The 102nd Legislative District has voted to keep Republican state Rep. Russ Diamond at the helm.
Diamond, who is completing his third term in office, bested Democratic challenger Matthew Duvall by capturing just over 70 percent of the vote.
“While I was confident of victory, the margin of victory was larger than I anticipated,” Diamond said Wednesday.
The 102nd district represents Cleona, Jonestown, Myerstown, Richland, and Annville, Bethel, Heidelberg, Jackson, Millcreek, North Lebanon, South Lebanon, Swatara, Union and West Lebanon townships.
In Tuesday’s general election, Diamond received 22,772 votes, according to the most recent unofficial tally, while Duvall got 9,620, or 29.6 percent. Duvall did lead in mail-in voting by more than 2,000 votes.
In a message posted Tuesday night on Facebook, Diamond said that, “before a single vote is counted tonight, I tip my hat to my opponent … for his willingness to be the Man in the Arena. It is not for the faint of heart.” The comment references a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910, lauding the person who doesn’t simply criticize others but rather puts himself in the fray and tries to “do the deeds.”
In a separate post Wednesday morning, Diamond said he is “both thrilled and honored” that the voters “have chosen to put their faith in me to represent them in Harrisburg for the next two years. This is an affirmation that my legislative record is squarely in line with the majority of my constituents.”
He vowed “to continue to be a strong voice for Lebanon County values in the Capitol, and to fight for individual liberty and common sense policy for our Commonwealth.” Diamond said he believes results throughout Pennsylvania “were a referendum on the performance of Governor Tom Wolf and his administration over the last eight months. The people of Lebanon County — and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania — deserve governance with certainty even in uncertain times. They also deserve rational and practical governance they can understand and trust.”
In an email to LebTown, Diamond said his immediate priorities for the next legislative session include shepherding two constitutional amendments limiting a governor’s power during a disaster emergency, and another to change the way appellate court judges are elected in Pennsylvania.
“I am also currently reviewing my legislation from the current session to determine which bills will be re-introduced in the next session, as well as contemplating new legislation to offer,” he said.
Duvall said Wednesday the election results “are disappointing but not surprising. Even without the weirdness of the pandemic and its effect on campaigning, any Democrat in Lebanon County faces an uphill battle.”
As a first-time campaigner at this level of government, Duvall said he set a goal to attain at least 30 percent of the vote – a mark he missed by a hair.
“I was very grateful to receive the support that I did, and believe I have the highest number of votes for a Democratic challenger for this seat in at least the last 10 years — although it bears noting that overall turnout was up as well,” he said.
He did not reject the notion of a future run for office, noting it’s “too early to tell … but I do believe it’s important that we have options on the ballot for every race. It’s also important that we continue to have discussions about how to make our government work for everyone, especially those who traditionally are overlooked or underserved.”
Duvall said he has “no complaints” about Diamond’s campaign, but “I do wish he’d stop promoting anti-science nonsense and support basic public health measures, like wearing face coverings, that could keep our community healthier during this pandemic.”
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Full Disclosure: The campaign of Matt Duvall was previously an advertiser on LebTown. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising relationships and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.