The region's voters largely endorsed the status quo Tuesday in an election that still managed to bring a few surprises amid low turnout.

Democrats cruised to victory in Montgomery County, as did Republicans in Chester and Delaware Counties. In Bucks, Democrats briefly threatened an upset in the commissioners' race.

In Chester City, 12-term State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland was easily leading Wendell Butler in the mayor's race. Kirkland, who booted the Democratic incumbent in the primary and who would take a $50,000 pay cut to become mayor of the beleaguered city, had the advantage: More than 15,000 voters in Chester are registered Democrats, compared with about 5,300 Republicans.

Across the region, traffic was light at the polls, but excitement was reportedly high in certain pockets of the region.

"It's not like in a presidential race," said Dariel Jamieson, former chair of the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee, where 360 of 2,500 registered voters had shown up by early afternoon. "But it's decent for a local election year."

Each county had surprises.

In Bucks, where incumbents Democrat Diane Ellis-Marseglia and Republican Robert Loughery led balloting for commissioner, an upset was brewing for the third seat. Democrat Brian Galloway and Republican incumbent Charles Martin were neck and neck in late returns, with the Democrats hoping for their first majority in the county government in more than three decades.

"This would be a major, I guess you could call it an upset, but we played to win," said Eric Nagy, executive director of Bucks County Democrats.

Democrats swept Montgomery County, ousting the Republican incumbents for sheriff and recorder of deeds. At the top of the county ticket, incumbent Commissioners Josh Shapiro and Valerie Arkoosh cruised to reelection Tuesday.

But in the race for the minority seat, 26-year-old home-loan specialist Joseph Gale appeared to be leading over Steve Tolbert Jr., the GOP's endorsed candidate. The race had sparked an internal feud for Republicans, turning Gale into Tolbert's opponent.

While county GOP leaders straggled to a post-election party at the tony Blue Bell Inn, Gale and a couple of dozen supporters popped champagne at a donor's home in Flourtown.

"We pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Pennsylvania," Gale said as the crowd cheered.

For three open seats on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman was leading, along with Democrats Dan Clifford and Todd Eisenberg.

Incumbent Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes, a Democrat, had a lead late over his Republican opponent, Pottstown Mayor Sharon Valentine-Thomas.

Hanes became a hero of the gay-marriage movement in 2012 when he began issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Valentine-Thomas drew headlines on the same issue last month, saying that if elected she would follow Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis and refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

At Springfield Country Club on Tuesday night, dozens of Delaware County Republicans gathered to watch results roll in. While some candidates at the event ran unopposed for reelection, such as Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan, others proved to be in much more competitive races.

Delaware County Democrats, who have a voter-registration advantage in the county, fought to get three candidates on the ballot to run against the three incumbent Republicans on county council. Initially stricken from the primary election ballot for failing to file paperwork correctly, Democrats in May rallied around a successful write-in campaign, earning their three council candidates a spot on the November ballot.

Still, Republicans won Tuesday by a comfortable margin. Said Andrew Reilly, chairman of the GOP: "The result is right where we thought it would be."

In Colwyn Borough, the Delaware County township plagued by financial distress and government dysfunction, chaos erupted at the polls. After some began fighting and screaming at one another early Tuesday, sheriffs were called to regulate elections for the rest of the day.

In Chester County, Republican Allison Bell Royer was leading the race for a single seat on the Court of Common Pleas. But Republicans District Attorney Tom Hogan and Sheriff Carolyn "Bunny" Welsh were poised to retain their jobs.

One race in Chester County was historic: With the election of two female supervisors, Pocopson Township was poised to become the first municipality in Chester County to ever have an all-female board of supervisors. At least one other has existed in Delaware County, but no one in Chester County could remember another in the state.

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Inquirer staff writers Caitlin McCabe, Michaelle Bond, and Jessica Parks contributed to this article.