Hanna wins tough race

Rep. Mike Hanna speaks with a reporter after learning he won according to unofficial results.

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.