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Opinion: Voting Tuesday is good citizenship

On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be a lot going on in Tuesday’s primary election.

Sure, there are some pretty famous names on the ballot, especially in the race for the nation’s commander in chief, but otherwise, not so much.

The biggest race with an immediate impact in the Times News coverage area comes in the Republican contest for U.S. Representative in the 7th Congressional District.

Kevin Dellicker, a veteran who finished second for his party’s nomination in the 2022 primary, is running against State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, who represents Lehigh County. The third candidate in the race is Maria Montero, an attorney who grew up in Summit Hill.

In November, the winner of that contest will take on U.S. Rep Susan Wild, the incumbent Democrat who gained a measure of notoriety earlier this year with some unflattering comments about Carbon County and the residents she represents here.

At the national level, the 7th District race is being considered as one the GOP might flip, which could even be the political split in Congress.

Of course, there’s also the contest for U.S. Senator, where Democrat Bob Casey is unopposed in his quest for a fourth term. On the GOP side, David McCormick, is running again for his party’s nomination, after falling short last year. He, too, is unopposed.

A few statewide offices have candidates, but state lawmakers have their names on the ballot.

In the 29th Senatorial District, there’s newcomer John Zugarek, a Democrat from White Haven, Luzerne County running unopposed. It’s the same for longtime Sen. Dave Argall, a Republican who’s been in that position since 2009.

State Rep. Doyle Heffley, a Republican, is unopposed in his bid for reelection to the seat in the state House 122nd District.

State Rep. Zach Mako is being challenged in the Republican primary by Zach Halkias, a young Slatington councilman.

It’s a milquetoast lineup, but results after the polls close might offer some insights into the next few months and ultimately, the general election in November.

Pennsylvania is under the microscope at the national level, where the presidential race is tight. Recent polls show President Joe Biden in a slight lead over GOP challenger, former President Donald Trump.

I’ve never been a political animal, but I’m intrigued by the fact that the state’s voters are split pretty much right down the middle between the aging current leader of the free world and a former president dealing with a host of issues.

Most recently, Biden spent three days on a campaign swing through the commonwealth, while Trump’s been spending time in a New York City courtroom.

Turnout – and its results – will help gauge the future of their campaigns through this fall.

But Tuesday’s ballot can shape the future of how Pennsylvania might go forward.

Lately, there’s been a lot of time spent on school funding, whether it be expanding school choice or additional funding to even the statewide playing field for poor districts like Panther Valley. The local district has been at the forefront of a longtime uphill struggle to get more state money to adequately educate and care for students.

Also, the election can eventually close a razor-thin majority in the state House, where Democrats hold a two-vote majority.

Without the local races, Tuesday’s primary still holds some significance in that an individual’s vote can influence to some degree the outcome of national balloting.

Successful candidates shape the policies of a voter’s party. Turning out and casting a ballot gives voters a say concerning which issues are prioritized.

Mostly, the primary is a fundamental part of our democracy. Voting - in any election - gives someone the right to influence local decisions, and possibly hold accountable those in power.

It’s reassuring to know we as Americans have the opportunity to have a voice in how our government operates.

Taking the time to exercise that right is just plain good citizenship.

Ed Socha | tneditor@tnonline.com

Ed Socha is a retired newspaper editor with more than 40 years’ experience in community journalism. Reach him at tneditor@tnonline.com.