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With All Eyes on Central Bucks School Board Race, Don’t Sleep on the Doylestown Township Supervisors Election

Most folks don’t know that the same extremist movement overwhelming our school boards is also gunning for municipal roles.
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On Tuesday, tens of thousands of votes will be cast here in Bucks County, and as many are aware, the Central Bucks School Board has been dominating the news cycle. While I am heavily invested in the outcome of these five races that will determine the future of my alma mater district, the race that I believe we need to pay attention to and will prove to be a bellwether for the countywide elections is not a school board race – it is the race for the Doylestown Township Board of Supervisors.

Doylestown Township arguably represents the most swing-y municipality in the swing county of Bucks County. Having nearly an even split of R/D registration and a large Independent population, Doylestown Township is a microcosm of the Pennsylvania electorate. Shifts since the 2016 Presidential Election have suggested that the area is turning bluer, however the Doylestown Township Board of Supervisors has never been controlled by a majority of Democrats in the recorded history of the municipality. Tuesday, Democratic incumbent Jennifer Herring and candidate Judy Dixon have the opportunity to flip control for the first time ever.

I think we have all become accustomed to the constant lunacy of school boards across Bucks County, as well as the nation, but most folks don’t know that the same extremist movement overwhelming our school boards is gunning for municipal roles. In fact, this is where they started but they had the benefit of a veiled attack on local municipal boards for a variety of reasons including a general apathy towards local governance.

READ: Democratic Bucks County Commissioners Are Running on Their Record of Accomplishments and Bipartisanship

I would say it’s funny or ironic, but it is extremely alarming that the same people who pride themselves in representing the principles of conservatism and small government have embraced weaponizing and undermining our institutions through methods of authoritarianism and heavy-handed opposition to popular consent. The extremist Republican candidates running for these two seats have welcomed the support of current Supervisor Nancy Santacecilia who has spewed vitriolic rhetoric since being elected to the board in 2019. Why would they welcome the support of someone who spews “great replacement theory” lies? Why would they welcome the support of someone who attacks our teachers with utter nonsense? And why have they all concluded that Doylestown Township shouldn’t be investing in its future? The answer here is that they don’t have a real platform and they don’t believe in governance that is for the good of the people.

Herring and Dixon both support investing in vital infrastructure, environmental consciousness, and sustainability, and standing up for the safety of all residents of Doylestown Township alike. Not only that, but they are also supported by a bipartisan coalition of leaders in Bucks County, including Democratic Supervisor Dan Wood and Republican Supervisor Barbara Lyons.

READ: There Is A Civil War Inside the Bucks County Republican Party

The way I see it, if both Herring and Dixon win on Tuesday, it is signal that the Central Bucks School Board could be flipped to Democratic control since both Rick Haring (candidate in Region 6) and Susan Gibson (candidate in Region 8) have voting precincts in Doylestown Township and the 3 remaining races for CBSD have a not to dissimilar demographic make up to Doylestown Township as a whole. And historically, in 2019, I ran for this seat with Dan Wood and came up 38 votes short, but Diane Marseglia and Bob Harvie won the majority on the Bucks County Commissioners board. So, if Herring and Dixon win, I believe that Democrats across the board will have a great Tuesday night or Wednesday morning when the results come in.

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Connor OHanlon

Connor OHanlon, CPA, is host of the Greater Society Podcast, Chair of the Doylestown Democrats, Director of Candidate Development for the Bucks County Democratic Committee, and EMPA Program Representative for the LPS Government at UPenn.

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