If you believe John Morganelli is a good District Attorney, his logical successor is his first deputy, Terry Houck. He earned his law degree at Temple while simultaneously patrolling the streets of Philadelphia as a cop.
His strength is that he is a professional prosecutor. He spent 14 years in the Bucks County DA's office before coming to Northampton. He has tried numerous high-profile cases here. This includes the recent prosecution of Daniel Clary, who was convicted of attempting to kill two state troopers in a shoot-out on Route 33. One of these trooper, Seth Kelly, was shot four times and was in a medically induced coma for four days.
Terry's weakness is that he is a professional prosecutor. He is unfamiliar with the rocky reefs of NorCo politics.
Another top contender is Judge Leonard Zito. Why would a judge be interested in the DA's job? Because Judge Zito will soon have to step down, even as a senior judge. Under recent rule changes announced by the Pa. Supreme Court, counties with nine or more judges are barred from using senior judges.
Judge Zito's strength is that he can easily navigate through the turbulent waters of NorCo politics. He has made lots of friends. His weakness is that he may be perceived as just a tad too political. He has used his connections to become a judge, Chief Public Defender and Council Solicitor. He is no Cincinnatus, aching to give up his sword and return to his farm.
Both of these possible contenders are highly qualified and would be excellent DAs.
It is widely believed that many more attorneys may seek this position.