Frank A. Bixler
SC Contributing Writer
The energy was palpable in the River Room at the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort on election night. Dozens of Monroe county residents and Republican lawmakers were gathered together for the election night ritual of watching the results pour in through the airwaves.
Throughout the crowded ballroom, televisions were set up to instantly announce the results of each election throughout the nation, but few took notice as the general din of the room drowned out the voices of the news reporters.
The minds of all those present were focused on the election results for four specific Republican candidates running for local offices this election cycle. David Parker, co-owner of Cramer’s Home Building Center, was running against East Stroudsburg University professor Maureen Madden for the 115th State House District.
Rosemary Brown was running to maintain her seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 189th district for a second term against her challenger Liz Forrest, who also ran against Brown during the 2012 election cycle.
Along with Brown, Jack Radar, a 28-year Jackson Township Supervisor, was running for the recently vacated 176th State House seat of Mario Scavello, who was also running for a newly created 40th District State Senate seat, a seat which for the first time in Monroe County history would encompass a majority consisting of the county’s 17 out of 20 townships.
This has marked an important development for this region, which has traditionally been split up between four to five different Senate Districts, severely undermining this rapidly expanding region’s influence in the Pennsylvania State Senate.
With four state seats up for grabs, the members of the Monroe county Republican party were bursting with optimism. Few doubted that the four local candidates would win during this election cycle.
On top of the usual campaign strategies of mailing out flyers and airing television commercials, several of the candidates and their staff members had engaged in an aggressive door-knocking campaign to spread their campaign message during the months leading up to the election.
David Parker alone, Mario Scavello would brag to the audience later that evening, had “… somehow found time in his busy work schedule to still get out and knock on the doors of at least ten thousand residents!”
Such aggressive grassroots campaigning had distinguished these candidates from their Democratic challengers, endearing them to a still very much rural region whose residents continue to appreciate such personal campaigning efforts.
Around nine o’clock that evening, barely an hour after the polls had closed, the results began to pour in. It quickly became clear that Mario Scavello would comfortably coast into the newly created Senate seat with what would turn out to be almost sixty percent of the electorate’s votes.
As the audience patiently awaited the other candidates’ results while nibbling away on hors d’oeuvres and sipping Shawnee Craft beers, the results of the closely watched Pennsylvania gubernatorial race were announced. While only seventy percent of the districts had reported their election results, it was already obvious that incumbent Governor Tom Corbett had lost to his Democratic challenger, Tom Wolf.
Corbett had now become the first Pennsylvania Governor to lose a bid for reelection since the Commonwealth began to allow the chief executive to run for a second term forty years ago.
Corbett’s unpopularity is believed to have stemmed mainly from his failure to institute a tax on the rapidly expanding hydraulic fracking industry across the Commonwealth and his reluctance to make up the billion dollars in stimulus funding from the federal government that ran out recently which was previously used by the Commonwealth to fund education. However, the common criticism amongst Republicans present at the River Room that evening towards their defeated Governor was of his public reticence.
“Corbett has done many good things during his term, like close the huge hole in the state budget left to him by ex-Governor Rendell,” said Tom Fraber, a Monroe County resident. “Problem is the public doesn’t realize this because he’s not much of a politician. He rarely spoke publicly of the issues he was tackling till the last month before the election when he realized he had a good chance of not getting re-elected, by which point it was too late.”
However, Corbett’s defeat failed to tamp down the bustling optimism of the assembled Republicans. As the last of the county’s townships reported their results, it became clear that all four local Republican candidates had easily coasted to victory.
The bustling crowd toasted and cheered to the news that for the first time in decades, Monroe County would be represented in both the State House and State Senate by a unified block of Republican candidates under the leadership of their senior statesman, Mario Scavello. And as Mario’s laughing granddaughter pulled the string to release the celebratory balloons on the candidates, all assembled already began to turn their minds to 2016 and the next election cycle.
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