In one Germantown race, there was a changing of the guard. In another, the incumbent prevailed.
In the hotly contested 198th District state-representative race, incumbent Rosita Youngblood outpointed challengers Charisma Presley and Malik Boyd.
Boyd, who was considered by some to be Youngblood’s direct competition, finished in third place. The results had Youngblood getting 47 percent of the vote, Presley with 28 and Boyd with 24.5 percent.
Youngblood “gratified” with her victory
About an hour before the polls closed, state Rep. Rosita Youngblood was seated between two tables at Dalessandro’s in Roxborough. She was visibly tired; the 198 Legislative District incumbent, she’s had to squeeze in campaigning between legislative sessions in Harrisburg.
On the day of the primary, Youngblood shuttled across a district that runs from Willow Grove Avenue in Chestnut Hill to Front and Olney, “putting out fires,” in her words.
Earlier in the day, her campaign got an injunction for disparaging campaign literature being distributed. In addition, many of her supporters witnessed what they considered to be electoral malfeasance on the behalf of Youngblood’s opponents.
As she waited for her sandwich, Youngblood was concerned with making it to two final polling locations in both one last campaign push and to thank her workers and volunteers, many of whom had been on duty since very early in the morning.
Later that evening, when the election results began to come in, Youngblood’s demeanor began to change. Not about to shed a somewhat conservative countenance, she began to accept that she would emerge victorious.
At 10:15 p.m., when the poll results showed that Youngblood had defeated her opponents by margins of approximately 20 percent in 59 of 62 reporting precincts, she began her victory speech.
Asked for a response to seeing her name highlighted in bold on the Phillyelectionsresults.com website, she said, “It’s gratifying.”
“What it tells me,” she continued, “is that the voters can see that I’m about the people and that I care.”
Afterword, in reference to an estimate made by Youngblood to being outspent by her components by 5-to-1, she said, “Money can’t buy the election if people have faith and trust in you.”
Victory will only be savored for so long. On Wednesday, she’ll be back in her district office continuing to provide services for her constituents, and preparing for next week’s legislative session.
Boyd “happy” despite loss
Boyd arrived at his campaign headquarters in Chelten Plaza at 10 p.m. on the dot saying, “Regardless of what happens, we are not committed to the seat, we are committed to change. The community has won regardless.”
After hugging his father deeply, Boyd finally conceded the race at around 11 p.m. As he stood before a small crowd, Boyd said his third-place finish was not a “heart-felt loss.”
“I’m happy,” he said. “So, all the sad faces, take a look at me. I’m happy and I’m the candidate.”
Referencing Youngblood’s tenure in office, Boyd added, “You don’t just take down 18 years in one day.”
The Germantown resident also pointed to low voter turnout as an explanation for the loss. After his speech, Boyd mentioned having a third candidate enter the race as being problematic as well.
“We know in politics that, statistically, it’s a huge uphill battle when you have a third person in the race. So, when the third candidate propped up, we knew we would have to double the work in a shorter amount of time,” he said. “If you look at these votes combined, you see a win for one candidate.”
Unprompted, Boyd also spoke about Chelten Plaza, a recently erected strip-mall development in Germantown. Boyd was criticized by some voters for supporting the project, which brought in a dollar store and a lower-tier supermarket, two tenants some thought sent the wrong message about the community.
“I knew that Chelten Plaza could be an issue, but I still stand on what I believe was right about the project and the jobs that were created, the economic impact that is created,” said Boyd.
Overall, he said he was not surprised by the results. Boyd, who withdrew from the 2010 race, said he will make another run at the seat.
“Let’s begin to start running now for 2014. We’ve already got the phone calls that have told us we are the frontrunner,” he said.
Presley’s campaign manager said late Tuesday that the candidate would return calls seeking comment on Wednesday. A report from Youngblood’s victory party will be added soon.
From chief-of-staff to likely state rep
With 63 of 65 precincts reporting in the 201st District, Stephen Kinsey – who served as chief of staff to outgoing state Rep. John Myers – received roughly 50 percent of the vote, trailed by Michael Ellis and Karl Gamble, who got 42 and 8 percent respectively.
Kinsey, 50, has served as both a block captain and a committeeperson and works closely with students at Germantown High School, his alma mater.
For the past four years, he’s acted as Myers’ chief of staff.
Neither Ellis nor Gamble were available for comment late Tuesday night. In a brief phone conversation as he walked into his victory party at Champagne Cafe, Kinsey said he was excited with the results.
A landslide for Evans
In the 203rd District Democratic state representative primary, incumbent Dwight Evans handily defeated challenger Lamont W. Thomas, garnering 82 percent of the vote.
On the Republican side, an unnamed write-in candidate earned one vote with 64 of 64 precincts reporting.
Evans has served the district which covers West Oak Lane and beyond since 1981.
Sheriff’s daughter loses
The primary contest for now-Sheriff Jewell Williams’ vacated 197th state-representative seat saw J.P. Miranda defeat four other candidates, including Williams’ similarly named daughter, Jewel. With most precincts reporting, Miranda received roughly 40 percent of the vote to Williams’ 34 percent.
Miranda campaigned on a message of building a “new day for North Philadelphia” in a district which also includes a large portion of East Falls, where campaign signs were defaced during the day. His campaign literature spoke of a resume of being a field director for John Kerry’s 2004 Presidential campaign and working with then-City Councilman Darrell Clarke and state Sen. Shirley Kitchen.
“It has been a great race and the ward leaders have picked their candidate despite the nonsense that has been going on in this race, with trying to trick people,” said Miranda’s campaign spokesman Dwayne Lilly at 10:45 p.m. Tuesday. “But at the end of the day, it proves that our organization was better than theirs.”
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