Municipal elections were held Tuesday, consisting of several important local contests, including District Attorney, Bethlehem County Controller, Bethlehem City Council and the Northampton County School Board.
In addition to these local positions, a spot for the Justice of the Supreme Court for Pennsylvania was up for election. The election results tabulated come from the Northampton County Summary Results Report, which only includes county-wide data. All results are currently unofficial until Nov. 14, the last day to receive military and overseas absentee ballots.
Voter turnout in Northampton County this year was 32%, a sharp decrease from 58.38% in 2022 with a midterm election and 75.68% in 2020, which was a presidential election.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Election Results
The Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is a 10-year term. The candidates were Daniel McCaffery (D) and Carolyn Carluccio (R).
Daniel McCaffery won the seat, with 38,683 votes over Carluccio’s 29,045.
According to the Pennsylvania Courts’ website, he was elected to the Pennsylvania Superior Court in 2019 and was formerly a Judge for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania.
District Attorney Election Results
Running unopposed for the four-year District Attorney term was Stephen Baratta (D). He received 43,456 votes.
Baratta was supposed to race against current District Attorney Terry Houck, but Houck withdrew his re-election bid over the summer.
Baratta served as a judge for 25 years, part of which he served on the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas. According to his official campaign website, he wants to combat the growing rates of crime, gun violence and the opioid crisis in the community.
Bethlehem County Controller Election Results
The race for County Controller, two consecutive four-year terms, was between Tara Zrinski (D) and John Cusick (R). Zrinski won with 36,809 votes against Cusick’s 30,717.
Tara Zrinski has served on the Northampton County Council since 2018 and also taught philosophy at Lehigh University, Lehigh County Community College and Northampton Community College. She has been a county commissioner for six years, according to her campaign website.
Bethlehem City Council Results
City Council is a four-year term, and citizens voted for no more than three candidates. The candidates for the Democratic Party were Colleen Laird, Michael Colón and Bryan Callahan. The candidates for the Republican Party were Thomas Ginthner, Devin Brunges and James W. Follweiler.
The winning candidates were Laird with 5,836 votes, Colón with 5,800 votes and Callahan with 5,657 votes.
Bethlehem Council President Michael Colón ran for re-election, and he was first elected in 2016. Colón is a trustee for the Bethlehem Area School District Foundation and a board member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Colleen Laird serves as a project manager for higher education and small businesses and is on the board for the Bethlehem Food Co-Op. She also serves as the chair of the Economic Vitality Committee for the Northside Alive neighborhood revitalization initiative.
Bryan Callahan is a small business owner who resides in the City of Bethlehem. According to Callahan’s official campaign website, he wants to focus on revitalizing the former Bethlehem Steel site and bringing more sustainable jobs to the city.
Northampton County School Board
The school director at-large is a four-year term, and citizens were instructed to vote for no more than three candidates between Karen Pooley (D/R), Emily Root Schenkel (D/R), M. Rayah Levy (D) and Cindy A. O’Brien (R). The winning candidates were Levy with 11,941 total votes, Schenkel with 11,457 votes and Pooley with 11,292 votes.
Lehigh has encouraged students to vote through email correspondence to the campus community, and the political science department also emailed all students about ways to register and find their voting poll location to make voting easily accessible.
Spyrithoula Xenophontos, ‘25, said the university is sending an important message to students that they should be involved and exercise their civic duty.
“I think Lehigh is doing a really great job,” Xenophontos said. “The fact that we have (Election Day) off is such a big deal.”
Pennsylvania also recently enacted automatic voter registration for state residents, meaning anyone with a valid state ID is automatically registered to vote in any Pennsylvania election.
Logan Whitall, ‘24, voted at the Banana Factory.
“It is important to vote to make sure that young people’s opinions are heard,” Whitall said. “It’s especially important during a time with a lot of polarization.”
Meghana Nimmagadda, ‘27, voted yesterday at the polls. She wished more information was given about the specific candidates and expressed her opinion on the importance of term limits, regardless of parties.
“I think voting is a civic duty, even if you are voting nonpartisan like I did,” Nimmagadda said. “Voting is important and one of the easiest ways for people to act.”