Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An odd twist to the 168th special election

Here's maybe the least surprising news of the day.

Republican Chris Quinn has won the special election to succeed Tom Killion in the state House 168th race.

After all, no Democrat has ever held the seat.

Quinn easily outdistanced Democrat Diane Cornman-Levy.

But here's maybe the most delicious part of the story, at least for political buffs. Yes, I can admit I belong to that group.

This special election was held in the middle of summer, with lots of people on vacation, who are not exactly thinking about politics, despite the fact that our other duly elected representatives in Harrisburg have managed to pass a budget - but not a funding mechanism to pay for it.

This kind of special election is all about turnout, since there is nothing else to draw voters to the polls. Unfortunately, that's just political reality. You would think that voters would take their most basic constitutional right more seriously, but given the choice of that and sitting on the beach, you get three guesses who wins that battle. Shore enough!

As expected, turnout was dismal. Only about 20 percent of those eligible made it to the polls. Initial figures show Quinn with 5,329 votes to just 3,788 for Cornman-Levy. While Democrats now outnumber Republicans countywide, the GOP still holds a 51-36 registration edge in the 168th. That proved too much for Cornman-Levy and local Dems to overcome. David Landau and Delco Democrats pointed to the recent win by Leanne Krueger-Braneky in the 161st state House race as progress, but they still face challenges in many areas, including an inability to capture any countywide races.

But keep in mind that this election was only to fill the remainder of Killion's term in the House. Tom, of course, has now moved to a desk in the Pennsylvania Senate, filling the 9th District seat vacated by Dominic Pileggi, who in turn won a seat on the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas.

Quinn and Cornman-Levy will have a rematch in just a few months, and I am wondering if the outcome might be different.

Keep in mind that the November ballot will be highlighted by a red-hot presidential race pitting Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump.

With a woman at the top of the ticket, and with Democrats already on a long roll in both Delco and Pennsylvania in presidential racers, could Hillary's coattails lift Cornman-Levy?

How odd would it be for Quinn to win this special election only to be dumped in favor of the Democrat Cornman-Levy in the fall.

Keep an eye on this one.

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