it's all about Gracedale. Those sentiments are echoed by The Morning Call's Bill White, as well. I believe they're both wrong.
While I'll certainly agree that Gracedale played a role, it had to be a small one. I say this because Lamont McClure, Gracedale's biggest champion on Council, was nearly defeated himself. The final (and still unofficial) tally gives him a lead of just 113 votes over a candidate who had no money to send a single mailer, and spent no time knocking on any doors. If it really was all about Gracedale, McClure should have cleaned up.
Tuesday night, I speculated that it might have been an anti-incumbent bias, especially with a dysfunctional County Council that has historically been unwilling to work with County Executive John Stoffa. But that makes no sense either because Angle and Dowd are two of Stoffa's biggest allies. That theory might even be more ridiculous than blaming Gracedale.
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a veteran of Northampton County politics who gave me the most plausible reason I've heard so far. What he tells me is that, in most Northampton County municipal elections, Republicans stay home. I guess they're saving themselves for bigger and better things, even though these local races have a bigger impact on their daily lives than anything else. Whatever the reason, a proportionately larger percentage of Republicans avoid municipal elections, at least in Northampton County. And this gives Democrats and the issues they care about an advantage.
Does this theory hold up with the numbers? I can tell you that total turnout on Tuesday was just 18.34%, but have no idea what percentage of registered Democrats and Republicans are in that total, even after a visit to the Elections Office. That information will be available in a few days, and I'll share it with you then.
But from what information exists right now, this theory seems more and more plausible. There were 35,998 voters on Election Day. John Morganelli, a Democrat, received 23,390 votes. It's likely he received some Republican votes, and there are probably some Democrats who hate him. But most of his votes, I would think, come from Democrats. If that is true, that would indicate that only 12,608 Republicans showed up on Election Day, accounting for only 35% of the votes cast.
Now this is just a theory, and the hard numbers will come out in a few days, and I'll tell you then what I've learned.
Don't get me wrong. I think there are other factors in this loss, too. But to suggest it is all about Gracedale is just too simplistic.