The 131st House seat will remain under GOP control thanks to state Rep. Justin Simmons' win over Democrat Kevin Deely Tuesday, according to unofficial results.
Simmons received 14,226 votes compared to 13,664 for Deely with only 562 votes separating the two. Vote tallies are unofficial until certified by county election officials.
At a watch party at Oliver Shakewell's in Allentown, Simmons thanked all his constituents for voting. "I am extremely humbled to be re-elected as representative for the 131st district," he said. "I will continue to do my best for all 65,000 constituents in my district regardless of whether or not they voted for me. I will always listen to them."
Simmons' win helps Republicans maintain control of the state House, which has 203 districts. PoliticsPa reported that new district boundaries made Simmons' seat safer for him.
The 131st race featured television commercials that portrayed Deely smoking a $100 bill and accusing him of being a puppet for the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
Deely, 36, of Upper Saucon, is a high school teacher and former president of the Easton Area Education Association.
Deely could not be reached for comment for this article. As of the writing of this article, Deely had not conceded the election to Simmons. Some pollsters say that Deely could challenge the outcome.
Simmons, 26, of Upper Saucon Township, beat incumbent Rep. Karen Beyer in the Republican primary and then won the seat two years ago. He graduated from St. Joseph's University in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in political science.
Simmons doesn’t collect a taxpayer-funded pension or cash in on other perks, like a state car or per-diem reimbursements, according to an Easton Express-Times report.
Simmons co-sponsored a bill to shrink the state’s General Assembly by 25 percent and he supports the state's Marcellus Shale gas drilling impact fee.