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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Tony Phyrillas
Bio: Tony Phyrillas
Date:  November 7, 2006
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Democrats' victory celebration is premature

When was the last time two Democrats asked voters to support a Republican? This is the kind of thing that is happening in state races that the pollsters are not picking up on.

This may be nothing, but it might be something.

Democrats all over Pennsylvania are popping the champagne already to celebrate their victories in Tuesday's election. They predict they'll take the U.S. Senate seat, the governor's mansion, five new seats in Congress and a majority in the state House.

Only problem is that voters haven't been to the polls yet.

Some big name Democrats, namely Ed Rendell and Bob Casey Jr., are so confident they've already won, they're asking people to stop donating money to their campaigns and instead, start giving to Congressional and Legislative races. Rendell reportedly has given $3 million from his massive $30 million war chest to Democrats running for state Legislature.

Wouldn't it be great to wake up Wednesday morning with Rendell and Casey losing? OK, it might be wishful thinking, but here's something from one legislative race that might end up giving Democrats a post-election hangover.

Irv Livingood is a lifelong Democrat who ran in the May primary against incumbent Rep. Dante Santoni for the 126th House District in Berks County. John DelCollo is another lifelong Democrat who challenged Santoni in the spring.

Combined, Livingood and DelCollo received more votes than Santoni, but they ended up splitting the 55 percent majority, allowing Santoni to snake his way to the nomination with just 45 percent of the Democratic vote.

Livingood was so upset by the dirty campaign that Santoni ran that Livingood and his wife, switched their party registration to Republican and have now endorsed the Republican candidate Hal Baker for the 126th House District.

Livingood and his wife didn't have to switch their party registration to vote in the Nov. 7 election, but they wanted to make a statement. Santoni has given the Democratic Party such a black eye with his negative attacks on fellow Democrats that the Livingoods didn't want any part of Santoni or the party apparatus that props him up.

Livingood has actively campaigned for Baker, a former Berks County government administrator, and is featured prominently on Bakerís Web site. Livingood will also be working a poll site for Baker.

Here's what Livingood said in his endorsement of Hal Baker:

"As a taxpayer and resident of the 126th Legislative District, I am disappointed that Dante Santoni has ignored the important issues that would give us real and substantial tax relief and other issues that affect our quality of life. Dante Santoni did twice vote himself an unconstitutional pay raise and took the pay raise early in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Santoni defended the pay raise until he and his fellow politicians were shamed in repealing the pay raise and giving the money back.

Dante Santoni has never chaired a committee during his 14 years as a lawmaker and has sponsored zero (0) bills during his 14 years as a lawmaker. I believe that Dante Santoni should not be returned to Harrisburg to only vote in his personal best interest and ignore the needs of the families of the 126th District.

Most recently Dante Santoni further demonstrated his lack of integrity and will resort to distort the truth just to get re-elected. Santoni issued a campaign flier that lodges three unsubstantiated negative allegations regarding Hal Baker's record. An attack regarding Hal Baker's voting history. Santoni cannot produce the documentation to support that allegation.

I am urging Democrats, Republicans and non-partisans to join me by casting their vote for Hal Baker. Baker has integrity, credibility, sincerity and will be accessible and accountable to the families of the 126th District. Dante Santoni has demonstrated that he does not possess those qualities and should not be returned to Harrisburg."

DelCollo, while not going as far as switching parties, has also endorsed Baker, who is running on a reform platform to cut property taxes, reduce the size of the state Legislature and make government more open.

When was the last time two Democrats asked voters to support a Republican? This is the kind of thing that is happening in state races that the pollsters are not picking up on.

The liberal media has been working the sidelines as cheerleaders for the Democratic Party and it's easy to jump aboard the "Democratic wave" that the TV talking heads and newspaper columnist are writing about. But give the voters an opportunity to enter the voting booth before the party starts.

If you're a Democrat, don't pop that champagne just yet. I guarantee voters have some surprises in store for Democrats, too.

Tony Phyrillas (Columnist)

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Biography - Tony Phyrillas

Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (, his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas

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