Democrats sweep Lehigh County commissioner race, according to unofficial results
- Four Democrats — Dan Hartzell, Sheila Alvarado, April Riddick and Jon Irons — appear to have won the Lehigh County commissioners race
- The sweep means Democrats will maintain their historically unusual control of the board
- The race was relatively low-key with all candidates agreeing the county has been well run in recent years
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — The Democratic slate of Lehigh County commissioner candidates appears to have secured a clean sweep in Tuesday's election, extending the party's historic hold on the board of commissioners.
As of 11:55 p.m., unofficial results from the county website showed Democrat Jon Irons securing the last spot with 34,022 votes. If that figure holds, he would lead fifth place finisher Gary Fedorcha, the highest performing Republican in the race, by 3,048 more votes. The website reported 100% of districts were in along with all mail-in ballots.
Commissioner Dan Hartzell, a retired Morning Call columnist, led all candidates with 38,980 votes, more than 2,400 votes ahead of Sheila Alvarado, a legislative aid to state Rep. Peter Schweyer. Democrat April Riddick rounded out the winners.
Hartzell, who was first elected to the board in 2015, was the only incumbent seeking re-election. He was part of a historic Democratic sweep in 2019 that wrestled control of the board away from Republicans for the first time in about 30 years. Republicans need to win two of the four at-large seats to regain the majority.
As polling place results started to come in, Hartzell expressed optimism for the Democratic slate. He figured the odds favored his party would retain their majority, but he didn't anticipate a sweep was in the works. All candidates on the ballot seemed sincere in their efforts to work for the county's best interests, he said, and he was hopeful partisan politics wouldn't become a distraction no matter who won.
"That's not a problem now and I don't see it becoming a problem, even if there are new Republicans," Hartzell said. "But if we sweep, there will be no such problem."
The commissioner race was relatively low-key. All the candidates agreed the county has been well run in recent years, and the race centered more on which candidates would keep it on course.
The Republican candidates — Fedorcha, a longtime Northern Lehigh School director; former Southern Lehigh School Director Rita Sisselberger, political newcomer Paul Moat and former commissioner candidate Jacqueline Rivera — focused their attention on public safety.
Irons helped lead an effort in Allentown to prevent police from responding to some calls in favor of social workers. The conservative candidates pounced on it, saying the county couldn't afford to defund the police even though the city proposal took no resources away from law enforcement.