Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage didn’t attend a candidate meet-and-greet on Thursday night.
But that didn’t stop anyone that did attend from talking about him and his intention to seek re-election amid his and the county government’s ongoing legal troubles.
While some of his potential competitors mentioned his name here and there throughout the night, the topper among the comments came from State Sen. Dave Argall, who watched the 2-hour forum unfold from the audience at Mount Carbon’s fire hall.
In parting remarks made after the candidates answered an array of questions from potential voters in attendance, Argall slammed Halcovage and his re-election bid.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, if George Halcovage is our candidate in the Fall, we all lose,” Argall told a mostly partisan Republican crowd.
It was a pretty shocking statement at the time. Some in the audience sat silently while others rallied behind the Senator’s remark.
So, why did Argall say what he said, essentially behind Halcovage’s back? The reason is a purported public poll conducted among Schuylkill County voters regarding the hotly-contested Commissioners race, especially with a packed field of GOP candidates.
Argall Says Republicans Will Lose if They Vote for Halcovage in the Primary
Now, Argall prefaced the Halcovage remarks by hinting at the polling data among all the candidates. Some, he said, did well, others fair, and some not so hot. However, he didn’t give specifics on which candidates did better in that poll.
It’s also important to report that Argall was speaking to a partisan crowd, filled with a lot of Republican Party Committee members, who he said, have a duty to pick and support candidates that give the party the best chance at winning a General Election.
The poll, for the record, was conducted between Jan. 25-27 by Susquehanna Polling and Research, of Harrisburg. It gauged voters’ opinions on each of the potential candidates running for Schuylkill County Commissioner on the GOP side.
But it also asked 3 specific questions related to Halcovage’s bid for re-election, Argall said. He read them verbatim to the audience and divulged the results.
The first question:
“Allegations of sexual harassment have been made against County Commissioner George Halcovage, stemming from a County investigation which found he violated the County’s sexual harassment as well physical and verbal abuse policies. According to the report, these violations would have gotten him fired had he been a County employee and not an elected official. Does knowing this make you more likely or less likely to vote for George Halcovage for re-election?”
Argall says, based on the responses purportedly given by those polled, “George lost by 65 points.”
He said, “In this business, 10% is a landslide; 65% is 6½ landslides.
“Those are some of the worst numbers I have seen for any candidate,” Argall added.
The poll asked a second question, Argall said. It was:
“If you knew that lawyers for George Halcovage offered a settlement of $850,000 + legal fees and the (Jane Doe plaintiffs) turned it down, meaning the taxpayers – through higher insurance premiums – would have to pay, would you be more likely or less likely to vote for him?”
Argall said Halcovage “lost that one by 75 points.”
And the third question from this poll:
“If you knew the Pennsylvania House of Representatives was considering impeaching Halcovage over the allegations, would this make you more likely or less likely to vote for him?”
The Senator said Halcovage “lost that one by 60 points.
“Again, some of the worst numbers I’ve ever seen,” Argall reiterated.
He said the candidates not named Halcovage all have a chance – “some better than others” – of winning the November General Election, should they prevail in the May Primary.
February 10, 2023 at 7:39 pm
Question: If Argall felt his remarks were going to have such an impact, why didn’t he present them early in the evening while attendees would have had ample opportunity to address them? He basically rang the doorbell and ran…not a good look for a Senator.
February 10, 2023 at 10:26 pm
Yeah, it was definitely a unique brand of politics happening there last night. He gave everyone there quite the parting gift, however … something to think about, perhaps. Probably wouldn’t have said it if the polling showed him as not a contender but the Senator definitely tipped his pitch on that one.
Comments like that, though, probably should have been kept among Committee members, exclusively. This event was open to the public. There was even a potential Democrat candidate in the audience. But maybe that was the point?