DELAWARE COUNTY DAILY TIMES | The local General Assembly races became more clear following Tuesday’s deadline for candidates to file nominating petitions to get onto the primary ballot.
Only two state legislators representing Delaware County will face a challenge in the May 20 primary. Both are Democrats — state Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, of Upper Darby, and state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, D-8, of Philadelphia.
Most of the candidates who filed petitions already had formally announced their campaigns or received the endorsement of their party’s committee members.
However, three Democratic candidates for state House — Whitney Hoffman, Michelle Vanella-Kudenko and Ian Thomas — launched their campaigns midway through the petition process, according to David Landau, chairman of the Delaware County Democratic Party. The candidacies of each of the Republican candidates that filed petitions had been reported.
Hoffman, the director and chief executive officer of Hoffman Digital Media, is running to unseat state Rep. Stephen Barrar, R-160, of Upper Chichester. Vanella-Kudenko, an activist who has fought against billboards on Interstate 95, is challenging state Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R-162, of Ridley Park.
Thomas, a massage therapist with a background in biology, will rematch with state Rep. Tom Killion, R-168, of Middletown. Killion defeated Thomas in 2008.
Landau said the Democratic Party is thrilled with its full slate of candidates.
“It’s the strongest, most complete slate that I’ve probably ever seen,” Landau said. “We have strong candidates in every race. We have not just one but many opportunities to win either open seats or knock off incumbents. ... It’s going to be a banner year for Democrats.”
Andrew Reilly, chairman of the Delaware County Republican Party, said the Republican slate included strong candidates that both moderate and conservative Republicans can support.
“We do not have any primary opponents,” Reilly said. “I think that’s because our legislators and our candidates we run are strong, known in their community and are common-sense Republicans.”
The Democratic primaries include the race in the 164th Legislative District. Davidson, a two-term incumbent, faces attorney Billy Smith, of Lansdowne, and law student Dafan Zhang, of East Lansdowne. Saud Siddiqui, chief executive of the Upper Darby Caring Foundation, is running as a Republican.
Williams, a state senator since 1998, is being challenged by Christopher Broach, of Colwyn, in the primary for the 8th Senatorial District. Broach, an inspector of elections, gained national media attention in 2012 for claiming he would not enforce Pennsylvania’s voter identification laws. There is not a Republican candidate for the seat.
The remainder of the candidates will move forward to the general election, where two open-seat races expected to draw statewide attention. Two retiring legislators have opened up seats in the 26th Senatorial District and the 163rd Legislative District.
Thomas McGarrigle, the Republican chairman of Delaware County Council, seeks to succeed state Sen. Edwin Erickson, R-26, of Newtown. Democrat John Kane, the business manager for Plumbers Union Local 690, also is running for the seat.
Republican Jamie Santora is campaigning against Democrat Vince Rongione to fill the seat of state Rep. Nicholas Micozzie, R-163, of Upper Darby. Santora is an Upper Darby councilman. Rongione is an attorney who previously served as an aide to former U.S. Rep. Joseph Sestak.
“The open seats will have the attention of both parties,” Landau said. “They are both high Democratic performance districts. We certainly are going to be running extraordinary competitive races there.”
Reilly said he is pleased with the Republican candidates for the open seats. He praised McGarrigle for being a self-made, small businessman and Santora for being heavily engaged in the Upper Darby community. He credited the candidates’ experience as reasons they did not draw a primary opponent in an open-seat race.
“I think that says a lot about who they are and how popular they are in their area,” Reilly said.
In other races, Democrat Leanne Krueger-Braneky, a Swarthmore businesswoman, is squaring off against state Rep. Joe Hackett, R-161, of Ridley Township. Democrat Jeremy Fearn again is challenging state Rep. William Adolph, R-165, of Springfield. Adolph defeated him in 2012.
Republican challengers include Upland Mayor Michael Ciach, who is seeking to unseat state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, of Chester. Sarah Armstrong, an accountant and chief financial officer for a global software company, is challenging state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford.
State Reps. Maria Donatucci, D-185, of Philadelphia, and Ronald Waters, D-191, of Philadelphia, are running unopposed.
In the governor’s race, Republican Tom Corbett will face an opponent in the primary now that Ardmore businessman Bob Guzzardi has joined the race.
There were not any surprise candidates among the Democratic candidates for governor. Tom Wolf, Rob McCord, Allyson Schwartz, Jack Wagner, Katie McGinty and John Hanger each filed petitions.
By John Kopp, Delaware County Daily Times. See the original story here.