Senate incumbents have the edge


With a veteran incumbent Republican in Bucks County’s Sixth Senatorial District, Democrats deserve credit for nominating Bryan Allen for state Senate — an energetic “up and comer,” in the words of his opponent. But Allen is up against an incumbent with a worthy record and a mostly moderate outlook among state Republicans. That’s why The Inquirer endorses ROBERT M. “TOMMY” TOMLINSON for the state Senate.
Tomlinson, who operates a funeral home, has a record of voting for special-education funding, environmental protections and mass transit. He also helped launch casino gambling, which he championed to aid horse racing at tracks like PhiladelphiaPark. When glaring flaws in the gambling law were exposed, Tomlinson, 64, worked to strengthen the rules.
Allen, 32, has spent nine years an aide to state Rep. Anthony J. Melio (D., Bucks), who is retiring this year. His supporters say he would bring a reformer’s zeal to a district that includes the state’s busiest casino as well as older inner-ring suburban communities. Allen has also spent four years as a Bensalem Township councilman. He pledged to push for term limits and downsizing the General Assembly. He also wants to shift from property levies to the income and sales taxes to fund public education.
In the neighboring 12th Senatorial District encompassing eastern Montgomery County and part of Bucks, voters also have an accomplished Republican incumbent. The Inquirer endorses STEWART J. GREENLEAF. As a former prosecutor and longtime chair of the judiciary committee, Greenleaf has been active on judicial reform and open records. He’s good on the environment, backing a tax on the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.
In addition to fielding a blue-ribbon panel to study problems in the Philadelphia courts, Greenleaf, 71, is working to reform sentencing and parole practices to stem the growth in the state’s prison population. He deserves to be reelected. Democratic opponent Ruth Damsker, a former two-term Montgomery County commissioner, is knowledgeable and capable of representing the district, but Greenleaf has a proven record.
In the Second Senatorial District in North Philadelphia, four-term state Sen. CHRISTINE M. TARTAGLIONE (D., Phila.) has only token opposition from Gary Feldman. Tartaglione, a member of an entrenched political family in Philadelphia, has been a staunch ally of labor, environmental causes, and gun-safety issues.