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It’s On: Wolf & Stack V. Corbett & Cawley

Local Vote:Tartaglione (2nd), Acosta (197th) & Cruz (180)

J.Smith/El Hispano

:Philadelphia – At 7:30 am, Tuesday, the voting precinct at 4th and York had been open for just a half hour, yet the streets surrounding the John Welsh public school were already teeming with up to two dozen 19th Ward committeemen, women and campaign workers.

 Donning t-shirts imprinted with the names of incumbent Democratic State Senator Tina Tartaglione of the 2nd district and candidate Leslie Acosta, running in the 197th Legislative District, the feverish activity of hanging signs and handing out  Democratic ballots to voters and passersby -in this predominantly Latino ward- was a lesson in the axiom that ‘all politics is local.’

  Despite more than $30 million spent by gubernatorial candidates McCord, McGinty, Schwartz and Wolf – $10 million alone- their was scarcely any election day visibility in traditional form of posters or fliers.

  Nevertheless, an upbeat advertising campaign that highlighted Mr. Wolf’s peace corps experience and later business success -which he shared with his workers- helped propel his overwhelming victory in the Democratic Gubernatorial primary, Tuesday, earning him to make history by unseating incumbent Republican Tom Corbett.

     Winning more than 480,000 votes or 58 percent of the total vote, Wolf outpaced his three Philadelphia-based  Democratic opponents, as Allyson Schwartz took (18%) of the vote, Rob McCord (17%) and Katie McGinty (8%).

    From a York city baseball park,  Mr. Wolf offered a victory message that referred to the “clear choice” voters will have in 2014.

  “We have a clear record of an administration that wants to hollow out our schools, wants to play fast and loose with jobs, that wants to take our natural assets and play fast and loose with them,” added Mr. Wolf.      

  Having served nearly two decades, Sen. Tartaglione faced a primary  challenge from Harvard grad Tomas Sanchez, a former Chief Legislative aide to two City Councilmen, and former Councilman Dan Savage. During his campaign, Sanchez stressed his commitment to improving education.

   Despite newspaper endorsement to Mr. Sanchez, Ms. Tartaglione was reelected to the 2nd district Senate seat, winning 51% of the vote, while Dan Savage took 29% and Sanchez, 20 percent.

  A Committeeman and longtime Block Captain who can often be found working to improve his Lawrence street neighborhood, Gerardo Gonzalez and partner Minerva Dones cited Sen. Tartaglione’s long record of work in the community in explaining Tartaglione’s strength: “She has done a lot for us and brought a lot of money to this community.”

  In the race to replace J.P. Miranda in the 197th district, Leslie Acosta, a teacher, won 2,852 votes, defeating former State Rep. Ben Ramos (1,243) and Businessman Danilo Burgos (1,334).

 Of supporting Leslie Acosta for the 197th seat,  rather Ben Ramos or Danilo Burgos, Mr. Gonzalez replied, “We just need a change, we definitely need a change.” Ms. Dones nodded in agreement.

 Discussing the race for Governor, Mr. Gonzalez echoed that theme, “We need change. And I like Wolf’s oil tax which he says he’ll use for schools.”

 A first-time voter, Jonathan Ocasio said he was disturbed by the negative tone of the Dan Savage campaign against Tartaglione, which he said was approaching “slander.”

 “People love to make accusations against” (Tina Tartaglione), said Ocasio. “But Tina’s a great person and has helped our community so much.”

 After casting her vote, Wilma Rosado told El Hispano she had voted for Tina Tartaglione for the State Senate and Tom Wolf for Governor: “They are good people.”

  Another early voter, Antonio Valdez also voted for Tom Wolf , explaining, “He talked a lot about jobs and health care. And he gave job opportunities to people in his (kitchen Cabinet) business.”

  As she made her way passed poll workers, Jessie Morales said she had cast votes for Sen. Tartaglione and Leslie Acosta for the 197th. And of the Governor’s race? “I’m not sure.”

  On the Monday before the election, U.S. Congressman Bob Brady and State Sen. Vincent Hughes united with State Rep. Maria Donatucci, Councilman Curtis Jones, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and union leaders of SEIU 32BJ, to urge Philadelphia International Airport workers to vote “Yes” on a minimum wage ballot question.

 One of three ballot initiatives, it would give the City Council authority, under the city charter, to establish a minimum wage and benefits for workers employed by subcontractors that receive city funds.

 When an airport official asked U.S. Rep. Brady (d) not to talk to workers, this only spurred the leader of the city’s Democratic party to insist on talking to the workers.

   “I’m going to go down there and make sure I talk to them,” asserted U.S. Rep. Brady, waving a “Vote Yes” poster for minimum wage initiative.

 “It’s disgusting. We put a lot of (federal) money into this airport and they should give some of that money back to their workers. It’s a disgrace paying workers $5, $6 and $7 an hour.”

  “It’s not a privilege to be here,” added  Brady. “It’s our duty to be here and to fight for the people that work here.”

  And on the Sunday before the election, Councilwoman Quinones and candidate for Governor McCord made a final appearance with hospital workers at St. Christopher’s Hospital on Erie Ave.

  A vocal defender of labor rights, raising the minimum wage, improving schools, expanding Medicaid and providing services for Pennsylvania’s Veterans, Northeast Philadelphia’s State Sen. Mike Stack won the race for Lt. Governor, becoming the running mate of Tom Wolf in taking on the incumbents Gov. Corbett and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley.