Republican incumbent Russ Diamond easily won re-election to represent the 102nd district in the state House of Representatives for another two years.
This will be his fifth two-year term serving a district that includes Annville, Bethel, East Hanover, Heidelberg, Jackson, Millcreek, North Annville, North Londonderry, Swatara and Union townships and Cleona, Jonestown, Myerstown, Palmyra and Richland boroughs.
Diamond, 59, of Annville Township, was challenged this year by Laura Quick, a 56-year-old North Londonderry Township Democrat. In Tuesday’s midterm election, Diamond captured just over 70 percent of the 27,000-plus votes that were cast in the district.
Contacted Wednesday, Diamond said he “didn’t have any doubts and (was) not worried” in the weeks leading up to the election.
“I believe the voters re-elected me because I have reliably represented the values held by a vast majority of people in our county,” he told LebTown in an email Wednesday morning.
“My winning percentage was the widest spread since I’ve been in office, which underscores that the people have faith in my ability to accurately serve as their voice in Harrisburg,” he added.
Diamond also commended his opponent “for putting her name on the line and for running a respectable campaign.”
According to the Associated Press, Diamond received 19,091 votes, or 70.21% of the ballots cast, while Quick received 8,100 votes, or 29.79%.
Read More: Lebanon County 2022 general election results
Diamond said he wasn’t surprised by election results elsewhere in Pennsylvania or the United States.
Many pundits had predicted a red wave of Republican victories that failed to materialize. In Pennsylvania, Democrats Josh Shapiro and John Fetterman won hotly contested races for governor and U.S. senator, respectively, over Republican opponents Douglas Mastriano and Mehmet Oz. In both races, Lebanon County voted heavily in favor of the GOP candidates, with more than 56 percent of local votes going to Mastriano and more than 62 percent going to Oz, according to tallies provided by the Department of State.
Looking ahead, Diamond said, “my priorities in Harrisburg won’t change, although some of my legislative focus may shift to matters of import to any committee I may be assigned to chair.”
Committee assignments are “still up in the air,” he said.
Quick intends to try again
Quick, a UPS driver from North Londonderry Township, is a member of the Lebanon County Democratic Committee and was elected in 2018 to the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee. She had campaigned twice previously for the 9th Congressional District seat.
She told LebTown that she never felt confident of winning in a heavily Republican district, but said she was “proud of what my team was able to accomplish.”
“I had jumped in the race in February at the last minute in a newly drawn district and there were too many unknowns,” she said. “Representative Diamond did not have a challenger in the last midterm (2018) and I wanted to be sure that the voters of the 102 had a choice.”
So, although she wasn’t surprised by Diamond’s margin of victory, Quick admitted she was disappointed.
“Many people, including myself, invested a lot of time and effort” in the campaign, she said, “reaching out to the voters of the 102. There were a lot of sacrifices of time spent with friends and family for what seemed to be a result that just broke along party lines.”
Her campaign was hindered by “two headwinds,” Quick said. “One was that I do not have a well-known name within Lebanon County in spite of having grown up here. The second was the continued tribalism and people voting purely along party lines. There are over 27,000 registered Republicans and over 8, 000 registered Democrats in the 102.”
Quick said she feels “very good” about the turnout of her base, and she hopes in the future to see more people vote on the candidate rather than the candidate’s party affiliation. “I hope to find more open-minded people in the future that are willing to consider me and want to hear the ideas I have to make their lives better,” she said.
During a debate on WLBR, Diamond “came across a lot more moderate than he has been in the last couple of years,” Quick said. “He also mentioned to me in a side conversation how one’s perspective changes when you struggle with a serious medical condition. With the possibility that he may be heading into the 2023-24 term as a member of the minority in our legislature, I hope he takes his new perspective and uses it to help other fellow elected leaders do good things for Pennsylvania. I also wish him well in his personal health struggle and wish him a complete recovery.”
Quick is very happy that Josh Shapiro and John Fetterman won their respective races for governor and U.S. senator, as well as apparent gains made by Democrats in the state House.
“Nationally, I do believe that Gen Z saved us from a lot of extreme elected officials,” Quick said. “In what was supposed to be a Red Wave based on historical models from the recent past, I believe that the more extreme narrative was widely rejected and that moderate candidates from both parties won the day.”
Now that the election is behind her, Quick said she plans to “spend more time with my horse, reconnect with my family and non-political friends, and clean my house!”
She doesn’t plan to rest for long, however. “As soon as January 2023, I will be getting our new 102 better organized for the County Democratic party. We found a lot of great new volunteers this year and hope to keep this momentum going right into 2024 where I plan to run again for House District 102.”
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