New Castle News

John K. Manna

November 14, 2011

John K. Manna: Elections always go the way the majority intended

NEW CASTLE — I’ve always emphasized that there is no such thing as an upset in elections.

People may be surprised by election results because they expected a different outcome, but upsets do not occur because there is no way of knowing how people may vote on election day.

When the results in Tuesday’s general election in Lawrence County were posted, some people expressed surprise that county Commissioner Rick DeBlasio lost his re-election bid.

After all, he was the top votegetter in the May primary by a wide margin. And being a Democrat in a county where more than half the registered voters are Democrats, DeBlasio appeared to be one of the three who would be elected on Tuesday.

Instead, the two Republican candidates, Commissioner Dan Vogler and Bob Del Signore, led the way, with Commissioner Steve Craig, a Democrat, picking up the third and final spot.

Vogler and Del Signore made the biggest gains in vote counts from the primary to the general election. Del Signore picked up nearly 5,200 votes and Vogler 4,730 votes.

Craig gained about 3,460 votes while DeBlasio was last in that category, picking up approximately 2,120 additional votes.

It’s impossible to know where the additional votes came from: People who voted in the primary for other candidates or people who voted only in the general election? The best guess is that it was a combination of both. Some of those who didn’t vote for Craig or DeBlasio in the primary were sending a message that they wanted a change.

The outcome of the commissioners race also kept a longstanding record intact. An entire board of commissioners has failed to gain re-election for more than 40 years.

Another race of interest was for New Castle City Council in which all three Democratic candidates won. This, despite the fact that one of the winners, Gary Mitchell, is prohibited from serving because was convicted of a felony. The state Supreme Court identifies a felony as an infamous crime. Pennsylvania’s constitution bars anyone convicted of an infamous crime from serving in elective office.

Based on the Democratic registration advantage in the city of about 3-to-1, this was no surprise. If people have been skeptical about how difficult it is for a Republican to win city office, Tuesday’s election should be convincing.

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