Just like the nation’s capital, Harrisburg’s balance of power was left unchanged by voters. But still, the Democrats are claiming a victory by picking up seats in the Pennsylvania House and Senate.
In the House, Democrats made what looks to be a net gain of one seat, with Republicans holding a 110-to-93-seat advantage, though two races in the state were still considered too close to call two days after the polls closed.
In the Philadelphia suburbs, State Rep. Steve Santarsiero, a Bucks County Democrat who converted to Judaism last year, won more easily than expected against Republican Ann Chapman.
In Chester County, another Jewish Democrat, Paul Drucker, failed to recapture the seat he’d held for one term and lost in 2010. Republican Warren Kampf defeated Drucker, the former assistant district attorney of Philadelphia, by fewer than 1,000 votes.
Democrats also gained three seats in the Senate: Republicans now have a 27-23 majority. Jewish Democrat Rob Teplitz won a Harrisburg-area seat that has long been held by a Republican.
State Sen. Daylin Leach of King of Prussia held off a challenge from 26-year-old Charles Gehret.
Democrats won all three contested statewide seats for attorney general, auditor general and state treasurer. State Treasurer Rob McCord, who is Jewish and from Montgomery County, won a second term.
Hank Butler, executive director of the non-partisan Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition, said the group’s legislative agenda for the next term includes working to build support for an anti-cyber bullying law. Another goal, said Butler, is to extend the state’s divestment of firms doing business with Iran to include prohibiting those connected to Iran’s energy sector from being awarded state contracts.