In May 2021, Democrat Marty Flynn ran in a special election to fill a vacant state senate seat in Pennsylvania’s 22nd Senatorial District, which represents parts of Luzerne, Monroe counties and all of Lackawanna County. Flynn declared victory on May 19th, saying to voters:
“Tonight the voters entrusted me to keep fighting for the people here, and I will never forget that trust. This is a big win for working-class Pennsylvanians. That’s why I decided to run for this seat. I’ve spent eight years fighting for my community in Harrisburg – through my constituent services, by making government work for them, and bringing jobs to Northeast Pennsylvania. It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve the people here – to be able to help the place I love.”
The seat opened up when former State Senator John Blake resigned to take a position with Congressman Matt Cartwright. A special election was called and Flynn was running up against current Lackawanna County Commissioner Chris Chermak (R), as well as Libertarian candidate Nathan Covington and Green Party candidate Marlene Sebastianelli.
What was at Stake
The state senate was critically important in Pennsylvania, with the state legislature putting forward 12 bills to further suppress voting through voting purges, voter ID laws, and limits on absentee balloting. It was an important seat to hold, so Swing Left Greater Boston volunteers sprang into action, pulling together a team to support the candidate through phone banking and canvassing.
Canvassing in Scranton — Located in Northeast PA, is a rust belt city surrounded by other smaller cities and some rural areas. While the downtown had a few restaurants and stores, a lot of stores had closed. And outside the city, it looked even worse. But we knocked on lots of friendly Dem doors where people loved what Marty Flynn had done as a state rep, especially looking out for and providing services to people in his district.
Phone banking for Marty Flynn — We had around 40 volunteers sign up to phone bank for the Pennsylvania Democrat.
It was a close race, but in the end 113th District State Representative Marty Flynn won the seat by 51.2%. The Republican candidate received about 38% of the vote, the Green Party candidate got almost 10%, and the Libertarian candidate got 1.2%. Flynn’s margin might have been below the 54% that Biden received in the area in 2020, but it was more than enough to swing the election in the Democratic party’s favor.
A big congratulations to the team that supported Marty Flynn’s race! We need to keep up this momentum if we want to win in 2022, 2024, and beyond.