Former state House Speaker John Perzel held on to his 172nd legislative seat tonight, besting former Fraternal Order of Police president Richard Costello by a margin of two-to-one. But Perzel was unable to help Matt Taubenberger win the neighboring 170th seat being vacated by his boss, state Rep. George Kenney. Taubenberger was defeated by Democrat Brendan Boyle, who challenged Kenney in 2004 and 2006 before winning tonight.
Perzel said he won on an election day heavy with focus on the presidential race by concentrating on his local community and ignoring the national stuff. Rattling off the names of Republicans across the state he helped with campaign cash, Perzel sounded like a man very much interested in re-taking the Speaker's post. "I wanted to win a majority," Perzel said of the state House. "I'm interested in leadership. There's no doubt about that."
Boyle's race was rough and tumble, with Taubenberger running full-page newspaper ads calling him a tax cheat. Boyle ran his own ads, calling that claim a lie. The city stepped in to say records showing Boyle owing taxes on a rental property were in error. In the end, Boyle said the ads hurt Taubenberger. "The great message was that it really backfired," said Boyle, who won by about 20 percentage points.