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McIlhinney Ally and “Modernization” Win Bucks Co Booze Proxy Battle

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. Chuck_McIlhinney_portrait

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.”

2 Responses

  1. @BachtleCampaign, I completely agree with your assessment that this fight had nothing to do with liquor. It was another battle between the McIlhinney’s and Poprik. (Poprik ousted Chuck’s mom as vice Chair and then became county chair when Fawkes retired).

    But before you get too full of yourself, this is not such an impressive beat down as you’d like others to think.

    Bachtle is a long time incumbent and has been active in the party for years. She was supported by just about every state elected official in the county, including Cong. Fitzpatrick and former Cong. Greenwood. The Bachtle campaign spent at least TWICE, if not THREE times, the amount of money on mail (including the need for Chuck to go to Scarnati and cry for $50k to help win the race).

    Yet with all that, against a complete unknown in Michelle Christian who has never run for public office before, Chuck and Company win by a narrow 51.6 to 48.4 percent! A mere 800 votes. Some “impressive” win??? If Poprik had a few more nickels for another mailer ot two, Chuck loses this race.

    So I wouldn’t be so quick to pronounce the queen dead. If I were Chuck, I’d look at my liberal voting record, campaign contributions and House/Senate expense records. Because if “someone” decides to challenge him in the Primary, he could be in for an even bigger fight of his life.

  2. To call this a proxy war for modernization shows the absolute lack of understanding by the reporter here. This is a raw political power play gone terribly wrong for the party chair.

    This had nothing to do with modernization vs. privatization. The roots of that rest with some mid-state reporter who doesn’t know a thing about Bucks County Politics.

    This was about Pat Poprik trying to show that she has succeeded Harry Fawkes. The result – Poprik Does Not Equal Fawkes.

    She picked a horrible fight and she picked a horrible candidate in Christian who pissed off more people than she made friends with. Ultimately, Poprik laid out the case as to why she should no longer be the Chairwoman.

    Pat Bachtle is a wonderful woman who does a good job as prothonotary. All the lies perpetuated by Poprik, Cullen, and DiGirolamo came back to bite them. The people of Bucks County determined that age discrimination shouldn’t be the policy, lying about jobs shouldn’t be the tactics, and taking out those who are loyal shouldn’t be the actions of the County Party.

    Each and every person who supported Christian should be ashamed of themselves.

    Viva La Bachtle!

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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