NE Phila. special election is today
Voters must decide between Democrat Sarah Del Ricci and Republican Martina White in what has become a complicated proxy war.
HAVE YOU been following that state House race in the Far Northeast?
Of course not. Only political junkies and super voters pay attention to this stuff.
It's actually quite juicy.
Voters in the 170th state House District, which covers the Bustleton-Somerton-Parkwood area, will go to the polls today to elect a replacement for former Democratic state Rep. Brendan Boyle, who was elected to Congress last year.
They'll decide between Democrat Sarah Del Ricci and Republican Martina White, which means that, either way, a woman will represent the former Republican stronghold for the first time.
Del Ricci, 34, is a horse trainer and director of the Parkwood Therapeutic Riding Center. White, 26, is a financial adviser.
Republicans in Harrisburg scheduled the special election for today, rather than hold it on the May 19 primary, because that gives them the best shot at reclaiming the seat they lost to Boyle in 2008. Democrats outnumber Republicans 7-to-1 citywide, but only 2-to-1 in the 170th District.
The race also has devolved into an internecine proxy war with complicated political undercurrents and ugly personal attacks.
Boyle's chosen successor for the vacant seat was Seth Kaplan, chief of staff for his brother, state Rep. Kevin Boyle. But local Democratic ward leader and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack overrode the Boyles' wishes and tapped Pennsylvania Turnpike employee John Del Ricci - then later settled on his wife as the chosen candidate. The reason behind the husband-wife switch depends on whom you ask.
Some labor unions that traditionally would back the Democratic candidate have sided with White, a move that political insiders believe is a middle finger aimed directly at Stack and his allies.
In addition to rebuffing the Boyle brothers, Stack chose state Rep. John Sabatina Jr. instead of Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby as the Democratic candidate to run for Stack's state Senate seat, which became vacant when Stack took over as lieutenant governor.
The FOP and other labor groups endorsed White, but Del Ricci has retained significant labor support.
Conventional wisdom says that the unions backing White may view her as an easier candidate to unseat next year than Del Ricci as a Democratic incumbent. So this Boyle-Kaplan-Stack-McNesby brawl could continue into 2016.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. today.