Pennsylvania is a state that President Donald Trump carried in the 2016 election, though by a fairly slim margin. It’s also a state that tends to be considered a useful in forecasting national and regional elections.
That makes it all the more impressive, then, that republican Tim O’Neal was able to flip the democrat 48th district in Washington County, Pennsylvania, in a special election. In fact, it’s great news for any right-leaning voter worried about the 2018 election season, locally or nationally, that a republican could flip the heavily-democrat district. This is a huge deal, and could be a sign of things to come in November.
This election represents the first time that the 48th District has EVER elected a republican representative.
O’Neal managed to crack the 4,000 vote threshold in the sparsely-populated 48th Legislative District in Pennsylvania, and held a commanding lead throughout the count. He was declared the winner late on Tuesday night.
In an interesting display of character, he didn’t have to run a ‘negative’ campaign by any means. Instead, O’Neal, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, simply ran a campaign that showed the differences between himself and his democrat competitor, Clark Mitchell Jr.
The district, which first held open elections in 1969, has repeatedly nominated members of the Democrat Party.
However, Brandon Neuman, a lawyer with little time in legal practice, managed to earn an appointment to serve as a Washington County judge, and vacated his seat. This led to a special election, which Tim O’Neal won handily.
After his victory, he will serve as the representative for the 48th District until at least January 2019, and he will have to hold on to his position through another election in November.
To win this election, O’Neal says that he simply highlighted the differences between himself and Mitchell Jr., and that he went out and talked to the people.
In an interview a month before the election, reporters asked him how he thought that he would win an election in a district whose voters overwhelmingly (and repeatedly) chose to vote for democrats.
After all, it was the same group of people who voted for Democrat Party policies and leaders since 1969. In fact, since the Vietnam War, the county had never elected a republican representative.
O’Neal’s answer was as powerful as it was simple. He said that he knocked on six thousand doors throughout the district. A month later, when he was interviewed again, he said that he had knocked on an additional two thousand doors.
He simply got out the vote and pointed out that while his opponent had done little with his life and had no accomplishments, O’Neal had traveled across the world, fought in a war, and earned medals for bravery and valor in trying times.
Mitchell Jr. ran on a number of leftist policies, as is usual. He was a staunch advocate of unions, which are becoming less popular with Americans as a whole. He talked about raising pay for teachers, but didn’t talk much about doing anything to actually improve the school system.
Frankly, his website seemed like a perfect example of someone who had done little with their life, but still felt entitled to be a ‘leader.’
On the other hand, O’Neal’s website talked about his experiences, experiences that would likely help him to be a better leader.
It talked about how he chose a specific school for college so he could attend its Reserve Officer Training Corps program (ROTC). On the site, he talked about how he became a U.S. Army Ranger while in the National Guard, which is no simple thing for a guardsman to accomplish, and how he served honorably in Afghanistan.
He talked about how he returned to the United States, and earned an MBA, eventually working his way up to become an executive at a local construction company.
Everything about O’Neal’s resume screamed ‘leader,’ from his time as an Army Ranger (one of the elite units in the Army, which requires volunteering not only for military service, but also for Airborne School and the tortuous Ranger School) to his work as an executive at a local construction firm.
The question on many minds is whether or not this is a fluke, or if O’Neal will be able to hold onto the position.
It will be answered on November 6, 2018, when he will face Mitchell Jr. again in a competition that will determine which one of them will serve a full two-year term.