In a story broken by The Express Times' Sarah Cassi, John Stoffa has quietly announced his decision to seek a second term as Northampton County Executive. No fanfare. No collection of campaign contributors - job seekers, urging him on. No campaign photo of Stoffa standing prominently in the courthouse. Just one laconic remark - "I think there will be competition."
In a place with no secrets, Stoffa has managed to keep everyone guessing for months. You see, he swims alone. Mistaking this quiet strength as a weakness, the sharks have been circling. Ann "Nice Guys Finish Last" McHale is supposed to be announcing her attentions in a news conference today. Ron Heckman, a protege of the man Stoffa defeated, has been building support where he can find it. In a 2007 primary, Ron finished 4th in a race for three Bethlehem city council seats. Not good, Ron.
This race is over. The smartest thing McHale could do today is pledge her support for Stoffa. She's banking on her ties to union agents and her last name, but her imperious nature will surely work against her. This is an official who actually walked out on Michelle Obama! She has been the ringleader of the most dysfunctional local government in the Lehigh Valley. She even ridiculously tried to force the county to accept an IT contract that was $1.8 million greater than the one Stoffa ultimately negotiated.
Unlike McHale or Heckman, Stoffa understands who deserves his loyalty, and it is not union bosses or campaign contributors. "I answer to the taxpayers, ultimately."
That's why he'll win.