Shapiro, Richards Win Election to County Board of Commissioners

Castor, Brown concede in Blue Bell; uncertainty over whether Castor will resume commish seat in January.

The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners is headed for Democratic control.

Incumbent commissioner Bruce Castor, Jr. and his running mate Jenny Brown conceded the election shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday to Democrats Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards, who are now Commissioners-elect.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed," said Brown at the Montgomery County Republican Committee's election night party in Blue Bell. She expressed gratitude for the work done by the people who supported the Republican campaign.

Brown said she will continue to serve as Lower Merion Commissioner, where she has two years left on her term.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to my law practice," Brown said.

Castor, who led all candidates in votes in his 2007 election to the Board of Commissioners, was re-elected to the board as the minority member.

Despite finishing first in the 2007 election for the office, Castor is widely regarded as having been frozen out of county policy-making by the unofficial alliance of his fellow commissioners, Republican Jim Matthews—his one time running mate—and Democrat Joe Hoeffel. As the minority member of a Democrat-controlled Board of Commissioners, his position in that regard would seem unlikely to improve.

There was some doubt as to whether Castor would, in fact, be willing to return to his seat.

"That's a good question," Brown-Castor campaign spokesman Stephen O'Toole said late Tuesday when asked if Castor would continue as a commissioner in January. O'Toole said the county Republican Party would review the situation in the coming days.

"I'm hoping I'll finish fourth," Castor told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "but I'm afraid it will be third."

It was. Castor finished with 77,114 votes, more than 1,600 ahead of Brown.

Good night for Dems

The Shapiro-Richards victory capped a generally successful night for the Democratic Party in the county.

Democrats also won both seats up for grabs on the county's Court of Common Pleas, as Cheryl Austin and Richard Haaz defeated Republicans Dan Clifford and Maureen Coggins.

Incumbent Clerk of Courts Ann Thornberg Weiss held off a challenge by Lansdale-based attorney Moon Ahn, and Walter Hofman appeared to have very narrowly won re-election as county coroner over Republican challenger Gordon Clement.

Democrats also won the races for Prothonotary with William E. Donnelly losing out to Democrat Mark Levy; Recorder of Wills, with D. Bruce Hanes over Patricia A. Mosesso; and Treasurer, with Jason E. Salus topping Chuck Wilson.

County Republicans could claim some significant victories. Challenger Stewart Greenleaf, Jr., unseated sitting county controller Diane Morgan. Morgan was perhaps best known for filing a lawsuit against the sitting Board of Commissioners that alleged she was being denied the resources necessary to execute the duties of the office.

Sheriff Eileen Behr won her first election to the job after being appointed to the post by Governor Tom Corbett last spring to complete the term of deceased former Sheriff John Durante.

Nancy Becker held onto her job as the county's Recorder of Deeds, fending off a challenge by Democrat Linda Hee.

District Attorney Risa Ferman, a Republican, won another term in a race in which she was unopposed.


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