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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, November 10, 2017

Democrats, Women Tended to Win NorCo Local Races

I've told you that Lamont McClure (22,477 votes) beat John Brown (19,278 votes) in the NorCo exec race on Tuesday. He won heavily in Bethlehem and Easton. If you take the two cities out, he still wins (according to my math), but the margin is much closer. Above, you can see the communities who went for Brown in red, while those that went for McClure are in blue.

McClure won Bethlehem, Easton, Hellertown, Freemansburg, West Easton (by one vote), Glendon, Wilson Borough, Palmer Tp, Tatamy, Stockertown, Nazareth, Upper Nazareth, Lower Mount Bethel, East Bangor, Wind Gap, Chapman, Northampton and North Catty. Brown dominated in the northern tier and the slate belt.

As the above picture reveals, turnout varied widely throughout the county, from a low of  2.78% to a high of 38.82%. Turnout is heaviest where there were disputed races. In Bethlehem and Easton, there were no uncontested races except for Dr. Paige Van Wirt's Bethlehem City Council write-in. Her candidacy increased turnout on the north side, but the south side was low.

As you might have guessed, turnout was heaviest in Upper Mount Bethel Township. Ron Angle tells me that people in his neck of the woods have terrible TV reception, so their hobby is politics. In a switch from what was going on everywhere else, Democrat Jerry Geake was ousted in the Supervisors' race, even though he is the only board member with a brain.

In a contentious Bangor school board race, Republican Bob Cartwright was blasted by the Bangor Press in a last-minute ad that failed to identify who paid for it. Bob lost his seat as a school director by 228 votes.

In Bethlehem Township, Republican Howard Kutzler (a former Township Manager) was defeated in the Comm'r race for the third ward by Democrat John Gallagher (Save Green Pond). Gallagher won by a scat 41 votes. Kutzler had been appointed to the Board when Kim Jenkins resigned earlier this year.

Gallagher will only serve for two years. This was the first electoral bid by both Kutzler and Gallagher. Kutzler referred to Gallagher as a "fine gentleman," and said he enjoyed the experience.

In the race for the fourth ward, Republican John Merhottein topped Democrat Philip Grieshaber, 479-401. Though Merhottein announced nearly a year ago and waged a serious campaign, he had a real fight on his hands.

It is pretty clear that the Trump effect was a huge factor in these two township races. Kutzler added that Dem Exec candidate Lamont McClure campaigned very hard in the township.

Confusion over poling places may have suppressed the vote in Bethlehem Township. Prior to this year's races, voting districts were redrawn. No confusion was reported after the primary, but there were more voter in the election on Tuesday. According to Kutzler, a large number were confused about where they belonged.

When he was running for the Supreme Court in 2009, Judge Jack Panella was fighting against both Joan Orie Melvin and the public purse. That's because Melvin and her state senator sister used state employees to carry on the campaign. Melvin was eventually convicted of theft of services.

On a much smaller scale, the same thing has now happened to Judge Panella's sister, Ann-Marie. She has served as a Palmer Township Supervisor for 18 years, but was challenged this year by Republican Zeke Bellis, a beverage distributor and former coach at the Palmer Township Athletic Association (PTAA).

Panella won the race by exactly 100 votes, 1,788 to 1,688. But on the weekend before the election, the PTAA sent out three emails that asked residents to vote for Bellis. The PTAA is a creature of the Palmer Tp Rec Board, which in turn is appointed but Township Supervisors.Moreover, the PTAA receives close to $100,000 from the township each year. So its use of public resources to promote a candidate for public office is certainly improper.

Dave Colver, Chairman of the Palmer Township Board, said he has received several complaints about what has happened and is looking into the situation.

Since Panella won, whatever happened is harmless error. But the people who sent out this email should be sent to the penalty box. Publicly-funded youth sports programs can include football, where kids get knocked into next Tuesday. It can include hockey, where dentist ambulances are on standby. But politics? That's child abuse. 

Democrat Lance Colondo registered an impressive victory in Nazareth against Republican Stephen Cunningham, with part of his campaign including a pledge that he would fight any jail in the Nazareth area. Speaking of jail, Republican Carl Strye, the erstwhile Mayor who was forced to resign in disgrace after admitting to skimming from illegal poker machines, is back in office. He was elected to Borough Council. Independent Ryan Wheatley unfortunately fell far short.

In fractious Williams Township, Democrat Mike Bryant came out on top of  incumbent George Washburn, a rare independent who holds public office. The vote was 467 to 443. I had the privilege of watching Washburn, a mathematician, at a few meetings. He is an excellent public servant.

Like Geake in Upper Mount Bethel, Democrat David Renaldo was defeated in the Washington Township Supervisor race by Republican Stacy Diehl. Renaldo has been a Supervisor there for 22 years. He lost by 12 votes. No one can quite explain why he lost. I think it might be that voters wanted a woman.

Speaking of women, Democrat Brooke Kerzner defeated Republican Robert J. Rhodes Jr in Bangor, 346 to 240. She used Facebook for live chats.

In East Allen Township, where voters are concerned about big box stores spawned by the UPS facility in neighboring Allen Township, voters elected Republicans Don Heiney and Gerorgiann Hunsicker. Heiney  is a certified community planner.


Anonymous said...

As a resident of Palmer Township I feel the use of public employees and public time and monies to further ones campaign/candidacy is wrong and the violators should be dealt with in an appropriate manner. Not to mention that Ann Marie Panella is a great public servant. This type of use of public workers openly in violation of election laws must be dealt with in an extremely harsh manner. Laws were broken.

Anonymous said...

Great Job Bernie. Truly interesting analysis. God you're good.

Anonymous said...

Great to see high rates in Chapman.

Anonymous said...

McClure is lucky he was running against another man. I have reviewed the totals on line and in the MC breakout today. It is clear that women got a heavy push. This was not a good year to be a man running against a woman. I was particularly interested in the totals for Norco female county council candidates Zirinski and Heffner. With low name recognition and first time runs, they pulled big numbers. In fact even Ferraro probably weathered the democrat storm by virtue of her gender.

I was actually surprised that Ron Heckman ended up the top vote getter. He was fortunate to end up on top in what appeared to have been a female voter and candidate tsunami. Maybe he was fortunate and maybe women voters liked him(lol). Overall I am surprised at his finish in this woman power election.

Who knows if this will be the future or just and abortion.

Anonymous said...

Good point 4:48.

Anonymous said...

Nice maps. Who made and paid for them?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The maps are prepared by Northampton County's most underutilized department, GIS, after every election. I have written about this before.

Anonymous said...

Are women sexists?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The way that question is phrased reveals that you are.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not you voted for Ann Marie Panella, it truly looks like the law was broken in a collusion effort against her in the election.

I also think Supervisor Culver is lying through his teeth if he says he wasn't aware of this.

Charles "Zeke" Bellis, the PTAA, and any Supervisors involved with this should answer for this crime.

Anonymous said...

B.O. One of the biggest election stories has to be Wilson borough, Feinberg 18 years and Starniri 27 years on Council. They both lost their re-election bid by upset taxpayers with no experience. These two guys who handed out pay raises like candy on Halloween and wanted to raise taxes by over 20%, but were forced to reduce wage increases the 20% tax rate became 13%. Fienberg even had the nerve to tell the incoming council president that the office and himself already picked committee members so he could be on the committees that he wanted to be on in 2016. They had no interest in working with surrounding communities at all.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is Ms. Zirinski is full if fire and wants to revolutionize a sleepy county council.

Anonymous said...

Arrogant much?

Anonymous said...

The new county council will face the same issues as the old council. How will they handle them? Now that is the big issue! Hopefully there will be no accommodation to Sharia law.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday has been one year. Bernie did you go outside and just scream from the top of your lungs or did you just sit and cry like a typical snowflake. Get use to it , its only going to get better!

Bernie O'Hare said...

In case you haven't noticed, and you don't seem to notice much of anything that authoritarian Donald Trump doesn't tell you to notice, Lehigh Valley voters have issued a firm rebuke to Donald Trump and his disastrous presidency. I'll leave you now to opine on what a swell guy Putin is.

Anonymous said...

Typical asshole bringing Trump into a local election. Get over it & move on...He Won...Hes Your President. You should be worrying about all the collusion supervisor Colver brings to the table

Anonymous said...

Well, my wife and I are both "I" , but voted for McGlure. No way, shape or form would I vote for Brown again. And we voted for him because we knew ( feared) what the clown from Bethlehem would have brought to the county 4 yrs. ago. We vote the right way, for the man or women and what they believe in, not the corrupt parties!