Two Pennsylvania lawmakers facing political corruption charges were defeated in Tuesday’s primary election.
In late January, a grand jury indicted Democratic state Rep. Jose “J.P.” Miranda on charges that he hired a “ghost” employee to funnel taxpayer dollars to his sister.
On Tuesday, the freshman incumbent faced three challengers and failed to distance himself from the felony corruption case. Miranda, who formerly represented a small portion of East Falls, finished dead last with less than 10 percent of the vote.
Adjunct professor Leslie Acosta took home victory in the 197th Legislative District. She credits, in part, the cloud over Miranda.
“This district is marginalized, it’s underserved and underrepresented,” she said. “And so their hunger for that change and they were tired — tired of being lied to and tired of being cheated and I think that’s what really motivated these people to vote in heavy numbers.”
Miranda, who represents parts of North Philadelphia, did not return requests for an interview.
Voters also deserted Democratic state Sen. LeAnna Washington Tuesday in a three-way race.
The veteran lawmaker is charged with ordering her taxpayer-funded legislative staff to organize an annual campaign fundraiser.
Washington, who serves parts of Northwest Philadelphia and Montgomery County, declined comment.
Jimmy Tayoun, who publishes the Philadelphia Public Record and once resigned from his City Council post after pleading guilty to corruption charges, said Washington’s ouster won’t serve as a cautionary tale.
“If she hadn’t been indicted, if she hadn’t been dragged across the pages of the Inquirer on her way to court … if she hadn’t had the bad publicity, she probably would have survived in Philadelphia, but the turnout was dismal,” Tayoun said. “Another 10 percent from Philadelphia, she would have won.”
A quartet of state representatives identified in a controversial state probe involving lawmakers swapping cash for votes was re-elected.
State Reps. Ronald Waters, Vanessa Brown, Michelle Brownlee and Louise Bishop will all appear on November’s general election ballot.
All but Brown ran unopposed.