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Charles Meredith: Unusual voter turnout


Dear Friends,

Good morning. Is Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick next? (To lose an election, that is.) After last week’s stunning loss for the Republican-led Bucks County Board of Commissioners, political pundits are questioning whether Fitzpatrick has a target on his back?

Fitzpatrick needs to look no further than his older brother, Michael, who was turned out of office by a Democratic wave led at the time by Gov. Ed Rendell.

Former Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick lost to Patrick Murphy in 2006. His brother (Congressman Brian) needs to revisit what happened to his older brother 13 years ago. The moral of that story is: Who-ever leads the ticket at the state or national level surely influences what happens locally.

Brian Fitzpatrick must know that President Trump is toxic …especially in the suburbs. The Democratic Party chairs in the four Philadelphia suburban counties (Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery) should be thrilled with the results. Chairman John Cordisco (Bucks), Dick Bingham (Chester), Colleen Quinly (Delaware), and Joseph Foster (Montgomery) should send roses to President Trump.

Suburban counties all across America protested this president by sending Democrats to replace Republicans in leadership positions … from governors and state legislators to county commissioners.

In a few weeks, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick will demonstrate his relationship to Donald Trump. I have no doubt that the House of Representatives will vote to impeach the president. There are enough Democratic congressmen to ensure that result.

How will Brian Fitzpatrick vote? In my opinion, he should vote to impeach the president for two reasons. First, President Trump deserves to be expelled. He tried to “shake down” the Ukrainian government. Second, Fitzpatrick could demonstrate his independence and that he is no longer a Trump Republican.

Should Fitzpatrick vote against Trump’s impeachment, I predict that our congressman will lose his reelection bid next year.

Last, the election not only turned the Bucks County government over to the Democrats, it also denied any commissioner representation from Middle and Upper Bucks County. All three winners are residents from Lower Bucks townships: Diane Ellis-Marseglia is from Middletown Township; her fellow Democrat (Bob Harvie) is from Falls Township; and the lone Republican (Gene DiGirolamo) is from Bensalem Township.

The registration swing from Republican to Democratic has also been remarkable. When I was a Bucks County commissioner in the 1960s and ’70s, the GOP held a 40,000-vote advantage. Today, the Democrats have an 11,000 registration edge. That’s a swing of 51,000 votes.

Finally, what caused the unusual strong voter turnout? It exceeded 68 percent. In recent years, Bucks County municipal election turnouts ranged from 30 to 40 percent. Why was the turnout so heavy? I think voters wanted to send President Tump a message.

It will be fascinating to see what happens in 2020. How will Brian Fitzpatrick vote on impeachment day? Stay tuned.

Sincerely, Charles Meredith

By the way, Karen Bliss, formerly of Quakertown and presently a resident of Hilltown Township was inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame at the University of California (Davis) last weekend. Three were chosen. Karen was the only female.

The former president of Fuji Bike Manufacturing, Karen was surrounded on the winners platform by her husband (Bob Jellen), parents Bobby and Larry Bliss, two aunts and a cousin.

Here’s the email that Karen sent to me: “It was a fun weekend. We had a cocktail reception at the museum on Friday, a 35-mile bike ride on Saturday and the ceremony on Saturday night.

“All went smoothly ... except that on Saturday, I lost my voice. It was absolutely crazy. I was raspy and it got worse and worse throughout the day. So, at the last minute, I asked four of my friends who were in the stories I was going to tell, to come up to the podium with me and tell their version of the story. They all did it and it was amazing.”

Karen Bliss is a four-time U.S. Points race champion and a three-time U.S. criterium champion. Her dad (Larry Bliss) still rides several times each week.