With 55 percent of the vote, K.C. Tomlinson has won Bensalem’s special election for state representative in the 18th district.
Tomlinson, a Republican, will replace former State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo in Harrisburg. She defeated Democrat Howard Hayes 4412 to 3591, according to unofficial results.
The newly elected state representative claimed victory shortly before 9:30 p.m.
“I’m looking forward to representing you all in Harrisburg and thank you all so much for your support.”
This election showed the efficiency of Bucks County’s new voting machines. The Real Clear Ballot system delivered the full unofficial results shortly after midnight, about four hours after the polls closed.
Almost 8,000 voters out of an estimated 40,000 registered voters turned out to cast their ballots. A combination of being a single, local election and the coronavirus likely impacted those numbers.
Some polling locations saw barely more than 100 votes. The Bensaelm Lower East 4 precinct saw 111 ballots cast, while the fifth Lower Middle precinct had 113.
For comparison, a special election in May of 2018 between State Rep. Wendi Thomas (R-Bucks) and former State Rep. Helen Tai for the 178th district saw just short of 13,000 votes. Tai won the election by less than 100 votes, then lost her seat the next election in November of the same year.
However, the special election between Tai and Thomas was held the same day as the 2018 primary. Voters were making several choices, including congressional candidates. Decisions higher up on the ballot tend to drive greater turnout.
But Bensalem’s special election almost did not happen. The Bucks County Board of Elections filed a petition late Monday to postpone the election. Court of Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Trauger denied the petition, saying he did not have authority over the process.
Tomlinson will hold seat until this November, when she will faces Hayes again for a two year term.
The full unofficial results from Bensalem’s special election are available here.