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Paul Muschick: Allentown mayoral primary makes history, as most diverse ever

Tuesday’s primary election for Allentown mayor should be remembered not just for who won, but for who ran.The ballot was its most diverse ever.Four of the five candidates were black or Latino. In the city’s four previous mayoral primaries, dating to 2005, there were a total of two black candidates and one Latino candidate.The city is growing in diversity — slightly more than half of the population now is Latino — so the choices that voters have should be diversifying, too.We saw a shift in Congress last year, with more women than ever winning seats. The growing list of Democratic presidential candidates includes men and women of color. Municipal and state ballots are diversifying along gender and racial lines, too, to better represent who lives in our communities.More warehouses? Armed teachers? Higher taxes? Don’t complain if you don’t vote next monthI thought this slate of mayoral candidates might energize Allentown voters and prompt higher turnout, as voters who sat out previous primaries might find an appealing candidate. But people just aren’t motivated to vote in municipal primaries, and Tuesday’s turnout still was dreadful not only in the city, but across the Lehigh Valley.I’ll have more to say about that later this week, along with an idea for how we can change such apathy.Only one of the minority candidates for Allentown mayor made it to the November ballot — Republican Timothy Ramos, who ran unopposed in that primary.The others were soundly defeated by interim Mayor Ray O’Connell on the Democratic side. Allentown School Board Director Cheryl Johnson-Watts finished a distant second, trailed by Patrick Palmer, an insurance representative, and constable Michael Daniels.Morning Call columnist Paul Muschick can be reached at 610-820-6582 or
Source: Morningcall

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