Blogs > Daily Local Dan

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

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Interesting primary election results

In case you missed it, West Chester Borough Councilwoman Carolyn Comitta won the Republican and Democratic mayoral primaries.

Chester County Director of Voter Services Jim Forsythe tells me that she will appear on the ballot only once. This is unfortunate. I was hoping for a showdown between Comitta the Republican and Comitta the Democrat.

Another strange thing happened on Tuesday: Two Democrats were the top vote-getters in the West Chester Area School Board primary. Sue Tiernan and Sue Carty got more than 4,000 votes each. Republicans Sean Carpenter and John Wingerter came in third and fourth, respectively. All four candidates were cross-filed. To determine their rankings, I've added the Republican and Democratic votes they each received.

This is further evidence of the rift in the local Republican Party: In the WCASD, more Republicans than Democrats voted, but more Republicans voted for Democrats than Democrats for Republicans. Which is a confusing way of saying: Carpenter received 469 Democratic votes, and Wingerter received 466. Meanwhile, Carty received 2,004 Republican votes, and Tiernan received 1,865.

Until the end of 2008, Carty was a Republican. When I asked her why she changed parties, she said it was "A Sarah Palin thing." Tiernan, who describes herself as a lifelong Democrat, is campaigning on what Republicans would call "a message of fiscal discipline" (That's not what she calls it. She just says that the district's finances aren't in good shape.) These candidates are not, or are not presenting themselves as, liberals.

Meanwhile, Carpenter, the top Republican vote-getter, is doing his best to suppress some rather embarrassing pictures of him that are travelling from inbox to inbox. One shows him holding an "I love Gitmo" sign. The other shows him holding a sign that says "Compared to be-headings, waterboarding is just good, clean, fun!!!" The local Republican Party is also doing its best to find and confiscate these photos. I'm told that the images are copyrighted, which means they cannot be used freely on political flyers. E-mail transmission, though, is impossible to control. (I'm not posting them here because, if they are copyrighted, I'd likely be the first target in the lawsuit.)

Wingerter has come under Democratic fire for a comment he made at a May 3 League of Women Voters forum: when he was asked about intelligent design, he did not flatly condemn it, but neither did he say he would seek to make it part of the science curriculum. The Democrats are trying to make the argument that he would.

Here's the picture that emerges: For the first time in recent WCASD history, the Democrats are ahead and the Republicans are on the defensive. But the Democrats are ... Republicans?

Which makes the school board race is a microcosmic version of Pat Toomy versus Arlen Specter.

(Note: The success of the Democratic school board candidates with Republican voters cannot be attributed to Comitta's deceptive Republican sample ballot. That ballot only went to voters in the borough, which makes up a small portion of the school district. Additionally, only 124 Republicans wrote in Comitta's name. Fewer, I'm sure, took her misleading ballot seriously.)


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Comitta is likely to be West Chester's new mayor

West Chester had a Philadelphia-style mayoral primary today. Two Democrats were running. No Republicans were running. And the borough's Republican leadership has said it is unlikely a Republican mayoral candidate will emerge between now and November.

Since Carolyn Comitta beat Bill Scott in the Democratic primary, she will, in all likelihood, be the next mayor.

Barring a quixotic, off-the-ballot run by Scott or a vicious recount.

Here are the unofficial returns.

Comitta: 515 votes, or 50.99 percent

Scott: 492 votes, or 48.71 percent

Now, the mystery result:

Republican write-in: 236, or 100 percent.

Both candidates said they would try to get Republicans to write them in, although only Comitta appears to have targeted campaign literature to Republicans (see last post).

I am extremely curious to know who these write-in candidates were. Will Carolyn end up on the Republican ballot too? Will Scott, a diehard Democrat, find that he is now running as a Republican?

Labels: , ,

Tricky, tricky

Although both Democratic candidates for West Chester mayor talked last week about trying to get Republicans to write them in - there are no Republican mayoral candidates, so whoever gets the most Republicans to write them in will end up on the Republican ballot in November - it appears only Carolyn Comitta went through with this plan. Here's her "sample ballot.

But look at the bottom of the ballot! Comitta has recommended that Republicans vote for all four of the Democratic School Board candidates - even Lisa Samuel, who was not on the Republican ballot. The other three Democrats cross-filed, which means their names appeared on both the Republican and Democratic primary ballots.

I wonder if any Rs took the bait. One didn't: Matt Holliday, a Republican and Comitta supporter, was handing out these ballots. But he was ripping the bottom portion off, so that Republicans would not get confused. The other Comitta campaign workers I encountered today (all Democrats) left the bottom portion on.

There seemed to be few Republicans at West Chester Borough polls (I'll check the official numbers once the returns come in). And most of the ones I talked to said that they did not plan to write in a Democrat's name for mayor. Still, I wonder of Comitta will be able to get herself on the Republican ballot.