On his third try, Charles Dertinger was finally elected to the highly dysfunctional Northampton County Council. He's that guy with campaign signs that simply said, "Charles," as though he was a member of the Royal family. Remember them? I still see a few from time to time, languishing in cornfields. Those signs remind me of Charles I, and the one thing I remember about him is he lost his head.
Well, those signs aren't going to help Dertinger in his next election. Within months of his election to County Council, he's now facing another "Charles," i.e. Charles Dent, in a battle to become the next U.S. Congressman from the Lehigh Valley. He's waging a write-in campaign because, astonishingly, no Democrat is running in the primary.
The Morning Call calls Dertinger a "faithless politician," and for good reason. He's deserting 17,000 people who voted for him in the vain hope he would actually spend some time on County Council.
Dertinger's few months on Council have been a betrayal of all the principles of the Democratic party. He engaged in back room shenanigans to make appointments to Council vacancies, violating the state's Sunshine Act. He stabbed County Exec Stoffa in the back by rejecting his selection for Director of Administration. He supported a nonsensical code of civility that actually muzzles citizens and provides for suspension of any Council member deemed to be bad boy, effectively disenfranchising those who voted for him. His actions betray a basic misunderstanding of democratic government.
I might be inclined to overlook these glaring defects if Dertinger actually had an agenda other than his own advancement, but he does not. He never spoke out against the Iraq war. He has taken no positions on any national issues. There are no letters to the editor penned under his name. He is very much a Democratic Lynn Swann, hand-picked to do the job by party bosses.
On top of everything else, he's a carpetbagger. He's a New Yorker who still works in Jersey, and only 17% of the contributions to his county council campaign are local. Even the affidavits to his campaign finance reports are acknowledged in Jersey.
I'm sure he'll be able to get 1,000 union write-in votes, but he stands for nothing except his own unbridled ambition. It's a shame that this is the best that local Dems have to offer against Charlie Dent. It's an indication that local party leaders are completely out of touch with the people who put them there. And who's running for the Democratic state committee? Why, none other than Charlie Dertinger.
Greta Browne is also waging a write in campaign, but she's the same person who betrayed Greens in the last Congressional race by throwing her support to Driscoll when it was too late for Greens to offer another candidate.
Charlie Dertinger or Charlie Dent? I think I'll write in "C.D."