EXETER – State Rep. Phyllis Mundy held off a challenge from political newcomer Aaron Kaufer on Tuesday to win her 12th term in the state House of Representatives.
According to unofficial results, Mundy received 14,051 votes versus 11,002 for Kaufer in the 120th District race.
It was a tighter margin of victory for Mundy than in 2010, when she trounced Republican Bill Goldsworthy by nearly 4,000 votes, 10,153 to 6,154. Tim Mullen also ran as a Libertarian in the district in 2010, winning about 2,800 votes.
Mundy said Kaufer had more money backing him than previous challengers in the West Side House district, which helped his campaign.
While Mundy's campaign outspent Kaufer's by almost 2-1 between Sept. 18 and Oct. 22 – Mundy spent $66,615 while Kaufer spent $35,861 – Kaufer was backed by close to $50,000 in in-kind contributions from the House Republican Committee and the state Republican Party, some of which paid for television and direct-mail advertising.
Mundy's received about $22,000 from the state Democratic Party in the same period.
Celebrating with about 50 supporters at Sabatini's Pizza on Wyoming Avenue, Mundy said the trust she has earned from her constituents helped her overcome her opponent's media campaign, which included multiple flier mailings and numerous television advertising purchases.
Our strategy was to do what I've always done, Mundy said. To talk about what I believe in, what I believe is good public policy, and run a good grassroots and media campaign.
When you work hard and you do what is right regardless of the political consequences, you take a big risk. It's much easier to just do what you think is the popular thing and tell people what they want to hear, she continued. So I feel I've been vindicated in that doing the right thing has been the right strategy.
A member of the House Finance and Rules committees, Mundy said she would continue to advocate for the education, budget, environment, utility and other issues she supports.
As long as Gov. Corbett is in office there are going to be some budget issues, and I will continue to fight against further cuts to education and further tax giveaways that aren't tied to real job creation, she said.
Kaufer is a 24-year-old Republican from Kingston who campaigned on a platform of reforming compensation and benefits for legislators and employees. He said he would be an independent voice who would work with Democrats and, like Mundy, favored a severance tax on natural gas drilling.
Kaufer said his campaign outperformed expectations, and secured the number of votes he hoped to, but fell short due to a higher than expected voter turnout.