Required Reading

Salena Zito has the story of Martina White, a 26-year-old Republican who overcame a 2-to-1 Democrat registration advantage to become Philadelphia’s first GOP Assemblyman in 25 years. Here’s how:


“[Politics] was not something we sat around the dinner table talking about,” the newly elected representative said of family conversations. “The only position I’ve ever won, I didn’t run for, and that was captain of my field hockey team in college.”

The granddaughter and daughter of business owners, she was inspired by working as a financial planner and seeing middle-class families struggle to pay for kids’ college educations or wrestle with how to build a safe retirement: “They weren’t able to make the numbers work, time after time.”

White said she listened more than talked when she went door to door, asking for votes. “I went to over 3,000 homes,” she said, and “safe communities, education and infrastructure” were the top concerns.

Despite not deciding to run until December, she overcame Democrats’ 2-1 voter-registration advantage, her own inexperience and the powerful Philly Democrat machine to not only win but to win by 14 points.

Her victory was no stroke of luck: Republicans have turned the tables on the one thing at which Democrats were really great — dominating local politics.


Retail politics and concentrating her message on what voters care about, “safe communities, education and infrastructure.” That’s a far cry from the messaging of the national GOP, which can’t seem to score many (any?) wins against President Obama, despite comfortable majorities on Capitol Hill.

Anyway, do read the whole thing — and keep an eye on Martina White. She has a bright future in politics, if she wants it.


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