The Republican team running for county commissioner in Montgomery County would seem to be poorly yoked. Jim Matthews is the incumbent; Bruce Castor, currently Montco District Attorney, is running in place of the other incumbent, who decided to sit this one out due to some bad publicity of a personal nature.
Castor had a different running mate in the primary and did not seem pleased at the prospect of being on a ticket with Matthews. Nor has time healed the breach.
From “Montgomery County commissioner candidates’ feud at statewide GOP worry, by Pete DeCoursey in Capitolwire 10/15/07:
Castor’s campaign denies they have any intent but to elect both Republican commissioner candidates. Matthews' campaign says they are working together with Castor to keep the county courthouse under GOP control.
But Matthews’ supporters, as well as some statewide GOP officials, fear Democrats will use Castor’s public criticisms of Matthews in their mailers, TV and radio ads in the campaign's final weeks.
“Democrats criticizing Republicans is nothing new,” said one close Castor ally, who said he has tried and failed to get Castor to stop publicly and privately zinging Matthews. “But when the more popular Republican makes it clear he thinks the less popular Republican has ethical problems and is in cahoots with the wrong crowd, that is the kind of thing voters will notice. And it isn’t old stuff. It’s stuff Bruce said this year, and some stuff he said this fall. Why say it at all if your top goal is to keep control of the courthouse?”
The Bulletin’s “Friendly Fire” column on 10/31/07 is an interview with Bruce Castor (pawatercooler has the full text up):
It is evident to me that the county is going in the wrong direction. I didn’t want to run—I wanted (the Republicans) to win and I wanted to remain as DA. I asked the Party to pull back from Commissioner Ellis, because I did not believe that there was any scenario in which he could win the election this year, and that has certainly proven to be true. Even with the situation we face now, with our opponents led by former Congressman Hoeffel, who is every bit as well known as I am, if I were not in this position of heading our team, I think all eleven of us would go down.
I don’t think the Republican Party is run by Bob Asher, but by me. If we fail, it will be my fault. I do think there are a number of people behind the scenes that are trying to make that happen. Out of the eleven candidates running, there were seven “contested” races—where both Ken Davis and I had candidates— we won six of them. The state Party is, in large measure, run by Asher, so after the disaster at the polls….if you’re the captain, you have to take responsibility for navigating the ship onto a reef. Assuming that all eleven of us win, the challenges will be to put together a government that functions, and then to reorganize and rebuild the Party.
The key is Jim Matthews. When we win the election, Jim has to re-invent himself and be the party leader that is necessary to make Montgomery County that showpiece of change in the Party to get it to where it needs to be.
I don’t think it is ever a good idea to assume a ship sails or sinks on one man’s actions. Usually it is a team effort, even if only in the creation of a work environment. Also, as anyone who has ever been in any kind of partnership can tell you, thinking you can change your partner is usually a mistake. As is hoping they will change themselves. If you can’t live with the person as he is, don’t sign on.