Updated: 11/03/2010 07:37:13 AM EDT
York, PA – Longtime incumbent Republican Todd Platts bested two challengers in the race for leadership of the 19th congressional district Tuesday night, and he was likely to return to Washington with his party in control of the U.S. House.
Platts got 162,786 votes to Democrat Ryan Sanders’ 52,737 and Independent Josh Monighan’s 10,876 with all precincts reporting.
After results were announced Tuesday night, Platts thanked his supporters during a gathering for about 200 people that county Republicans were hosting at Infinito’s Buffet in York Township.
“A cornerstone of our efforts has always been people and not money,” Platts said in an interview afterward.
Platts said he doesn’t yet know precisely how a Republican majority in the House will affect him personally. He believes he will remain on his current committees, which are Armed Services, Education and Transportation. He’s still waiting to see if the change in Republican status will affect the leadership of any subcommittees.
Overall, Platts believes the results in the U.S. House elections show a desire on the part of the American public for a change in direction for the country. And he intends to work for that.
“It’s about changing Washington itself and the way process works,” Platts said.
Reached for comment after results were in Tuesday night, Sanders said he was pleased with his efforts. He knew he faced an uphill battle, given the registration edge Republicans have in York County. He believes his campaign helped make a statement.
“This message has to be heard,” Sanders said. “It is not a message of partisan politics. It is a message of central Pennsylvania.”
Monighan said he was also pleased with the opportunity to get his message out. In the near future, he intends to get together with other independent candidates and work for reforms in the system.
“We’ll keep moving until the people get representation,” Monighan said.
Platts had already weathered a primary challenge by fellow Republican Mike Smeltzer, a candidate backed by the local tea party who had attacked Platts for not being conservative enough.
Platts drew on his image as a Republican moderate during the recent general election campaign, speaking of his bipartisan political alliances as testimony to his ability to get things done in Congress.
Sanders also presented himself as a political moderate, talking about his concerns as a small business owner and his professional background as a staffer with the Republican Leadership Council in Washington, D.C.
Monighan spoke more of absolutes than either of the other candidates — frequently evoking tea party rhetoric in his talk of states’ rights and returning the country to its Constitutional underpinnings.
At a polling place at Zion United Methodist Church in West Manchester Township Tuesday night, voters had mixed feelings about the congressional race.
Some said they voted against Platts simply because they saw him as too much a part of the Washington establishment.
“Years and years ago, Todd Platts got into office because he wasn’t a career politician,” said Scott Stock of York.
Doyne Atkinson of York said she generally leaned toward the Democratic candidates this time around, but she liked Platts for the 19th District.
“Todd Platts, you can’t beat him,” she said. “We’re lucky to have him.”
York Daiy Record