Heavily Republican Chadds Ford Township cast its lot with the Democratic side of the aisle in Tuesday's election with only one of four GOP candidates winning. That lone Republican winner was state Rep. Stephen Barrar who beat Democratic challenger Shawn Diggory.
Chadds Ford voters chose Democrat Ed Rendell over Lynn Swann for governor and Bob Casey over incumbent Rick Santorum for U.S. Senate. But the surprising vote was for Democrat Joe Sestak over incumbent Republican Curt Weldon for U.S. House of Representatives.
Sestak beat Weldon by 60 votes in Chadds Ford but won the 7th district by more than 30,000 votes.
Mary Kot, chairman of the Chadds Ford Republican Party said she was "shocked" that Sestak beat out the 10-term incumbent in Chadds Ford.
"[Weldon] really worked hard for our district. He deserved to be reelected," said Kot.
She believes Weldon's defeat was due to a "negative political environment" involving a backlash against President George Bush, the war in Iraq and a feeling that it was time to change the party in power.
Kot's democratic Party counterpart, Peter Jesson was pleased with the result.
"Few people gave Joe Sestak a chance when he entered the race against 19-year incumbent Curt Weldon. However, Joe is a near perfect candidate and he tirelessly ran a near perfect campaign. Weldon's defeat appears to be overwhelming. I think Joe will remake politics in Delaware County while, at the same time, we are sending presidential material to Washington," Jesson said.
Barrar, who will return to Harrisburg as representative from the 160th Legislative District that also includes Birmingham and Pocopson townships among others, told supporters who met at Capozzoli's Best of Italy in Chadds Ford election night that it was a tough year to be a Republican.
"I'm very happy with my results. I wish it could have been better for other Republicans on the ticket, but I think my results are a showing of my hard work and dedication to my legislative district. ... I think a lot of the national issues played into [the Sestak victory,] the president's unpopularity and also Curt's personal problems had something to do with it." Barrar said.
He later thanked his staff members for their hard work.
In other races, Republican incumbents Chris Ross, R-158, of East Marlborough and Republican Joe Pitts, R-16 also of East Marlbourough easily defended challenges from Democratic opponents Mario Calvarese and Lois Herr. This was the third time Calvarese lost to Ross and the second time Pitts defeated Herr.
All results are unofficial until verified by the county boards of election