Montgomery County has experienced explosive growth in the past 10 years.
Cornfields have been turned into McMansion Farms in the western part of the county and I don’t think the Democratic Party in Montgomery County is paying attention to this shift in demographics.
The management of the current county-wide commissioner’s race has placed an inordinately large amount of their resources in the eastern end of the county. The resources that have been placed in the western end of the county reside in the urban centers of Pottstown and Norristown. Lansdale’s office is too far to be of service to a large number of people. You can see the Shapiro/Richards field office locations for yourself on this interactive map.
This deployment may be disastrous for the Democratic Party as it struggles to grow in the more suburban western part of the county. I seriously question whether people from more suburban and rural parts of the county would travel into Pottstown or Norristown. It makes it easy for the GOP to tag the Democratic Party as an “urban” party.
The spreadsheets in the PDF section at right are breakdowns of voter populations for 2011 as compared to 2002. These totals have been broken down by town so that you can see how your town has fared over the last decade or so. Since I am talking about an East/West split in the county, I drew a line roughly at where Route 202 bisects Montco. (Future columns will look at this growth in a number of different ways.)
These are the big things to take away from this spreadsheet (I am sure you can think of other things too):
- The western end of the county now has more people in it.
- The growth of the Democratic Party in the 422 Corridor is over 200% in the last decade.
The towns in the 422 Corridor are a subset of the towns west of Route 202. Looking at those towns shows the real growth of the county and where the Democratic Party needs to begin concentrating resources.
The character of these towns is vastly different from an urban party. Upper Providence is home to a large pharmaceutical company’s main corporate offices. King of Prussia has a host of research and development facilities. The communities that ring these places are bedroom communities with a different type of diversity and mentality. These communities are highly educated and live in the McMansion Farms.
I had been a member of the Montco Democratic Executive in past elections and there had been concerted efforts to move people from the western end of the county to help races in the eastern part of the county. This has to stop. Unfortunately, the Shapiro/Richards campaign is falling into this same trap.
As they not placing resources into the 422 Corridor, the face of the Democratic Party, Joe Hoeffel, is doing irreparable harm to the Democratic brand in this region. Hoeffel will be part of a group convening a “422 Summit” on Sept. 13 about the transit issues related to Route 422. Hoeffel is already on board with .
GOP State Representative Warren Kampf essentially ran a one-issue campaign last year to win his seat from the Democrat incumbent who was dumb enough to suggest this plan. Kampf’s race was a romp by any measure of the votes.
Shapiro/Richards has already come out forcefully against this plan, but they don’t have any real presence in these communities as evidenced by where they are placing their campaign resources and offices.
Instead of allowing the GOP to run wild with this “Summit,” Shapiro/Richards needs to put the state GOP lawmakers back on their heels by agreeing with them that 422 cannot become a toll road, while calling to task these lawmakers for trying to have it both ways.
Shapiro/Richards need to call state lawmakers out for not bringing home the bacon on this vital roadway. They are the ones falling down on the job. These are the GOP lawmakers who are strangling funding for education as well as Democracy itself by shrinking the size of the legislature.
It just stands to reason these GOP lawmakers won’t lift a finger to really fund this roadway as full fracking operations begin to take place upstate with no tax revenues coming in to support our infrastructure here.
If Shapiro/Richards are not going to put any physical presence in this region, the least they can do is put up a fight for the people who live in it. They can make the GOP contingent do their jobs and get the resources for our roadways.
It will almost be like a practice run if they can get themselves elected.