Democrat Brian Munroe has won the race for the 144th state House District seat in Bucks County, according to the Associated Press.
He declared victory on Wednesday. The AP called the race on Thursday evening.
“With a 400-plus-vote lead and knowing the few outstanding votes that are still out there… there’s really no clear path to make up or to overtake that 400-vote lead,” Munroe said in an interview with WHYY News Wednesday evening.
He unseated Republican incumbent Todd Polinchock and his win could contribute to changing the balance of power in the state House of Representatives.
Democrats have won 101 seats in the state House and need only one more to take the majority for the first time since 2010 (although they’ve already claimed the win).
“This campaign was never about me or my opponent — it was always about protecting your rights and serving our community,” Munroe said on Twitter Wednesday morning. “It was about your issues, your challenges, your hopes, your stories.”
Preliminary election results on Friday show Munroe with a lead of 15,892 votes to Polinchock’s 15,486.
Earlier this week, the Bucks County GOP said it was not conceding the race yet.
Republican Committee Chairperson Pat Poprik told the Bucks County Courier Times that the GOP was waiting until next week, after county elections officials have counted all mail, military, overseas, and provisional ballots.
“It was very premature for Munroe to declare victory,” Poprik told the Courier.
On Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for Polinchock’s campaign said Polinchock “has no comment at this time” and that the Bucks County GOP is handling press inquiries. The Bucks GOP did not immediately respond to WHYY’s request for comment.
The Bucks County Board of Elections announced Thursday that it received 3,171 provisional ballots. The board may start accepting provisional ballots Tuesday, then the county can start counting those votes.
The county is also awaiting all military and overseas ballots, which are due by Tuesday. So far, it has 653 of those ballots, which need to be added to the total vote counts.
Munroe said he’s confident the provisional ballots will favor him.
The 144th state House district represents Warminster and Warrington townships, parts of New Britain Township, and Ivyland Borough. The area gained registered Democrats in redistricting, so it is now 41.43% Democrat and 43.57% Republican.
Munroe, 48, of Warminster, is a military veteran and retired police officer. He identifies as a moderate Democrat — “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” — and he believes his moderate identity was key for the potential victory.
“I’m going to try to represent everybody in Harrisburg,” Munroe said.
During his campaign, he promised to preserve abortion rights. He believes that promise was crucial for his win. Polinchock voted for some conservative abortion bills, including Senate Bill 106. Munroe said he expects 106 to show up in the House again, “and I look forward to meeting that challenge when it comes.”
He supported a natural gas extraction fee on fracking companies, to give school tax relief to anyone over the age of 65.
He also said he wants to take the money out of politics and is endorsed by Citizens United, a national group fighting for campaign finance reform.
Polinchock, 59, of Warrington, was running for his third term. He is a military veteran and a Realtor.
He wanted to push for harsher crime legislation like House Bill 2819, which would impose a new mandatory minimum for people who were previously convicted and charged with illegal possession of a gun.
His campaign focused on the economy, with a push for producing more energy out of Pennsylvania.
Update: This story was edited on Friday, Nov. 11, to reflect that the Associated Press had called the race.