Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Following the Money in NorCo Council Races

Five at-large seats on Northampton County Council will be voted on in this year's November 2 municipal election. As of now, five Democrats and five Republicans will square off.  

The five Democrats finished in the May 18 primary as follows: Tara Zrinski - 16,791 votes; Lori Vargo-Heffner - 15,610 votes; Patti Bruno - 14,927 votes; Ron Heckman - 14,773 votes; and Bill McGee - 14,372 votes. Patti Bruno is a newcomer, while the rest are incumbents. 

Ironically, the Democratic candidate who spent the most money in the primary came in last. Bill McGee spent $22,625.56 during the period between May 4 and June 14. This money went to political consultant Celeste Dee ($2,000) and some DC consultant called Bergmann Zwerdling Direct ($16,121.20). These rocket scientists sent a mailer asking voters to re-elect McGee ... to City Council.

I could think of better ways for McGee to raise his visibility than to spend a boatload of money for a mailer asking voters to put a candidate for county council in city government. 

I'll give Bill some advice for free. Start calling yourself Wilhelmina, wear dresses instead of three-piece suits and give yourself a shot or two of estrogen. Democratic voters were obviously voting for women just because that's what they are. Identity politics at its finest. 

Bill still has $16,661.48 in his treasury so he can start the transition now. 

The other member of the penis club in the Democratic primary, Ron Heckman, only did slightly better than McGee. He only spent $75 between 5/19 and 6/7. He also picked up a $2,000 contribution from the Sheet Metal Workers. He goes into the summer with a $3240 warchest. He should probably change his name to Heckwoman. 

Top vote getter Tara "I hate plastic straws" Zrinski spent just $940 during the period between 5/4 and 6/7. But she picked up an electrifying $5,000 contribution from IBEW. That's the kind of green we all like. She marches into the summer solstice with $7,873.95. 

I considered Lori Vargo-Heffner the weakest of the Democrats because she has no base. I never  realized that women were her base. She spent nothing between 5/4 and 6/7, and received a $1,250 contribution from a Maryland-based outfit called Road Sprinklers Filters. Under Pennsylvania law, contributions by corporations or unincorporated associations are illegal. So I find this donation suspect. 

Vargo-Heffner's  campaign treasurer, Becky Bartlett, is an administrator for Executive Lamont McClure. Under the County's Home Rule Charter, employees are generally permitted to engage in political activity. 

Vargo-Heffner has a tidy sum of $13,172 to kick off her general election campaign. 

Newcomer Patti Bruno spent $4,234.72 during the period between 5/4 and 6/7. She also received $1,500 from the Sheet Metal Workers. But she only has $1,522 in her treasury as she prepares for the general. 

The five Republicans finished in the May 18 primary as follows: Scott Hough - 12,973 votes; John Goffredo - 12,720 votes; Kristin Lorah Soldridge - 12,482 votes; Nicole Romanishan - 12,427 votes; and Annamarie Robertone - 11,986 votes. 

The Republican candidate I consider most qualified for County Council is Annamarie Robertone. She is a paramedic and a public health professional, something that would certainly help the County. I saw her speak (remotely) and she impressed me with her passion for Gracedale. Ironically, she came in last. 

During the period between 5/4 and 6/7, Robertone spent $1,216.56. She also received $500 from L Anderson Daub over that time period. She's going to need more to attract open-minded Democrats and independents. Right now she only has $3,195 in her campaign kitty. 

A slate belt Republican who has money and is likely to get more is John Paul Goffredo. During the period between 5/4 and 6/7, he picked up $11,630 in contributions. There's a lot of grass roots support for him in the slate belt in the form of smaller donations. He also received $1,000 from Congressional candidate Lisa Scheller and $500 from State Rep. Joe Emrick. 

I heard him speak, too. He spoke out against Governor Tom Wolf's lockdown. I'd agree. In my opinion, Gov. Wolf was using a sledge hammer when a scalpel was needed. But that has nothing to do with county government. When it came to that, Goffredo spoke out against farmland preservation. I'd agree with the opposition to the purchase of undevelopable swamps and cliffs or the estates of people who are already wealthy. But farmland preservation is much different. The best way to prevent what Lamont McClure calls warehouse proliferation is by preserving as much farmland as we can. It also provides food security. Finally, it has the overwhelming support of the public. It could be that Goffredo, who is a young man, will come around on this topic as he learns more about it.

Goffredo heads into the general with nearly $9,000 in his warchest. 

Scott Hough was the top vote getter among Republicans for one and only one reason - Bethlehem. Yes, there are Republicans in Bethlehem and he got their votes. He's just coming off a loss to Steve "diaper man" Samuelson for State Rep. Hough ran with the "I am not a politician" mantra. 

Looks like he is. Fresh off that loss, he's running for Northampton County Council. He heads into the general with just $1,333 ... and Bethlehem. 

Kistin Lorah Soldridge recently told Lehigh Tp Supervisors that they all need to start descending on County Council because they don't listen. So far as I know, she's never been there. But she has made time to appear on some goofy internet TV show broadcast somewhere in the deep South. She's a Trumper and is allied with goofy Exec candidate Steve Lynch. 

As far as money goes, she is somehow in the hole. She goes into the general election with negative $425. 

Nicole Romanishan hails from Chapman and appears to be another Steve Lynch ally and Trumper, Most of her campaign money comes from her family. She heads into the general with $455. But she's a banker.     


Anonymous said...

Love the Heckwoman. Proof reading. Never do it enough. That's a terrible mistake.

Anonymous said...

Politics aside, please acknowledge that Chapman has been completely unrepresented for years. Chapman's hole is a metaphor for County government and should be in the mix.

John Paul Goffredo said...


I appreciate the positive press! I do feel obliged to clarify a point you made in your post.

I've never said to be against farmland preservation. I've only spoken publicly on the matter once and here is what I said. (starts around 4:50 mark)

I love farms, and making sure we have them around for generations to come is a TOP priority of mine. I happen to have first hand knowledge as to why farmland preservation is not an adequate solution to "Warehouse Proliferation" (which is another nuanced topic that I don’t think many people fully understand).

I would like to add that I have much more to learn about the preservation topic and I intend to so. However, as someone who loves hunting and from the Slate Belt, farms are a major priority to me personally and will be politically.

I welcome your feedback and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further with you.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is crazy! Do Democrats' have any regard for competency. How does Tara Zirinski get so much votes and money support? She has accomplished nothing of substance for the county in four years. She runs around screaming speeches at all events. She doesn't work. She skips meetings. She hurts labor with her anti-worker meaningless resolutions and they give her money? A;; thus just because she is a female. The world is insane.

The Democrats are in as much trouble as the Republicans if she is their standard bearer.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks for your clarification. I will be in touch with questions for all candidates.

Anonymous said...

Seeing how you have decided to label some Repub candidates as "Trumpers", may we refer to certain Dem candidates as "Bidets"???

Bernie O'Hare said..."

I'd suggest readers decide for themselves. Having seen the video a second time, John Goffredo definitely stated that "farmland preservation is a government subsidy that I inherently disagree with.." Perhaps that is not what you meant to say, and I am glad you have clarified your view.

Anonymous said...

I have struggled for years to try and understand how Trump gathered so many votes. It finally hit me , I think average white hard working males are just fed up and just realized they have been getting f-cked and have no place in the Democratic Party anymore. If a job comes down to a white male and a minority, the white male loses. if a job comes down to a white male and a female of any ethnicity, the white male loses!
If you are a male and white , you are f-cked, thats where we are today!

Anonymous said...

Other than Cusick, Heckman is the only other councilmember with any real experience with county government. I'm surprised at his money totals despite his gender. Bernie appears to be right nd the democrat donors and voters only want women regardless of qualifications.

Anonymous said...

The only candidate who gets the soft glove treatment on nuance from Bernie is his owner, McClueless. Run away John. Bernie's unhinged and demonstrably unethical. You won't get close to a fair shake from this admitted racist.

Anonymous said...

11:47 sounds like someone who makes excuses for everything wrong in their life. Be the best person you can be, stay positive and good things happen. Maybe you don't work as hard as others do (or think you do), maybe others are smarter and more efficient that you are, maybe your personality is off putting to others. Look in the mirror - you may see a white male in there, but when other people look at you they may just see a whiny asshole. Stop blaming others.

Anonymous said...

@2:49 Qualifications be damned. If we were to decide who could do things based on qualifications most politicians would never be allowed to even fetch a cup of coffee for someone else.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Zrinski at one point an time had issue with monies collection with the Unitarian Church, while she worked there. Something one may have considered to have been embezzlement. Maybe more background checking needs to be done on this issue.