Why Pennsylvania is in play
More is afoot in Pennsylvania politics than President Trump’s rally in Montoursville, Pennsylvania and Republican Fred Keller’s sky-high congressional victory margin.
Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania, a political district that includes the high-profile King of Prussia area, a seemingly forever Republican powerhouse that was transformed over the past two decades into a monolithic Democratic town, may have witnessed the political winds starting to shift once again.
Over the last few years under monolithic Democrat rule, King of Prussia (KOP) has experienced such runaway explosive growth that it is now defined as an edge city -- a suburb experiencing more growth than Philadelphia, the major city to which it is geographically attached. This growth has created mounting traffic problems, a heated dispute over the introduction of light rail, and a fundamental clash between the quality-of-life interests of longtime residents and those of the ever-expanding and encroaching business community.
The Upper Merion Board of Supervisors is run by five Democrats. Recently, one resigned. The Democratic Party endorsed candidate Carlton Stuart, a politically connected young man who sits on the Board of the Transit Authority.
In a rare dispute, the endorsed candidate was opposed by Democrat incumbent Tina Garzillo, a local businesswoman with a history of community involvement. Ms. Garzillo was appointed to complete the resignee’s term. However, while Garzillo was appointed to the Supervisory Board, during her previous candidacy for Upper Merion Tax Collector, she pulled out of the race when it was disclosed she had problems with the IRS.
Not content to let the public decide, the local Democratic Party attempted to pull an illegal con game. They created a digital ad and illegally attributed it to the unopposed Republican primary candidate, Mike Napolitan -- a highly respected longtime community member and geologist. Illegally, they affixed his photo to the ad and stated it was paid for by “Friends of Mike Napolitan.” The party line was that a Republican friend had shown them purported “intel” from Mike’s campaign for the November general election, to be used against Garzillo if she were to win the primary. Translation: vote for Carlton or we lose in November.
Apparently swept away with their own hubris, bigmouth Democratic committee people showed it at the polls, not only to their constituents, but also to some Republican Committee-people -- who, not knowing the ad was a fake, were concerned about a spy in their organization.
Mike Napolitan was immediately notified, the ad was widely exposed on Election Day as a fraud, Garzillo won handily and the fraudulent digital ad is being investigated by Montgomery County Voter Services and the district attorney’s office. Since both are run by Democrats, those outcomes will be interesting.
Napolitan is also opening a case with the Pennsylvania State Election Board.
Lynne Lechter is a practicing attorney in Philadelphia, an Upper Merion Republican CommitteeWoman, and a member of the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee.