Northampton County Republicans Face Off in State Rep Primary

Written by on May 28, 2020

Northampton County Republicans Face Off in State Rep Primary

By Stephen Jiwanmall

May 28, 2020

Photo | Stephen Jiwanmall / WLVR

Tuesday’s primary election includes a Republican race in Northampton County for a state House seat. The 138th District covers the north-central section of the county, including lower Nazareth, parts of Bethlehem Township, and some of the Slate Belt.

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Tara Zrinski  in November.

WLVR’s Stephen Jiwanmall has more on the two Republican candidates vying for the chance to take her on.

For the past decade, State Representative Marcia Hahn has served Pennsylvania’s 138th Legislative District. In that time, she’s pushed for smaller government, better education and supporting the agriculture industry.

She’s retiring in November, which means her seat is up for grabs in Harrisburg.

Democrat Tara Zrinski is running uncontested in her party. Meanwhile, Republicans Ann Flood and Tony Tarsi will go head-to-head on Tuesday.

Both are Northampton County natives, and they’re also newcomers to politics.

Flood grew up in Wind Gap and now lives in Moore Township. She’s the founder and president of a nonprofit called Lauren’s Hope Foundation, which supports families with children who have brain injuries. She says her daughter Lauren was born with a traumatic brain injury and died when she was just four years old.

“Her passing really made me sit back and reflect on the profound life lessons that she had taught me…That’s how I approach life. I’ve approached that with such passion with my foundation, and that’s how I’m approaching this election,” said Flood.

Flood is also president of the Greater Bath Chamber of Commerce and serves on the board of governors of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber. She says supporting local businesses, and their connection to the national Small Business Administration, is one of her top priorities.

“If elected into this position, I would work with the SBA and the chamber to really help these businesses get the exposure and the support that they need to get back up and running again, as well as opportunities for new businesses to come in and be able to not just survive, but thrive,” she said.

Her opponent Tony Tarsi grew up in Wilson Borough and moved to Nazareth with his family. He’s been the principal of Wilson Area Intermediate School since it opened nine years ago.

Before that, he was a supermarket manager, wrestling coach, and history teacher. He says state government work should reflect what’s laid out in the Constitution.

“No nation on Earth has been blessed to the level that the United States has been, and I just fear that we’re moving away from it. I’ve always talked about running. I’ve always talked about it, and when this seat opened up, and I happen to be living in the 138th, I said, ‘This is the time,” he said.

Tarsi says the country was founded on the concept of *limited government* and getting rid of red tape. He points to Pennsylvania’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as examples of poor planning and failed leadership.

That’s my problem with our governor. He hasn’t talked to business leaders. Open Records has been closed. We need to be open. We need to talk to the people who it impacts, and that’s not being done. In the meantime, we’re sitting here. As we sit today, we’re still destroying our economy.”

Both candidates support eliminating property taxes. They both champion conservative values and support protecting Second Amendment rights. Their platforms have a lot of common ground, and both say they plan to build on the work State Representative Hahn has done for the district.

Flood says her experience and connection to the community is what sets her apart.

“I really am passionate about making sure that the voices of this community are heard, and I will fight for them,” said Flood.

Tarsi says he has a history of success and encourages voters to reach out.

“I’ve left wherever I was better than what I found it, and I’m goal-oriented. I have a record of leadership and positive change that anybody can look into.”

In primary races, endorsements can help raise the profile of candidates – especially when they have similar platforms. To that end, Flood’s been endorsed by outgoing incumbent Hahn, and the area’s Republican state Senator Mario Scavello.

But Scavello has also contributed to Tarsi’s campaign. And he’s got the backing of pro-second amendment group Firearms Owners Against Crime.

Watch Stephens PBS39 News Tonight Report.


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