The LuLac Edition #470, April 28th, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: STATE REPRESENTATIVE FRANK ANDREWS SHIMKUS AND CONGRESSMAN PAUL KANJORSKI.
RIGHT ON, WRITE IN!!!
In a stunning development regarding the race for the 113th Legislative Race, State Rep. Frank Shimkus has pulled within 400 votes of Kevin Murphy for the Democratic nomination to the 113th Legislative District state house seat.
Mr. Shimkus had 7,088 votes to 7,469 for Mr. Murphy, a former Scranton City Council president. Those totals do not include provisional ballots and some absentee ballots. The totals may change as more votes are counted and some major electoral issues are decided. As expected. the ongoing count includes write-in votes cast for "Frank Andrews," a media name used by Mr. Shimkus during his years as a television newscaster on both WNEP TV and WYOU TV and as a newsman and talk show host on WEJL AM Radio in Scranton. He served as anchor in both TV positions. Those votes could be challenged by the opposition. There are reports Shimkus plans to ask for a re canvass of the entire 113th district, said Jim Tierney, an attorney for the Shimkus campaign. The Shimkus campaign believes a number of voters wrote in Mr. Shimkus' name on ballots but neglected to darken the oval next to it, which would prevent the optical scanners from counting the vote. The Shimkus campaign would like those votes counted.
Shimkus was pulled off the ballot in a controversy about where he was living. The Murphy campaign confronted the candidate and did their best to have a Judge knock him off the ballot. Many criticized the Murphy campaign for stalking the representative. Others say Shimkus did himself lasting harm in front of a state judge when his explanation of where he was living strained the credulity of even his most ardent supporters.
Here’s the interesting thing about this. Shimkus has shown some real power in coming within a few hundred votes of Murphy. The wagons began to circle when it was clear Shimkus was in trouble. The Democratic House leadership in Harrisburg, holding on with a precarious 1 vote margin couldn’t afford to lose one of their own. Shimkus got a boatload of money to mount the write in effort. Then there was the Shimkus appeal. He is familiar to most voters and has a way of appearing sincere. I’m not saying he’s not but in the 2006 race, Shimkus beat Janet Evans and Kevin Murphy by person to person contact. This time, with the added drama of being knocked off the ballot, Shimkus went after his core constituency, educated them on the nuances of the write in and has a better than even chance of upsetting Murphy. If he does that, Murphy will be the odd man out since he lost on the GOP side. Both men have their champions, the district was dotted with equal signage of both candidacies and their supporters are vigorous in their defense. But both men also have a core group of people that just don’t like them. Shimkus is constantly criticized for his broadcast career maneuvers while Murphy is not a favorite of city union officials when he cast the deciding vote in declaring Scranton a distressed city. Murphy lost his re-election bid for Council. Both have some flaws but electability too. It appears though from my observations and the comments I’ve heard from people in that district that perhaps Murphy was too clever by half trying to defeat Shimkus legally instead of at the ballot box. With the added clout of the State Dems, his name recognition as the sincere guy in front of the camera (people in the media make the mistake that your average viewer, listener or reader actually cares what goes behind the scenes) and the negative reaction to the way Shimkus was shoved off the ballot, it’s a good possibility he may win the nomination on both tickets. And if he doesn’t, in the fall, Shimkus will prevail and all of this will be political trivia.
KANJO AND GAS
Congressman Kanjorski held a news conference at Phil’s Sunoco on South Main Street in Wilkes Barre this afternoon. The Congressman expressed his outrage about the high gas prices and talked about some legislation that in this election year will go nowhere. But the man did express outrage, joining his constituents in their dismay over high gas prices and obscene corporate profits.
Luzerne County Prison Board officials suspended Warden Gene Fischi for one week without pay, and to place him and kitchen supervisor Jack Rentko on probation for one year. The board's actions are the result surrounding the controversy of no-bid purchases of food at the prison. San Guesto told them to do it but these guys get suspended. Guesto in the meantime heads the Luzerne County Judiciary as its Administrator. No word on whether he made any comment on this. But this action by the prison board is only a prelude to more investigations into the no bid contracts allowed under the dome.