Houck drops out of Northampton County DA race
EASTON, Pa. — Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck will no longer seek a second term in office, he confirmed Monday, citing the difficulties of running a general election campaign without the backing of a political party.
- Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck announced Monday he is no longer seeking reelection
- Houck, a Democrat, lost the Democratic primary for DA earlier this year, but secured the Republican nomination in a write-in campaign
- Former county judge Stephen Baratta will now run opposed for the office in November
Houck’s withdrawal all but assures former Northampton County Judge Stephen Baratta will become the county's next district attorney.
“I'm a candidate without a party, right? After looking at the numbers and looking at the likelihoods and comparing that against the expense that this would take… I just felt it was best for my family and I to withdraw.”Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck
While Baratta defeated Houck in the Democratic primary for the office earlier this year, Houck waged a successful write-in campaign in the Republican primary, and still will appear on the November ballot as the Republican candidate.
'A candidate without a party'
Because he still is a registered Democrat, Houck lacked the backing of a major party going into the general election despite securing the Republican nomination, and, therefore, the campaign support that typically comes with a party nomination.
“I'm a candidate without a party, right?” Houck said Monday. “After looking at the numbers and looking at the likelihoods and comparing that against the expense that this would take… I just felt it was best for my family and I to withdraw.”
“The only intention I have is to continue to lead the office through the end of the year, same way as we've done it since we’ve been in."Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck
The primary for District Attorney was among the most expensive municipal primaries Northampton County has seen in recent years, and the general election likely would be similarly contentious.
Faced with the prospect of financing his campaign more or less on his own, Houck said he decided not to proceed.
“Compared with the expense that it would take to put up a viable campaign — because it would be very expensive — it's just not, you know, it's just not money that I have,” he said.
Houck said he has no plans to seeking the office again in the future.
“The only intention I have is to continue to lead the office through the end of the year, same way as we've done it since we’ve been in,” he said.
'Somewhat excited, somewhat relieved'
“What am I feeling?” Baratta said in an interview Monday. “I would say somewhat excited, somewhat relieved. But you know, there’s another journey ahead of me, so I have to begin to prepare for that.”
Even though his only known opponent dropped out of the race, Baratta stopped short of claiming victory. His campaign is, for now, waiting to see whether a Republican challenger emerges.
“I respect the people in charge of the Republican Party, and they have the ability, if they want, to attempt to fill that spot,” he said. “We still may have to run a campaign, so we don't want to rest on our laurels or act smug about this. We want to be prepared.”
His campaign already has devised a general election strategy, Baratta said, and is ready to make modifications and put it into action if need be.
“It was quite a contested election," he said. "I thought I was prepared for it, but I learned an awful lot.”