Elections Government

Tina Davis Ends State Senate Campaign After Judge Denies Absentee Ballot Court Petition

Tina Davis speaking to constituents at her event.
Credit: Erich Martin/NewtownPANow.com

Following a Bucks County judge shooting down a petition intended to allow for late absentee ballots to be counted, State Rep. Tina Davis announced Tuesday she was ending her campaign for the Sixth Senate District seat.

Democratic Davis’ campaign is ending three weeks after the election and more than a week after Bucks County’s election officials declared she lost the seat by 74 votes and incumbent Republican State Sen. Tommy Tomlinson was reelected, a stance his campaign had maintained since hours after the November 6 election.

“It is time to move on, which is why I am ending my campaign. Tomlinson has been put on notice by voters —business as usual in Harrisburg is no longer acceptable. I hope he heeds their message,” Davis said in a note.

Davis’ announcement was posted to social media, sent out to media outlets, and emailed to campaign supporters early Tuesday afternoon.

In last week’s court filing, Davis said the final vote counts contain an error because some absentee ballots were not tallied due to the fact they were not received by the Bucks County Board of Elections until after Pennsylvania’s deadline of Friday, November 2. The election was held four days later on Tuesday, November 6. Overseas and military absentee ballots were due on Tuesday, November 13.

In the petition, Davis pointed to problems and delays with the mail, including the closure of the Croydon U.S. Postal Service branch. It also argued that Pennsylvania had the earliest absentee ballot receipt deadline of any state in the country, claimed that the state policy caused the disenfranchisement of voters, alleged violations of the equal protection provision, burdened the fundamental rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and that the campaign had trouble accessing to the late absentee ballots.

After a Monday morning hearing on the petition, Bucks County President Judge Jeffrey Finley finalized an order that denied Davis’ petition.

“Sen. Tomlinson is thankful Judge Finley upheld state law, and enforced the commonwealth’s election code,” said Ryan Skoczylas, Tomlinson’s campaign manager. “It was a victory for the rule of law and the common sense premise that you can’t change the rules after you lose. Senator Tomlinson is honored to continue serving the people of the 6th Senate District and providing them with the independent leadership they deserve.”

Skoczylas noted the Sixth Senate District contains more registered Democrats than Republicans and that Tomlinson is thankful for all who voted for him.

The Sixth Senate District includes Bensalem, Bristol Borough, Bristol Township, Hulmeville, Ivyland Langhorne, Langhorne Manor, Lower Southampton, Middletown, Northampton, Penndel, Warwick, and Wrightstown.

Davis will still have a job as a state legislator. Davis won her current state representative seat against Republican Anthony Sposato on November 6. In Pennsylvania, candidates can run for two seats.

Below is Davis’ full statement:

Three weeks ago, voters across the country and the state stood up for change in an election that was filled with so many highs. Through Emerge, the program that I co-founded in Pennsylvania, I mentored and help train many of the women who won; I saw old friends win hard-fought victories; and I celebrated the waves of change that swept the nation.

In my own race for State Senate, I was honored and humbled by the support our campaign received. Not just from the tens of thousands of people who voted for our vision, but also by the countless volunteers and supporters who generously gave their time, their energy, and financially invested in our efforts.

Unfortunately, we were on the receiving end of an ugly campaign. My family was attacked, my record of standing up for working families was distorted, and legions of Tommy Tomlinson’s highly paid lawyers flooded the courthouse to block votes from being counted. Despite all of this, the overwhelming support we received should be a wakeup call for Harrisburg.

Currently, our campaign is 74 votes behind. Our team has been fighting every day for the last three weeks to narrow this gap, but today we will stop fighting and allow Tommy Tomlinson to be re-elected to the State Senate.

It is time to move on, which is why I am ending my campaign. Tomlinson has been put on notice by voters —business as usual in Harrisburg is no longer acceptable. I hope he heeds their message.

This campaign brought out the best and the worst of politics. It also highlighted some of the glaring problems that make Pennsylvania one of hardest states in the nation to cast your vote. I am looking forward to going back to the State House and to working with Governor Wolf to reform these laws so that every voter’s voice is heard.

To everyone who supported our campaign, know that the fight is not over. I am still here, I am still fighting, and I’m always going to be honest and true to our shared values.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for five years for both newspaper and online publications. In 2012, Tom was honored at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation's Keystone Press Awards for his coverage of President Obama's visit to Falls Township in 2011. When he's not covering news in the area, Tom enjoys checking out the newest restaurants and bars, exploring forgotten places of industry in the area, going to local parks and spending time with his friends and family. If there's one thing you should know about Tom, he is a local news junkie through and through. Email: tom@newtownpanow.com Phone: 215-431-1001