Elections: Boscola Fends Off Challenger to Keep State Senate Seat

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Democratic incumbent state Sen. Lisa Boscola won a convincing victory over her Republican challenger, John Merhottein, in Tuesday’s election in the recently-redrawn 18th district.

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Credit: State Sen. Lisa Boscola's office

Sen. Lisa Boscola (D) will continue to represent the 18th district in the Pennsylvania State Senate following her victory over her Republican challenger, John Merhottein, in Tuesday’s election. The 18th district includes much of Northampton County, including Hellertown borough and Lower Saucon Township. (FILE PHOTO)

According to unofficial Northampton County election results, Boscola received 55,329 votes to Merhottein’s 40,327, which roughly equates to a 58 to 42 percent split.

Boscola was previously critical of the redistricting plan that took effect earlier this year.

The 18th Senate District is now comprised of a large swath of eastern Northampton County, including Hellertown borough, Lower Saucon Township, the City of Bethlehem, the City of Easton, Nazareth borough, the Slate Belt and areas in between.

The only portion of the district that still extends into Lehigh County includes West Bethlehem. Prior to redistricting, Lehigh County municipalities such as Fountain Hill, Salisbury Township, Emmaus, Catasauqua and Whitehall Township were part of it.

Under the redrawn map, those municipalities became part of a new 14th State Senate District in which Democrat Nick Miller led Republican Dean Browning by approximately 10,000 votes in Lehigh County but trailed him by more than 4,000 votes in the portion of the district located in Northampton County, according to unofficial county and state election returns announced Wednesday.

The combined unofficial vote total as of Wednesday afternoon had Miller with 45,944 votes (approximately 53 percent of the total) and Browning with 40,202 votes (about 47 percent). Both county totals were with 100 percent of precincts having reported their tallies.

Both Lehigh and Northampton counties reported a voter turnout rate of about 58 percent in the election.

Another local race that was still being watched was for state representative in the 131st legislative district, where Democrat Kevin Branco was challenging incumbent Republican state Rep. Milou Mackenzie in what amounted to a rematch of the 2020 race.

Both candidates vyed for the same seat two years ago, when the district had slightly different boundaries.

The redrawn 131st district still includes the majority of Lower Saucon Township in Northampton County, along with much of southern Lehigh County and parts of upper Montgomery County.

According to unofficial election results from all three counties, Mackenzie led Branco by approximately 3,300 votes and 10 percentage points as of Wednesday afternoon.

In some of the races in which a winner hadn’t yet been declared, mail-in votes were still being counted Wednesday, with that process expected to take up to a day to complete.

In the Lehigh Valley’s closely-watched U.S. Congressional race between incumbent Democratic candidate Susan Wild and her Republican challenger Lisa Scheller, Wild claimed a narrow victory Wednesday with 147,852 votes to Scheller’s 141,349 votes, according to unofficial results provided by county and state officials.

The recently-redrawn 7th Congressional District includes Northampton, Lehigh and Carbon counties. Previously it included Northampton and Lehigh counties along with part of Monroe County.

In the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pat Toomey, Democrat John Fetterman was declared the winner over Republican Mehmet Oz Wednesday.

According to unofficial returns posted by the Pennsylvania Department of State, Fetterman received just shy of 2.6 million votes, while Oz received just over 2.4 million.

The Pennsylvania Senate race drew national attention in part due to its potential to determine which party will control Congress’s upper chamber in early January; a determination which appeared likely to remain unclear until the results of a runoff election in Georgia are known. The December runoff election in that state was triggered by the closeness of the race between Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock–who held a narrow lead–and his Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

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