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Emrick headed to a win in 137th District seat

By Andrew McGill, OF THE MORNING CALL

November 3, 2010

In a decisive victory forecast by the countless “Emrick” signs lining Slate Belt roads, Republican Joe Emrick soundly defeated Democrat Charles Dertinger in the race to replace a popular representative in the state assembly.

With 88 percent of precincts reporting by 10 p.m. Tuesday, Emrick looked set to win the 137th District’s seat with 61.88 percent of the vote. He’ll replace former Easton teacher Richard Grucela, a Democrat who has held the seat since 1999 and is retiring.

“From the feedback from voters coming out of the polls, I felt very good,” Emrick said. “I had knocked on a ton of their doors, and lot of people seemed to remember that.”

The Upper Nazareth Township supervisor ran a campaign outmatched in funding by his opponent. Dertinger, an electrician and former Northampton County councilman, raised more than $120,000 in the final months of the campaign, according to finance reports. Emrick, on the other hand, said he raised between $30,000 and $40,000, though his official report was not available Tuesday night.

His win came despite a slight uptick in the number of registered Democratic voters and a turnout that, if not appearing to match 2008’s groundswell of engagement, certainly gave it a run for its money.

Dertinger could not be reached for comment as of 10 p.m. Tuesday. Last week, he accused local media of being asleep at the switch in covering the race.

“Here you have for the first time in 12 years a contentious race and it will garner what, two articles?” he said. “Unless either one of us was picked up for a DUI, there’s just no other way to get coverage.”

Both men campaigned as the “everyman” candidate, with Dertinger stressing his blue-collar connections and Emrick highlighting his Bangor roots. The Republican made much mention of his term as supervisor, saying he oversaw a tax cut. Dertinger said the heavy lifting for that decrease came before Emrick’s arrival.

Emrick has pledged to tackle property tax relief and rework the state’s school funding formula to give more money to rapidly growing districts like Bangor and Nazareth.

“I think that’s one of the top things I can get to work on right away,” he said last week.

Emrick spent Election Day morning meeting with voters in Forks and casting his own vote at Gracedale nursing home. The public’s wish is clear, he said.

“They see spending as significantly out of control,” he said. ” ‘If I have to live within my means, that means the government has to as well,’ they’re saying.”

andrew.mcgill@mcall.com

610-820-6533

Copyright © 2010, The Morning Call

One Response

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