A candidate from Bethlehem running for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has been advertising herself as having served on or been a member of the Bethlehem Area School District, yet has never been a candidate for that office, much less ever been elected to the district’s nine-member board.
Anna Thomas, who won the Democratic primary for House District 137, says on her website that her Christian beliefs and duty to service “led Anna to serve on the School Board of the Bethlehem Area School District.”
Thomas also tweeted an image from the national political action committee Emily’s List, which image said, “As a former school board member, Anna knows first-hand the challenge schools face[.]”
A review of school board elections using the Northampton elections results archive page does not show Anna Thomas as a candidate at any point from 2014 on.
Old minutes of the BASD board meetings do show Thomas was a student representative who gave reports to the board.
Does service as a student representative equal saying one “serve[d] on the board” of the BASD?
A request for comment from BASD on that question was not returned. Requests for comment to Thomas’ campaign, including emails to her campaign account as well as messages to the campaign’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were not returned.
Thomas won the Democratic primary for House District 137 with 6,500 votes, according to Ballotpedia. She outpaced her Republican rival, Joe Emerick, by 626 votes. Both were unopposed in their primary.
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The district has recently been redrawn. It includes part of Bethlehem, as well as the boroughs of Nazareth and Tatamy and the townships of Upper and Lower Nazareth and part of Palmer and Hanover Townships. Before redistricting, the 137th was farther north and east, including less of Bethlehem and more Republican-leaning areas in Upper and Lower Mount Bethel townships.
The incumbent, Joe Emrick, a Republican, won the 137th easily in 2020 with 63 percent of the vote. President Donald Trump won 56 percent of the old 137th district in 2016, but would have won only 51 percent district under the current lines. The new district was drawn as a toss-up — President Joe Biden won it in 2020 by just half a percent.
At the end of the third campaign-reporting cycle (ending June 6), Thomas had about $5,300 cash on hand. Emrick reported no cash on hand, and no activity at all in his campaign committee.
Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use his encrypted email at email@example.com. @shepherdreports