O'Neill retains Northeast Philly Council seat

Posted: November 09, 2011

HE'D HAD a helluva run, but this was probably the end of the line.

That's what some political observers had been saying about Councilman Brian O'Neill, who was supposed to be headed for a neck-and-neck Election Day battle with Bill Rubin for Northeast Philly's 10th Councilmanic District.

So much for that.

O'Neill, Council's Republican minority leader, captured 59 percent of the vote yesterday as he won his ninth term in office.

He jumped out to an early lead over Rubin, 44, a former city pension board vice chairman, and never looked back.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic," O'Neill, 61, said last night.

"I kept hearing all morning that this race was going to be too close to call. To get almost 60 percent feels wonderful. It makes me appreciate the voters even more."

O'Neill said Rubin's campaign was "heavily funded" and attacked him frequently, something he rarely faced in a district in which Republicans make up just 33 percent of the registered voters.

"That had me worried," he added.

Rubin struck a positive note. "We ran a great campaign," he said.

"He [O'Neill] worked more in the last nine months than he has in quite a while. Maybe the people in his district will be better served."

Their race had been contentious - they traded barbs at a debate last month, and attacked each other over the much-loathed Deferred Retirement Option Plan in TV ads.

Rubin, 44, claimed that O'Neill planned to enroll in DROP and collect an enormous settlement, a claim O'Neill repeatedly denied.

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