Rich’s post on the sorry state of Democratic political competition in Lehigh County is depressing me. But his observation that there are zero top tier Democratic candidates being mentioned for Lehigh County Executive has got me thinking about why John Callahan wanted to run for Northampton County Exec instead of Lehigh County Exec.
Lehigh County really has the more interesting County issues. It contains the state’s third largest city, and it’s also been the center of the fights over open space and sprawl development.
The policy stakes are also much higher in that race, since the Lehigh Republicans are completely insane and well organized. A Tea Person taking over as Executive there would have more far-reaching consequences than one of the Northampton County Republicans taking the NorCo office. NorCo Republicans are just your run-of-the-mill fiscal tightwads, much less threatening than the aggressively ignorant species of Republican they have in Lehigh. It would be much more dangerous if Scott Ott won the Executive race than somebody like John Cusick.
It’s also much more likely. Northampton County at least has a bench of Democratic politicians to run for that office. If Callahan didn’t run, it would just open the door for somebody like a Jeff Warren or Sal Panto.
As Rich points out, Lehigh County’s got very little in the way of a bench. A top-tier (shudder..) Republican candidate like Scott Ott will have an easier time winning that seat against a second-tier Democrat than he would against somebody like John Callahan.
Callahan should really reconsider which County he wants to run. The Lehigh issue space is more interesting, and there’s a real chance that lunatics could take over if the Dems don’t put up an impressive candidate.
DERP: This whole post is moot since I’ve just been reminded there’s a residency requirement of one year before the election. Not that the lack of residency would’ve mattered in terms of votes. Callahan’s been governing the Lehigh side of Bethlehem too for two terms.