Hanna wins tough race
LOCK HAVEN — After learning of his victory over Republican opponent Stephanie Borowicz, State Rep. Mike Hanna did what he always does, driving back home from far flung polling places in his district — He picked up campaign signs.
“It clears my mind,” he said. As it should after a hard fought campaign that saw several tense moments until Hanna pulled away in the 76th district to earn another term, splitting voters by 53 to 47 percent for Borowicz and topping the Republican newcomer’s total in Clinton and Centre counties by 1,200 votes … At least that’s according to the data he wrote down on the corner of a napkin before heading back to Lock Haven.
Hanna walked into his campaign headquarters at the Saloon in Lock Haven to the jubilant applause of dozens of supporters who had been waiting for the candidate for an hour or more.
Hanna said he spent most of his day working the same polling places as Borowicz, so had a chance to talk with his opponent at moments during the day.
Then he described a hard-fought campaign while thanking his “hundreds” of supporters, who knocked on thousands of doors in the weeks preceding election day in order to get out the vote.
“This will be 28 years,” He said, noting that the last two elections were without opposition. He acknowledged that this particular campaign cycle was the most expensive in recent memory, and added he wouldn’t know the full cost until going through the ledgers in the coming week.
“I like the two-year cycle,” he said. “It’ good for the community and good for the candidates. It forces us to keep in touch with our constituents …. I have a whole notebook of comments and feedback by people I’ve talked to over the campaign … It’s a way of keeping close to the voters.”
No rest for the weary, he faces another election for Minority Whip in a couple of weeks, so it’s back to the political scene in Harrisburg with little time for rest.
Hanna said he’d spend some additional time picking up campaign signs and closing up the Clinton County Democratic Party headquarters before turning his head back to that notebook and the work ahead.
Borowicz arrived at the Republican watch party at the Lock Haven EMS building, talked to local supporters, and eventually found a seat in a corner surrounded by her family, campaign manager, and friends who heard the results together.
“I just sat at the polls with Mike Hanna for 13 hours in Bellefonte. I’m a little tired,” she said with a smile.
The high numbers she won at the polls were surprising to some, and the comments around the room were that she ran a great campaign.
Poll watcher Loretta Coltrane was pleased to be able to show her how she won by a large margin in Gallagher Township, 134 to 51.
But when Clinton County Commissioner Pete Smeltz came to the gathering directly from the courthouse with the county’s results, the numbers weren’t in Borowicz’s favor.
Before all the Centre County precincts had reported, Borowicz joined U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard, who hosted the “Election Night Victory Party” in speaking to the large gathering.
Thompson introduced her, saying, “She ran the best campaign I have ever seen.”
Borowicz received two long, hearty rounds of applause. She thanked Thompson for “taking me under his wing and including me in every event.”
Her list of hard-working GOP members to thank included Kurt Smith, Clinton County party chair, and she earned some laughter when she told him lightheartedly, “You got me into this whole mess.”
She teared up as she thanked her husband, parents, grandparents, and especially her children — who were the reason she ran for office, she said.
She left the crowd with her slogan “Principles above politics,” and briefly reviewed her platform that the nation needs prayer; family; defense of life including the unborn, elderly and veterans; a return to God’s Word; and defense of freedom.
“We must defend freedom at all costs,” she said. “Two thousand years ago, the very Son of God died on a cross for our sins and that makes freedom worth fighting for at all costs.”
During the applause, she handed off the mic and quickly left the room.