ERIE, Pa. — The outcome for the race for county commissioner in this northwestern Pennsylvania corner didn’t get much national scrutiny or post-election analysis because the incumbent Democrat, Kathy Dahlkemper, ultimately won.
But it should have. Why? Because it is worthy of at least diving into what is happening to this once reliable stronghold for Democratic candidates; it may not be red, but it sure is a vibrant shade of purple.
Dahlkemper’s narrow victory – she won by 300 votes – is something both parties should dive into to discover where the voter’s sentiments are heading.
Dahlkemper went into the race with all of the built-in advantages needed for a comfortable win: incumbency and a two-to-one Democratic registration advantage over Republicans.
But she also went into the race with some emerging issues that moderate Democrats face in working-class regions: pro-gun, pro-life voters in counties across the Great Lakes Rust Belt who turned out to vote for Barack Obama twice and then later voted Donald J. Trump.
Again, Dahlkemper won, but barely.
Across the board, Democrats had a great election night two weeks ago – but the outcome in Erie County shows there are some real warning signs in the Rust Belt that the party has a lot more work to do.
Dahlkemper is a good fit for her county. She is a daughter of Erie, not a career politician, and moderate in her stances. So why was her win so slender? Is it because of her? Or is the cause more the erosion of her party’s brand in Erie?
Read the full piece HERE.