By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
Update: Republicans have flipped the Mercer County Courthouse, according to Director of Elections Jeff Greenburg.
After about 800 absentee ballots were counted, Republican John Lechner defeated Democrat Timothy Templeton, winning the third Commissioner seat by 26 votes – 9,398 to 9,372. He overcame a 30 vote deficit before absentees were counted. The results are unofficial, but Greenburg said they were very likely to stand. He said based on historical trends, he “would be shocked if we got even one,” absentee ballot from a member military of civilian overseas by tomorrow’s deadline. Templteton has the ability to request a recount, but Greenberg said it is unlikely to change the outcome.
Republicans increased their control of Pennsylvania counties by 12 on Tuesday, picking up courthouses across the state and growing their total from 40 to 52. Northumberland County (formerly Dem majority) is now split three ways including one Independent Commissioner.
New GOP majorities popped up in several regions, but most of the counties showing Republican gains have a few thing in common. They tend to be in northeastern or western PA where local Democratic organizations are on the wane and long term demographic trends favor Republicans.
The clearest example of such a county is Westmoreland, where Republicans swept all countywide offices and also took the majority of the Board of Commissioners for the first time in 65 years.
On the other side of the coin, Democrats scored a huge win in Montgomery County, once the strongest bastion of GOP local organization in Pa. There, Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards became the first Democratic Commissioners in county history.
In Allegheny County, Democrat Rich Fitzgerald won the County Executive seat by a 24 point margin. Democrats also picked up the majority in Cameron County, Pa.’s smallest, in the north-central part of the state. Luzerne County, which passed home rule, elected its first County Council this year – six Democrats, four Republicans and one Independent.
But that’s about it for countywide Dem success across the state. Republicans held on to seats in the other three counties of suburban Philadelphia – Bucks, Chester and Delaware – despite spirited challenges there. The GOP also kept on to all four seats of the Lehigh County Council. The following Republicans won control of 12 counties:
Doug McLinko, Daryl Miller – Bradford County
Mark Wissinger, Doug Lengenfelder – Cambria County
Wayne Nothstein, Thomas Gerhard – Carbon County
Steve Dershem, Chris Exarchos – Centre County
Jeffrey Snyder, Pete Smeltz – Clinton County
Dan Freeburg, Janis Kemmer – Elk County
Basil Huffman, Norman Wimer – Forest County
Dan Vogler, Bob Del Signore – Lawrence County
Matt McConnell, John Lechner – Mercer County
John Moyer, Charles Garris – Monroe County
Frank Staudenmeier, George Halcovage – Schuylkill County
Mike Giangriego, Alan Hall – Susquehanna County
Chuck Anderson, Tyler Courtney – Westmoreland County
PA Republican Chairman Rob Gleason congratulated the local winners.
“I would like to personally thank State Party members and volunteers who went to work talking to their neighbors, stuffing envelopes, making phone calls and knocking on doors to support our Republican teams. It is clear that we still have the best grassroots network in Pennsylvania and they continue to deliver victories,” he said.
Correction: The original version of this map listed Northampton County as a Democratic hold. Though Northampton has a Democratic County Executive (as does Lehigh County), its County Council has a 7-2 GOP advantage.
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No doubt you’re right, Mr. Guzzardi.
Bruce Castor hand picked Don Raymond and Chris Mottola as consultants.
The powerful message of fiscal common sense was delivered in a desultory, plain vanilla, cookie cutter style. This was a bold colors election and the campaign was anything but exiting or engaging.
Bruce Castor’s choice is always based on personal loyalty and not competence and he does not take criticism well meaning he will make a mistake because his ego won’t allow him to think he made a mistake and because he thinks it would diminish him.
Castor and his team failed when 12 other counties flipped. Only Cameron County, the smallest county, flipped to D.
Tom Corbett won all but four counties, DelCo, Lackawanna, Philadelphia and MontCo. How did that happen? Bruce Castor’s ego make the election all about him rather to build a network.
Bruce Castor raised almost no money. Money was raised by Lance Rogers and Rick Brown (Jenny’s husband). Bruce Castor is irrelevant to everyone except himself.
There is a new network based on ideas of fiscal common sense that is developing and there is funding sources that are being developed.
Citizens Alliance is designed to run Republican primaries against Big Government Union Republicans.
I had a good meeting on Sunday night with some activists and have another tomorrow afternoon. It is my intuition that the fiscal conservative voices were suppressed by Bruce Castor’s need to focus on his personality rather than on winning ideas.
MontCo’s fiscal future as well as the state and country depends on activists disseminating the message. The conventional media has shallow grasp of many moving dynamics and puts story’s into preconceived narratives, mostly, simple minded Republicans v. Democrats and fails to see grassroots Republicans v. failed Establishment Republicans.
I see your points and I agree that Bob Kerns has to go and will certainly not survive this. As for Bruce Castor, I doubt very much whether anyone will be able to push him out. I think you will see him there for the duration. What happens thereafter is certainly up in the air. His political career, if he cares to have one, may be over, but I don’t see him leaving. I also see many questions surrounding the backstabbing and efforts to undermine the Brown/Castor team emanating from inside the GOP ranks. The group that wanted a rival candidate to be endorsed taking shots at the nominated slate. The party chairman dragging his feet. The tirades over consultants and candidate selection. The multi-fractured county party with elements that thought putting Castor in his place was more important than winning. The hatred and vitriol within the county organization going back four plus years contributed heavily to this loss. Repairing that is where to start.
There were 13 GOP pickups and the two Democratic pickups of Montgomery and unmentioned Cameron for a net GOP gain of 11. Actually the GOP had the majority in Northumberland since 2007.
Shouldn’t Northampton County be a light Red for Republican hold?
The title for this article should read “Republicans across the state Net 11 New County Courthouse Majorities” Let’s not give the PAGOP credit that they don’t deserve.
In Lehigh County, Rs picked up two additional seats going from 5-4 Majority to 7-2 Majority. The County Executive is Democrat Don Cunningham and the registration is heavily Democratic.
MontCo had an opposite result. The Rs held the DA’s office, Sheriff, Recorder of Deeds and Controller. The Ds control seven row offices. and also won two county judicial races.
In short, a disaster. and Do Nothing Bob Kerns and Bruce “It’s All About Me” Castor need to step aside and I think they will…or be pushed.