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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, May 14, 2018

Three State House Primaries in Lehigh Valley

I've given you a blow-by-blow account of the Congressional race herein the Lehigh Valley. But in the process, I've had little to say about contested primaries in the state house. There are three contested primaries this year, all of them involving Republicans.

Pennsylvania's House of Representatives is the lower house of the General Assembly. There are 203 members, including 11 members (6 Republicans and 5 Democrats) who represent different portions of the Lehigh Valley. The salary this year is $87,180, and it goes up automatically with an annual cost of living adjustment. They are also entitled to per diems. Though it is a full-time legislature, there is no proscription on outside employment. There are no term limits, and many House members just stay there in safe seats, thanks to gerrymandering. The Pa. Supreme Court has addressed and corrected gerrymandered Congressional districts, but not the territories drown up for state senators and state representatives.

Bev Plosa Bowser
131st Legislative District: Bev Plosa-Bowser v. Justin Simmons (inc.) - This District is split up among Lehigh, Northampton and Montgomery Counties. It is a conservative district made more so as a result of gerrymandering. It is basically southeast Lehigh County.

In my view, this race is a no-brainer. Plosa-Bowser, a retired Air Force Colonel with combat experience and a bronze star, also has two Master's degrees. She is the most qualified of any of the candidates running, including incumbents with no challenger. Simmons, in sharp contrast, has never served a day in the military. Of course, he still distorted her military record in a radio interview.

That's what I find most troubling about this guy. All his campaigns are ugly. It always devolves into personal attacks, mostly anonymous. In his last race, I had to shut down comments on my blog because they were just so venomous.

Hopefully, we've seen the last of Justin Simmons. He broke his promise to voters that he'd only serve three terms. He turned on the most noble person I know in government, Charlie Dent. He did this after taking Charlie's money. Then there's 500 missed votes.

He claims it's because he's cRaZy.

I agree.

Do I think Justin Simmons is evil? No. He's just immature and needs to grow up.

Democrat Andy Lee will face whomever Republicans elect as their nominee. He runs Braveheart Pub, the only British restaurant in the history of mankind that has ever been successful. Let's be honest. Who the hell wants to eat sheep shit, otherwise known as haggis? I swear all British food was invented as a dare. .

Ron Beitler
134th Legislative District: Ron Beitler v. Ryan MacKenzie (inc.)  - (This District has been divided between two counties to give Republicans an edge. Lehigh County: Lower Macungie: Salisbury wards 4, 5; South Whitehall districts 3, 4; Alburtis and Macungie. Berks County: Hereford, Longswamp, Richmond, Rockland and Topton.) - Lower Mac Comm'r Ron Beitler is one of my favorite elected officials. Through Lower Mac News, his own publication,  he keep residents well-informed about their community. I have learned that Ron intends to run for the state house seat currently occupied by Ryan MacKenzie.

Beitler, a graduate of Emmaus High School and Slippery Rock University, owns and operates Bar None, an event services planner.

“By now, it’s no secret that Harrisburg is a mess. What has been a well-kept secret is that the problems can be fixed by honesty, integrity, and common sense,” Beitler said.

He has promised to term limit himself to a total of eight years in office.

“If you can’t get the job done in that time, then you shouldn’t be there.” Beitler said.

He also has signed a pledge to reject a government pension stating, “service is a calling, not a career path - my small business is my career, and when I get the job done in Harrisburg I’ll come home to that.”

Beitler claims to have reduced spending, opposed debt, lowered tax bills and worked to block waste while serving in Lower Macungie. He said he will support a State Constitutional amendment limiting spending increases.

“Government needs to live within the same constraints that we do,” he said.

When Beitler made this announcement, incumbent Ryan MacKenzie had already announced that he was a candidate for Congress. Like Simmons, he's another opportunist. But he at least had the grace to wait for Congressman Charlie Dent to announce he was hanging it up. MacKenzie said he'd only be running for Congress,just like Simmons. The duo tried to out-Trump each other. Simmons dropped out when he was exposed for missing 500 votes. MacKenzie lasted a little longer, but he pulled out, too. He claimed it was because of redistricting. We all know it's because he'd never win.   

Figuring he had a comfortable lead, MacKenzie avoided any debates with Beitler. But when he dodged a debate hosted by Concerned East Penn Taxpayers Association, he got caught pulling a fast one. He had told the group he was stuck in Harrisburg. They discovered he easily could have made the debate. They also learned that Mackenzie had attended and spoke at a candidate forum in Berks County for those with no opponent, and never clarified that Ron Beitler was also seeking his seat.

Though Beitler could easily have gone on the attack at this point, and justifiably so, he refused.

Though I consider this a tactical mistake, it may have been the right move.It appears that MacKenzie is concerned he might lose this race.he recently sent out a mailer attacking Beitler for raising taxes and even for some sort of playground fee. Both charges were labeled outright false or "without important context" in a Morning Call. analysis. Beitler voted No to a fee for home playgrounds. His work as a Lower Mac Commissioner actually reduced taxes for all but wealth and commercial landowners.

A thinking conservative, Beitler deserves a shot. MacKenzie had his. He has refused to sponsor legislation aimed at ending the gerrymander.

Democrat Tom Applebach is also running for this seat, unopposed.

183rd Legislative District: Cindy Miller v. Zach Mako (inc.) - This district is also carved out of both Lehigh and Northampton Counties, and includes South Whitehall districts 5, 6, 8; Washington; Whitehall districts 7, 10, 11; Slatington; Allen; Lehigh; Moore districts Beersville and Klecknersville; North Catasauqua; Northampton and Walnutport.

Two years ago, Zach Mako defeated Cindy Miller in the primary and Phillips Armstrong in the general to become the state representative to succeed Julie Harhart. Two years ago,  I considered him the least qualified of the candidates. He proved he has the intelligence of a box turtle at two debates. He was at a ribbon-cutting for one of the P3 bridges, and is still trying to find his way home. I bumped into him at the elections office last year, at which time he swore to me that he would sponsor the gerrymandering bill. He never did.

His opponent, Cindy Miller, is more intelligent than a box turtle, but is as mean as a snapping turtle. Being nasty is expected of bloggers, but not politicians.

Fortunately, a Democrat, Jason Ruff of Slatington, is also running.


Anonymous said...

Zac is a helicopter pilot in the service. That is more than you have done.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, it’s not. But be that as it may, I will repeat what I said two years ago - no one in his right mind should get in any chopper he pilots.

Anonymous said...

Something definitely got off track with Justin Simmons. There is no way I would vote for him again. His opponent is more than worthy of a chance.

Anonymous said...

Zack, the Mako shark's office has been very accomodating to me, a veteran with a below the knee amputation. Anything I asked about or needed they were right there. Just like former Rep. Julie Harhart, constituent service is above and beyond reproach!

Anonymous said...

Zach Mako is still the least qualified candidate for that district. Just recently he ducked a forum on school safety at Whitehall high school. He told administrators he had a scheduling conflict. We know that's not the case. He refused to debate is opponents as well. In 2 years he didn't even have time for hs supporters. He is running from his own inexperience. The Maiko kid feels an Entitlement to a Participation Award. Not on my hard earned tax dollars. Vote for another.

george schaller said...

I see that the assklownz will be hard at work playing there circus carnival sideshow trix right up to when voting is taking place tomorrow? Bernie there was a comment made to me and not only are the assklownz a failure to the human race they are also a failure to the OWN party left or right.
republican redd
humanist by design
not a party favor

Primginger said...

Ron has done so much for Lower Mac, the negative remarks from Mackenzie and the lies he's posting are just signs that he's scared. Ron is a good guy who would never stoop to such low standards

Anonymous said...

The Mako Shark never sleeps, he is a predator of bad Government circling the open waters of his district gobbling up anything that dares expose itself to his cunning tactics. He has worked hard his whole life to be in this position, soon enough he will be in Washington on swamp draining dutiez.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a democrat activist's blog advocating for the defeat of three republican incumbents.

Shocking, simply shocking!

The only one I'd consider getting rid of is Mackenzie, although I haven't seen anything about Beitler's position on gun control, which concerns me.

Otherwise, this post is just about helping the democrat candidates in the general.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Democrats pretty much despise me, too. I can tell you right now that I would be voting for Beitler if I could. I also consider the Colonel the most qualified of all the candidates. So if anything, this Democratic activist is endorsing two Rs. I just do it in a way that pisses off party hacks like yourself on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Not a party hack, just been reading this blog long enough to know what it is. And I still enjoy it.

I'm sure we can exist in the same universe together, but you are a Democrat activist. Which is fine. That's what you believe in.

But it also gives you a bias. Again, that's ok. We all have them. But it does taint your credibility in advising republicans how to vote in a republican primary.

Are you endorsing the colonel and Beitler for the general as well? If so, maybe I'm off base.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am definitely endorsing Beitler in the general. I know him well enough and long enough to be entirely comfortable with him. The only reason I won't endorse the Colonel is out of fairness to her opponent, and I don't know her as well. I want to hear what he has to say first. But on paper, she's by far the best of the candidates, and that includes Democrats with no opposition. I am biased in favor of candidates I support, and that really has little to do with party. It is only a factor. Beitler deserves that seat simply bc he is by far one of the most transparent and accountable elected officials i have ever seen. I also appreciate his open space preservation ideas. Plosa-Boweser is a decorated combat veteran with two Masters degrees. Who equals that?

So though my leanings are left of center, I will support conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Just love the postcard from over the weekend from Simmons. Let's all agree, whether part of it or all of it, this mailer was paid for in part by contributions from Charlie Dent over time, yet the headline is about being a champion for conservative values. You just can't have it both ways. Simmons and Bowser have no differences in ideology from 2nd amendment down, yet she is a decorated military veteran while he is a four term rep who went against his term-limit word and has achieved very, very little. As has been the case over the years with Simmons, he leads nothing, takes credit for things achieved by committee, and throws his hands up and says it's really hard to get things done when no progress is made. Just this mailer alone says Justin supported, Justin passed, Justin stopped the Governor. The only thing no-show Simmons stopped was going to work and voting on your behalf, more than 500 times. Enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

@12:13: "So though my leanings are left of center, I will support conservatives."

I was this way until Trump won. Until their is an equal justice of power restored and Merrick Garland is appointed to the Supreme Court, I now vote straight Democratic party line; something I never considered doing before; although Republicans do it all the time.

Anonymous said...

Eww.. is the word that comes to mind reading about some of these candidates-

Anonymous said...

Simmons has had eight years to grow up and mature. If we're still talking about that now, isn't that a major problem with this incumbent. The worst thing any incumbent can ever do is become complacent and lazy. He's become both, and his excuse for the missed votes took a long time to come forward.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with her politics, but people could do worse than Cindy Miller.

She's tough as hell and mean, as the kids say, AF, but I believe she does take her job seriously and cares about the people she represents.

Her attention to detail is a real strength. I might not agree with her, but she's smart.

Anonymous said...

Zac has done great things for the 183rd. Plus, as mentioned above he's also a veteran.
I know Ryan Mackenzie personally. He has no morals and is a coward. Hoping Ron beats him tomorrow... then Ryan can sell his house and move out of the Lehigh Valley.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Agreed. She does take her job seriously and is smart, for sure. But can't she lighten up? I remember when she used to smile more often, and was a very nice person.

Anonymous said...

What exactly has he done for the 183rd?

Anonymous said...

She still is a very nice person!

Anonymous said...

@5:38 the worst thing about the OCD excuse after he was exposed was it showed how low a desperate politician would go.

Haven't seen a platform shift to become a champion for people with mental disorders now that he could finally get this off his chest after years of kwe ping it secret. That's because it was never on his chest. It's probably the one strategy play he received from Red Maverick Media worth the money he has paid them. Is there an OCD PAC we're all not aware of?

Anonymous said...

@7:45 what have any of these incumbents really achieved? If you did away with reps from all three of these districts no one but the landlords of their many offices would even know.

Anonymous said...

I'll take Justin Simmons for $200 Alex.

The answer is: C.

What is the second letter in OCD that stands for compulsive?

Oh, I'm sorry District 131, very close, but the correct answer is...what is the first letter in CL, compulsive, as in Compulsive Liar.

Correct. And now you, or really anyone who will just show up for work, can replace this dimwit.

Go out and vote this joker out tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Just listened to Simmons' interview with Gunther from May 1.

1/3 of his voting absences were from his wedding and birth of his daughter. The other 2/3 were related to his OCD. Prior explanations were obviously untrue.

He's concerned about BevPB receiving $5k from Charlie Dent. Justin Simmons received thousands of dollars from Dent too.

HRCC: He hasn't received anything from HRCC but discount postage. Open your eyes and look at the late contribution filing (late for a reason) of $8k he received. Go look for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Mako had excuses for speaking engagements in his district. Even the LV Tea Party noticed he was non-existent. Well he did have time for a fundraiser hosted by a lobbyist firm. Bought and paid for.

Anonymous said...

Still up in the air about District 131 for tomorrow. Spend 30 minutes before you vote and listen to the interviews of Bev Plosa-Bowser and Justin "I can't find Harrisburg" Simmons on Gunther. This one is a no-brainer.


Anonymous said...

If anyone believes Simmons voting record stems from OCD, I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. My guess is that he missed so many days due to good-ol fashioned Republican hangovers.

Cue Thin Lizzy...There's Whiskey in the Jar

Anonymous said...

Cindy Miller has been a Board Supervisor at Lehigh Township for 7+ years. She has more experience then Zach Mako does as a whole. I've worked with her personally on Lehigh Township business. She has been very nice to me so I don't see where the mean dig comes from.

Perhaps she doesn't look to kindly on overweight disgraced former attorneys...just sayin.