Here we are, 10 days before the primary, and the Northampton County Executive and Bethlehem Mayoral races are still in doubt.
That's right, I said that they are still in doubt. Lets begin with the County Executive race.
If it were held today, I predict somewhere between 18,500 and 21,500 Democrats will vote in the race. That would be at least 3000 more than voted in the Stoffa/Reibman race in 2005. If it were held today, Callahan would get 38% (between 7030 and 8170 votes), McClure 34% (between 6290 and 7110 votes), and Reibman 28% (Between 5180 and 6020 votes).
With ten days left, there is still a great deal of room for any of the three to either fall back or surge ahead. I think the race is Callahan's to lose. The problem for me is that when I look at the overall picture, I see Reibman and Callahan engaging in a campaign of mutual assured destruction. Their numerous negative attacks on one another reminds me of the adage that "If you set out on revenge, you should dig two graves."
The tactics have allowed Councilman Lamont McClure to quietly plow forward into contention. Someone pointed out to me last week that McClure and Reibman were getting savaged in the local blogosphere. I responded that I would bet less than one percent of the participating voters in Northampton had ever read my blog, let alone certain others. Of the 20,000 likely voters in the Dem primary, Even if 5% ever read one of the blogs covering the Council race, that would be 1000 voters, and do you really think that many people read all these blogs? I give a few blogs that kind of credit, but not mine. That's why when people cry foul over my presentation of Scott Ott's own dysfunctional blog ravings, I laugh at them. They doth protest too much.
What really matters In Northampton is the continued negative mail and media campaign. It has made a psychological impression on the race. I can't help but wonder if a chunk of voters goes to he polls, looks at the choices and votes for the guy that has the least negatives. That gives McClure a shot on election day. It is never over until all the votes are counted, and while we can make educated guesses, if we were educated by idiots (the candidates themselves), there's a chance any guess is idiotic.
Now moving on to the Bethlehem Mayoral race between Willie Reynolds and Bob Donchez.
In 2005, the last time John Callahan had a challenger, 3850 voter participated in Bethlehem, and Callahan won with 2300+ votes. In 2009, Callahan was unopposed, and only received 2300 votes.
Bethlehem's population and registration has stayed fairly static in the last decade, so I feel pretty sure that even with several high profile issues locally, (Garbage fees/Casino payments/budget shenanigans) Bethlehem City turnout by Democrats will not exceed 4000 voters.
My personal algorithm has Donchez winning with 53% of the vote, but that was before Reynolds got a much publicized endorsement from the local paper. I can't ignore that Bethlehem has a recent track record of electing young progressives as their mayors. Reynolds would fit right in behind Don Cunningham and John Callahan. All logic says he should not win, but sometimes logic has to be defied. I think Reynolds has the momentum and will win by a narrow margin Not 500 votes, how about 50?