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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

McClure McCrushes in NorCo.

While WFMZ-TV69 was pretending to wait for results last night in the NorCo Exec race, the elections office had already had 100% of the results up online. Unofficially, Lamont McClure picked up 20,421 votes to incumbent John Brown's 17,535. McClure had a nearly 3,000 vote lead. Ironically, the man who upset John Callahan four years ago was himself toppled. This vote, along with the election of Democratic governors in Virginia and New Jersey, is clearly a rebuke of  the dangerous nonsense being spewed by authoritarian Donald Trump and his cult worshipers. But the chief architect of this victory is McClure himself. He waged a nearly perfect campaign. Rather than hiring an expensive consultant, he framed his own messages And McClure McCrushed. It's the best-run executive race I ever saw, and he clearly enjoyed himself. I hope to tell you that story in the coming days.

In addition to McClure's victory in the Exec race, four of the five Democratic Council candidates have been elected. These include top vote getter Ron Heckman (19,685), fiery Tara Zrinski (19,628), mellow Lori Vargo Heffner (19,160) and soft-spoken Bill McGee (18,992).

The sole Republican to be elected, Peg Ferraro, finished third (18,751) fifth instead of as the top vote getter. Her support for Donald Trump and unwillingness to question Brown clearly hurt her. So did her desire to fund the Da Vinci Center, a goofy fish tank in downtown Easton, with $15 million that the County does not have. I am sorry to see Hayden Phillips, whom I deeply respect, go down. But the elimination of political opportunist Glenn Geissinger, who ran for Congress after being on Council for just a year, brought no tears to my eyes. And I was thrilled to see the voters just say No to Seth Vaughn. After missing the most important budget meeting of the year, his response was, "So what? Who cares?"

Looks like the people care, Seth.

For years ago, when Brown upset John Callahan, his margin of victory was 1,294 votes. He won by keeping it close in Bethlehem, where Callahan was Mayor. Callahan only won Bethlehem by 95 votes, and actually lost in seven wards. McClure won Bethlehem by 1,902 votes, thanks in large part to the write-in City Council campaign of Dr. Paige Van Wirt.

Four years ago, Brown defeated John Callahan by 87 votes in Upper Nazareth. This time, he lost Upper Nazareth by 181 votes. He and Council incumbents paid the price for considering a $185 million jail at Gracedale.

To his credit, Brown did concede to McClure last night.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Phillips Armstrong prevail in Lehigh County. As I've told you before, he is a high caliber talent and will continue the work started by Don Cunningham and continued by Tom Muller. I wish Tom Muller had served one more term.

As for Allentown and Fed Ed, I really thought the people were going to take back their government. But they apparentylike having a crook as Mayor.
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