Republican efforts to gain a foothold in the overwhelmingly Democratic suburbs of Kennedy and Robinson townships all fell short at the polls on Nov. 2.
Despite the longstanding Democratic dominance over the two communities, local GOP organizations sponsored candidates in both towns for the first time in several years.
Republican candidates made inroads in Robinson, with Maureen Malick and Onorato Bucci together securing more than 33% of the vote in a five-way contest for three open seats on the board of commissions. With a small percentage of votes still untallied, Malick remains 439 votes behind the third-placing Democrat, and the vote may narrow further as additional in-person votes are processed. Mathematically, though, there is still no path for a GOP victory.
Leading up to the election, Republican campaigning in Robinson was ultimately marred by infighting and allegations that came to a head before the primaries. One candidate later dropped out after winning her party’s nomination, and another was refused official party support despite winning in the polls.
Diane Schmitt’s bid for a seat on Kennedy’s board of commissioners made less impact, but she still tallied 16% of the vote in a four-way race for three seats.
Last-minute efforts to install Republican school directors at Montour through write-in campaigns fell far short of an upset. Of the approximately 7,000 votes cast for four open seats, approximately 700 were write-ins, with the names and party affiliations not yet revealed.
Kennedy’s Republican Committee, which reformed in 2019 after a several-year hiatus, interpreted the results in both the township and the school district as signs of steady progress.
“Although we came up short, it was a good showing for the first time out of the gate for the GOP in local Kennedy races,” the committee posted on a social media statement. “...There will be other elections, and we plan to run again.”