Editorial: Party of just a few

Once upon a time, North­east Phil­adelphia was home not only to lots of cops and fire­fight­ers, but a good num­ber of Re­pub­lic­an of­fice­hold­ers, too. Ah, the good old days.
In the wake of last week’s huge elec­tion, two things are per­fectly clear: One is that Pres­id­ent Obama proved to be very pop­u­lar in the North­east, cap­tur­ing 68 per­cent of the North­east wards en route to win­ning the en­tire city with 85 per­cent of the vote.
The oth­er les­son from Elec­tion Day is that something is wrong with whatever is left of the Phil­adelphia Re­pub­lic­an Party. Aside from three key po­s­i­tions guar­an­teed to the Re­pub­lic­ans by the Phil­adelphia Home Rule Charter — two at-large seats on City Coun­cil and a lone seat on the city Elec­tion Com­mis­sion — Far North­east Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill and lower North­east state Rep. John Taylor are the Re­pub­lic­an Party’s only bright spots. Both men are cap­able pub­lic ser­vants, but why on earth are they two of just a hand­ful of Re­pub­lic­ans hold­ing high of­fice in the city?
Not too long ago, North­east Phil­adelphia had a healthy chunk of Re­pub­lic­ans join­ing Rep. Taylor in Har­ris­burg — state Sen. Hank Sal­vatore and state Reps. George Ken­ney, John Perzel, Chris Wogan and Den­nis O’Bri­en (who now sits in one of the guar­an­teed at-large Coun­cil seats). Their elect­or­al suc­cess re­flec­ted a tend­ency of North­east voters to split their tick­ets every elec­tion day. That healthy streak of in­de­pend­ence was great for demo­cracy.
There are plenty of is­sues that con­trast Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats, but the city’s Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers can’t seem to cap­it­al­ize on them. Per­haps the keys to the party suc­cess will flow with some new blood.
Send let­ters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at staff@bsmphilly.com.

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