Democrat wins Philadelphia-area state House seat for the first time in decades

Democrat wins Philadelphia-area state House seat for the first time in decades
© YouTube: Helen Tai

A Democratic candidate won a key Pennsylvania state House seat on Tuesday, flipping the district from red to blue for the first time in decades.

Representative-elect Helen Tai won a special election for Pennsylvania House District 178, a suburban Philadelphia seat that Republicans have held since 1983, according to liberal news website Daily Kos.

Tai beat out Republican Wendi Thomas to serve out the remaining six months of former state Rep. Scott Petri’s (R) term. Petri resigned to take over the Philadelphia Parking Authority. Tai and Thomas will both be on the ballot in November for the next full two-year term.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE won the district by 3-point margin in 2016, and the district went to Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMaher makes million donation to Democratic Senate super PAC Poll: House GOP candidate leads in California swing district Super PACs spend big in high-stakes midterms MORE by a wider 13-point margin in 2012 against former President Obama.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenSaving the transatlantic partnership Biden to campaign for Stacey Abrams next week Dems with political experience could have edge in 2020 primary, says pollster MORE endorsed Tai in the race, as did multiple other high-profile Democrats.

Tai said in a Facebook Live broadcast that her victory was a part of “the big blue wave” that Democrats have been hoping for in the upcoming midterms, according to The Intelligencer.

“I think [this is happening] because people are so determined and they’ve said ‘enough of this,’” Tai said. “The wave is saying ‘we need to do what’s right.’”

Republicans also flipped a state House seat, making the election a “draw,” according to Politics PA, a political news blog. GOP candidate Tim O’Neal defeated Democrat Clark Mitchell by 11 points to fill a seat that had been in Democratic hands since 1988.

O’Neal, who also ran unopposed in the GOP primary, will take on Mitchell again in the November election for the full two-year term. The seat was vacated by state Rep. Brandon Neuman (D), who stepped down when he was sworn in as a judge near Pittsburgh.

--Updated at 10 a.m.