Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Republicans seek to maintain power in Delco

After decades of Republican rule, Democrats now hold a slight registration advantage in Delaware County. But GOP names will dominate the ballot in the primary election for county judgeships and council.

After decades of Republican rule, Democrats now hold a slight registration advantage in Delaware County. But GOP names will dominate the ballot in the primary election for county judgeships and council.

No Democrat has ever been elected a county judge, and Republicans are trying to make sure that streak remains unbroken.

Since the Republican judicial candidates have exercised their rights to cross-file for the three available seats, their names will appear under both party headings. Only two actual Democrats are running, and they did not cross-file.

As for the County Council, no names will appear on the Democratic side in the races for three available seats. The candidates were excluded from the primary ballot on technicalities, so they will have to rely on write-in votes to win nominations.

In the judicial races, voters will see the names of five candidates bearing the label "Democrat." But only attorneys Larry Abel and Lawrence DeMarco are actually Democrats.

The cross-filing Republicans are Dominic F. Pileggi, a longtime county power broker and state senator who was ousted as majority leader in November; Margaret Amoroso, an assistant county solicitor; and Anthony D. Scanlon, a sitting county judge appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett in July and running for a full 10-year team.

Since the Democrats are fielding only two candidates, at least one Republican is assured of winning both parties' nominations.

Republicans have made an issue of the fact that neither Abel nor DeMarco participated in the Delaware County Bar Association ratings survey. The Democrats said they begged off because they believe the association to be Republican-dominated.

After the association sent out ballots to its 1,065 members with the candidates' biographical information, the group Lawyers for Pileggi sent letters to all 1,065 urging them to vote for the senator. That letter was signed by two past Bar Association presidents.

But it was by no means an association endorsement, said William Baldwin, its executive director.

"We have no control over how the political parties use the results," Baldwin said.

The survey process has been "a popularity contest for years," said David Landau, the county Democratic chairman.

Democrats say they want a change to the process to include interviews and evaluations, something already in place in Philadelphia and other counties.

Andrew Reilly, the county's Republican chairman, countered that Abel and DeMarco were wrong to eschew the survey.

"It's unfair for the Democrats to duck it and just subject the Republicans to the analysis," he said.

He said that GOP candidates would participate in any survey form, adding that all of them received "well-qualified" ratings.

In the race for the three County Council seats, Republican incumbents Colleen P. Morrone of Concord Township; John P. McBlain of Aldan Borough; and Michael Culp of Springfield Township are on the ticket.

Culp was appointed by the five-member Republican council to fill the seat of Tom McGarrigle, who left after winning election to the state Senate.

Three Democrats - Sharon Booker of Sharon Hill, Christine Reuther of Wallingford, and Richard Womack of Darby Township - are mounting write-in campaigns. Jack Evans of Norwood dropped out of the race. Evans, Reuther, and Womack were stricken from the ballot in March after it was found they filed ethics forms with the wrong county office.

Each will need 250 votes to appear on the fall ballot, according to Landau.

610-313-8111

@MariSchaefer