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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Why Are Republicans Winning in Northampton County?

year democrats republicans difference indies notes
2007 16,960 13,255 3,705 2,049 barron upset
2009 15,800 15.056 744 2,251 rs sweep at-large
2011 17,082 13,846 3,236 2,301 gracedale, angle
2013 17,799 15,883 1,916 2,763 rs sweep

Aside from the fact that they get more votes, I really have no idea why Republicans are winning in Northampton County, despite a Democratic voter edge. But I do have something better - a table showing the patterns in the last four municipal races.

The last four elections

In 2007, Democrat Steve Barron upset John Shimmel in the Controller's race, winning by 414 votes. In the other races, the incumbents prevailed, although in Lamont McClure's case, it was only by 91 votes.

In 2009, Democrats Leonard Zito and Michael Koury captured two judgeships, with the third going to Republican Craig Dally. Democrat John Stoffa was unopposed in the Executive race. Republicans managed a clean sweep of the at-large Council seats.

Just two years later, in 2011, Democrats managed to not only make a clean sweep in the district council races, but also ousted incumbents Mike Dowd and Ron Angle. Steve Barron also retained his seat as Controller.

Most recently, in 2013, Republicans won every race, including a judgeship, the Executive and five at-large Council seats.

What are the patterns?

First, it is clear that independents are a factor. Their numbers have increased by 35% since 2007, much more than either of the major parties. My guess is that they are anti-incumbent.

Second, there is an ebb and flow. When there's an Executive race, Republicans become much more interested. They are less likely to vote in races when just district Council seats are in play.

Third, Gracedale was definitely a factor in 2011, when only 13,846 Republicans voted . The larger turnout in Easton doomed Mike Dowd. Ron Angle was condemned by his stand on Gracedale, along with disputes over his father's will and a fraud verdict in a business dispute.

Fourth, in 2013, well known Democrats were defeated by unknown Republicans, suggesting a desire for something new.

Fifth, Democrats are obviously splitting their tickets.

Things look bad for Democrats, but the tend to do better in races where District seats are in play.

Do you see any patterns?

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Republicans will not vote for a Democrat and Democrats always split their tickets. It is part of the liberal guilt they suffer from. Republicans piss on Democrats and are damn proud ofc it. Democrats think to much and feel they are not being fair if they don't split their tickets, even if it is against their own best interests.

Anonymous said...

......and in Allentown there are no Republicans.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's because there's really not a difference between the parties. They all tax and spend and eventually come to view taxpayers with contempt. Ferraro and Grucela and Panto are perfect examples of lifers who hate constituents. Every election is a choice between political shitheads. Voters hate it, but have become inured. The real choice bis always that to vote for the hateful assholes mentioned, or give up altogether. Many of us refuse to give up. Force of habit, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Vote for the person, not their political party. Parties( lever pullers) are what is wrong with this country and the proof sits in Washington, Harrisburg... By being independent allows one to show their displeasure with these political hacks that don't give a damn about the public they serve!

Anonymous said...

If Dem's were assholes like many R's...

Anonymous said...

Many of the LV Democrats are actually Republicans in fiscal and social ideology and politics. The LV is known for "penny pinching", "social conservatism" and not being too friendly to outsiders. The big however is that those who align themselves with Democrats actually don't care for national democratic policy.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dems are assholes.

Anonymous said...

If only mr. & mrs. richie rich would return yo rule lehigh county.
They would make things right.

Anonymous said...

Hokie Joe says:
Since your initial Blog Article was looking at what happened in Northampton County Politics and why the R's are winning seats over the D's, I'll try to give you my analysis of how I see what's happening here in Northampton county.
First, you're on the right track. Both D's and R's put up many qualified candidates. Good qualified candidates will always keep elections fairly close. However the edge seems to go to the R's for victories because of the number of independent registered voters. These independent voters are extremely conservative and tend to vote that way, which in fairly close "municipal elections" will always swing the election to the R's.
The Democratic strongholds of Bethlehem and Easton rarely have elections for key offices anymore which depresses the voter turnout because they have no one to vote for. However, their not alone. The Democratic strongholds of Northampton, Hellertown, Nazareth and Freemansburg very seldom have large voter turnout because of lack of candidates in recent municipal election years also. This will always favor the R's. You must come out of Bethlehem and Easton (as a democratic candidate) with at least 3,000 majority votes if you are going to have any chance of winning a County seat and those strong democratic boro's must also have a fairly decent voter turnout. The democratic leaders of the past recognized this problem and overcame it in various ways. They had fund raisers that raised monies to bring out the vote. The main effort was to bring the voter to the polling place to make sure they voted. Bethlehem and Easton Dems will usually vote Democratic. The " D party" paid workers to use their personal cars to bring the voters to the polls. This accounted for several thousand voters coming to the polls to vote that normally wouldn't have voted and gave the Democrats the edge they needed coming out of Bethlehem and Easton.
Second, the mass move of Jersey people into Northampton county suburbs and rural areas has changed the make-up of the County District seats to favor the R's. District three which was once a stronghold for the D's has been so badly gerrymandered that it now becomes a stronghold for R's and will probably never go back into the D side until gerrymandered back to favor D's. (probably the reason McClure isn't running)
In your statistics it is obvious that many D's (about ten percent)split their ticket. Add that to the many Independents that vote conservatively (and usually anti-incumbent) and it spells disaster for the Dems.
You need the cities voter turnout to prove out what I am saying, however the proof is in the pudding. Look at the 2009 and 2013 voter turnout by each party. In 2009 there were 15,800 D's, 15,506 R's and 2251 Independents and the R's swept the County. Remember at least 10% of the D's split their vote
In 2013 there were 17,799 D's, 15,883 R's and 2,763 Independents. Add the independents and the Republicans together and they outnumber the Democrats voter turnout in every big County Municipal election.
The 2011 election had the Gracedale issue on the ballot. The R's misread the popularity of that issue and paid a price for that decision, however they learn their lessons well.
This is going to be another very close elction because of the lack of city races. Remember, John Morganelli is also unopposed. A low voter turnout will again spell disaster for the D's. Bethlehem and Eastons seat on Council appear to be safe. All the other D's will be fighting for their political life.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hokie Joe, I thank you and was waiting for your insight.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1:06, I almost always split my ticket.I prefer to vote for the better candidate, not the party. But I will be voting straight D this time.

Anonymous said...

"But I will be voting straight D this time."

Baaa. Baaa. This from the guy who criticizes Allentown voting patterns. Baaa. Baaa. I always split my ticket and will continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

message for Hokie
in your opinion who will win the Judgeship and the Controller positions?

Anonymous said...

message for Hokie
in your opinion who will win the Judgeship and the Controller positions?

Anonymous said...

Hokie Jerry, I mean Joe, has a point. Independents are usually very conservative. They go Republican. The Republicans do a much better job of branding themselves from national down to local. just look at the 2013 election. The tea party(taxed enough already) went hard for the Republicans and claimed to have backed most of them. They got elected and immediately raised taxes, their favorite wanted a much larger tax increase. When confronted with this reality many Republicans and Independents have said the Dem's are worse. They complain now but will vote for them again and again. It is impossible for any Party to fight that kind of logic.

The city Demo's and Dem machines don't give a shot about the county. Their elections are over after the primary. Without any opposition city Democrats stay home. The ones that do come out tend to vote against Dem's. Look at Callahan. He only took his city by 200 votes. The guy was Mayor for ten years cleaned house in the primary and basically washed in his own city come November, Why? The Dem's that voted hated him for endorsing Donchez' opponent in the primary and voted against him. Many also said his arrogance was just too much. Once again overthinking things, as it hurt other Dems running. Republicans don't overthink they just do. They are more pure in their ideology. If you want a gauge as to popular Democrats you need only look at who gets high votes in a contested Democratic primary. They are the top Dem's.

There are some exceptions. Ron Angle got beat in the heavily Republican fourth district. Bernie cited some of the reasons. Even Republicans I spoke to were tired of the Angle sideshow. They were tired of him always being looked at as the typical slate belter. He was the exception not the rule.

Unless Republicans run in the cities, something the Republican machine has stooped dead. Dem's are in for a rocky ride countywide.

So it is written, so it is!

Anonymous said...

Callahan showed courage by supporting reynolds even though he knew it would hurt him. The city has come to a grinding halt and is stuck in neutral while Allentown (despite the corruption) and Easton pass us by. I do not doubt there was some Callahan fatigue, that will happen after 10 years of making tough decisions and driving alot of change. Northampton County would love a "do over" after two years of "not ready for prime time" Brown. Callahan would win in a cake walk.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I disagree. Very few people follow county government, and of those who dom, some are all for making life miserable for the staff. A disturbing number of the County workforce do not even vote. I would not take anything for granted. Democrats need to focus on getting their people out there to stop the diminution of county services.

Anonymous said...

They also need good candidates. To the Callahan lover at 5:37, his arrogance is extreme. To this day he still sees himself as flawless. Once average folks met him they said the same thing. Also the Democrats fielded some shitty candidates. That McDonald guy seemed mentally unbalanced and Kraft's old girlfriend Christine Bonzo was just plain dumb.

Without good candidates they can't compete. Did they even have any decent candidates to match the Republicans?

Anonymous said...

In the 2013 election, the democrats were supposed to win by 10 percentage points according to the polls. They were outworked by the Republicans and the polling proved faulty. Just because you say you are going to vote for some one doesn't mean you went to the polls and voted for that person. Now the democrats know what is going on and they can combat it if they want to, but my guess is they are too lazy.

Anonymous said...

If voters bother to educate themselves they will find a stark contrast between the judicial candidates with Brown's ex solicitor deservedly suffering in the comparison. No judicial experience. Legal actions born of ignorance and arrogance already costing taxpayers over $300,000.00! A sense of entitlement with a napoleonic complex to boot.

Ovem Lupo Commitere said...

When you talk about Harrisburg, or DC, the biggest problem is the partisan way districts are gerrymandered. However, when you get to the NorCo and municipal elections, I think your point that "Democrats are obviously splitting their tickets" is the strongest point. By chance a few weeks I was looking at the Bethlehem Twp primary results, and came to that very same conclusion. While only 1 Dem bothered to throw their hat in the ring (8 of the 9 Commissioner candidates were GOP), I was surprised how many Dems voted. 1238 Dems voted compared to 1267 GOP. However, even though there was only one Dem actively pursuing a write-in, he only had 92 of 211 (or 44%) of the Dem write-in votes. Granted, the GOP candidates were all also pursuing write-ins to try to win both sides, but that means that 56% of the DEM write-ins were likely for GOP candidates. This also means that he only had 7 % (92 of 1238) of the voting Dems, while 17% of the voting Dems likely wrote in a GOP.

So you are correct. After the purge of most centrists from the GOP over the past 20 years, those remaining are "lever pullers". While there are Dem lever pullers, Dems are more likely to split their ticket. Of course, indies can't vote in PA primaries, but also split their votes in November.

AuH20 said...

I think the Democrat registration advantage is a vestige of the 'old' steel, Mack and other industrial workers who are now in their retirement years. A large portion of them, both locally and nationally, became "Reagan Democrats' in the '80s. Still Demos but living Republican-like lives.

Matt Miles said...

I'm a Democrat, and I blame Obama for the poor performances at the municipal level. I've worked several different polls for several candidates over the past 6 years, and it's all the same. Those who vote in this county outside of the 4 year cycles hate Obama and won't vote Democrat again. "That damn Obama wants me to show my ID to vote." "I'll vote for anybody but Obama." Even in the off-years!
After looking at voting registration records of all of the super voters in the northern end of the county in these past 6 years, the majority of them are older and pretty evenly split between parties. Dems in suburban and rural areas, unless they have a strong resume behind them, have a big uphill battle in any municipal race in this county for the forseeable future.

Matt Miles said...

And Anon 6:25, I've worked with candidates who did work very hard with their campaigns and lost. Your assumtion about Dems being lazy is exactly that. An assumtion, and you know the saying about assuming.

Anonymous said...

Matt Miles
All of this started before Obama became president. Democratic candidates work very hard but their democratic party fails them because the leadership is lazy.

Matt Miles said...

Leadership isn't lazy... leadership above the county level doesn't care about municipalities and smaller races. They care about State and National issues and races, because they have rock stars and are, in their minds, winnable. Look at the mobility of the Obama campaign both years. Look at the Wolf campaign last year. Look at the advancement of social issues. The Dems on the larger levels in bigger elections have far out performed Republicans.

The flip side is the Republicans have done very well in the smaller more local races. Congress and Senate, as well as State Reps and Municipal races are far better mobilized at the local level, with more of a centralized focus on community and reduced taxes. The Republican State Committee is loaded with capital and pushes mailers and calls to drown out any opponent at the local level. Two completely different modes of operation.

Anonymous said...

The Democrat's lost because the Republicans fielded the best ticket in the county. All the Republicans were smart, experie3nced and on top of all the issues. They are best suited to handle the county issue. The Democrats had no good candidates.

Maybe Seyfried and Heckman were decent but they are both older than dirt. People want young, fresh and stimulating people.

Anonymous said...

Don't be an ass. Seyfried knows more about the Home Rule Charter than anyone on county council today. Heckman not only ran the largest county department but has a better working knowledge of how the county government works then any of your current superstars.

No wonder the county is in trouble with idiots like you people making stupid statements.

Anonymous said...

I see. Matt Miles considers Executive Brown to be very esperienced and a good fit for Northampton County. Give me a break. He is the biggest Horses ass ever to hold the top office in the county. We'll see how the Republicans fare at the next municipal election.

Anonymous said...

"the biggest Horses ass ever to hold the top office in the county"

Not sure about the size of his glutes, but Glen Reibman was by far the worst county executive of the home rule era. $110 million bond issue, with a $25 million swaption attached and 60% tax increases. Even the Democrats recognized this when they dumped him in the primary.

Anonymous said...

"Glen Reibman was by far the worst county executive of the home rule era"

Right after old dump Gracedale Stoffa. He lied about a dedicated tax for open space, let the swaption balloon to over $30 million and built unnecessary buildings that cost taxpayers millions. Signed crazy expensive union contracts. Other than that you may be right

Anonymous said...

Okay, lets consider something. let's rate the best to the worst County Executive ever to hold the office........
Hartzell is my no 1
Seyfried is my no 2
bechtel is my no 3
brackbill, brown, Stoffa and reibman are all tied for last.
Cmon Bernie, let's have a column dedicated to this issue.
How do all you other Bloggers rate the executives.

Matt Miles said...

Don't put words in my mouth. The author here is asking what patterns I see.

Matt Miles said...

Don't put words in my mouth. The author here is asking what patterns I see.

Matt Miles said...

Don't put words in my mouth. The author here is asking what patterns I see.