PHOTO INDEX: REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MURPHY AND THE MAN HE DEFEATED TWICE IN 2008, FRANK ANDREWS SHIMKUS.
Former state Rep. Frank Shimkus and Scranton School Director Kathleen McGuigan told the media early this week they will run against Rep. Kevin Murphy for the Democratic nomination for the 113th House district seat. Murphy won a contentious election with former Representative Frank Andrews Shimkus in the spring primary. In the fall Shimkus ran as a Republican and lost again to Murphy. Shimkus blames Barack Obama for his loss, a lot of Murphy’s supporters say it was the former newscaster’s abuse of per Diems. Shimkus says Murphy hasn’t done anything laying higher taxes and a bad budget deal at his feet. Murphy did not take his salary while the budget mess went on and was front and center for the people involved in the Scranton State School for the Deaf. This will be a campaign of charges and counter charges and lots and lots of yard signs.
Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien is challenging U.S. representative Paul Kanjorski to 10 debates. In a letter to Pennsylvania campaign director Joe Werner (ahh I knew Mr. Werner when he was just a lad!!) the O’Brien people want to debate 10 times before the May 18th primary. Lots of luck with that. In 2006 Dr. Joe Leonardi couldn’t get Kanjorski to debate him at all and in 2008 Kanjorski grudgingly deigned to debate Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta. Kanjorski gave a primer in the good things government can do and won a lot of respect with his debating skills. But he was pretty grumpy and nearly passed Barletta like the proverbial paycar passing a bum until someone told him to shake hizzoner’s hand. So guys good luck with your 10 debate request.