I have no delusions that any candidates will benefit at the polls from my endorsement – probably the opposite! – but just for fun, here are my picks for Tuesday’s primary. It’s hardly a comprehensive list, just the races I think are most consequential for the issues this blog is concerned with:
For Allentown City Council, I’d go with Cynthia Mota, Peter Schweyer and John Ingram.
In Northampton County, Mike Dowd certainly isn’t some rightwinger, but if you are a liberal I think you probably want to see Democrat Robert Werner replace him in November. And for that reason you want to see the weaker candidate, Bill Whitman, beat Dowd in the Republican primary.
On the merits, Dowd clearly deserves to win the primary against Bill Whitman. Whitman is pandering to all sides saying he’s for government-run Gracedale, but insisting that he won’t raise taxes. It’s not possible. Dowd is more conservative than I’d prefer, but he has sensible views on things like the Bi-County Health Department.
For Bethlehem Area School District, it’s Basilio Bonilla, Sudantha Vidanage, and Michele Cann. They’re the only ones talking about how to protect kids’ education from Tom Corbett’s budget cuts. Kenneth Barreto is only talking about taxes, and Randy Toman is off barking at the moon. Bonilla in particular is going to be an important win for Democrats. He’s a really bright 20-year-old guy, who’s interned for Bob Casey and Lisa Boscola, so getting him in office early will help Democrats start building a badly-needed farm team.
For Allentown School District, CeCe Gerlach, Michelle Jarrouj Weaver, and Julie Ambrose are my top picks. CeCe and Michelle are both in their 20′s and have direct experience working with at-risk kids, so on the substance they have important experience to bring to the job. And again on the politics, this is another great opportunity for Democrats to build up the farm team. Since you need to pick 5, Kenneth Ghorm and Robert Smith both seem to be saying the right things. But whatever you do, do not let anti-tax ideologue Scott Armstrong anywhere near the school budget.
For Superior Court, it’s David Wecht, and for Commonwealth Court, it’s Kathryn Boockvar. These are going to be the strongest Democrats in the general election and most of the organizing energy is behind them. I’m not super enthusiastic about Boockvar. She thinks the recent Commonwealth Court decision opening the floodgates to more ballot initiatives was a good call, which is totally nuts, but it’s not clear there’s anyone on the Republican side who wants to defend representative democracy.
In Lehigh County, Renee Smith is the only Lehigh Court of Common Pleas candidate who supports doing away with judicial elections, and that’s an important issue, but it’s not clear there’s anything she can do about it in this role. She’s been endorsed by Lehigh DA Jim Martin, who I like. The Democrats are supporting Dan McCarthy. I dunno, you’re on your own for this one.
It’s Mike D’Amore Magisterial District 31-1-05. Reelect Wayne Maura over 21-year-old Republican Justin Serfass for District 31-1-06. I don’t have any strong views on the others. Here’s who the Democrats like.
In Northampton County, in District 03-01-04 you want to elect former Planning Commissioner James Narlesky over Mortgage Banker Samuel Royer – that is, someone who’s going to take a hard line on mortgage servicers and prioritize neighborhood stabilization.
In 03-02-12, I think Richard Yetter is the obvious choice over Shana Restucci and Rhonda Elias. From conversations with friends and looking at yard sign coverage in Easton, people seem to be most excited about Yetter’s campaign.
I don’t have strong views about any of the other judicial races.
UPDATE: For Easton City Council, I’m for Jeff Warren, Elinor Warner and Ken Brown. Reno Pesaresi is taking some below the belt shots at Jeff Warren over his DUI, but that doesn’t tell us anything about the decisions Jeff’s going to make on actual public policy issues. Jeff’s on the right side of the issues and he deserves to be reelected.