FLIP ALERT: In Pennsylvania House District 48, Republican Tim O’Neal has flipped the seat for his party. This is the 1st seat the Republican Party has gained as a result of a special election in 2018.
FLIP ALERT: In Pennsylvania House District 48, Republican Tim O'Neal has flipped the seat for his party. This is the 1st seat the Republican Party has gained as a result of a special election in 2018.
— USA Election Watch (@electionwatchus) May 16, 2018
In Washington County, PA a seemingly rare D -> R flip tonight was in HD-48. This seat runs between Washington City and Canonsburg. Tim O'Neal (R) won it by performing more similarly to Trump (who won it by 15%) instead of Saccone (who lost it by 5%). #hd48 #papolitics pic.twitter.com/Yb4oeypVKL
— J. Miles Coleman (@JMilesColeman) May 16, 2018
As reported by Observer
Republican Tim O’Neal cracked the 4,000-vote threshold in Washington County’s 48th Legislative District, according to unofficial returns from the Washington County elections office, and declared victory.
O’Neal continued to hold his lead with 4,534 votes to Democrat Clark Mitchell Jr.’s 3,743. Libertarian Demo Agoris trailed with 135.
“I’m really happy with he campaign we ran,” he said when addressing supporters at Frankie I’s establishment in North Strabane. “We knocked on nearly 8,000 doors.“
O’Neal, a veteran of the Afghanistan War who earned a “V” for valor and a Bronze Star, advertised this in contrast to that of Mitchell, an attorney, whom he portrayed playing the video game “Call of Duty.”
“I don’t think we ran a negative campaign,” he said. “Part of the responsibility of a campaign is comparing the candidates. I think the ads we ran contrasted the experience between the candidates.”
“We’re pretty proud of what we’ve done, and where we’re going to push forward no matter what happens, win lose or draw, heading into November,” said Mitchell from his campaign gathering at Washington Brewing Co.
Tim O’Neal thanks supporters after winning 48th district special election. pic.twitter.com/BSg5g3DMXJ
— Karen Mansfield (@karen_mansfield) May 16, 2018
Mitchell, with 3,071 votes, was simultaneously leading Joseph Zupancic in the Democratic primary for a two-year term. Zupancic had 1,258.
The Democratic primary results mean there will be rematch between O’Neal and Mitchell in the Nov. 6 general election.
O’Neal had an uphill battle to garner a win in the Washington area that was last represented by Republican Roger Raymond Fischer, who stepped aside at the end of his long tenure in 1988 to become a Lutheran minister.
In the March 13 special congressional election between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone, Lamb dominated the contest, winning the majority of the precincts within the 48th and all in both Washington and Canonsburg.
Asked a month ago how he expected to get a different result from the same pool of voters who overwhelmingly chose a Democrat, he replied, “I’ve knocked on 6,000 doors.” He had apparently added another 2,000 households during the intervening weeks.
Regardless of the outcome Tuesday night, O’Neal was guaranteed a shot at the two-year term on the November ballot because he ran unopposed for the Republican nomination in the primary.
Huge special election victory by former Army Ranger Tim O'Neal tonight for Pennsylvania's 48th House District tonight! O'Neal flipped a seat that has never been held by a Republican since its creation in 1968. #PAPolitics pic.twitter.com/RFPS0Fcznw
— Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (@GOPLegislators) May 16, 2018
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