Did a blue wave pass through South Philly?

Two local Democrats who won their elections weigh in on the ‘blue wave’ debate.

South Philly politics boiled down to essentially three key races this past election: The election for the Pennsylvania’s 3rd and 5th congressional districts and the 184th state house seat. Democrats won all three elections, and it wasn’t particularly close. The 5th congressional district was the closest election, with Democrat Mary Gay Scanlon edging out Republican Pearl Kim by a margin of 65.1 percent to 34.9 percent. The 3rd congressional district was even more lopsided with Democrat Dwight Evans taking the election victory over Republican Bryan Leib by a whopping 93.4 percent to 6.6 percent. In the 184th state house district, Elizabeth Fiedler garnered 100 percent of the vote. She ran uncontested.

Although Fiedler and Evans come from the same party and have many ideological similarities, they feel different about the blue wave. Even though both represent heavily Democratic areas and were heavily favored to win each of their districts, do they feel they were part of the nation-wide blue wave many members of the media were predicting?

Fiedler thinks so.

“I decided to run for office not because I was selected or anything like that, but because I talked with people, my neighbors, and other folks down here and really saw people — I really saw the need for someone to step up,” she told SPR in a post-election interview. “I think that’s what we’re seeing with the blue wave. [People] who are advocates for health care and are outraged at the political system, and [the mentality of] ‘I don’t have a lot of experience running but I’m going to run anyway.’”

Evans? He’s not so sure.

“I don’t know if it was a blue wave or whatever it was, but I just know that people voted,” he said.

“I can’t so much define if its wave or no wave, but people got out there and they did what they normally do, they voted.”

Scanlon’s team did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Fiedler expressed her excitement for earning her first opportunity to serve her neighbors as an elected representative. Evans, who won re-election, expressed his desire to get back to work.

When asked about her top priorities, Fiedler was clear: education, health care and a $15 minimum wage were her top priorities. But she said she’s also committed to being a strong community steward.

“My team and I are really committed to having a strong presence in South Philly, and to help people get the government assistance they deserve, meet people, have town halls, and an accessible office.”

She wants her office to be a place with technology available for use for senior citizens who don’t use computers often or where people can visit for assistance with acquiring unemployment benefits or other things of that nature.

As for Evans? His top priorities, in order, are health care, infrastructure, and “cleaning up the swamp.” All of which, he said, are in effort to improve the economy and lift people out of poverty.

“Election season is over,” Evans said. “We have a job to do. We should work with the president where we can. We have to do something around this question around poverty in the city. The city alone cannot just deal with this problem.”