Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Race Heats Up For The 24th

There's a new buzz in Montgomery County politics. Senator Wonderling's departure to join the private sector has opened the door for his seat in the 24th PA Senatorial district to become a hotbed of activity over the past few days. Three well-known local pols have been mentioned by the big three local papers, The Times Herald, The Inquirer and the Intelligencer.

The "three" possible candidates? State Rep Bob Mensch has declared, democrat Jim Maza is considering the possibility, and lastly, none other than Republican County Commissioner, Bruce L. Castor, Jr. has shown some interest in running for the open seat. This all hinges on whether or not Senate President Pro-Tempore, Joseph Scarnati III decides whether to hold a special election or leave the seat vacant until the 2011 election.

Amongst all of the hoopla concerning the "race" for the vacant Wonderling seat is one underlying factor...who will replace Bruce Castor in Norristown, if he decides to run and wins?
We'll get to that later...

Castor had this to say to Keith Phucas in today's Times Herald:

“I’ve always enjoyed helping people, and that’s why I worked in the district attorney’s office,” he said. “I’m most satisfied when I’m solving people’s problems, but I’m unable to have an effect because of my minority commissioner status.”

With a Republican majority in the state Senate, Castor thinks his fiscally conservative views would find favor. He called the current Senate the “last bastion” against Gov. Rendell and the growing number of Democrats in the state Legislature.

“I’d like to be a part of the Senate, if the (Republican) party deems me the appropriate candidate,” he said.
As for Castor's replacement (should he run and win) I'm sure Matthews and Hoeffel are looking for a doormat, but who does the party choose?

Unfortunately, that's putting the cart before the horse and I'll cover that in a later post. Of course, The Turd is totally behind Castor (officially) entering the race. He is quoted in today's Inquirer (at

Yesterday, Matthews said he believed Castor would have "an excellent chance" of maintaining Republican control of Wonderling's Senate seat.

"That would be very, very good for the party," Matthews said.

Should Castor leave for the Senate, Matthews said, he likely would continue his bipartisan agreement with Hoeffel.

"There's a greater potential for more unanimous votes," Matthews said.

Right. Matthews backing Castor. And I have some swampland in Florida and a bridge in Brooklyn that I'd like to sell you...

But would this give Jimbo the opportunity to strengthen his ties with Hoeffel and garner more "unanimous votes"? I doubt it. Of course, that depends on two things...that Bruce Castor is actually running and who the nod goes to to replace Commissioner Castor.

Thus far, Castor hasn't tipped his hand as to whether or not he's running for the seat. He's "considering the possibility" but hasn't made a firm decision as of this post.

So, who else is vying for this seat? The first to declare was State Representative Bob Mensch, who represents the 147th district here in Montgomery County. Also interested is Democrat Jim Maza, who now holds the post of deputy chief operating officer, a position that gives him great power in Montgomery County, thanks to JimTurd's alliance with Hoeffle.

In an interview with The Intelligencer's Margaret Gibbons, Maza had this to say:

I have always been interested in the state Senate and will continue with the discussions but I really like the job I have now," said Maza. "I have always wanted to be a public servant who makes a difference and both of these jobs allow me to do that.

Boring. (State Rep Robert Freeman of Easton has also expressed interest, so Maza may have a challenge on the "d" side)

Of the three papers reporting this morning, only Keith Phucas (of the Times Herald) reported on Mensch this morning:

Mensch, 63, is serving his third term in the state House. The Pennsburg native has lived in Marlborough Township since 1975. He worked at AT&T for 28 years before entering politics.

For more than 25 years he’s been a member of the Upper Montgomery Republican Club, which he served as chairman.

Mensch believes becoming a senator would help advance his legislative priorities of job creation, economic development, health care reform and tax code simplification.

“I see an opportunity to expand on what I’ve done,” he said.

In the past, the state politician supported Castor, but is now ready to take him on in the 24th District race.

“I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t expect to win,” Mensch said.

So, the questions that are left hanging are this...will Castor run, will Maza run, and will there be a contested Republican race for this seat? I'm sure that all three questions will be answered before this week comes to a close.

I, for one, am excited that another dimension has been added to the ballot for November's general election. Judges, municipal races and now this special election...We'll sure be a busy lot over the next few months.

Gentlemen, enjoy the ride. Friends, judicial races notwithstanding, this'll be the one to watch.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget about Jay Moyer...he wants it too.

Bill Shaw said...

I like Jay...alot.

If Mensch and Castor are in for the long haul, Jay can't win.

Again, I like Jay, alot.


Anonymous said...

Jay doesn't stand a chance. I like him too, but he is not the ideal candidate. Unfortunately he doesn't recognize that.

Anonymous said...

We Need Bruce down at the CourtHouse and then he can run For Att General After Tom Corbett becomes Governor. GOPGAL Jay is a good man and a loyal republican but seems like Mensch and Castor are taking the front seats

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