Archive for the 2015 elections Category

Why Northampton County Controller Steve Barron Should be Re-Elected

Posted in 2015 elections with tags , on October 19, 2015 by Rich Wilkins
Steve Barron

Photo credit to Lehigh Valley Ramblings

Northampton County’s Controller, Democrat Stephen Barron, is seeking a third term in office in just over two weeks at the polls. He will be opposed in that election by Republican County Councilman Hayden Phillips. According to my information, the races will be close for all of the county offices, or at least they are now, so your vote will matter. I will be voting for Mr. Barron’s re-election. I hope you will join me, so I will share my positive reasons behind Mr. Barron, and my negative reasons for not voting for Mr. Phillips.

  1. Steve Barron has been an independent thorn in the side of the last two County Executives, both Democrat John Stoffa and Republican John Brown. He was a leading critic of Stoffa’s policies on Gracedale, helping lead the charge against closing it. He has opposed Brown on tax increases, wasteful contracts, and illegal pay raises for staff. I guarantee you that both will be voting against Mr. Barron. He’s also found millions of dollars in savings for the county voters, via his office’s audits. Mr. Barron has done a good job.
  2. Mr. Phillips is on the current county council, and he voted last year for a 9.25% tax increase. In fact, he proposed a tax increase of double that on council. He refused to vote to sue the County Executive to stop his public relations contract that was unnecessary under the Home Rule Charter. He’s attempting to confuse voters into believing he wants to turn Gracedale into a non-profit, when he actually wants to privatize it. Beyond all of that, Hayden Phillips is one of the right-wing nuts that want to stop “Agenda 21,” echoing the complaints of Texas Senator Ted Cruz that “the UN wants to get rid of golf courses.” Nothing like stopping sustainable land use practices.

For me, the choice is very clear. Northampton County voters should vote for Mr. Barron’s re-election.

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Lehigh Valley Elected Democrats Get It Wrong on Superior Court

Posted in 2015 elections with tags , , on October 14, 2015 by Rich Wilkins

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Judge Alice Beck Dubow is a solid legal mind and Democrat from Philadelphia. She won a contested Democratic Primary to get the job, and she is now running strong against Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Mr. Giordano is a good judge and person. I’ve met him a couple of times, and we’re of the same fraternity at Moravian College. I won’t speak ill of him at all.

This is an appeals court job though, not a local court of common pleas job. These judges will write law. They write legal opinions that can alter our lives. I want the solid progressive judge writing that law. Any good Democrat should. If you want the law interpreted from a Republican point of view, just be a Republican. Don’t be a Democrat backing the Republican Judge:

After winning the backing of Democratic State Sen. Lisa Boscola last week, Giordano announced the endorsements of even more Lehigh Valley Democrats.

Giordano is receiving support from the following officials: former Democrat Superior Court Judge Robert Freedberg, former Democratic Court of Common Pleas Judge William Moran, Democratic Mayor of Easton Salvatore Panto Jr, Democratic Mayor of Whitehall Ed Hozza, Democratic Mayor of Northampton Tom Reenock, Mayor of the North Catasauqua Bill Molchany, Jr, and Democratic Bethlehem City Councilmen Eric Evans and Mike Recchiuti.

So most of this is dismissed rather easily. Local judges stick together, and some of these guys are lawyers that argue in front of him. Some I can’t explain though, and those folks are wrong. There is a serious difference between how Democrats and Republicans view major judicial issues. These Democrats made a mistake here.

Elections Are Coming- In Case You Didn’t Know

Posted in 2015 elections with tags on September 28, 2015 by Rich Wilkins

Map_of_Northampton_County,_Pennsylvania

In just over a month, it will be time to vote in the 2015 election. If you live in the Lehigh Valley, that might be news to you. There aren’t competitive local races in Easton or Bethlehem, and in Allentown it’s little more than window dressing. There are statewide judgeships on the line, but it’s not easy motivating the public with that.

In Lehigh County there are competitive races for Commissioner, Sheriff, and Controller. In Northampton County two council seats, the Controller’s job, and a seat on the Court of Common Pleas are on the line. Just across the river in Warren County, Phillipsburg has an election for Mayor. Past that, good luck finding races that motivate the public.

I’m definitely concerned about low turnout. I think many voters will be turned off by the lack of competitive races and string of negative headlines out of Allentown, the Attorney General’s office, a Philadelphia Congressional office, and the former Treasurer’s sentencing. If I had to guess, this Fall will produce record low turnout. That also probably will mean terrible electoral results. This is not a good thing for the Lehigh Valley.

Are Local Democrats in Trouble?

Posted in 2015 elections with tags on August 17, 2015 by Rich Wilkins

Map_of_Northampton_County,_Pennsylvania

Bernie O’Hare says local Democrats could be in trouble in November. He’s right. Northampton County Democrats could have some serious problems. Bernie nails the basic structural problem:

There are no contested city races in Northampton County this year. Sal Panto had no opponent, Democrat or Republican, in Easton’s Mayoral primary. Bethlehem’s City Council race was decided in the primary, where only Democrats ran. To many who live in these urban cores, and they are heavily Democratic, the election is over. Though county government is vital and has a big impact on their lives, most people have less interest than they do in a city government, where parking meters or garbage can become hot-button items.

When Ron Angle was in the race, that generated interest among Democrats. He’s the Republican they love to hate, more than anyone. But now that he’s out, and it’s likely that Hayden Phillips is in, some Democrats will go back to sleep.

This is exactly the basic problem Democrats face. Bob Werner and Ken Kraft have no races in Easton and Bethlehem. Sal Panto and council Democrats have no races in Easton. Bethlehem Council is over too. The contested races are “north of 22,” and that is generally not good in odd number years. Scott Parsons and Lori Vargo Heffner have to run great races in tough terrain to win. Controller Steve Barron and Judicial candidate Sam Murray have to win races countywide where there is more motivation for the “north of 22” voters to come out than the more Democratic voters in Easton and Bethlehem. That’s tough.

I’m concerned about Democratic enthusiasm. There’s been a lot of coverage of Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski being raided by the Feds lately in our local press (which is even worse for Lehigh County Dems, obviously). Attorney General Kathleen Kane, former Treasurer Rob McCord, and Congressman Chaka Fattah are also getting negative press. The Governor is having trouble passing his agenda, which should be hurting the Republicans in Harrisburg more, but I have no evidence of that. There’s a real uphill current in local Democrats’ faces here in the Lehigh Valley.

Not that anyone needs a pep talk, but local Democrats have a lot at stake. Victories for the Court of Common Pleas and Controller two years ahead of John Brown’s re-election would be very bad for Democratic chances of beating him. A 7-2 council with this Executive could gut out human services, sell Gracedale, and do lots of Tea Party-esque things that would make Democrats cringe. There are also three Supreme Court seats on the line this Fall that might determine who controls re-districting in 2021 for Congress.

In other words, things aren’t looking so hot right now, and Democrats need things to look a little hotter. A wipeout in 2015 isn’t as harmless as it looks.

Thanks to All 19 of You!

Posted in 2015 elections with tags on June 3, 2015 by Rich Wilkins

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I officially was awarded 19 write-in votes in my victory for the Democratic Nomination for Palmer Township Auditor. I needed 10 to be declared the victor, and needed to have the most votes. I achieved both goals. No Republican won their nomination for the Fall.

Technically, I should thank all 19 voters who wrote me in, but one of them was myself. So thank you to the other 18.

In Jersey, Even the Municipal Elections are Interesting

Posted in 2015 elections with tags on June 3, 2015 by Rich Wilkins
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No, he didn’t run…

In New Jersey, there is no such thing as an “off year,” or a “minor election.” Every race matters, every race is full contact. On both ends of the turnpike last night, assembly and municipal elections were on the ballot, and the results re-shaped who would have power. A few elections particularly caught my eye:

  • In Hudson County, the assembly team backed by the Speaker, Jersey City Mayor, and Bayonne Mayor won a landslide. This particularly matters because the Jersey City Mayor is a rumored candidate for Governor, and his guys won. Also, I mean, the Speaker is their county chairman, which matters.
  • To the south in Union County, their chairman lost control of his home municipal party. The chairman of the Union County Democrats is also the assemblyman and chairman of the Plainfield Democrats, at least until the re-organize and remove him from his chairmanship of the town. The Mayor has been locked in a bitter feud with him, and appears to have won this one.
  • To the south of there, in Middlesex County, there was news as well. The Perth Amboy Democrats elected new committee-people, and the Mayor’s team beat the chairwoman’s team. A few miles down the road in Monroe, the long-time Mayor was retiring, and the Council President will be his replacement.
  • To the southwest of there, in Mercer County, the chairwoman and assemblywoman won easily in her race for a full term in the assembly, alongside a long-time incumbent.
  • The Morris County Republicans, who once kicked a Freeholder Chris Christie to the curb, had another internal war, which delivered a split verdict. Basically, the state senator beat the chairman there.

While I do enjoy working New Jersey races, I’m glad I was an observer yesterday. I’m just still wiped out from my recent campaigns. For the most part, the establishment candidates won in New Jersey, and the chair’s of the counties had good nights, with the exception being the Morris GOP and Union Democrats. I’m not shocked by this, as New Jersey has some of the best organized local parties you will see anywhere in America.

I Got Nominated…

Posted in 2015 elections, me with tags on May 31, 2015 by Rich Wilkins

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I have apparently been nominated for Palmer Township Auditor on the Democratic side. No Republican won a write-in for the office, so I have no current opponent. I still have to be elected in November, but thank you to all the people who wrote me in to get me on the Fall ballot.

Sincerely GC

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