Republican state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, who won a special election in April, defeated first-time candidate John Reynard, a Democrat, to win a full term in Tuesday's 134th House district race, according to unofficial results.
In Lehigh County, Mackenzie received 16,441 votes compared to 10,883 for Reynard. In Berks County, Mackenzie received 2,688 votes to Reynard's 1,601. Vote tallies are unofficial until certified by county election officials.
Mackenzie said: "I want to thank the people of the 134th District who have honored me with their support today. I also want to thank John Reynard for his willingness to enter the political arena and give voters a choice. Today was about a choice between two competitors, both of whom want only the best for our state. Tomorrow is about coming together to meet the needs of everyone in our community, and that is exactly what I will do as state representative.
"I will continue the work I began upon winning the special election this spring to help get Pennsylvania back on the right track," Mackenzie said. "I will focus on our priorities: helping job creators restart our economy, ensuring strong support for our schools, reforming Harrisburg and always instilling fiscal discipline in state government to protect our tax dollars.
"Finally, I must thank my family, friends and the countless volunteers who gave their time and effort to making this a successful campaign," he said.
Mackenzie's victory helps Republicans maintain control of the state House, which has 203 districts.
Nearly half of the districts had one candidate on the ballot Tuesday, and many others are essentially one-party districts thanks to demographics and years of creative mapping by state lawmakers who want to secure as many seats as possible for their parties, according to a Pennsylvania Independent report.
The 134th race featured multiple attacks including charges by Mackenzie's campaign that Reynard was not properly registered with the state as an investment adviser and that Reynard illegally benefited from a tax exemption.
Reynard came out swinging early in the race and was endorsed by the state's largest health care union to no avail.
Mackenzie won a special election in April to fill the unexpired term of former state Rep. Doug Reichley, who became a Lehigh County judge. Mackenzie beat Democrat Patrick Slattery, who later dropped out of the general election race and was replaced by Reynard.
In a Mackenzie laid out a multi-pronged approach he believes will reduce unemployment. Actions include lowering the state business tax, reducing regulatory demands, reforming tort law and providing job seekers with the education and training needed to get good jobs.
Reynard, a former college professor, was more focused on lowering the state business tax, saying small businesses should not have to be burdened with the same tax rate large corporations pay.
Reynard said: "This has been a hard-fought race and I wish Ryan Mackenzie the best of luck in servicing the voters of the 134th district."
In addition to running for re-election, Mackenzie co-chaired the presidential campaign of former Gov. Mitt Romney in Lehigh County.