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Lehigh Valley Election News

Northampton Co. Council President Kerry Myers swaps parties, will mount GOP write-in campaign

Kerry Myers, Republican
Tom Shortell
Northampton County Council President Kerry Myers, center, announced he registered as a Republican on Wednesday and will mount a write-in campaign for re-election.

EASTON, Pa. — Saying he was the victim of political machinations, Northampton County Council President Kerry Myers announced Wednesday that he has switched political parties and will seek re-election as a Republican.

Myers, a lifelong Democrat before the announcement at the Northampton County Courthouse, said hours after he was sworn in as the first Black person to serve as council president in January he learned he would face a Democratic challenger in the primary.

He accused county Executive Lamont McClure of trying to push him out of office for not being a "yes man."

  • Northampton County Council President Kerry Myers switched political parties , registering as a Republican
  • Myers will mount a write-in campaign for the GOP nomination in the District 2 Northampton County Council race
  • He was booted off the Democratic ballot in March after turning in a flawed candidate petition

"It seemed like I was not playing well in the sandbox. If you're not playing well in the sandbox, you're getting moved out," Myers said.

Myers would not go into detail as to why he thought McClure would push him out or what policies of the McClure administration he opposed.

A former Easton Area School Board member, Myers is completing his first term on council. He filed for re-election as a Democrat in February and faced a challenger in Forks Township Supervisor Kelly Keegan.

Faulty paperwork

Before making it to the Democratic primary, however, Myers was kicked off the ballot after a challenge by Keegan's husband revealed that more than a third of Myers signatures were from people not registered to vote, not registered as Democrats or not residents of District 2. The district covers Easton, Glendon, Stockertown, Tatamy, West Easton, Wilson Borough and Forks and Palmer townships.

"I would never leave the Democrat Party to associate myself with the Trump MAGA party because I failed on my own to get the requisite 250 signatures necessary to be on the ballot."
County Executive Lamont McClure, a Democrat

Myers will need to collect at least 250 write-in signatures in the Republican primary to advance to the November election. If he can get the votes, he could be the strongest candidate Republicans have fielded in Democratic-leaning District 2 in over a decade. Republicans didn't compete for the spot in 2015, and Myers won the seat with more than 60% of the vote in 2019.

If Myers manages to win re-election in November, he would become the first Republican to represent the Easton area on county council in more than a decade. The last was J. Michael Dowd, who was defeated in 2011 after he supported a controversial plan to privatize Gracedale, the county-owned nursing home. Myers' turn to the Republican Party means Democrats now have a 5-4 county council majority.

Welcome wagon

Myers was welcomed into the Republican Party at the announcement by Northampton County Republican Committee Chairman Glenn Geissinger; fellow Commissioners John Brown, Tom Giovanni and John Goffredo; and Nancy Aaroe, a Republican who has cross-filed in the Northampton County judge race.

"The voters need to have a choice, and Mr. McClure needs to know his political maneuverings will stop and are stopped by the people of this county," Geissinger said.

Republican William Rowe is already attempting a write-in campaign in Northampton County Council's District 1. The seat represents Bethlehem, Hellertown and Freemansburg and Lower Saucon and Williams townships. Former Commissioner Ken Kraft is running unopposed on the Democratic ballot. District 1 has heavily favored Democrats in recent elections.

McClure would not answer questions as to whether he had encouraged Kelly Keegan's campaign or if he assisted in the appeal of Myers flawed nomination petitions. McClure acknowledged he and Myers have not always seen eye-to-eye.

Myers was one of six commissioners who voted to override McClure's veto that extended tax incentives for an industrial development in Upper Mount Bethel Township.

"I would never leave the Democratic Party to associate myself with the Trump MAGA party because I failed on my own to get the requisite 250 signatures necessary to be on the ballot," McClure said.