This November, in addition to elected a new District Attorney, Northampton County voters will also decide two county judge races. Three candidates - incumbent DA John Morganelli, Assistant District Attorney Abe Kassis and Bethlehem Attorney Vic Scomillio - are all running.
John Morganelli, who ran in the primary, is the nominee of both Democratic and Republican parties. Democrat Kassis and Republican Scomillio were selected by party apparatchiks because, at the time of the primary, there was no second opening. That happened when Judge Kim McFadden, who had intended to seek retention, changed her mind and resigned, effective November.
Morganelli should win easily, but he is nevertheless campaigning. He knows anything can happen in politics. The real question is who will win the race between Kassis and Scomillio. I believe the race will be very close, and depend on turnout.
Both Kassis and Scomillio have run for judge before. They know how to put together a campaign. Both have worked hard for their respective parties, so they will get volunteers to help them on election day. Both know how to raise money.
Kassis should win Easton and Bethlehem. He is running with John Morganelli and DA nominee Terry Houck, so that should really help him. He will also get union support.
Victor will win everywhere else, especially in the Slate Belt and Northern Tier. He will lose Bethlehem, but will win several precincts on the north side.
Vic appears to be keeping his distance from the GOP's DA candidate, Tom Carroll. That's because Carroll can only hurt him. Carroll, who once was an Assistant DA in Northampton County, was forced to resign after he placed an ape doll on the desk of a female assistant DA who is black.
What about the Lebanese factor? Northampton County's Lebanese community is heavily Republican, but you could expect most of them to split their tickets to vote for Abe. But not all. Victor's wife is Lebanese, and he has made inroads.
Scomillio has some negatives because, as NorCo Solicitor, he fired an assistant without due process and right before Christmas. Northampton County was sued and lost. This lapse cost the County money, and Vic was hit hard on this issue when he ran (and lost) against Sam Murray. But Abe Kassis has thus far failed to use this ammunition. Those who know him say he'll avoid being negative.
In my view, this race will depend on turnout. If Democrats stay away from the polls, as they often do in municipal races, Victor should win. If Democrats are outraged enough that a racist is running on the GOP ticket for DA, that might be enough for Abe to win.
It's bad enough to have a racist in the White House, let alone as NorCo's top prosecutor.