Friday, October 21, 2016

The race to watch in Delco

We interrupt the Donald & Hillary show to let you know that there are other important races to consider on the November ballot.

As usual, the entire Pennsylvania House will be contested, and that brings us to perhaps the most interesting race in Delaware County. In fact, we're labeling this one as "the race to watch."

It's the 161st House district, which has flip-flopped wildly back and forth the past few years. Democrat Bran Lentz wrested the seat from decades of GOP control, only to see it fall back into the GOP's grasp when he decided to seek higher office. Then Republican Joe Hackett tired of life in Harrisburg and decided to pack up his things and head home to his old job with the Delco D.A.'s office.

That set up a special election. The Dems put up Leanne Krueger-Braneky, while the GOP countered with labor leader Paul Mullen. But the GOP did not count on Lisa Esler, a third-party Tea Candidate who was not happy with the process that led the party to Mullen's door.

She ran a vigorous campaign, and siphoned off enough votes from Mullen to open the door for the Democrat Krueger-Braneky to win the special election.

Now she's back on the ballot in her first run for re-election to the seat, which covers Aston, Brookhaven, Nether Providence, Rose Valley, Rutledge and Swarthmore.

But this time she will not be getting any help from a third-party in her contest against Republican challenger Patti Rodgers Morrisette.

And it could be seen as a bellwether for the changing demographics in the county, where Democrats have now opened a 16,000-voter edge in registrations.

Will this be a sign of the times, and a sign that Delaware County Democrats now are truly a force to be reckoned with, including local races here in the county where they have continued to struggle against the mighty Delco GOP?

Or, now that they no longer have Esler nipping at their heels, will the Republican ground forces do what they have done so well for so long: Get their people to the polls and deliver the goods.

Last night Krueger-Braneky and Rodgers Morrisette met in a voter forum that drew more than 100 people to the Brookhaven Municipal Building.

Keep an eye on this one. In Delco, it just might be the race watch.

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