Ann McHale, the angel shark. This hard-working member of county council has a solid base in Bethlehem, the right last name, and has earned the respect of county employees over the years. But party bosses resent her independent streak, and she was deposed as council VP in January. It's unlikely she'd run against John Stoffa.
Rich Grucela, the tiger shark. Although serving his fifth term as state rep in Harrisburg, Rich originally comes from the ranks of local government. He presided over county council between 1987 and 1990. He told Stoffa in January he won't run against him. And he's done no fundraising. But if he changes his mind and decides to run, this popular and well-known house member will be tough to beat.
Ron Heckman, the silky shark. Currently doing a good job in Lehigh County with local municpalities, Heckman's previous gig was as Director of Human Services when Glenn Reibman was at the helm of a sinking ship in Northampton County. Most members of the Reibman administration shunned county council meetings, but Heckman attended every one. He clearly cares about the county. But having failed in his bid for Bethlehem City council, he must be having second thoughts.
Ron Angle, the hammerhead shark. Angle is a terrific hammerhead shark. I've never seen anyone, including the best litigators, question someone as effectively. He's the least educated member of county council, and is occasionally derided for his poor grammar. But he's easily the most brilliant of that bunch. He's a natural story teller, can exude charm when he wants and would run the county effectively. But Ron's fatal flaw is he has a tough time building coalitions. He gets divisive, even with his own party.
Joe Long, the sand shark. The rumor is there, and I hope it's true. Please run, Joe.
Glenn Reibman, the blind shark. Despite my harsh criticism of Reibman over the years, I've always considered him a gentleman. Reibman introduced diversity to an overwhelmingly white county government. But he was a slave to special interests. And his ill-considerd $111 megabond eventually resulted in layoffs, salary freezes, tax increases and pushed county workers into the arms of eleven different unions. I'm nevertheless sure he'd like a second crack at Stoffa. What might compel Glenn to run is what ruined him as a county executive. He's blind. He just does not see the damage his policies and administration have caused. He has no idea that he was wildly unpopular in his second term. He's already begun to spend money. He contributed $4,150 to candidates in the last reporting cycle, including Ron Heckman ($2,000), Lamont McClure ($1,000), Lisa Boscola ($350), $250 for Bill Leiner and Todd Buskirk, and $100 for Jeff Warren, Gordon Mowrer and Bob Donchez. He's also still sitting on a campaign treasury over $100,000.
John Cusick, the dogfish shark. Lurking in the reefs, Cusick has been an effective member of county council. But fellow Republicans distrust him. Perhaps he should have thought twice before trying to recruit another Republican to run against former council member Peg Ferarro. He's not ready.
Jolly Joe Timmer, the clown shark. OK, I made that one up.
John Stoffa, the great white. He swims alone. He keeps his own counsel. Those slighted by Reibman's embarrassment seek revenge. But I hear this strange and scary music. I think he's running.