Bob Donchez won the Democratic nod for Bethlehem Mayor, defeating fellow city councilman Willie Reynolds.
Donchez won 53% of ballots cast to Reynolds’ 47%, a difference of 296 votes according to the Allentown Morning Call. The race went uncalled until around 12:30 am.
The similarities between the backgrounds of Donchez, City Councilman of 17 years, and William Reynolds, who has served on council for 6 years, were numerous.
Both are Bethlehem natives, Liberty High School Grads and retired and current teachers, respectively.
Donchez’s long tenure on Council and support from the police union was believed to help him lock up the race with over 50 percent of the vote. But that expectation was challenged in the final month.
Reynolds put together an energetic team of volunteers and knocked on over 3,000 doors himself.
Former Governor Ed Rendell attended a Reynolds fundraiser in Philadelphia and last Friday he was officially endorsed by State Representative Steve Samuelson and outgoing mayor John Callahan, who Tuesday won his party’s nomination for Northampton County Executive.
The race began to heat up in earnest a few weeks ago after Reynolds accused Donchez of distributing misleading mailer. Supported by Northampton County DA John Morganelli and State Senator Lisa Boscola, Donchez denied any wrongdoing calling his campaign “spirited”.
There is no Republican candidate in the city’s general election nor an independent at this time.