Elections 2023

Democrats Jamila Winder, Neil Makhija, and Republican Thomas DiBello win Montgomery County Board of Commissioners race

Montgomery County Democrats Jamila Winder and Neil Makhija celebrate next to the podium with their families. (Kenny Cooper/WHYY)

Following a crowded primary election, Democrats Jamila Winder and Neil Makhija have won the race for the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

Republican candidate Thomas DiBello will take the final spot.

With their respective wins, Winder becomes the first Black woman formally elected to the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and Makhija becomes the first Asian American elected to any county board of commissioners in Pennsylvania.

“When I moved to Montgomery County four decades ago, never would I have thought that people that looked like Neil and I would have an opportunity to serve in this capacity,” Winder told their crowd of supporters at Coyote Crossing in Conshohocken.

Winder is the closest the Democrats had to a traditional incumbent candidate. The former East Norriton Township supervisor was appointed to the county board in February following the departure of Democratic Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh.

She emerged victorious from a packed field of primary candidates alongside Makhija, a University of Pennsylvania election law professor and leader of Impact, a national civics organization.

“I think it’s extraordinary that we both represent groups that have traditionally not had a seat at the table,” Makhija told WHYY News. “And the result of that is that we’re going to inspire a lot of people who maybe didn’t imagine to see themselves in leadership or in politics to engage in the process, whether it’s running down ballot for school board or township supervisor — or it’s just voting.”

Democrats will retain majority control over the three-person county board.

With two candidates from each party vying for a spot on the three-person board, there was bound to be someone who did not secure a position.

Republican Thomas DiBello got the final seat over his running mate, Liz Ferry. DiBello is a former Limerick Township supervisor and Spring-Ford School Board Director.

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