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Election 2012: 151st District Race

Incumbent Todd Stephens and Democrat Will Sylianteng compete for the legislative district which covers Horsham, Upper Dublin, Ambler, Montgomery Township and Abington.

For Democrat Will Sylianteng, the man contesting incumbent State Rep. Todd Stephens for his seat representing the 151st legislative district, sums up Tuesday as a "good day one way or the other."

"We’re at polling places introducing ourselves to people as they come in," Sylianteng told Patch of he and his 30 or so volunteers in place at some of the district's three dozen polling places throughout Horsham, Upper Dublin, Ambler, Montgomery Township and Abington. "You actually go face-to-face with an actual voter."

It's different than the 14,000 doors Sylianteng knocked while talking to people who, he said may or may not even cast a vote in the 2012 election. To actually see them about to do that makes for a "pretty enjoyable day," he said.

Highlights so far include an early morning stop at the Ambler Senior Community Center where a woman Sylianteng had never met told him she had a sign supporting him on her lawn. 

"It’s really one of those days where, as a candidate, you get to see all these people," Sylianteng said. "I think that my presece at a poll location isn’t necessarily going to change the outcome of this election."

While Sylianteng got started in Ambler, Stephens took to his home polling location in Horsham, Yuong Sang Presbyterian Church, on Witmer Road, where he greeted voters coming and going. 

"We have folks at every poll from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.," Stephens told Patch following his arrival around 7:30 a.m. "We've got every place covered all day long. When we asked for volunteers, the response was great."

Inside Horsham 3-2, poll worker Carla Cloninger said Tuesday marked her first stint at helping with an election. Cloninger stepped up, she said, because of a request from Stephens. 

Yet, Stephens, like Sylianteng, said his focus is on ensuring voters make their way down the ballot beyond the Obama/Romney contest and pick who should represent the 151st district. 

"The big thing is to remind people," Stephens said, adding that there tends to be a drop-off between the top of the ticket and the bottom of the ticket. "I'm the last rung on the ladder."

On Tuesday, just after 4 p.m., Stephens told Patch that in his polling place interactions with district voters throughout the day, he had gotten a "great response" and even voters from "across the aisle" had pledged support.

Sylianteng, while standing outside of Hatboro-Horsham High School just before 5 p.m., seemed less confident. 

"I don't think either of us can really tell," Sylianteng said. "Turnout's really high. At least in my race it's a toss up."

Sylianteng, who ran for Montgomery Township Supervisor in 2009, said he knew before that race was called that it "was not going to be a good year for Democrats."

"Democrats didn't come out to vote," Sylianteng said. 

The same is not true of Tuesday's election, which drew "unprecedented" numbers of voters from both parties, election officials told Patch. 

Sylianteng, who after his 2009 defeat was motivated back into the political realm again after seeing "Governor Corbett's agenda and where they were going to take the state," acknowledged that the district race, while "very important" is largely ignored compared to the presidential contest.

"Most media sources don’t cover the statehouse," Sylianteng said.  

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