Blogs > Daily Local Dan

A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The mood of the County Democratic Committee

This post comes a week late.

On the 4th, I attended the Chester County Democratic Committee's annual fundraising banquet and listened to three hours of speeches given by everyone from former West Chester Borough Councilman Bill Scott to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. Here are my impressions of the current mood of the Chester County Democrats:

2009 municipal and school board races: hopeful and on-message

The only smaller race Party Chair Michele Vaughn mentioned was the one for the four available West Chester Area School Board seats. The Democrats have done some opposition research on the Republican candidates and have come up with interesting nuggets about candidates John Wingerter and Sean Carpenter (if you are unfamiliar with these nuggets, read the footnote at the end of this blog post). Vaughn, without mentioning Carpenter or Wingerter by name, rehashed these nuggets. Extrapolating, she portrayed all municipal, school board and row office races not as battles between Democrats and Republicans but as battles between between socially moderate, fiscally conservative candidates, and members of Chester County ACTION (Americans for Christian Traditions in our Nation). This branding is inaccurate, but clever. We'll see if it sticks.

2010 statewide races: apprehensive

We have no idea yet whether President Obama's policies will be successful. He just hasn't been in office long enough. But Republicans have pretty successfully branded him a failure. Democrats here and everywhere are nervous about 2010. During the cocktail hour before the banquet, Sen. Specter told me, "At the beginning of the year, it looked like the [Pennsylvania] Democratic Senate seat would be a slam dunk. Now, nationally, we could lose six Democratic seats in the Senate and 20 in the House." Specter is, of course, trying to brand himself as the only Democratic Senate candidate with enough campaign experience and crossover appeal to win Pennsylvania. Sestak, during his banquet speech, criticized the Democrats for rolling over and playing dead when the Republicans launched their August attack on healthcare reform. At least half of the other speakers included in their speeches the following sentiment, which I will pariphrase: "2010 could be tough. Really tough. Toughest year since 1994. But you know what? I think we just might be able, maybe, to do it."

2009 row office races: cheerful, but resigned

Though the gap is closing, there are still more registered Republicans than registered Democrats in the county. Again and again the speakers said: "And this will finally be the year we take row office seats." But you could hear the resignation in (some of) their voices: It's unlikely that enough registered Independents will vote for the Democratic candidates. Row office races just aren't that exciting. Also, Democratic County Controller Candidate Jim Reilly began his speech: Who has ever seen The Sound of Music? Raise your hand if you've seen The Sound of Music. Because I'll tell you what. There's trouble in River City. (Note, this is a paraphrase. The original was more lengthy, and, in my notes, I didn't capture Reilly's exact phrasing).

(The nuggets: Pictures of Sean Carpenter holding an "I love Gitmo" sign and a sign that reads "Compared to be-headings, waterboarding is just good, clean, fun!!!" A John Wingerter quote - during a WCASB candidates' forum earlier this year, Wingerter was recorded saying he believes students should know that research is being done into Intelligent Design.)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish Jim Reilly had a better broadway background. "We've go trouble right here in River City" is not from the Sound of Music, it is from the MUSIC MAN!
Keep working on politics....we can't be good at everything.

November 29, 2009 9:36 AM 

Post a Comment

<< Home