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2021 PA Primary

May 19, 2021

PA Primary Election May 18 2021

Lehigh Valley Stands Up was created to win real change for working class people. No matter the office, no matter the election, LVSU’s goal is to elect true champions who are committed to taking on the 1% and standing up for working people. Last night, 5 LVSU endorsed candidates and 4 recommended candidates won their primary elections. Even a number of narrow losses show that the movement for change is growing in both Lehigh and Northampton counties.

Of the bold, transformative champions endorsed by LVSU, Hillary Kwiatek won her primary race for Bethlehem City Council, Taiba Sultana won her primary race for Easton City Council, Tara Zrinski won her race for Northampton County Council, LaTarsha Brown won her race for Allentown School Board, and Zachary Cole-Borghi won his race for Lehigh County Commissioner District 3. Additionally, LVSU members recommended voting for winning candidates Rachel Leon and Kiera Wilhelm for Bethlehem City Council, Natalie Santos for Allentown City Council, and Bill Whitney for East Penn School Board.

“From school board to city council, we’re building power at the local and statewide level to elect candidates who will push hard for bold, transformative change and make the Lehigh Valley a place where all of us can thrive,” said Jacqui Pratt, a member of Lehigh Valley Stands Up. “Last night’s victories are the first step toward realizing our vision of justice and equity. We’re challenging a political establishment that has failed working families and communities of color for decades. Now, we plan to work hard to ensure our endorsed candidates go on to win the general election in November.”

In Allentown, Ce-Ce Gerlach came close, but ultimately lost an extremely tight four-way race for mayor. Patrick Palmer also lost his race for Allentown City Council by less than two dozen votes. Following last summer's demonstrations in defense of Black lives, Lehigh Valley Stands Up members were proud to endorse candidates who ran bold, unapologetic campaigns to reimagine community safety and shift resources to social services, schools, and mental healthcare, and away from violent policing that have time and time again led to the murder of Black, brown, and Asian members of our community.

The fact that more than 1,800 Allentown voters cast a ballot for Ce-Ce in a tight 4-way contest, and that Patrick Palmer came so close, shows that the support for a bold agenda to reimagine community safety is growing. Larry Krasner’s re-election in Philadelphia (thanks to fellow PA Stands Up chapter Reclaim Philadelphia) and Ed Gainey’s stunning upset in Pittsburgh show that across the Commonwealth, people are demanding a future that centers community well-being and restorative justice and rejecting the long history of violent policing targeting communities of color.

“We know that change takes time,” said Ashleigh Strange, lead organizer at Lehigh Valley Stands Up “While we had some significant victories last night, going up against the political establishment and deep pocketed opponents isn’t easy. This movement is just getting started. Power concedes nothing without demand, and we’re coming together to fight for a better future for everyone who calls the Lehigh Valley home.”

LV Stands Up will continue building grassroots power at the local and statewide level to elect candidates from school board to city council who will push hard for bold, transformative change, and make Pennsylvania a place where everyone can thrive.