In PA’s Lehigh Valley, high voter turnout is ‘shocking polls workers’

Yesterday, via email, I got a memo from Rich Sestak, the campaign director for his brother’s Senate campaign:

There is no enthusiasm gap in Pennsylvania. In an election year characterized by a Democratic enthusiasm gap and despite being significantly outspent, U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak has defied the conventional wisdom and erased the gap with his rival. With a 1.2 million Democratic voter registration advantage and enthusiasm building on our side, Joe Sestak is well-positioned to be the next United States Senator from Pennsylvania.

I believe Rich. I’ve been thinking Joe Sestak is going to win.

Pennsylvania doesn’t have early voting, so it’s all about today’s turnout. And, while I know this article is anecdotal, when poll workers are shocked, something is going on:

Voter turnout is reportedly higher than normal, shocking polls workers across the Lehigh Valley area who were not expecting much interest in races for key positions like senator in Washington, D.C., and governor in Harrisburg.

In Allentown’s mostly Democratic 7th Ward, Gus Kruz, the judge of elections, was seeing high interest in voting already a few minutes after polls opened at 7 a.m. Although not a large district, a dozen people had already voted in the 7th Ward by 7:15 a.m. At that point, Kruz couldn’t predict if more Democrats would come out than Republicans.

The same was true in Bethlehem’s 15th ward, 2nd district at the Education Center on Sycamore St. There’ Craig Hynes, judge of elections, said he’s seen crisp turnout. By 7:45 a.m., 66 voters had cast ballots despite mechanical problems with two of three machines, including one that had to be placed prior to the polls opening.

“For a nonpresidential election we are running above normal for this time of day,” Hynes said.

I imagine we’ll keep getting reports like this all day from around the country. We won’t always know what it means, but I take this as a good sign.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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