Democrat Wendy Ullman has secured the party nomination in the race for the 143rd District of the state House of Representatives, narrowly beating primary challenger Tim Brennan by just 54 votes.
Ullman, 65, of Plumstead, was behind Brennan, 40, of Doylestown Borough, early Tuesday night, but that soon changed around 11 p.m. as rural districts began reporting results to the Bucks County Board of Elections. Ullman now will face the GOP’s Joe Flood in the General Election on Nov. 6.
While Ullman, a professor at the Bucks and Montgomery County Community colleges, lost Haycock, Reigelsville, and most of the precincts in Doylestown Township and Borough to Brennan, she was able to make up those losses at the polls in Bedminster, Bridgeton, Durham, Nockamixon, Plumstead and Tinicium.
The two Buckingham precincts in the 143rd district came in with razor-thin margins, with Ullman winning by just four votes in the township’s first upper precinct and losing by only seven votes in the upper third precinct.
Brennan also took Reigelsville with 49 votes Ullman’s 39 votes.
All results are considered preliminary until recorded as official results by the elections board.
Brennan, an attorney and Doylestown Borough councilman, said he supports Ullman in her race for the House seat, and added he was proud the two Democrats ran a positive campaign.
In an email response for comment, Ullman, who does not currently hold public office, echoed Brennan’s comments on the nature of the campaign and thanked volunteers and voters for their support.
“I am confident that all like-minded supporters can now work together to achieve a shared goal: putting a Democrat in the State House in November,” Ullman said.
Ullman and Flood have a long six months of campaigning ahead of them before the Nov. 6 election, and Democratic voters might be poised to take the 143rd District out of long-held Republican control if last night’s turnout is any indication.
Flood, 44, ran unopposed for the Republican primary ticket, but he nonetheless received 4,783 votes in Tuesday’s primary, about 600 votes less than both Ullman and Brennan combined.
While primary elections typically see lower turnout compared to general elections, just over 31 percent of Democratic voters showed up at polling places in the 143rd compared to the more than 18 percent of registered Republicans who voted for Flood, according to registered voter statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of State.
The district also has about 8,700 registered independents, about 18 percent of all voters in the district, who couldn’t vote in the state’s closed primary.
With Republicans outnumbering Democratic voters by roughly 5,000 people, the final vote might come down to turnout and which party can attract the most independents.