UPFRONT: 5 for 6!
Upfront is 83 percent right some of the time, and that's 100 percent okay with us.
The Pennsylvania Primary election was yesterday, and I was 5 for 6 in my picks! I had Janet Anderson, Ryan Bizzarro, Barack Obama, Willard Romney, Regina Smith, and Sean Wiley. Never mind that Anderson, Bizzarro, and Obama were unopposed – crazy things can happen with those write-in votes; I think Mike Rotch actually won a seat somewhere once.
Anyhow, I posted a short informational video on Election Day, and judging by election turnout, at least 24 percent of you watched it and decided to vote. Well done! Although, watching the film was reward enough by itself; it featured groovy music and vintage fashion, as do most productions by Coronet Films.
Does the name "Coronet Films" sound familiar? It should, if you managed to keep your eyes open during movie day at any public school from the 1940s to the 1980s. Coronet Films produced hundreds, if not thousands of "social guidance" films during this period, bearing such titles as "Are you Popular?" "Dating: Do's and Dont's," "Communism," and, of course, the film you watched yesterday, "How we Elect our Representatives."
Produced in 1963, the film quite obviously is dated, not only in terms of soundtrack and wardrobe, but also in premise, for, nowadays Americans elect their leaders by sitting back and watching the same 24 percent of the population go to the polls every year. And it happened again this year; with several important races taking place in Pennsylvania yesterday, about 76 percent of Erie County voters said, "Bah, that voting stuff isn't for me." In early-1960s' America, I'm pretty sure you'd have been flogged for your lack of patriotism, or at the very least, called a Communist and spat upon by roving gangs of teenage girls in the streets. In 2012, it's the norm.
Where were we? Oh yes, local elections. There were two primary races we've paid a lot of attention to over the past few months, and one of them, the Republican primary for John Hornaman's old seat, was fairly close. Jason Owen topped Regina Smith 54 percent to 46 percent; that margin right on the cusp of qualifying as a "solid" victory, at least percentage-wise, but when you look at the number of votes that separated the two candidates – just 395 – it feels much closer. If you think about it, 395 people is not a lot of people – we've all been to bars and restaurants that hold far more. Owen owes his victory to a few hundred motivated people who made it to the polls; those people may propel him to Harrisburg if he can make it past Ryan Bizzarro in November in what will be a hotly-contested race between two young men in a borderline-Democratic district.
Sean Wiley started slowly in the Democratic primary for Jane Earll's old seat, but by the end of the night, he started to run away from the field, capturing 40 percent of the vote to John Harkins' 28 percent, Terry Scutella's 20 percent, and Brian Pitzer's 11 percent. Statewide Dems have been salivating over this seat, as it is widely viewed to be a seat they feel they can reclaim after more than a decade of Republican occupation. Standing in Wiley's way is Janet Anderson; this will be another hard-fought race worth watching.
So, from top to bottom, in November you'll have Obama-Romney for President, Casey-Smith for Senate, Kelly-Eaton for Congress, Anderson-Wiley for State Senate, and Bizzarro-Owen for State House. If you can't get excited about those races, there's something wrong with you, and I think Senator McCarthy is going to start sifting through your curbside trash for signs of pinkishness, so make sure you're registered and you vote – don't make me show another film!