By Tom Waring
Democrat Joe Hohenstein easily won the 177th Legislative District race, defeating Republican Patty-Pat Kozlowski on Tuesday.
“It feels good,” said Hohenstein, who celebrated at the Harmonia Club in Bridesburg. “I thought it would be a long, hard fight, and it was.”
Kozlowski conceded at the Columbia Social Club, in Port Richmond. Supporters stood, clapped, shook noisemakers and chanted, “Patty,” as she arrived about 9:45 p.m.
“I thought when I walked in, the numbers changed,” she joked.
Hohenstein, an immigration lawyer from Northwood, took more than 59 percent of the vote in a race expected to be closer. He took almost 45 percent of the vote two years ago against Republican Rep. John Taylor, who is retiring after 34 years in office. He easily won a four-way primary in May.
Hohenstein thanked ward leaders, unions, members of the recovery movement and young canvassers who promoted progressive politics.
“With this type of victory, I couldn’t do it by myself,” he said. “It was done by a broader group of people.”
Kozlowski is a longtime community activist and former aide to City Councilwoman Joan Krajewski who resigned from the city Department of Parks and Recreation to run for the seat. She did well in her home area of Bridesburg in the 45th Ward, but Hohenstein won elsewhere. She left a voicemail for the winner, saying, “Please take care of the neighborhoods. Please take care of the people.”
Kozlowski said it was too much to overcome the Democratic voter-registration advantage. She thanked her family, Pratt Street neighbors, Taylor, ward leaders. top campaign aide Tim O’Brien, Stock’s Bakery and the police, firefighters, Teamsters, carpenters and other unions.
On Saturday, she plans to help clean Campbell Square as part of the city’s Love Your Park day. She said she had to live in Philadelphia when she worked for the city, but wants to live here anyway.
“Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life,” she told her supporters. “Eat, drink and be merry. It’s OK.”
Taylor attended Kozlowski’s event.
“We’re very proud of what Patty-Pat did in this race,” he said. “She represented herself, family and neighborhood with grace and dignity.”
Hohenstein was backed by SEIU, Working Families, Planned Parenthood, AFL-CIO, Boilermakers 13, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the American Federation of Teachers, AFSCME District Council 47 and Sierra Club.
The candidates sent at least a combined 20 mailings to voters. In addition, the liberal Pennsylvania Fund for Change sent mailings and made a robocall critical of Kozlowski.
Hohenstein credits meeting voters as a key to victory.
“It was door knocking, talking to people and listening to what was on their mind,” he said.
Hohenstein said he will keep his promises to offer extended office hours, Saturday hours and mobile office hours, and to attend civic association meetings and offer good constituent services.
“Now, I’ve got to prove myself,” he said.
The 177th District includes Bridesburg, Northwood and portions of Frankford, Wissinoming, Port Richmond, Tacony, West Mayfair, Holmesburg, Holme Circle and Lexington Park.
State Rep. Martina White (R-170th dist.) defeated Democrat Mike Doyle with almost 58 percent of the vote in a race in which she was expected to cruise.
White was endorsed by FOP Lodge 5, Fire Fighters and Paramedics Local 22, the Pennsylvania State Education Association, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 21, the Philadelphia Building Trades Council, Steamfitters 420, Pennsylvania State Troopers, Boilermakers 13, Sprinkler Fitters 692, Sheet Metal Workers 19, Operating Engineers 542, the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, Elevator Constructors 5 and Transport Workers Union.
Rep. Tom Murt (R-152nd dist.) beat Democrat Daryl Boling with almost 56 percent of the vote.
Murt took 58 percent in the Bustleton part of the district, which is based in eastern Montgomery County.
Six local House Democrats were unopposed on Tuesday. They were Reps. Kevin Boyle, Mike Driscoll, Ed Neilson, Jason Dawkins, Jared Solomon and Isabella Fitzgerald.
Also unopposed was state Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-2nd dist.).
U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Democrat, won in the newly drawn 2nd Congressional District, piling up 79 percent of the vote against Republican David Torres.
In the U.S. Senate race. Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. prevailed with 56 percent. Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta took 43 percent, followed by Libertarian Dale Kerns and the Green Party’s Neal Gale.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and his lieutenant governor running mate, John Fetterman, cruised with 58 percent. Republicans Scott Wagner and Jeff Bartos took 41 percent, followed by Libertarians Ken Krawchuk and Kathleen Smith and the Green Party’s Paul Glover and Jocolyn Bowser Bostick.
A city bond question that read, “Should the City of Philadelphia borrow One Hundred Eighty One Million Dollars ($181,000,000.00) to be spent for and toward capital purposes as follows: Transit; Streets and Sanitation; Municipal Buildings; Parks, Recreation and Museums; and Economic and Community Development?” passed with 72 percent. ••