Republican incumbent Marcia Hahn will keep her 138th house district seat after defeating Democratic challenger Leslie Altieri on Tuesday, according to unofficial results.
With 34 of 35 precincts reporting, Hahn received 19,797 votes compared to 11,595 for Altieri, a first-time candidate. All vote tallies are unofficial until certified by county election officials.
"It was a great turnout today, and I really appreciate all the people who came out to support me," said an admittedly tired Hahn. "And I want to thank Leslie for running a clean campaign."
Hahn has served in the House since she won a special election in 2010 to fill the unexpired term of former state Rep. Craig Dally, who became a Northampton County judge. Hahn was Dally's constituent outreach coordinator and office manager.
(The 138th House District includes Lower Nazareth Township, Bushkill Township, Hanover Township, Northampton County, and part of Bethlehem Township.)
Hahn's victory helps Republicans maintain control of the state House, which has 203 districts.
Nearly half of the districts had one candidate on the ballot Tuesday, and many others are essentially one-party districts thanks to demographics and years of creative mapping by state lawmakers who want to secure as many seats as possible for their parties, according to a Pennsylvania Independent report.
Hahn, a Bath resident and graduate of Nazareth Area High School, focused on jobs during the campaign. Hahn said the best thing the state can do is keep taxes low and allow the private sector to create jobs when she spoke at a PBS 39 forum with Altieri.
Altieri said there are 600 bridges in Northampton and Lehigh counties that need to be repaired or replaced -- and those projects could get people back to work.
Altieri decried state budget cuts to education funding and said she would look to increase state contributions to school districts that are way below what is mandated in the state Constitution.
Hahn said she believes school boards need to make “tough choices” and need to stop doing things like buying out the contracts of superintendents to get rid of them. “I think we have to live within our means.”
Altieri attacked Hahn over the Jerry Sandusky investigation and cuts to education and veterans services.
Altieri, of Bethlehem Township, came to the Lehigh Valley in 1998 from Bucks County to attend Moravian College. She worked as an officer and counselor at the shuttered Warren Acres Juvenile Detention Center in Oxford Township.