Primary Hangover

Hey! So yesterday was really incredible: both inspiring and exhausting. I've spent the majority of my adult life deeply (perhaps strangely?) fascinated with how our government functions, at all levels. I've made phone calls for candidates, knocked thousands of doors, stood in a sea of people at rallies, been the only resident in rooms where boards discussed issues like spot variances and wetland conservation, organized with other community members online and in person, and created forums where candidates fielded questions from constituents. 

Yesterday was the first time I got to participate in the process as a candidate myself. From 7am-8pm (with a few short candy breaks) I got to meet hundreds of voters who came out to participate in our Primary. Throughout the day I greeted people who knew who were happy to just say hello and others who had very specific questions. Before and after school/work, Rose and Lori and our kids came. I was so proud to have them there and It was an invaluable opportunity to get the kids excited about civic engagement and see how the process works. Finally-I got to witness the hard work behind the scenes of the folks who run our elections. 

IMG_0486.jpg

I want to take a second on this last point: being a poll worker is a relatively thankless job, but folks like Yvette, Ellen, Mimi, Ron, Mary, Wendy, Dave, Jeff, Nancy and volunteers like Marwan, the Blairs, the Gilberts, Mark, Ruth, (and many, many others) spent the whole day and well into the evening, informing voters, taking names, tallying numbers, and triple-checking to make sure your votes counted. Our democracy would be nothing without people like them.

So--the results! because yesterday was the Primary, I was unopposed (meaning there were no other Democrats running for Supervisor in Upper Makefield) so there wasn't much drama about whether or not I'd garner enough support to move on to the general election, where I will have an opponent. That said, yesterday provided an important benchmark, and it looks like I received more votes than any other candidate for any position on the ballot in Upper Makefield. The margins were exceptionally thin so I'm not resting on any laurels but I was, of course, happy about the results. Moreover, though the percentage of voters who showed up at the polls was very small (predictably for a Primary in a non-national, off-year, election) Democrats in Upper Makefield showed out. We have an almost 2-1 registration disadvantage in our township and because of the relentless organization by the Upper Makefield Dems led by Priscilla, Steve, and Tom Merchant, we split the turnout fairly evenly. I also want to give a shout-out to our auditor candidate Tom who killed it yesterday, handily defeating his opponent. He and his wife
Sandy have been invaluable to helping me stay organized and focused.

Perhaps more importantly, Democrats did well across the county. I haven't seen a race yet where the Democrats didn't overperform for municipal and school board in any of the townships around Bucks. I've gotten to know many of these candidates over the last six months and I have become invested in their success. Folks like Shannon Sticker (Buckingham), Tim Hayes (Plumsteadville), Su Du Blu (Lower Makefield), Angela Cacchio (Bensalem), Ann Marie Mitchell (Northampton), Sarah Arva Grosik (Doylestown), Dan Wood and Connor Thomas OHanlon (Doylestown), Jon Panofsky (Warminster), Alicia Gasparovic (Langhorne Manor), Louise Feder (New Hope), Anna Payne (Middletown), Patrick McGovern (Yardley). Many of these are first time candidates and many of them are young candidates who care deeply about their communities and all worked hard to get to yesterday.

Ben with Bucks County Treasurer candidate Kris Ballerini and Bucks County Coroner candidate Meredith Buck

Ben with Bucks County Treasurer candidate Kris Ballerini and Bucks County Coroner candidate Meredith Buck

The County Row office candidates: My friend Kris Ballerini (Treasurer) , Diane Ellis Marseglia and Bob Harvie (Commissioner), Brian Munroe(Clerk of Courts), Linda Bobrin (Register of Wills), and Meredith Buck(Coroner) were all unopposed but received thousands of more votes than their Republican counterparts. If they win in the general, Bucks County will have Democrats in charge for the first time ever.

Finally our Court of Common Pleas candidates: Charissa LillerJessica VanderKamJordan Yeager, all won yesterday despite having terrible ballot positions and facing a huge field of ten candidates. The general election in November will be an extremely rare chance to add three new judges to the Court of Common Pleas and these three have the requisite experience, fairness, and compassion the job requires to be done well. 

This morning, as I'm reflecting, I'm able to better take stock of yesterday and I'm immensely proud and humbled that I got a chance to have taken part and to see this process from the perspective of the candidate. Thank you for all the in-person and online well-wishes and, of course, the generous campaign donations. We will need even more of all of that as we gear up for the general election in November. One thing was clear from yesterday's results: My race is going to be close. I'm going to work every day from now until November to get elected but any help you can provide, be it through donations, time, or kind words is very much appreciated. Thanks so much!