Chester, Delaware counties go blue for the first time in generations

Tim Jimenez
November 06, 2019 - 6:59 am

MEDIA, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — A blue wave on Election Day shifted the political landscape in Chester, Delaware and Bucks counties.

It was a night of firsts in the Philadelphia suburbs. For the first time since the Civil War, Delaware County Council will be under Democratic control.

Christine Reuther, Elaine Schaefer and Dr. Monica Taylor won the three open County Council seats. They will join Kevin Madden and Brian Sidek, who became the first Democrats elected to council in 2017.

"The Republicans controlled it and controlled everything surrounding it," said KYW Special contributor Larry Kane. "It was a county that was Republican red, white and blue."

There will also be a new district attorney, as Democrat Jack Stollsteimer beat incumbent Kat Copeland. 

Phil Heron, the longtime editor of the Delaware County Daily Times, says going into the election, Democrats had a 30,000-voter registration advantage over Republicans.

Heron said the demographics of Delaware County are changing.

"The edge is actually growing, it's not shrinking. There are actually more Democrats now in Delaware County than there are Republicans," he said. "And I don't think you can count out the fact that, in today's political environment, and the debate, and everything that's going on with President Trump, you had an unheard of 40% turnout here in the county, unheard of for a municipal election in an off year, or what they refer to as an off year."

Typically, the percentage turnout in the county is in the 20s.

"You would routinely see 20 to 25 percent in the municipal, non-presidential primary," Heron said. "Forty percent, I don't think anybody was expecting. And everyone had said leading up to the election: This is partly a numbers game. If the Democrats get those numbers to the polls, they're gonna win."

In Chester County, for the first time ever, Democrats have the majority on the Board of Commissioners. Josh Maxwell and Marian Moskowitz will join the board in the only county in the Philadelphia region where there are more registered Republicans than Democrats.

Deb Ryan will be Chester County’s new district attorney after she defeated Republican Mike Noone, who is currently second-in-command in the DA’s office. 

Also, in Bucks County, for the first time in 30 years, the Dems have the majority of the three-seat county commissioners. Robert Havie was elected and will join fellow Democrat Diane Ellis-Marseglia, who won re-election. Republican State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo will represent the minority. 

Political strategist Larry Ceisler says Democrats were energized to vote against President Donald Trump's party. 

"There was more excitemenet on the Democratic side," he said, "and that's why Democratic turnout was so much higher."