Knowles wins easily in 124th
JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS State Representative Jerry Knowles, left, checks the figures for the 124th District with his aide, Lauren Miller, second from right, and his wife Lorraine, far right, at his Election Night headquarters at the New England Fire Company Tuesday night. Knowles won reelection to his seat, which represents eastern Schuylkill and northern Berks Counties.
Two of the three incumbent state legislators from Schuylkill County won re-election, according to unofficial returns, as Schuylkill County had a fine turnout of voters in Tuesday's general election.
Jerry Knowles, Republican, was re-elected in the 124th District, winning over two challengers.
Knowles received 7,963 votes, or 63 percent of the 12,573 votes cast in the 29 precincts, while Jeffrey Faust, Democrat, got 2,862 votes, or 22.76 percent; and Dante Picciano, who ran as an Independent, received 1,748 votes, or 13.90 percent.
Knowles was elected to his first full term as he was elected last year to fill the unexpired term of David Argall, who resigned to run and win a seat in the state senate.
The district includes the townships of East Brunswick, East Union, Kline, North Union, Rush, Schuylkill, Union, Walker, West Brunswick and West Penn Township and the boroughs of Coaldale, Deer Lake, McAdoo, New Ringgold, Orwigsburg, Port Clinton, Ringtown and Tamaqua and parts of Berks County.
"I want to thank the people of the district for their support," said Knowles from his campaign night headquarters Tuesday night at the Walker Township New England Fire Company, outside of Tamaqua.
"I am very pleased with those figures, especially in a three-way race. I am delighted to go back to Harrisburg and represent the people of the 124th.
"I love my job, and I am glad the people of the area rehired me," he added.
Knowles felt the success of the Republican Party in the midterm elections represents a clear message to get government spending under control.
That was a theme during his campaign, as well as his time replacing long-standing state Rep. David Argall, who vacated the seat last year during a successful run for state Senate, to fulfill the seat in the 29th District, which was opened due to the death of James J. Rhoades in an auto accident in October of 2008.
"With the GOP taking control of the House, I think it's a mandate that we need to cut government and spending," said Knowles. "We need to live within our means, just as we do in our households. I think the people have spoken loud and clear.
"As a government, we should provide core and central services. This is not the time for discretionary spending."
Knowles said he feels his priorities are working toward the elimination of school property taxes; providing good, family-sustaining jobs; and cutting wasteful spending.
Knowles also reiterated that he is opposed to the dumping of sewage sludge, called biosolids by the waste disposal industry. He spoke out against a recent biosolids dumping effort proposed by a Harrisburg firm for Schuylkill Township.
"I will continue to work with the people of Schuylkill Township and environmental groups to keep that sludge out of there," he stated. "I am against it now and will be against it in January, February and in the future, too. I'd be happy to work with my two opponents on this issue as well."
Neal P. Goodman, Democrat, easily was re-elected to continue to represent the 123rd District in the state House. He received 10,646 votes, or 65.68 percent of the 16,208 votes cast in the 53 precincts. He defeated Ettore Dicasimirro, Republican, making his first political venture. Dicasimirro received 5,519 votes, or 34.05 percent.
The district is made up of the townships of Blythe, Branch, Butler, Cass, Delano, East Norwegian, Foster, Mahanoy, New Castle, Norwegian, Reilly, Ryan and West Mahanoy; and the boroughs of Ashland, Frackville, Gilberton, Girardville, Gordon, Mahanoy City, Middleport, Minersville, New Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Port Carbon, Saint Clair, Shenandoah; and the Fifth, First, Second, Third and Fourth Wards and Sixth, First and Second Wards in Pottsville.
Tim Seip, a Democrat, who served two terms, went down to defeat in the 125th District, losing to Mike Tobash, Republican. Seip received 7,274 votes, or 43.42 percent of the 16,753 votes cast in the 43 precincts, while Tobash received 9,066 votes, or 54.12 percent.
The district is made up of the townships of Barry, Butler, Eldred, Frailey, Hegins, Hubley, North Manheim, Pine Grove, Porter, South Manheim, Tremont, Upper Mahantongo, Washington and Wayne; and boroughs of Auburn, Landingville, Mechanicsville, Mount Carbon, Pine Grove, Schuylkill Haven, Tower City and Tremont.
Schuylkill County voters joined the rest of the state in electing Tom Corbett, Republican, as governor. They gave him 28,643 votes, or 63.29 percent of the 45,257 who vote in the 125 precincts in the county. Dan Onorato, Democrat, received 16,519 votes, or 36.50 percent.
Schuylkill County also went for another winner, Pat Toomey, Republican, for the U.S. Senate seat, giving him 26,332 votes, or 58.78 percent; while Joe Sestak, Democrat, received 18,363 votes, or 40.99 percent.
(TIMES NEWS Reporter Joe Plasko contributed to this story)