County Executive Race
In typical fashion, Joe Long Democrats decided to endorse a candidate for county executive at a meeting described on their web page as an "[a]nnual Petition signing and business meeting." Without notice, they endorsed Council President Ann McHale for the job. This is exactly the kind of undemocratic behavior that has led incumbent county executive John Stoffa to call for Joe Long's resignation as party boss.
Last time John Stoffa ran, the local party refused to endorse him. Instead of relying on party machines and county contractors, Stoffa is taking his campaign to the people, as he has successfully done before.
Republicans are circulating petitions for Northampton resident and former Channel 69 traffic anchor J.C. Kelleher.
County Council Republicans
Northampton County's nine-member county council is its legislative branch. Five of these are elected at-large throughout the county. These are the seats currently held by Democrats Joe Capozzolo, Charles Dertinger, Diane Neiper, and Republicans Peg Ferraro and John Cusick. Their terms expire this year.
Six Republicans are in the hunt. Two of them, Peg Ferraro and John Cusick, are seeking reelection. Peg, who will probably be the county's top vote getter, is everybody's mom, a decent person who refused to go along with partisan council members intent on lynching a county employee by asking her to resign. Cusick, a schoolteacher who lives in Williams Township, is council's workhorse. No council member matches his work ethic, which I measure as attendance at committee hearings.
Bruce Gilbert, former player on a Wayne Grube championship football team and successful banking executive, has twice applied for appointment to council vacancies. Twice, he's been rejected by partisans more interested in party than quality. According to Morning Call columnist Bill White, Gilbert was perhaps the "best qualified" of all candidates seeking appointment. This time, instead of asking council members, Gilbert will take his case to the voters. If elected, he would be Northampton County's first ever black council member.
Hellertown's Tom Dietrich, who unsuccessfully challenged Ann "Nice Guys Finish Last" McHale last year, is in the fray again. I've already told you about him here.
Bushkill Township's Barbara Thierry, who currently serves on their Planning Commission, is in the race. Rounding our their ticket is Plainfield Township's Jane Mellert, who has been observing council meetings for the past several weeks.
County Council Democrats
Five candidates were endorsed by Democrats this morning. Only one of them, Charles Dertinger, is seeking reelection. In addition to his regular shouting matches with those who dare question him, Dertinger believes that council has no obligation to listen to anyone unless they own real estate. That should get him the landed gentry vote.
Radio man, Dent protester and ousted elections commission chair Wally G, aka Walter Garvin, has party machine written all over him. I'll have more to see about his candidacy in the coming weeks.
Another Democrat anointed by the party machine is Bill Wallace, a former candidate who refrained from the divisive politics encouraged by Long's Democrats in district races last year. He instead mounted a clean campaign focused on bringing passenger rail to the Lehigh Valley. Mike Dowd, who defeated Bill 5027 to 4082, is ironically the council member who introduced the rail transportation study.
Democratic committeeperson Lorraine Pasquali and Nazareth resident Deborah Hunter round out the Democratic ticket. I will have more about them in the coming weeks.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that popular state representative Craig Dally would like to be called "Your Honor." In addition to Lenny Zito, Republicans are promoting Dally.