MontCo goes Blue

Montgomery County has been controlled by Republicans forever, so long residents can't even remember. 

Everyone has widely believed the GOP has run Montgomery County since 1875. The government official told  me so. The Inquirer has always maintained the date. But, thanks to county historical society's Jeff McGranahan, I learned that the GOP has been in charge since 1881 as I wrote in Sunday's column.

But all of that is set to change Jan. 3 when MontCo goes blue after Democrats Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards won office this month. Republican Bruce Castor, the county's former district attorney, will be the lone holdover from the current three-ring circus, which feature the bipartisan bromance of exiting Jim Matthews and Joe Hoeffel.

To say that fellow Republicans Castor and Matthews loathe each other is an understatement. The miracle is that they've managed to govern in the same room.   

Commissioners meetings have been characterized by constant bickering, a gift for reporters but necessarily county residents.

"You're a sick bastard," Matthews once said to Castor, who responded, "You wouldn't know the truth if it jumped up and bit you in the bottom." Castor once told me: "I hoped Jim wasn't the turd I thought he would be. I think he's clinically mentally ill." Matthews said Castor's ego was so big "it could float the Titanic."

You get the idea.

"We're going to close the book on bickering," incoming Shapiro says. He told Castor: "Bruce, you want to be a constructive part of the government, we'll welcome you. If you continue the bickering, we absolutely will have no patience. We won't engage."

--Karen Heller