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Republicans dominate Carbon row offices, elsewhere locally

Published November 08. 2019 12:49PM

While Democrats were celebrating election victories in the Lehigh Valley, suburban Philadelphia and Virginia and Kentucky, they were shell shocked in Carbon, Schuylkill and Monroe counties.

The GOP carried every contested countywide battle in the three counties, with one exception. The lone Democratic victory came in the Monroe commissioners race where Democrats will control the three-member board come January as incumbent Republican Charles Garris placed fourth behind fellow Republican incumbent John Moyer and the two Democrats.

In the 17 other races — six each in Carbon and Schuylkill and five in Monroe — Republicans prevailed. Voter registration figures favor Republicans in Schuylkill by a wide margin and in Carbon by an ever-growing number, but Democrats enjoy a voter-registration edge in Monroe, yet could not parlay it to make any inroads on the major row offices on this year’s ballot. All five Monroe incumbent Republicans won another four-year term in their competitive races.

In the Carbon Republican sweep, incumbents Joann Behrens, a 40-year veteran of the prothonotary’s office, and recently appointed Clerk of Courts Fran Heaney were defeated. They were unseated by Republicans Kayla Semmel and Tyra Boni, respectively. Donna Gentile will become the new recorder of deeds after defeating Bill Richards, who was appointed to fill the ballot position of the late Emmett McCall. The Republicans maintained control of the commissioners office.

In the contest to fill the seat of the retiring and long-serving controller, Democrat Robert Crampsie, Mark Sverchek turned back Thomas T.J. McCall.

Perhaps the biggest shocker was in the district attorney’s contest, where 2,700 votes separated Democrat-turned Republican Michael Greek and incumbent Jean Engler, who was seeking a second term.

Greek had been Engler’s chief assistant. Deciding to run against his boss and changing parties to do so earned him a demotion. Courthouse observers wonder what the next eight weeks will be like in the office with the boss having become a lame duck while the upstart underling is on the cusp of becoming the boss.

The Democrats still have three row officers in Carbon. Sheriff Anthony Harvilla and Coroner Robert Miller Jr. were unopposed on Tuesday and won new four-year terms.

Democratic Treasurer Ronald Sheehan and Republican Register of Wills Jean Papay still have two years left of their four-year terms.

While this Republican love fest was going on in three of the Times News counties, Democrats were striking gains in Lehigh and big wins at the top of the ticket in Northampton.

Democrats John Morganelli, the current long-serving district attorney, and Abe Kassis captured the two seats on the Northampton Court of Common Pleas, while Morganelli’s chief assistant in the DA’s office, Terry Houck, handily defeated Republican Tom Carroll to move into the DA’s top spot after Morganelli moves to the bench in January. Tony Bassil won the controller’s office over Republican Hayden Phillips.

Republicans did manage to win all three county council seats that were contested, including District 4, the one that contains Walnutport and Lehigh Township. Tom Giovanni easily outdistanced Democrat Dan Engle, 8,683 to 5,693.

Republicans also maintained control of many of the boards of supervisors in some of the rural townships. An exception was in Lehigh Township, where Democrat Michael McGonigle flipped the seat now held by Republican board chair Darryl Snover, who was defeated in the primary by Gerald Pritchard.

In Lehigh County, Democrats swept all four at-large seats on the Board of Commissioners and, in the process, sent Republican incumbents Marty Nothstein, the board chair, and Brad Osborne packing. The Democrats also flipped the controller’s office with Mark Pinsley defeating incumbent Republican Glenn Eckert.

Both Democratic city mayors, Sal Panto in Easton and Ray O’Connell in Allentown, easily won their contests. Democrats also maintained control of the city councils in both cities as well as Bethlehem. Democrats made inroads in previously impenetrable suburban counties, taking most row offices in Delaware County and winning the commissioners office in Bucks County for the first time in more than 35 years.

Does any of what happened on Tuesday have any bearing on the likely outcome of next year’s presidential race? Assuming President Trump is the Republican candidate, I predict he will take Schuylkill and Carbon; almost any Democrat will win in Lehigh; a Democrat is likely to win in Monroe and Northampton, but it might depend on whom the Democrats nominate. If the candidate is viewed as leaning too far left, both counties could be up for grabs.

By Bruce Frassinelli |

Build a wall around those "R" counties, the nonsensical ways of Democrats is spreading, as they escape the destruction, their party created within the urban cities.
God Help Us.
You are worried about Urban Levite. How about the educated that live in suburbia taking over. With all due respect the new stats are trending, the educated are or lean Blue period. The (R) House & Senators that will say nothing about this occupants behavior says all I need to know about that Party. The Biblical and Pure "Right to Life" rules ENDS with the birth a baby in this country. Interesting that there are very few women at high levels in that party. Many Stepford Wives I guess.
In Carbon the implemention of the new voting machines was an issue.
Privacy, security and redundancy were in question.

Canvassing (checking of ballots) will be done on 100% of the ballots, with a hand counts and a high-speed rescan of all the ballots. Bravo to the Carbon Election Board for doing the right thing in getting accurate counts.

Legally, this should have already started today, Friday morning, at 9 am. However, the County is in a bit of an uproar over the massive amount of errors. A packed house filled the Election Office this morning. The errors that were shared would best be called by the computer generation as a bug, or programming error. However, the older fellows called it a glitch, as if it was an anomoly, or unpredicted mechanical failure of a single voting machine. This failure appears to be systemic.

The standard checks and balances in the system were apparently missed with the vendor of the machines taking the role as leader. The public officials admitted to having little to no knowledge of the programming process, or verification of said software programs, proving their blind trust to the vendor.

Restored trust in election results should follow the 100% manual and re-scan process. At the end of this ballot review, the ability to hold a smooth election should be restored.

It is very obvious, these errors were merely a function of actions that were taken, and not taken in opposition to common accepted practices. The process to ensure privacy, security and redundancy appear to have failed on this first run with the new machines.


Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
Well David, I'm afraid the days of smooth elections are over. As for the machines? Big money wasted. If we need to count paper ballots, we might as well just have paper and scrap the machines. I'm a machine operator in Northampton County, and I see the new machines slowing down the process, causing long lines, discouraging voters. On top of all that, I don't trust the machines, they weren't taking the voters choices... touch screen issues. The days of fair and honest elections are over.
Look at the way the Democrats are fighting against the results of 2016. Impeach?
You lost me at “republican love fest”. Don’t tell me this is supposed to be a fairly written article ....
The information he put out is accurate Tony. And Mike, fighting the election of 2016. Pretty funny. Better come up with something better than that. You darn well know it is about our NATIONAL SECURITY and current state of affairs with this autocratic occupant, and the people he has chosen to run this country. Wow, one million donation gets you a big job that you have no experience at. Turn on your TV on
Wed Nov 13th for an update !
NO Country Girl,
The impeachment started the day after the election. The resist was because a guarenteed win for Hillary failed. Basically, we how support Trump are deplorable, not worthy of a voice. The never Trump movement comes against me personally. You are basically telling me I have no voice. Well, that's not the America I grew up with. Oh... please tell me how a boarder wall is detriment to National Security. Tell me how building up a military, which Obama allowed to run down, is any thing but bolstering National Security. What threatens National Security, is the constant bashing of out POTUS. He is our duly elected President. How about you resist anti Trump freaks suck it up, and change things at the polls. After all, the America I grew up in, relied on elections, not the chaos of impeachment.
Tell me what experience Barack Obama had? Did you ever look at his voting record from his 3 years in the Senate?
National Security?
NEVER has America been under such threat of terrorists inside and outside, than during the time of Barack Obama. He allowed Muslim infiltration of our government, military, and communities with success. He fought daily for Muslims. When Muslims commit atrocities, Obama “reminded” us that it’s OUR fault. Agree or not, doesn't matter. The religion and ways of Muslims runs antithesis to American Ways. Did we have any terrorist attacks under Trump?
Progressive democrats are a Threat to National Securtiy.

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