Incumbent Patricia Bachtle narrowly defeated Michelle Christian in the GOP primary for Bucks County Prothonotary. Bachtle led 52%-48% with 98% of precincts reporting. This seemly low-profile contest had become a proxy battle between the state GOP’s power brokers and a second-year county party chairwoman.
It was a win for the forces of “modernization” at the expense of “modernization.”
The conflict began when Pat Bachtle failed to earn the endorsement of the Bucks County Republican Party in March. Attorney Michelle Christian, with the backing of Poprik, won the nod instead by an impressive 82-26 vote.
Bachtle’s loss was a surprise because of her strong backing from GOP elected officials such as Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, State Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, and of course, McIlhinney.
According to an April article in The Patriot News, this race had become the most important priority for McIlhinney as well as businessman and GOP insider Pat Deon. Deon owns several beer distributors and is believed to oppose plans – like those supported by Gov. Tom Corbett and state House Republicans – to sell off the state’s liquor stores and allow big retailers to sell beer and wine.
The statewide importance of the race became especially clear in April, when Senate Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati transferred $50,000, an extraordinary sum for a minor down-ballot race, to Bachtle’s committee.
The Office of the Prothonotary has “administrative control over and responsibility for all official documents and records of the civil and family divisions.”