Pennsylvania voters head to the polls today for the 2012 statewide primary. They’ll have the chance to make their primary picks for President, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, State Attorney General, State Treasurer, Auditor General, State Senator and State Representative.
NewsWorks reporters, videographers and photographers will be fanning out across Northwest Philadelphia to bring you updates at the polling places and at candidate headquarters tonight. Stay tuned to this blog throughout the day for the latest updates.
11:05 p.m., With 60 percent of the vote, State Rep. Pam DeLissio has won in the 194th District. In the 197th, Miranda prevails with 40 percent of the vote.
11 p.m., AP has called the following state rep. races in Northwest Philly: With 47 percent of the vote, Rosita Youngblood has prevailed in the 198th District’s Democratic primary; With 50 percent of the vote, Stephen Kinsey has won in the 201st District; and Incumbent Dwight Evans won in the 203rd District.
10:15 p.m., Malik Boyd arrived at his campaign headquarters at 10 p.m. on the dot. While sitting at third at the moment, Boyd has not yet conceded but had these words to offer. “Regardless of what happens, we are not committed to the seat, we are committed to change. The community has won regardless.”
10 p.m., Brian Hickey is following the special election race for state representative in the 197th District. With 75 percent of the precincts reporting, Gary Williams has a 76 percent lead on T. Milton Street Sr. That news took Williams by surprise tonight. Here’s the story.
With 75 percent of the precincts reporting in the 197th District state-representative election counted, Gary Williams has culled 76 percent of the vote against T. Milton Street Sr.
9 p.m., Aaron Moselle is stationed at Malik Boyd’s HQ inside Chelten Plaza. His opponent, Rosita Youngblood, is waiting for results across the street on the other side of Pulaski Avenue.
6 p.m., For the latest election results, scroll down to the bottom of this page.
5:45 p.m., Charisma Presley, candidate for state representative in the 198th district, has always had a problem with her name.
Growing up, she would complain to her mom that it was too long and wanted a simple name like Amy, which she loves. But today, she has to thank her mom for donning her with the name that many voters said fits her well. One yelled “Charisma has charisma” at the Allen Lane Arts Center after she introduced herself.
Making her name and face known has been a vital part of her campaign by actively greeting travelers at the Allens Lane Train Station and knocking on doors. If elected, Presley intends to continue to get to know the community members.
“For me, walking was not only just getting to know the needs of district,” said Presley. “It’s about knowing the people behind it. It’s about personalizing the fight.”
She maintained that same spirit today as she stopped at several polls in her district to talk with voters and volunteers.
“I am where I am not because of me, but because of people that supported me,” said Presley. “I want to use that same mentality to serve the community.”
The fourth-generation district family member said regardless of if she wins or loses, she has already won because of the relationships that she has built.
5:30 p.m., Meg Frankowski and Yasmein James posted this Northwest Philadelphia poll check-in piece and Aaron Moselle filed this article on Karl Gamble, the candidate for state representative in the 201st Legislative District.
3 p.m. update, A rumor has been floating around throughout the day that the pair of polling booths set-up inside Martin Luther King High School’s library have not been working. Poll workers on hand, though, said everything has been running smoothly.
“Everything has been going as usual,” said 59th Ward committeeperson Kelly Rozir.
Rozir said there was a brief scramble early this morning to find a secure power source, but that the polls opened on time with no other hiccups to report.
As she stood nearby, Donna Reed Miller, the ward’s democratic leader and former Eighth District City Councilwoman, said she suspected some kind of foul-play was to blame. “This must be a plot,” said Miller. “I’ve been getting erroneous reports all day.”
Turnout at MLK has nonetheless been paltry. As of 2 p.m., only 44 voters had cast a ballot. There are nearly 600 on the books.
2:30 p.m. update, At what has become Northwest Philadelphia’s version of the Famous 4th Street Deli election-day gathering, a slew of politicians and others made their way to Relish on Ogontz Avenue for a lunchtime get-together.
Among those in attendance were state Sen. Anthony “Hardy” Williams, state Rep. Dwight Evans, former City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller and current councilmembers Bill Green, Maria Quinones Sanchez and Curtis Jones along with Philadelphia NAACP President Jerry Mondesire. Also there were current candidates Malik Boyd, from the 198th race, and Stephen Kinsey, seeking the 201st state-rep seat.
Evans spoke about a need to have the Voter ID law overturned but also to educate voters who do not have photo identification how to get it before the general election. “There are 196 days before the Nov. 6 election, and this is nothing but a right-wing Republican attack,” said Evans who, facing Lamont Thomas in the primary, urged people to come out and vote since the weather had warmed since the chilly morning.
Both Boyd and Kinsey showed a measure of contained confidence, saying they hoped their messages had resonated with voters in their respective districts. (Video of Evans, Boyd and Kinsey speaking outside Relish will soon appear on NewsWorks).
2 p.m. update, The Committee of Seventy looked into the NewsWorks report of 197th District state representative candidate Jewel Williams’ signs being defaced outside the Mifflin School in East Falls. At 12:30 p.m., they included this information in their election-day report:
“D.A. Not Investigating “Scam” Stickers on Jewel Williams’ Signs: We checked up on the story in Newsworks that the D.A.’s office sent people out to investigate reports (also received by Seventy, which sent its volunteers to the site) that Jewel Williams’ signs (she is running for her sheriff-father’s former 197th House seat in the primary. She is not running in the special election) at the Mifflin School in East Falls were covered with “scam” stickers. A representative from the D.A.’s office, who is in Seventy’s headquarters today, said that his office did not send anyone to the polling place because this “did not rise to the level of criminal activity” that the D.A.’s office would be involved in.“
While committeeperson David Senoff reported the incident, which a NewsWorks editor witnessed, and the initial report noted, D.A. investigators “are currently on the way to Mifflin,” no investigator was sent to the scene.
12:20 p.m. update, Outside the Happy Hollow Rec Center around 11:30 a.m., 198th District incumbent state Rep. Rosita Youngblood talked about “bogus campaign lit’ being passed out.
One, which she said a supporter of opponent Malik Boyd just handed her, claims she brought about “the cancellation of the world reknown Ogontz Avenue Jazz Festival,” referring to the world renowned West Oak Lane event.
As a Boyd van drove by blaring Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” Youngblood said, “We’re running a positive campaign. I told my supporters not to get into it” with any of her opposition’s backers.
She also hoped that turnout would increase, as it’s been scarce throughout the 198th, which she is seeking to represent for a 10th term.
Her campaign office at Chelten and Pulaski was abuzz with activity from field operations. It’s across the street from the controversial Chelten Plaza, a dividing-line issue between herself and Boyd. She was against it; he supported it.
Outside Happy Hollow, Youngblood supporter Moses Briggs said he’s backing the incumbent because “she can’t be bought” and has experience in Harrisburg.
“What has he done?” Briggs asked of Boyd, whose father was feet away talking to his son’s primary-day supporters.
NewsWorks will be catching up with Boyd at Relish in West Oak Lane early this afternoon.
12:10 p.m. update, West Oak Lane library is now serving as the shared polling headquarters for the 50th and 10th division voters. Pennypacker Elementary on E. Washington Lane, the former polling location for 10th division voters, is not handicapped accessible. Signs are up at the school today to guide voters to the library.
11:30 a.m. update, It’s been a slow start at Pastorious Elementary in East Germantown. Poll workers there are reporting less than 10 percent of the site’s registered voters – 55 out of 558.
“It’s the way it is this time of year,” offered Elsie Higgins, who’s been judge of elections for at least 40 years.
10:30 a.m. update, Sheriff Jewell Williams arrived at the Mifflin School at 10:05 a.m.
“I don’t respond to the negative stuff. My daughter’s been out at campaign stops, people know who she is. We’re not trying to do anything illegal,” he told NewsWorks. “They’re running around with a bunch of guys, drug addicts, gangsters, want to fight. We’re not going to get into it.”
Jewell Williams also said he has video of Miranda posting his signs on one of his daughter’s campaign offices.
He said the signs and stickers incident is happening throughout the district. He tried to pull it off one of his daughter’s posters hanging on the side of the building, but was only able to rip the letter “S” off.
Outside the East Falls library on Midvale Avenue, Wilson said, “I don’t know them” about those plastering signs with stickers, who she was seen near less than an hour earlier.
“They’re not tied” to my brother, she said, noting that she was here with two other people supporting her brother’s ward nomination.
10 a.m. update, In a moment that was quintessential Philadelphia politics, several people emerged from a red Grand Marquis outside the Mifflin School in East Falls around 9:30 a.m.
They plastered Jewel Williams signs with stickers reading “Scam” and attempted to hang posters with pictures of the 197th candidates father Sheriff Jewell Williams saying “I am your sheriff, not your state representative.” This was a result of perceived confusion among voters between Jewel and Jewell Williams.
Among the group was City Councilman Curtis Jones’ spokewoman Michelle Wilson, who did not touch the signs but asked a poll watcher whether Williams had any representatives on the site. Wilson, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, left the scene quickly.
Committeeperson David Senoff promptly called the District Attorney’s office to report the incident; however, it did not rise to the level that warranted a criminal investigation, a D.A. office representative later said.
“Jewel is not a scam,” said observer Mary Zimmerman. “Jewell Williams helps me get food. He is a good man.”
Linda Norris, who works the polls at Mifflin regularly, tore one sign down but left the others awaiting the investigator.
Steve Roundtree, who was among those with flyers and stickers, said it “has absolutely nothing to do with Miranda,” referring to 197th District candidate J.P. Miranda, who is Wilson’s brother.
9:35 a.m. update, Yasmein James is at the polling station at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Chestnut Hill, where she says there is a very low turnout. A poll representative said about 14 people voted at 9 a.m., now they are up to about 20 voters.
9:30 a.m. update, State Rep. Pamela DeLissio of the 194th District voted at the fire station on Ridge Avenue in Roxborough at 7 a.m. this morning. Our reporter, Meg Frankowski, says DeLissio talked with about four voters at the polling place and also received a phone call from her 86-year-old father, who is in the hospital and couldn’t vote in the primary. DeLissio says if she’s elected for a second term, she would focus on campaign finance reform and non-partisan redistricting. She did not bring her ID today, saying “the eight-month time frame [before the November election] is ludicrous” and hopes to get it deferred or dismissed by November.
9 a.m. update, NewsWorks reporter Matt Grady has been shadowing City Commissioner Al Schmidt since 6 a.m. this morning. One polling issue reported in Northwest Philadelphia was in the second division of the 38th Ward, which covers parts of East Falls and Abbotsford. The polling place at Devereaux Methodist Church at 26th and Allegheny did not open at 7 a.m. sharp, but it is now up and running. According to Schmidt, there are approximately 1,300 polling places throughout Philadelphia. Everything seems to be running smoothly, except in South and Northeast Philadelphia, where there have been issues with machines not working and, in one case in Northeast Philly, a polling place was broken into last night. That area is now being treated as a crime scene.
7:30 a.m. update, A white van filled with Jewel Williams campaign-day worker staff parked near 27th and Dauphin with signs to plaster the neighborhood with.
7 a.m. update, Greg Paulmier was outside “The Warehouse” polling place on Winona Street in Germantown. He donned a Rosita Youngblood shirt. Her opponent Malik Boyd was supposed to be there, per a campaign press release, but he didn’t show up until a half hour later. Paulmier didn’t realize Boyd voted here, and he’s the committeperson, so he’d know.
“Rosita is very independent. That’s what I like about her. She’s probably independent to a fault sometimes, but other times, it’s just what we need,” said community advocate Paulmier in a break from talking about saving the Wissahickon Playground and greeting voters by name. “Malik seems like a nice guy, friendly, but I don’t know much about him.”
He said he thought the Chelten Plaza issue – Boyd, pro; Youngblood, con – could be a defining issue in the 198th District race.
Pa State Representative Primaries (by district):