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Gym, Gale Both Go Down to Surprising Defeats in Tuesday Primary

They are polar opposites politically, but they shared the same fate Tuesday night.

Progressive Philadelphia city councilor Helen Gym and Montco MAGA Republican Joe Gale were both defeated in Tuesday’s primaries, and both outcomes were viewed as surprising by political insiders.

In Philly’s Democratic primary for mayor, Gym had a narrow lead in the latest polls and the support of celebrity pols Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But she finished in third place with about 20 percent of the vote, well behind the victorious Cherelle Parker at 33 percent.

Parker, a former state representative and councilwoman, ran as a centrist Democrat. A Philadelphia native who campaigned on improving schools and public safety, Parker supports hiring more police and bringing back “stop and frisk” in the fight against crime.

“Under a Parker administration, every legal tool available, every constitutional tool available to our Police Department will be employed to ensure that we end this sense of lawlessness,” Parker said during the campaign.

In Montgomery County, incumbent GOP county commissioner and political firebrand Joe Gale was soundly defeated in his party’s primary, losing to both Liz Ferry and Tom DiBello. Both were endorsed by the Montco GOP, while Gale chose not to seek the party’s endorsement.

Gale, who was seeking his third term, did not respond to requests for comment.

“Last night was a great night for Montgomery County and the GOP,” said Republican Party Chairman Christian Nascimento. “Liz Ferry and Tom DiBello ran a hard, positive race that resonated with voters, and were able to overcome all the ridiculous negativity that was thrown at them.

“For the first time in over 10 years we will have a unified Republican ticket running for both seats on the County commission board. The hard work begins now, but I am so proud of how the party unified and came together to help get them across the line. This is a new day for the Montco GOP, and the first step towards returning Montgomery County to the example of responsible government that it once was.”

On the Democratic side, incumbent Jamila Winder (who was appointed in February to replace Val Arkoosh) and lawyer Neil Makhija beat out three others and will appear on the November ballots.

Likewise in Bucks County, endorsed GOP candidates Gene DiGirolamo, the incumbent, and Pamela Van Blunk beat unendorsed candidate Andrew Warren.  DiGirolamo and Van Blunk will appear on the November ballot running against Democrat incumbent commissioners Bob Harvie and Diane Ellis-Marseglia in the general election.

“We won big,” said Bucks GOP Chair Pat Poprik. “We had excellent candidates. We really did. And now for the fall, we have very strong candidates.”

In the statewide judicial races, Mongomery County President Judge Carolyn Carluccio will be the Republican nominee for Supreme Court justice, squaring off against Philadelphian Dan McCaffery, the Democratic nominee this fall.

Democrats comprise a 4-2 majority on the state’s high court, with the death of Chief Justice Max Baer last fall leaving the vacant seat.

And Megan Martin, a Delaware County native, who became the state Senate’s first secretary-parliamentarian, and Philadelphia Democrat Matt Wolf won their primaries and will contest for a seat on the Commonwealth Court.

Democrats Jill Beck, of Allegheny County and Philadelphian Tamika Lane will be on the ballot for two open seats in Superior Court, running against Republicans Maria Battista of Clarion County and Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Harry Smail Jr.

“Our entire endorsed slate of judicial candidates have won the Republican nominations for their respective races in November, and I couldn’t be happier about this team’s upcoming victories in the general,” said Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Lawrence Tabas. “From the beginning, we knew that these candidates would deliver wins in November and we are extremely happy the Republican electorate agreed with us.

“These four candidates will rule on the law as written and always uphold the Constitutions of Pennsylvania and the United States.”

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