Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Vote 2014: The Results

From now on, getting in early and spending fast will be called the Wolf plan.
It will be studied by political science students, and be discussed in the media and by political consultants.

Tom Wolf used the "the plan" to cruse to the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.  It wasn't even close. Wolf had a huge advantage-- a personal fortune.  Campaign contributions, early in the race, were not an issue.

I expected more out of Allyson Schwartz and Rob McCord.  Schwartz couldn't build on her strong Philadelphia area base.  McCord was a proven "all Pennsylvania" vote getter.  He never gained traction.

When the best Katie McGinty could do is "endorsed by Al Gore," you knew she was in trouble.

By the time the other three got their campaigns together, Wolf was way out front and never looked back.  This is as much a victory for money as it is for Wolf.

The defeat of the Lackawanna County change in government question was really no surprise.  I thought there would be a comfortable margin, and I was actually right about something.  People around here don't like change.  Those who favored the county council and elected manager system couldn't show why is was demonstrably better and more efficient.  The ad with the quote from the US Attorney, saying the current system is ripe for corruption, was the best of the lot.  Those who wanted the status quo simply said the new system would be bigger and more expensive.  It was a simple, elegant, and effective argument.

The solution seems to be "elect better people."  Look at some of what we've chosen here in our area-- a football player with no government experience who went to jail.  Another commissioner who couldn't push through "Arena Yes" and really hasn't talked about his role in steering his county toward a private juvenile detention facility.  One party rule, with the other so disorganized, it can't even field a slate of candidates.  Two party switchers who are now sitting in federal prisons.  The list goes on and on.  Maybe the system is OK, but the people we choose to run it are severely flawed.

The proposed Lackawanna County changes had some merit, but it wasn't perfect.

I don't buy the "voters saw the Luzerne County disaster" argument as to why the Lackawanna County question lost.  Do you have any idea how many people I run in to (and who call the station) who don't know the identity of their own council members and representatives?  How do you expect them to know what's going on in a neighboring county.

Perhaps more of an "educational" effort on the part of the "Yes" people would have lessened the impact of the argument that "Yes" was all about a political vendetta.

Conventional wisdom in the 112th had Bob Munley and Frank Farina splitting the upvalley vote with Kevin Haggerty sailing to victory on the strength of his solid Dunmore base.  That appeared to be what happened, early in the evening, when the Scranton and Dunmore votes came in first.  Farina, who many underestimated, pulled out a late win.   Haggerty's radio talk show melt down last week didn't help.  Frank Farina has taken down some big names in his short political life, and people have to be taking notice of that.

When all the numbers are in, look for anemic turnout totals.  I'm not defending it, but I can understand it.  The Wolf win was a foregone conclusion.  Many of the candidates, especially in the state house were running unopposed.  No one really got riled up over the Lackawanna County question.

Below, one of our cameras pointed at an empty polling place in Taylor.

I have to expand on something I noted yesterday.  As I was leaving my polling place, I saw one of the big names behind the "No" effort.  I told him I was the first one in my district to vote as an independent, and this was six hours after the polls opened.  I said both sides did a poor job of informing independents and third partiers they could vote.  The reply was that the "No" people didn't have the money to do that.  Perhaps they were afraid the indies would break for the "Yes" side.  Maybe the county needs to do a better job of getting the word out.  An independent colleague said the election workers at his polling place told him he couldn't vote, and it took a call to the Voter Registration office to straighten it out.  In my polling place, the stack of independent ballots were still in the box.  They weren't on the table for ready access.  I said it before, and I'll say it again, shame on you.