Democrats gained control of one Pennsylvania county’s Board of Commissioners for the first time in 100 years following the concession of the incumbent Republican commissioner on Monday.
After a tight race for Dauphin County’s Board of Commissioners in Pennsylvania, the board’s incumbent vice chairman Chad Saylor announced on Monday he would concede to Democratic challenger Justin Douglas, congratulating his opponent in a statement online.
“The county commissioner election is close, but the outcome is now clear. I congratulate Justin Douglas on his victory and wish him all the best as he becomes the new Dauphin County Commissioner in January,” Saylor wrote in a statement posted to the county’s Facebook page.
Saylor called his time on the board the “most rewarding” experience of his career and said the remainder of his term will focus on adopting a county budget.
Unofficial election results as of Monday showed Douglas had just a 55-vote lead over Saylor, a difference of .05 percent of the total vote. Incumbent commissioners George Hartwick, a Democrat, and board chairman Mike Pries, a Republican, both won reelection to their seats, each garnering about 27 percent of the vote for the three-person vote.
Republicans have controlled Dauphin County’s board of commissioners since 1919, according to PennLive.com.
Saylor was appointed to the board in June 2021 to fill the term of former commissioner Jeff Haste. Prior to his time on the board, Saylor spent more than 30 years in government and political at the state and local levels, according to Dauphin County’s website.
Douglas on Monday referenced Saylor’s concession in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, where he reposted news of the concession and wrote, “Happy Monday.”
The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reported Douglas is a pastor living in Conwego Township with his wife and three children. He has reportedly worked with the unhoused population, LGBTQ individuals and those dealing with poverty and has pledged to focus on the county’s corrections system, mental health care services and workforce if elected, according to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.