Monday, October 24, 2016

It's the race to watch in Delco

I've been thinking about those new voter registration numbers that were released last week.

The numbers show Democrats are expanding their lead over Republicans here in Delco in terms of registered voters. The Dems, who for decades looked up at the mighty Delco GOP and what at one time was a nearly 3-1 voter registration edge, have more than turned the tables.

There are now 16,000 more registered Democrats here in Delaware County than Republicans.

Excuse me if I'm not impressed.

In fact, I said as much in today's print column.

Here's what would impress me. I'd like to see the Delco Democrats win a tough local race. Here's one to watch. Keep your eye on the 161st state House race. That's the one where incumbent Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky is being challenged by Patti Rodgers Morrisette.

Krueger-Braneky won the special election for the seat that was held after Joe Hackett hit a few potholes in Harrisburg and decided it was time to return home to Delco.

Republicans endorsed local labor leader Paul Mullen in the race. That did not sit especially well with Tea Party conservative Penn-Delco School Board member Lisa Esler. She ran a very effective third-party race, in the process costing Mullen and the Republicans just enough votes to swing the election to Krueger-Braneky.

That won't be the case on Nov. 8. It will be Republican Rodgers Morrisette vs. the Democrat Krueger-Braneky. Democrats have had success in this district before, most notably with Bryan Lentz.

The district accounts for Brookhaven, Aston, Nether Providence, Swarthmore, Rose Valley and parts of Ridley.

Win this one--on-one battle and maybe I'll start believing there is something to these numbers.

Dems already have several built-in advantages in this race, most notably that it is coming in a presidential year when turnout is expected to be heavy. If Dems continue their recent pattern of winning the county in statewide and presidential races, that means Rodgers Morrisette will need a lot of ticket-splitting to get the win.

As we said on Sunday's front page, as far as Delaware County goes, this is the race to watch.

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