Republicans face reversal of fortune in Montgomery County

"Montgomery County Courthouse Pennsylvania (Photo by Douglas Muth/Flickr licensed under Creative Commons via WikiMedia Commons)

Labor Day typically marks the beginning of the fall campaign season. As the battle for control of the three-member Montgomery County Commission in suburban Philadelphia gets under way, Democrats find themselves in a strange circumstance: heavily favored.

“Montgomery County was dominated by Republicans for a century and a half,” said Muhlenberg College political scientist Christopher Borick.

Four years ago, Democrats won control of the commission for the first time ever, and incumbent Democratic Commissioners Josh Shapiro and Valerie Arkoosh are well-known, well-funded, and running for re-election.

The well-known Republican on the panel, Bruce Castor, is declining to seek another term and is instead running for district attorney.

The county’s political profile has gradually shifted, and Democrats now hold a 46,000-voter edge in party registration. Neither of the Republicans candidates, Steve Tolbert and Joseph Gale, have ever run in a county wide race. Republicans say the race is winnable, but this time, it seems they’re running uphill.

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