Kazeem KOs Kirkland In 159th Race
By Bob Small
For the first time in nearly three decades, there will not be a Kirkland as the state representative for the 159th State House district in Harrisburg. Thaddeus Kirkland served from 1993 to 2016 and was succeeded by Brian Joseph Kirkland, his nephew. Thaddeus Kirkland then became the mayor of Chester after leaving the State Rep job and is now the Director of Public Affairs in the city of Chester
The revised parameters of the 159th are Chester, Eddystone, Lower Chichester Township, Marcus Hook, Parkside, Trainer, and Upper Chichester Township. Chester is the only city in Delco. Founded in 1682 by William Penn, it is also the oldest city in Pennsy.
Carol Kazeem, who ran a grassroots campaign as a citizen-activist, got approximately 56 percent of the vote. She promises to have “power returned to the people”. She is employed as a trauma outreach specialist. She garnered plenty of support during her speech on election night, including that of Chester city-council member Stefan Roots and his campaign manager, Todd Strine, co-owner of the Swarthmorean newspaper.
During the campaign, there was a misstep by Kirkland’s campaign staff, which incorrectly listed the AFL-CIO and PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association) as supporters of Kirkland. However, PSEA endorsed his opponent, and the AFL-CIO did not endorse anyone in this race. Kirkland’s campaign based these listings on prior endorsements and “simply assumed this would be the case again”. This misstep received major play in various media.
Overall, this primary season there were numerous incumbents who lost their races for various offices. Is this perhaps a harbinger of changes to come? I will discuss this in an upcoming blog.