Two years ago, Simmons came out of nowhere to knock off Karen Beyer in a hotly contested Republican primary. I thought Simmons was morally wounded after that dogfight, but he went on to win the general election against Michael Horton, a weak candidate whose residence there was questionable.
Easton High School match teacher Kevin Deely, in contrast to Simmons, is pretty much a one-issue candidate. At a Business Matters debate a few weeks before the election, it was painfully apparent that, aside from education issues, Deely has no real knowledge or understanding of state issues. You'd think that Simmons would cruise to re-election on autopilot, but something happened.
Two years ago, there was no Presidential election driving large numbers of Democrats to the polls. But this time, the lever pullers came out in force. And all of a sudden, there's a horse race.
After being down most of the night, Simmons emerged in the early morning hours with a 562-vote lead. But that's unofficial.
The official vote count began in Lehigh County yesterday. Without the absentee ballots, Simmons would have lost.
Justin Simmons Rep 12273
Kevin T. Deely Jr. Dem 12512
Justin Simmons Rep 678
Kevin T. Deely Jr. Dem 414
Total Machine and Absentee:
Justin Simmons Rep 12951
Kevin T. Deely Jr. Dem 12926
As you can see, he is up by a scant 25 votes in Lehigh County.
In Northampton County, the official count begins today. It will likely continue for several days because there are over 500 provisional ballots county-wide. Simmons is up by 430 votes in Northampton County, so I think it's highly unlikely that Deely will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
But you never know. Both candidates will be sending lawyers, guns and money to the festivities.
Elections officials in both counties will be unable to conclude the official count until November 13. That's when absentee ballots are due from the military and emergency first responders.
Updated 10:25 AM: I originally called this a "razor sharp" lead. A reader corrected my error, and I have changed my headline to "razor thin." .
Updated 12:15 PM: Simmons Lead In Lehigh County Down to One Vote! - Don't think one vote makes a difference? Think again. After going through the provisional ballots, Simmons' lead in Lehigh County has shrunk to just one vote. His firewall is Northampton County, where he is still up by 430 votes. Provisional ballots are being examined there now, but officials are not expected to hit his district until Wednesday.