Many of you heard of Joe Gale, the lone Republican on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, for the first time today. Due to that, a little history is necessary.
As a 20-year-old in 2009, he ran for a seat on Plymouth Township’s Council and lost. He ran again in 2013, this time for an at-large seat, and withdrew when he realized he was not going to receive the party’s endorsement.
In 2015, he considered primarying fellow Republican and incumbent Bob Godshall to represent the 53rd District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (which would have required him to move out of his mom’s house in Plymouth Meeting and have a residence in the Lansdale area). He decided against that and in 2015 ran for a seat on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.
The way Montgomery County elects county commissioners is pretty ridiculous (other counties do it this way as well). There are three seats and they all come up for election at the same time. The seats do not represent a geographic area, so as long as you are a resident of the county and meet the other requirements you can run.
One seat is reserved for a party that does not win the majority.
For the very most part, the Republicans and Democrats put up two candidates who are determined in the primary. Three of the four-win seats. So one candidate is basically a lucky loser. All Gale had to do is get more votes than the other Republican for a seat on a board that runs a county with a larger population than four states (if you are wondering they are North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming).
It is important to note that Gale and the Montgomery County establishment do not get along. Running against the Republican establishment in the county is a huge part of his message.
He then ran for re-election in 2019 and won again.
The best part about being a lucky loser is that you do not have to govern. You can just talk a lot and never have to worry about any of your issues becoming a reality and being subjected to accountability. You will always be outvoted on the board, so your base doesn’t expect much. It is a great job.
Thus far Gale’s rants have been really only reached those who closely follow county politics. He has occasionally appeared on the Dom Giordano Show on WPHT Talk Radio 1210 AM, but otherwise, he hadn’t broken through to widespread public notoriety yet.
That brings us to yesterday and today. Yesterday afternoon Gale released the below statement to the press and on his social media.
His statement did not go over well. The biggest criticism is that he refers to Black Lives Matter as one of the “radical left-wing hate groups” leading the looting and rioting in Philadelphia and across the country.
Gale attempted to position himself as a “law and order” politician but failed to do something even President Trump is very careful to do. He didn’t draw a line of distinction between those legitimately protesting and those taking advantage of the situation to riot and loot. He showed that he doesn’t understand the situation or issue.
Early today, the criticism snowballed when Philadelphia 76er Tobias Harris tweeted Gale’s statement and called for him to resign.
Gale has since been condemned by his two fellow commissioners, Republican politicians, Democrat politicians, Perez Hilton, and pretty much everyone on Twitter. He even earned himself a parody account.
Thus far almost 40,000 people (as of 6/2 at 10:00 p.m.) have called for his resignation via an online petition and a protest event is scheduled for Thursday in Norristown.
To those hoping to oust him. That is not likely not going to happen. Pennsylvania doesn’t have a mechanism in place to conduct a recall election. So Gale will only leave office if he chooses to resign, decides to not run for re-election, or is defeated in 2023.
Now that he has everyone’s attention, it will likely bring his career in politics to an end (as it should) once this term is done. He probably also killed any post-political chance at a career as a talking head (at least in a more mainstream outlet).
For those that were not paying attention, we called for Gale to resign last month when he went to a flag-planting event after being exposed to COVID-19. He chose not to be tested, nor stay in isolation, and didn’t even wear a mask when out in public.
Let us know what you think in the comments.
Photo: Joe Gale’s Facebook. GlensideLocal.com added the text box.