Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Democrat Roni Green wins special election to Pa. House from West Philly

Tuesday’s special election was for the seat vacant since former state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell resigned before pleading guilty to criminal charges.

Denise King (left) signs in with Robert Kelly (right), majority inspector, at a polling place at Antioch Universal Church on North 52nd Street in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Denise King (left) signs in with Robert Kelly (right), majority inspector, at a polling place at Antioch Universal Church on North 52nd Street in Philadelphia on Tuesday.Read moreJESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer

Democrat Roni Green easily prevailed in a special election Tuesday in West Philadelphia’s scandal-plagued 190th District in the state House, whose last two representatives resigned due to criminal convictions.

Green, a business agent for SEIU Local 668, defeated Republican Wanda Logan, an employment agency owner. She had 85.5% of the vote with 95% of the ballots tallied.

Green acknowledged the district’s recent troubles and vowed to be visible in the community.

”We’re proud people in the 190th,” Green said from her victory party. “I want them to know they have elected a state representative who will be there for them.”

Green said she would focus on funding for public schools, job creation, and programs to prevent gun violence.

Nancy Patton Mills, chair of the state Democratic Party, cheered Green’s victory and took a shot at Republicans.

“As a labor organizer, she has a proven record of dedication to West Philadelphia workers and will be a powerful voice for her community in the state House,” Mills said in a statement. “At a time when Harrisburg Republicans are hell-bent on keeping wages for working families low, champions like Roni are needed more than ever.”

Fresh from the sprint to a special election, Green and Logan will return Wednesday to the campaign trail for the April 28 primary election. Both appear on that ballot.

Green, 60, faces six other Democrats in that race, including former State Rep. Michael Horsey, who held the seat from 1995 to 2004. Other candidates are Amen Brown, Theodore Smith, Roi Ligon Jr., Danyl Patterson, and Samuel Van Stone Downing.

Tuesday’s result was expected, since 87% of the district’s voters are registered Democrats. Green also held a major advantage in campaign resources. SEIU political action committees contributed the bulk of the $61,736 in campaign contributions she received in the short election season.

Logan, 59, who ran four times for the seat as a Democrat from 2012 to 2018, reported raising $1,525.

Green will complete the final 10 months of former State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell’s first term. Johnson-Harrell, a Democrat, resigned in December after being charged with stealing more than $500,000 from a nonprofit she founded.

She pleaded guilty last month and is serving a jail term of at least three months.

Johnson-Harrell won a special election last March after the previous Democrat to hold the post, former State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, was forced to resign after being convicted of bribery and other charges.