Thursday, May 22, 2014

The most expensive political races in Delco history

Here's what I learned after sitting down with the leaders of Delaware County's two political parties last night: Running for office ain't cheap.

Tom Wolf captured the Democratic nomination for governor after spending $10 million of his own money - including a hefty loan - to bankroll an early wave of TV advertising.

But that's nothing.

GOP Chairman Andy Reilly said the county could see a record-setting amount of money spent on what could be locally the prize of the November election. That would be the 26th District state Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Ted Erickson. Republican County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle is set to face Democratic union leader John Kane from Ridley.

Both Reilly and Landau said the race could go into uncharted territory in terms of the amount of money raised. It very likely is going to be the most-watched race in Pa. political circles outside the governor's race.

Reilly and Landau joined us last night for our live-stream Internet show, 'Live From the Newsroom.' If you missed the show, you can catch the replay here.

Reilly said that with a Democratic candidate now in tow, Gov. Corbett can zero in on him. He also stressed that Corbett has a good story to tell, and his challenge will be to get out there and tell it. He hinted that we'll be seeing a lot of the governor here in Delaware County.

Landau said the race will be a referendum on Corbett's first term.

It's not just the gubernatorial and Senate races that will be seeing an infusion of big bucks, both party leaders also said to expect a ton of cash to be spent on the hotly contested state House races in both the 163rd and 164th Districts in Upper Darby.

Incumbent Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, fended off two primary challenges from within the party. She's not an especially happy camper and has been saying so. She now will tangle with Republican Upper Darby businessman Saud Siddiqui.

In the 163rd, for the first time in more than three decades, someone not named Micozzie will represent constituents in Upper Darby and surrounding towns. Democrat Vince Rongione will battle Republican Upper Darby Councilman Jamie Santora in what should be a very close race.

Predictions?

I'm already on record saying the governor gets re-elected. Yeah, I know that's not a particularly popular opinion these days. I'm banking on Pennsylvania's long record of not tossing out incumbent governors. Instead we give one party eight years, then usually flip to the other party for eight years. I'm also thinking the governor can't possibly do a worse job of getting his message out there than he's done to this point.

As for the two state House races? The writing's on the wall. The Demographic in Upper Darby is moving to the Democrats. I believe Margo Davidson will win easily, and Vince Rongione will win a very tight fight with Jamie Santora.

Hey, what happened to summer? Didn't the campaigns wait until after Labor Day? Not anymore.

On to November.

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