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Lehigh Valley Election News

Coleman will focus on economy, political reform as state senator

Patriots for Coleman
Republican Jarrett Coleman will be the next 16th District state senator.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Republican Jarrett Coleman will be Pennsylvania's 16th District state senator, defeating Democrat Mark Pinsley to replace longtime incumbent Pat Browne.

Coleman declared victory Wednesday morning and said in a statement that he plans to set up a district office in the coming days.

  • Republican Jarrett Coleman will replace longtime incumbent Pat Browne as Pennsylvania's 16th District state senator
  • Coleman, a Parkland School Board member, said he will focus on state government reform and fiscal responsibility over the next two years of his term
  • Pinsley, Lehigh County's controller, said one of the main factors in his loss was Coleman’s campaign contributions

Pinsley conceded to Coleman at 9 a.m. Wednesday with a statement over text.
"I want to congratulate Senator-elect Coleman on his victory. I wish he and his family well on their new journey," Pinsley said.

By late Wednesday, Coleman had 67,911 votes to Pinsley's 57,176 with 97% of the votes counted, according to unofficial results from Lehigh and Bucks counties.

"I've learned so much from the people of our area and look forward to working on their behalf.”
Jarrett Coleman, Senator-elect for Pennsylvania's 16th senate district

The 16th district covers most of Lehigh County's suburbs and the northern half of Bucks County. Republicans hold a slim advantage among registered voters in the district.

Coleman is a member of the Parkland School Board. He unseated Browne with a primary campaign that labeled Browne as a career politician whose time had passed.

Coleman’s reaction

“I want to thank the people of the 16th Senatorial District of Pennsylvania for placing their trust in me to represent them in Harrisburg," Coleman said in a statement.

"I'm extremely grateful to the many volunteers that worked so hard to support my campaign," he added.

“I also want to thank my family for the sacrifice they made to support me throughout the campaign," Coleman continued. "I've learned so much from the people of our area and look forward to working on their behalf.”

Coleman said he will focus legislatively on the issues that he discussed in his campaigns, such as state government reform and fiscal responsibility. He said he will try to pass a bill that would prevent lobbyists from giving gifts to politicians and will try to pass a Taxpayer Bill of Rights that would cap the rate at which the government can spend money.

Coleman said that when he knocked on constituents' doors, people told him they were worried about inflation and divisiveness in politics. He thinks those were the issues that motivated people to vote.

“That was really inspiring, to see just how motivated people were to vote,” Coleman said.

Coleman said he does not plan to resign from Parkland School Board.

Pinsley’s reaction

Friends of Mark Pinsley
Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley lost the race for the 16th state senate district seat.

In his concession statement, Pinsley thanked his campaign volunteers.

"I am so grateful for your tireless hours and support," he said. "Now we must help the new government succeed so that all Pennsylvanians can live a better life."

In an interview, Pinsley said he thinks one of the factors in his loss was Coleman’s campaign contributions.

“He had a billionaire that was supporting him, you know, and I didn't," Pinsley said. "So getting the message out about what the differences are between the two of us is very difficult."

Despite his loss, Pinsley said he feels good about how he ran his campaign, especially because there are 7% more voters registered as Republicans than Democrats in the district.

“It's terrible to lose," he said. "But this was also an R-plus-7 district. And so we did everything we could to win.”

Pinsley will continue to serve as the county’s controller.

Coleman was elected to Parkland School Board last year on a campaign criticizing the district's pandemic lockdown policy. He said parents were not given enough input about remote learning, and he opposed mandatory mask rules, saying they were being forced upon families.

When the district voted to make masks optional in February, he was the lone no vote, saying students should not have a choice about wearing masks.

Pinsley has become a leading voice for progressives in the Lehigh Valley, calling for more accountability for police and the end of cash bail for non-violent offenders. On the campaign trail, he focused on civil rights issues.