County Commissioner Bruce Castor confirmed this afternoon that he would take his seat as the minority member of the county's Board of Commissioners in January, alongside Commissioners-elect Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards.
Castor, who finished third out of the four commissioner candidates in yesterday's election, made the announcement alongside erstwhile running mate Jenny Brown at their election team headquarters in Blue Bell.
In explaining the defeat of the Brown-Castor ticket, Castor said the biggest obstacle the Republicans faced in the election was going in with no money in the bank, where the Democrats went in with $1 million.
Castor explained that he was not able to raise money during his term due to Commissioner James Matthews "defection."
He also added that the Democrats were able to turn out more voters on Tuesday, which helped them to the victory.
Castor said, “When you go in $1M down and 30,000 voters down, it’s hard to generate excitement about your campaign.”
He added that if voters had been given a chance to evaluate the messages of the two campaigns equally, he thought that the Brown-Castor message would have resonated better with voters.
Castor said it is his job to implement the will of the voters, which is the agenda that Shapiro and Richards laid out. “Josh and Leslie said they adamantly oppose a tax increase and I will help them achieve that and do what it takes to implement that plank of their platform.”
He added that one of his primary goals is to bridge the administration and bring institutional knowledge and be a reference point for Shapiro and Richards.
As a Commission, he said, “[Our] first goal has to be dig out of the enormous hole the current administration has put us in. I believe Josh and Leslie when they say they recognize this is a problem. I think they do not realize the full extent of it.”
Castor said that during the past four years, “everything [he] complained about turned out to be true.” So true, he said, that both parties refused to endorse two of the incumbents, Matthews and Hoeffel.
“I think you will find that that relationship among the commissioners will improve dramatically because Josh and Leslie truly do want to try to better the health and welfare of Montgomery Countyians and do realize the problem Montgomery County faces and…help Montgomery County people,” Castor said.
“It is my sense that Josh and Leslie will work with me as I intend to work with them,” he said.
Castor said Shapiro and Richards did not demonstrate with their records that they were fiscal conservatives because they had raised taxes, fees or debt when fiscal challenges arose in other levels of government.
However, he said, “I believe that Josh and Leslie truly expect to run the government fiscally and in a fiscally conservative way. I believe them when they say they are going to keep taxes from going up, I believe them when they say they are going to trim government spending. It is going to be part of my job as an elected commissioner to help them keep those promises.”
Castor added that Brown was a great candidate and that Montgomery County lost a great opportunity at a public servant.
Brown said, “In terms of it being a relief – it is personally a relief to get back to my family and back to my law practice.”
“It was not a total loss,” Castor said, noting that Republicans won the critical position of controller, which decides the hiring and salaries of county employees.
Castor suggested that Commissioners-elect Shapiro and Richards should have full contact with senior staff at the county right away and should be part of the budget process this year.