Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro will visit with Bucks County voters in Newtown on Tuesday to support local candidates and to convey the tremendous significance of this year’s municipal elections.
Bucks County, one of the most purple areas in Pennsylvania, has long been considered a bellwether by political pundits. However, this year’s county commissioner race is drawing heightened attention.
“As Pennsylvania goes, so goes the presidential race in 2024. And as Bucks County goes, Pennsylvania will go,” State Senator Steve Santarsiero, chair of the Bucks County Democratic Party, told Politico.
In 2019, Democrats secured the majority of commissioner seats for the first time in more than thirty years. Since assuming office, Diane Marseglia and Bob Harvie have made significant investments in law enforcement, and provided critical funding for the Sheriff’s Department, to ensure the safety of Bucks County residents.
The incumbents inherited an $8 million budget deficit from their Republican predecessors and successfully balanced the budget without raising taxes. Additionally, the Commissioners were instrumental in stopping the sale of the County’s sewer system to a for-profit corporation that would have caused service rates to soar.
Both Commissioners are strong advocates of reproductive health care. The County is “one of a handful of county governments and roughly two dozen city governments to sign onto a court filing to protect access to abortion pill mifepristone,” wrote Tom Sofield in Levittown Now.
“Governor Shapiro joins us in Bucks County to support Bob and Diane’s re-election as County Commissioners. His visit emphasizes the importance of their re-election since whichever party wins this November, will control the voting process in Bucks in 2024,” said Jordan Abelson, Communication Director for the campaign.
The commissioner race is not the only hotly contested political campaign in the election. Culture wars surrounding public education have exploded across Bucks County and include Pennsylvania’s largest school district Central Bucks and neighboring district Pennridge.
In 2021, supporters of the far-right anti-government group Moms For Liberty commandeered a majority of board seats in both districts and Democrats are determined to oust them.
Judicial races for seats on Pennsylvania’s Supreme, Superior, Commonwealth and Common Pleas courts are also on the ballot and also hold the potential to greatly influence Pennsylvania’s future.
Following the 2020 election, numerous voting-related lawsuits were filed with outcomes decided by the courts.
Sample ballots for Tuesday’s races in the county are available on the Bucks County Board of Elections website.
Shapiro is scheduled to arrive at 3 Terry Drive in Newtown at 11:30 a.m., and the event is open to the public.