Months of candidate strategizing and fundraising get put to the test today as voters conduct the one poll that actually counts: the Pennsylvania primary elections. Follow the story here throughout the night.
9 a.m. update
Voters in Philadelphia have once again rejected allowing politicians to keep their current post while campaigning for another one. According to the Associated Press, primary voters rejected by a 54 percent to 49 percent margin another attempt to repeal the longstanding resign-to-run rule.
The voters overwhelmingly approved a measure requiring city subcontractors to pay their workers 150 percent of the federal minimum wage or $10.88 per hour. They also, by a two-to-one margin, decided to give City Council members authority to approve contracts for legal representation of indigent defendants.
The resign-to-run rule has been in effect since the Home Rule Charter was created in 1951.
7:45 a.m. update
According to AP, with all precincts reporting in the 194th House District, state Rep. Pamela DeLissio defeated challenger Dave Henderson by 567 votes (3,758 to 3,191).
6:25 a.m. update Good morning.
Overnight former Army Ranger Kevin Strouse secured his victory by a slim margin over business owner Saughnessy Naughton in the 8th District U.S. Rep. race.
And Arthur Haywood won the nomination for the state Senate’s 4th District, defeating embattled current state Sen. LeAnna Washington and challenger Brian Gralnick.
11 p.m. update That’s all for the election blog tonight. Check back on Wednesday morning for more stories from NewsWorks.
10:50 p.m. update In the race for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Mike Stack from Northeast Philadelphia’s 5th district looks as if he’ll be Tom Wolf’s running mate from tomorrow through November, as he has a big lead on a pack of challengers in the race. With two-thirds of the districts counted, Stack has just over 47 percent of the total vote.
With 75 percent of the vote counted in the eighth congressional district primary, two Democratic candidates vying to challenge incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick are separated by just over 600 votes. Kevin Strouse leads Shaughnessy Naughton 51.14 percent to 48.86 percent.
10:20 p.m. update Incumbent state Sen. Christine Tartaglione has a comfortable lead over her two challengers with 61 percent of the vote counted. The tallies: Tartaglione, 51 percent; Daniel Savage, 29 percent; and Tomas Sanchez, 20 percent.
10:15 p.m update State Sen. Leanna Washington, facing corruption charges, trails her two challengers in the Democratic primary. With 61 percent of the vote counted, Washington has garnered 23 percent of the vote. She trails Brian Granlick (45 percent) and Arthur Haywood (32 percent).
10:10 p.m. update Conceding the U.S. Rep. 13th District race to Brendan Boyle, candidate Daylin Leach thanked his supporters and said, “We’ve come up a little short tonight, but I want to thank everyone for all of your help. I met so many awesome people.”
9:50 p.m. update Gubernatorial candidate Rob McCord tells NewsWorks that he has called Tom Wolf to concede the race, and will support him in his effort to unseat Gov. Tom Corbett in November.
9:40 p.m. update The Associated Press has declared Brendan Boyle the winner in the 13th District U.S. Rep. race over challengers Marjorie Margolies, Daylin Leach and Val Arkoosh.
Boyle will face Republican Dee Adcock in November.
9:35 p.m. update With 57 percent of the vote counted in the 13th District U.S. Rep. race, Brendan Boyle leads Marjorie Margolies 58-22 percent.
With around 10 percent of the vote counted, state Rep. Pam DeLissio and Dave Henderson are in a dead heat, with 322 votes each, in the 194th District primary.
9:17 p.m. update WHYY’s Aaron Moselle has learned that Allyson Schwartz has made her concession call to Tom Wolf and is expected to address supporters shortly.
9:07 p.m. update With just 14 percent of the vote counted, the Associated Press has called the Democratic gubernatorial primary for Tom Wolf, who garnered 55 percent of the vote.
Allyson Schwartz is currently in second place with 23 percent followed by Rob McCord (15) and Katie McGinty (7).
8:50 p.m. update With just over 18 percent of the vote counted, the gubernatorial primary totals are as follows: Tom Wolf (49.2 percent), Allyson Schwartz (32.9 percent), Rob McCord (13.1 percent) and Katie McGinty (4.6 percent).
8:34 p.m. update At least one candidate has already declared victory. Via his Twitter account, state Rep. Brian Sims writes, “And with the closing of the polls, I’ve been reelected as the Democratic Nominee for State Representative in the 182nd! Thank you all!”
In the race for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Mike Stack from Northeast Philadelphia’s 5th district has 83 percent of the vote with 15.6 percent counted.
8 p.m. update The polls are now closed after a day where low voter turnout carried the election narrative. We, like you, now await the results to start trickling in from across Philadelphia and the commonwealth.
6 p.m. update The line inside the Allens Lane Arts Center in Mt. Airy was several voters long — and growing — as Tuesday’s rush hour got underway.
Turnout in the city’s Ninth Ward often exceeds city’s averages.
As of 4:30 p.m., it was roughly 20 percent, according Democratic committeewoman Marilyn Monaco.
“I hope we get 40 or 50 percent,” she said as voters headed towards a pair of booths inside a downstairs dance studio.
When it comes to the governor’s race — the top of this primary’s ticket — it’s unclear which of the four Democratic candidates Ninth Ward voters are supporting.
The arts center, for example, is the former polling place for U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who called Mt. Airy home for years before moving to Montgomery County.
And so, it’s not far-fetched to think she’ll get a number of votes at her old stomping ground as a result.
But in a somewhat unusual turn of events, Monaco said state treasurer Rob McCord received the ward’s endorsement by a 17-7 vote.
“My interpretation is that perhaps people didn’t view her as governor material,” she said. “As a congresswoman, she’s very strong on policy. That’s, I think, her strong suit.
“But in terms of the battle that you sometimes get into in the legislature, with the legislature, if you’re governor, that may not be a place where people felt she would be strong enough.”
Monaco also noted that voters were concerned about her chances against Gov. Tom Corbett.
McCord, on the other hand, has more experience running for state office and had more union support than Schwartz, she said.
Update 5:30 p.m. Some voters are motivated to get out to the polls because they want to see change. Others are drawn by a desire to address the issues.
Earlier today, Pastor Israel Alfaro was sitting outside the polling place at American and Somerset streets in North Philadelphia.
“Whole lot of crimes, drug-related,” he said. “So, it’s like everywhere in this neighborhood. Can’t say about nowhere else but over here.”
Alfaro has lived in the neighborhood for about 20 years. He said that while he wants change, he’s backing an incumbent who has helped the community with its problems in the past. Alfaro said that little by little, progress is being made.
While some voters are concentrating on the contest at the top of the ticket — the Democratic race for governor — other voters are focused elsewhere.
Standing outside the polling place at Jenkintown High, Carleton Schwager said she’s pulling for a specific Congressional candidate.
“I’m particularly hoping that Valerie Arkoosh gets in because I like to see women in politics,” Schwager said.
Schwager said she came out to vote because it’s a civic duty.
“If you listen to the news and what goes on in the world, you have to realize how fortunate we are to be able to vote and I certainly have done it … I think since I was 21,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve missed any.”
5:10 p.m. update Naomi Paskin-Parsons, who has been working the polls at Roxborough High School since 2009 said Tuesday’s election was “close to the slowest” she’s ever seen.
“This is ridiculous. People died for this privilege and it’s squandered,” she said.
At the Chestnut Hill Free Library, Judge of Elections Abraham Schultz said they were hoping for 35 percent of voters to come out. At lunchtime, 10 percent of those registered had voted.
At the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill, Meredith Seiple of the Democratic Committee said usually the church has a line of voters by 7 a.m. on Election Day and that was not the case on Tuesday morning.
4:30 p.m. update Allegations that 21st Ward leader Lou Agre created phony court orders saying dissident campaign material had to be removed are false.
The court order is real, and signed by Philadelphia Commons Pleas Judge George Overton. The legitmacy of the order was confirmed by a court employee to WHYY/NewsWorks reporter Elizabeth Fiedler.
Dissident candidate Joe Driscoll called the order “ridiculous.” According to Driscoll, the materials were found to be unsuitable because they were posted by a political action committee that wasn’t registered in Philadelphia. He told Fiedler is his challenging the ruling and getting the materials reprinted.
Philadelphia lawyer Irv Acklesburg said because the PAC didn’t raise more than $250, they don’t have to be registered. He has advised the group of candidates to have the material reprinted without the name of the PAC even though he thinks what they’ve done is perfectly legal.
Update 4:29 p.m. Civic duty draws life-long voters out to the polls, despite light numbers and shenanigans reported in some areas. WHYY/NewsWorks reporter Elizabeth Fiedler visited some voting locations out in Jenkintown this afternoon.
Standing outside the polling place at Jenkintown High, Careleton Schwager said, “I’m particularly hoping that Valerie Arkoosh gets in because I like to see women in politics.” Schwager says voting is a civic duty, “If you listen to the news and what goes on in the world you have to realize how fortunate we are to be able to vote. And I certainly have done it I think ever since I was 21.” That includes primary elections.
Jenkintown resident Bob Rohde and his wife came out to vote at Jenkintown High School. He says, “I can’t imagine not voting.”
His wife, Mary Kay Rohde says, “It’s a civic duty. How can you complain when you haven’t made a statement about who you think should be running the government and what should be done?” Rohde voted for Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz for Governor. “I like what she had done in Congress…sorry to lose her”
Bob Rohde says of top concern for him in this election, are the races for Governor and Congress. “They’re all good people. It was a very difficult choice therefore.” Rohde says he will support whoever wins the Democratic nomination, even if it’s not the candidate he voted for because he’s eager not to see Corbett re-elected. “I’ve already told friends, the day after the election – whoever wins the [Democratic] race for Governor is gonna get a check from me.” He says he is concerned by Corbett’s education funding.
Update 2:59 p.m. Turnout remains uninspiring during the Pennsylvania primaries today, but that has not quelled all controversy about Election Day shenanigans in Philadelphia.
Dissident Democratic committee candidates in Roxborough’s 21st Ward were upset by a court order saying that some of their campaign materials posted near polling places had to be taken down. They suspected the hand of 21st Ward leader Lou Agre, whose control of the ward they are challenging.
Turns out the court order is real, signed by Philadelphia Commons Pleas Judge George Overton. An election court employee confirmed the legitimacy of the order to WHYY/NewsWorks reporter Elizabeth Fiedler this afternoon.
Joe Driscoll, one of the dissident candidates, called the judge’s order “ridiculous.” The text of the order does not explain the reasoning behind it, but Driscoll said he understood the claim to be that the materials were printed by a political action committee that was not registered in Philadelphia. He said that he’s contacted a lawyer to challenge the ruling, and in the meantime is getting the materials reprinted.
We’re running down other allegations of polling place irregularities and will report on them here once we have facts nailed down.
Poll worker Barbara Williams said today has been “slower than the norm.”
“Thank god it’s nice out. If it were raining or cold there would be no one,” said Williams.
Poll worker Ray Willis added: “It’s been mostly seniors and retirees but we expect more after people get out of work. That’s how it usually goes.”
11:27 a.m. Voter turnout was light at Philadelphia polling places this morning.
WHYY/NewsWorks reporter Elizabeth Fiedler toured some voting locations in the Second Senate District, which has one of the more competitive state legislative races in the region.
The Rev. Israel Alfaro, a volunteer for state Rep. Angel Cruz, said things were slow this morning at the Congreso polling place at American and Somerset.
“A primary, not too many people come out in the day. I’m waiting on the evening,” he said. He says the neighborhood faces typical challenges including drugs and crime. “It’s like everywhere in this neighborhood.”
Donald Briggs voted at the Somerset Villas polling place: “I’m just trying to support the local Committee person, try to change the neighborhood. It’s hard times but we’re going to overcome.”
He is a volunteer for state Sen. Tina Tartaglione, being challenged in the primary by a candidate backed by union power broker John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty.
Also, this reminder for independent voters in Philadelphia. Even though the Democratic and Republican parties are holding primary elections that are restricted to their registered voters, independents have a right to vote on ballot questions and on the special election for the at-large Council seat to replace Bill Green Jr., who left Council to lead the School Reform Commission. Candidates in that election are Democrat Ed Neilson, Republican Matt Wolfe and Libertarian Nikki Allen Poe.
A NewsWorks web producer who tried to vote this morning at a South Philadelphia polling place was told by “the very nice ladies” at the table that she couldn’t vote because she was “unaffiliated.”
She stood her ground (if you knew her, you would not be surprised) and explained that she wanted to vote in the special Council seat election.
Happy ending: She got to cast her ballot.
Moral of the tale for Philadelphia independents: Know the rules, know your rights and insist on being able to vote on the ballot questions and the Council election.
10:23 a.m. Asian-American voters in Philadelphia are not thrilled with what they see as a lack of response to their complaints from the City Commission about lack of help for them at Philadelphia pollings places.
This became a major Election Day polling place theme during the 2012 election.
Check out this report by Emma Jacobs of WHYY/NewsWorks.
9:48 a.m. Months of candidate strategizing and fundraising get put to the test today as voters conduct the one poll that actually counts: the Pennsylvania primary elections.
Check back here through the day and night for updates on the situation at the polls, turnout reports, then after polls close at 8 p.m., the election results. Also, beginning at 8 p.m., listen to our live election reports on WHYY-FM, hosted by Dave Heller with senior writer Dave Davies providing analysis.
If you’re an independent and live in Philadelphia, you can still vote today on several ballot questions, including one that would end the “resign to run for new office” rule for Philadelphia elected officials and one that would increase minimum wage for employees of city subcontractors, particularly at the airport.
Scenes from the polls
In Philadelphia’s Roxborough section, Dave Henderson is a rarity: A Democrat challenging a Democratic incumbent. He’s challenging state Rep. Pam DeLissio for the 194th District seat.
Henderson’s first stop of the morning was Roxborough High School, from which he graduated in 2003.
“We’re hoping for a good turnout, we’re hoping for everyone to get out there and vote,” he said.
DeLissio, seeking a third term, survived a court challenge to her candidacy. Some voters questioned her residency in the district, because she’d changed her driver’s license and other documents to her Harrisburg address.
Here’s what’s at stake today
In our region, Democrats have the most high-profile race with a four-way primary for the right to challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in the fall.
While longtime Philadelphia-area Rep. Allyson Schwartz was an early front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination, York businessman Tom Wolf has surged to a lead in the polls, fueled by ads bankrolled by at least $6 million of his own money. Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord has also struggled to overcome Wolf’s lead, despite having won election to a statewide post. Former Department of Environmental Protection secretary Katie McGinty has been a distant fourth place in the polls.
Corbett did have a challenger in Ardmore businessman Bob Guzzardi, but a judge ruled the challenger had not filed protocols for submitting all the paperwork necessary to get on the ballot and ruled Guzzardi should not be in the GOP primary. With Guzzardi no longer a threat, the Corbett campaign has been producing ads attacking Tom Wolf, even before the primaries are done.
The Democrats running for Schwartz’s seat in Congress (Pennsylvania’s 13th District, covering much of Montgomery County and Northeast Philadelphia) are locked in a tight contest. The race includes Marjorie Margolies — who held the seat two decades ago, only to be bounced from office partially because of an unpopular vote in favor of then-President Bill Clinton’s budget. However she’s been helped out by both Hillary and Bill Clinton in the campaign, which is the the family thing to do, since Margolies’ son is married to Chelsea Clinton.
Sen. Daylin Leach, who represents parts of Delaware and Montgomery Counties and proudly refers to himself as the “liberal lion” of the Pennsylvania Senate, is touting his endorsements from teachers unions and national progressive groups. First-time candidate Dr. Valerie Arkoosh is running on her role advocating for national healthcare legislation. Rep. Brendan Boyle of Philadelphia has been campaigning as a rowhouse populist, criticizing all his opponents as “millionaires,” though he has managed to drop $100,000 of his own money into his campaign.
There are many other state legislative races worth watching, such as whether indicted state Sen. LeAnna Washington, who serves parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, will win the nomination again despite being charged with using her legislative staff for political fundraising duties. Two other Democrats are trying to beat Washington for the nomination. Rep. J.P. Miranda is accused of setting up a ghost employee on his staff so he could funnel money to his sister, who would have been barred from working there because of nepotism rules. He has three challengers.
An earlier version of the 4:30 p.m. update described false allegations against Lou Agre in a different way.