the Democrats shaved down what had been a 109 to 94 GOP advantage to what will either turn out to be a razor-thin majority or minority.

According to Tom Andrews, a spokesman for House Democratic leader H. William DeWeese (D-District 50), Democrats hold a 101-100 edge in the house, with the outcome of two Chester County assembly races still up in the air. (Andrews did say that Republicans held slim advantages in both those races.)

Yet according to Al Bowman, spokesman for Speaker John Perzel (R-District 172), both those races were won by Republicans, and the GOP will control the Pennsylvania house with a 102-101 edge.

On the other hand, the Pennsylvania State Senate will remain firmly in Republican hands with a 29 to 21 margin.

In the five-county area, several Jewish incumbents easily cruised to re-election.

Representative Daylin Leach (D-District 149), who represents portions of the Main Line, defeated Temple University business professor Monica Treichel, garnering 16,449 votes to his opponent's 8,148, according to unofficial results released last week by the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Representative Josh Shapiro (D-District 153), whose district includes parts of the Upper Dublin and Abington Townships, earned a second term in Pennsylvania's capital, besting Republican Lou Guerra Jr. with 19,576 votes to 6,188.

Longtime Representative Babette Josephs (D-District 182), whose district covers Center City, trampled her Republican challenger, Lindsay Doering, capturing more than 80 percent of votes, totaling a whopping 16,571 to her opponent's mere 3,638.

Representative Michael Gerber (D-District 148), whose district includes Ambler, trumped Republican Tom Gale by nearly 10,000 votes, capturing 18,346.

However, Brandeis University graduate Michael Diamond was unable to unseat incumbent David J. Steil (R-District 31). The Bucks county Republican held on to his seat with 51.6 percent of the vote. He captured 13,717 votes to Diamond's 12,858.

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