The Centurion

Bucks County Elections Results

Photo+courtesy+Wikimedia+Commons
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Hal Conte

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Democrats stomped to victory in Bucks County’s Nov. 7 local elections amid high turnout, defeating multiple incumbents in an election that reflected major national trends – perhaps most importantly, the apparent shift of wealthy suburban enclaves away from the Republican Party for the first time in generations.

In a feat unequaled in over 30 years, Democrats won four out of five county offices, only losing the position of District Attorney. Four years ago, they didn’t even run a candidate for that position; this time, they received over 45 percent of the vote.

The other four contests were decided by extremely narrow margins – less than 4 percent of the vote in all but one race, according to preliminary results on the county’s website. Democrat Neale Dougherty won his duel for county controller by a .8 percent margin.

The Democrats’ election victories can be partially chalked up to higher turnout than usual. Although turnout for the elections as a whole were not available at the time of writing, the total number of votes cast was up by just over 30% for the four countywide positions (Sherriff, Protonotary, Recorder of Deeds, Controller).

Republican voter turnout increased alongside the boost in turnout among Democrats, but not by enough to make a difference.

Following nationwide trends, the Democrats’ narrow victories may be attributable to a move by college-educated suburban voters away from Trumpism and the Republican Party.

A recent New York Times article described a “suburban insurrection” of wealthy American communities, a revolt on full display in Bucks County, a community with a median household income around $20,000 higher than the nation as a whole, according to census data.

This trend was particularly noticeable in Newtown Township – a township whose residents’ median income, at $107,574, is over 45 percent higher than the national average. Democrats won control of the Newtown Board of Supervisors, slaying Republicans, including one incumbent, in all three seats that were up for election, giving them a 4-1 majority in a historically Republican body.

In Newtown Borough, Democrat Julia Woldorf defeated incumbent Republican Chris Gusty by a mere two votes, just four years after Gutsy swamped his last Democratic opponent with 73 percent of the vote.

While traditionally a Republican constituency, rich, college-educated whites feel uneasy about the changes Trump and his movement have brought to the party.

An October Quinnipiac University poll showed that only 34 percent of college-educated whites feel that Trump shares their values, with 63 percent disagreeing.

In a way, the Democrats’ success in winning wealthy moderates mirrors Hillary Clinton’s strategy in last year’s presidential election. While Clinton lost that election, the tactic was successful in Bucks County, where she emerged victorious despite losing the state of Pennsylvania.

The Democrats’ left wing has argued that winning suburbia isn’t enough, and that to win national elections, the party will have to focus on taking back the working-class vote.

Moderate Democrats emerged victorious in New Jersey and Virginia, giving credence to the party’s right. Both of these states, though, voted for Clinton last year by substantial margins.

For now, national polls point to a Democratic victory in the midterms, with a November Gallup poll showing the party with a 44 percent approval rating compared to the Republicans’ 36 percent favorability.

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Bucks County Elections Results