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Democratic incumbent Mayor Michael Nutter appeared headed for re-election in Philadelphia on Tuesday, while voters in suburban Montgomery County cast ballots for county commissioner in a closely watched race.

Turnout was very light in both the city and suburbs, which were enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures, according to the Committee of Seventy, an election watchdog group.

Nutter had just over 72 percent of the vote, with 51 percent of the ballots tallied. He was expected to win easily in the city where registered Democrats hold a nearly 8-1 edge over registered Republicans.

Republican Karen Brown, 51, a retired school teacher, had just over 24 percent of the votes in early counting, while independent Diop Olugbala, 34, a community activist also known as Wali Rahman, had about 3 percent.

The Montgomery County race for county commissioner was the most closely watched among the state’s county races, according to analysts.

The county is the third largest in the state after Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.

Some observers believe that for the first time in its 140-year voting history, Montgomery County could swing Democratic if Democrats Josh Shapiro, a state House member, and Leslie Richards, a Whitemarsh Township supervisor, are elected.

On the Republican ticket are incumbent Commissioner Bruce Castor, an outspoken former district attorney, and his running mate Jenny Brown, a township commissioner in Lower Merion.

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 32,000 in Montgomery County, a longtime Republican stronghold.

The increase in registered Democrats is attributed to voter registration drives for former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell and President Barack Obama and to an influx of new residents from Democratic strongholds such as Philadelphia.

Philadelphia has not had a Republican mayor in 60 years, and party registration figures heavily favor Nutter. In Philadelphia, there are nearly 800,000 Democrats versus 127,165 Republicans.

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