The Boros vote big, vote blue

With even the traditional Republican strongholds in the North Boroughs voting for Democrats in Tuesday’s general election, local voters turned out en masse and helped push forward the nation’s “blue wave.”

Framed in large part as a referendum on the Trump Administration, the usually ho-hum midterm election drew record-breaking crowds of voters across the country this year. That trend was clearly evident in the North Boroughs, where voter turn-out usually hovers around 20-25 percent.

Allegheny County reports the turn-out at 57 percent of registered voters, although that number went as high as nearly 77 percent in Ben Avon Heights, and 73 percent at polls in Ben Avon and Ohio Township.In fact, Bellevue was the only municipality where the turn-out did not at least reach the county-wide level, with participation there ranging from 46 to 55 percent.

Kilbuck and Emsworth also boasted higher percentages, as 62.33 percent of Kilbuck voters went to the polls, and Emsworth averaged more than 61 percent. Avalon’s turn-out ranged from 53.78 to 61.99 percent at that borough’s six polls, and averaged 57.79 borough-wide.

Who were they voting for? Democrats won every race at every level throughout the North Boroughs, breaking with the ultimate election results in only one state house race in Ohio Township.

Starting with the federal government, voters in all seven local municipalities favored incumbent Sen. Bob Casey over Republican challenger Lou Barletta. By municipality, the unofficial vote totals from the Allegheny County elections department were: Avalon, 1,427 - 561; Bellevue, 2,272 - 844; Ben Avon, 706 - 298; Ben Avon Heights, 142-103; Kilbuck, 193-164; and Ohio Township, 1,770 - 1,406.

In the only contest nationwide that pitted two incumbent members of the U.S. House of Representatives against each other, thanks to the state redistricting plan that went into effect for this year’s elections, voters opted for Democrat Conor Lamb over Republican Keith Rothfus.

By municipality, the local vote totals were: Avalon, 1,404 - 633; Bellevue, 2,273 - 939; Ben Avon, 582 -345; Ben Avon Heights, 132 - 117; Emsworth, 674 - 402; Kilbuck, 194-178; and Ohio Township, 1,668 - 1,241.

At the state level, most North Boroughs voters had only the governor’s race to decide. Democratic state Sen. Wayne Fontana, Rep. Adam Ravenstahl (Avalon and Bellevue) and Rep. Anita Kulik (all the Avonworth communities except Ohio Township) were unopposed in the general election.

Governor Tom Wolf, with new lieutenant governor candidate John Fetterman, had no problem in his bid for re-election against Republican Scott Wagner.

Locally, voters in the North Boroughs had a hand in the Democratic win. Unofficial totals by municipality were: Avalon, 1,429 - 545; Bellevue, 2,327 - 825; Ben Avon, 711 - 286; Ben Avon Heights, 147 - 100; Emsworth, 684 - 371; Kilbuck, 204 - 161; and Ohio Township, 1,903 - 1,330.

Ohio Township falls into the 37th state senatorial district, where incumbent Republican Guy Reschenthaler, who was not up for re-election this year, won a seat in the U.S. Congress representing District 14, so voters should expect a special election to choose a new state senator.

In the state house, Republican Rep. Mark Mustio is retiring, and Republican Valerie Gaydos picked up 51.9 percent of the vote district-wide to edge out Democrat Michele Knoll, who had 48.1 percent. Ohio Township residents cast most of their votes, however, for Knoll, 1,670 - 1,602.