A status report on the candidates

Latest in a series of posts on candidates for election

How’s the candidate pool for the May 18 election shaping up?

It’s early yet.

Candidates have until March 9 to formally file to run in the May 18 primary.

About a month from now.

Plenty of time for others to show up, but candidates do have to allow enough time to collect the proper number of signatures to accompany their filing paperwork.

Gadfly focuses narrowly on the Bethlehem City elective positions, Mayor and City Council.

Here are the slates the Bethlehem City Democratic Committee recently put out:

Mayor

Dana Grubb
Willie Reynolds

City Council (4 seats)

Bryan Callahan
Grace Crampsie Smith
Hillary Kwiatek
Adam Waldron

Gadfly hasn’t heard anything about Republican candidates.

So, good, we have competition for Mayor. And there’s the further possibility that Councilman Callahan might enter the race (see below).

But four candidates for four Council slots is not good. (Two-term current Councilwoman Negron is not running again.) At the moment, no competition.

In these pages Gadfly has several times asked rhetorically “Where are the Republicans?”

Along that line of thinking, he happened yesterday by chance to come across Nicole Radzievich’s “Why Republican challengers are scarce in Bethlehem, Easton” article from a few years ago.

“Bethlehem, which has had two Republican mayors, and had split councils decades ago, has been run by a Democratic mayor and council the last 20 years,” Gadfly learned, “The last time Republicans ran a full slate of council candidates was 2011, and the last Republican to run for mayor was in 2003.”

Interesting.

More interesting and more indicative of the kind of thinking that demonstrates why Gadfly could never be a politician was the idea that Republicans were actually discouraging candidates in Lehigh Valley cities in order to focus on the suburbs.

Go figure.

Noteworthy, as Gadfly has pointed out several times in these pages, Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance has been looking to recruit candidates for Mayor and Council.

Just yesterday it was, Gadfly believes, that LVGNA identified Councilman Callahan as a candidate to support for Mayor and sought its followers to put some pressure on the Councilman to run.

Ouch.

Gadfly would welcome Councilman Callahan in the mayoral race. Gadfly likes the idea of competition. And even a cursory Bethlehem government watcher knows that the Councilman’s views would clash in many respects with the other two contenders.

But, frankly, if Gadfly were Councilman Callahan, an endorsement from LVGNA is not one that he would particularly welcome.

Gadfly is invigorated by many of the posts on the LVGNA facebook page, but in the post soliciting their followers to nudge Councilman Callahan, LVGNA includes their “coffee cup” brochure that Gadfly found a pretty sorry and low specimen of political argument. Not the kind of political discourse we or the world needs more of at this cultural moment.

Gadfly has had significant problems with some of LVGNA’s positions and style, and he hopes Councilman Callahan would not become associated with them.

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