State Representative Bernie O'Neill took a commanding lead when initial voting results came in Tuesday night and never looked back as he defeated Democratic challenger Brian Munroe and retained his seat in the 29th district. As of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, O'Neill held a 58 to 42 percent margin over Munroe with 30 of 31 districts reporting.
O'Neill took the victory as a stamp of approval by the voters for his performance in the state legislature and a disapproval of what he felt was an extremely negative campaign by his opponent.
"I like to run a positive and clean campaign," said O'Neill as he shook hands with fellow Warminster Republicans as they gathered to watch election results at the VFW. "He did nothing but trash me, and people were getting angry that I wasn't responding."
He also credited his moderate conservative philosophy and support of public and special education as factors that led to cross-party support for his candidacy.
"I had people come up to me today and tell me that they voted straight Democrat except for me," O'Neill said. "I stood on my record for this race, and the voters responded to that."
Around the corner at his campaign's headquarters on Street Road, Brian Munroe took the loss in stride, chalking it up as a first-time politician going up against a strong incumbent.
"It was tough to overcome the name recognition and the early endorsements that incumbents usually get," said Munroe. "I heard a lot today from Democrats and conservative Republicans that are not happy with Bernie's record. He has been resting on his laurels, and hopefully our campaign will light a fire under him."
Despite the loss, Munroe took away enough positives from meeting with voters and looking at the breakdown of the district numbers in places like Buckingham that he feels confident he will run again in 2014.
The 29th district includes New Hope, Solebury, parts of Warminster, Warwick, Buckingham and Upper Southampton.
Video provided courtesy Metra4.com.