Despite busy election season, Lehigh Valley seemingly overlooked by candidates ahead of primary election | Lehigh Valley Regional News
The Valley, despite a very crowded field for Governor and U.S. Senate, hasn’t been prime primary campaign ground for candidates, aside from a January Lehigh County stop by GOP Senate hopeful Dave McCormick, a Dr. Oz Business Matters appearance, and a Muhlenberg College Senate Democrat debate.
“One of our great strengths in a general election might be considered a weakness in terms of attracting many visitors to the Valley in a primary season,” said political pundit Chris Borick.
Borick adds that’s the Valley’s moderate mentality, whether you’re voting left or right. This has made the Lehigh Valley a key swing district for both national and statewide races in the general election, but not as much in primaries.
“Republicans are going to places in central Pennsylvania, Lancaster and York counties where they have the highest Republican turnout in the state. Democrats often flock to the southwest Pittsburgh area or Philadelphia,” said Republican strategist Sam Chen.
Chen thinks it’s a mistake not making the Valley a key stop in primaries, as it sets candidates up better in the fall for the general election.
“In a crowded race you have to find voters where they are and ignoring the Lehigh Valley is a dangerous move,” Chen added.
“Campaigns are changing,” said Chairman of Lehigh County’s Democratic Committee Ed Hozza.
He says social media influence coupled with COVID has many candidates rethinking where their physical footprint has to land, especially in a state that can take five to six hours to cross.
“It remains to be seen how his plays out. I would definitely make a visit to the Lehigh Valley,” he said.
Hozza adds if the primaries were open, where independents could vote, the primary season would look a lot different locally, as candidates would have to appeal to a broader audience.
“If you are feeling a little bit neglected in visits during the primary season, hold tight, you’ll probably see lots of visits in the fall,” Borick added.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Lou Barletta’s team said they plan on making three high-profile stops in the Valley between now and the May 17 primary.
Democrat Senate Candidate John Fetterman’s team says he plans on coming to the Valley this upcoming weekend and will have a town hall with the United Steel Workers Union.
The campaign manager for Republican candidate for governor Nche Zama said they’ve done 10 events in the Valley, but admit without a high-profile name he can fly under the radar.