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Dermody lays claim to 11th term

This election proved to be much easier for state Rep. Frank Dermody, who on Tuesday laid claim to his 11th term in the Legislature.

The Oakmont Democrat defeated Republican Gerry Vaerewyck of West Deer for the 33rd Legislative District seat. According to unofficial totals, Dermody won 56 percent of the vote to Vaerewyck’s 44 percent.

It appeared late last night that Dermody — until January the majority whip and third ranking member in the Legislature — will be the most senior leader returning to the state House’s Democratic caucus.

House Speaker Keith R. McCall is retiring. Republican Doyle Heffley appeared to be headed to victory over Democrat Justin Yaich in McCall’s Carbon County district.

State Rep. Todd Eachus, the majority leader from Luzerne County, was lost his contest to Republican Tarah Toohil.

Dermody squeaked by in 2008, narrowly defeating Jason Davidek. The situation was the same in 2006 when he barely edged Eileen Watt.

In addressing his supporters last night at Futules’ Harmar House, Dermody referenced those elections by saying he felt more comfortable claiming victory relatively soon after the polls closed.

“It’s a lot better doing this at 20 minutes after 10, than 20 minutes after 12,” he said.

As for his legislative priorities, Dermody said he wants to work to create and retain jobs, address educational needs at the K-12 and college levels and tackle transportation issues.

Vaerewyck said his chances were hurt by an advertising campaign attacking his tax record.

“The polls looked favorable for me before that started,” Vaerewyck said. “(Dermody) totally reversed things with that campaign.”

Vaerewyck said he worries that elections for state House will increasingly turn negative because of the success of the “negative” campaign against him.

“It will set a precedent,” he said.


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