The LuLac Edition #1597, May 15th, 2011
LACKAWANNA COUNTY POLITICS
The big news in this Tuesday’s Lackawanna County Commissioner’ race is going to be whether Corey O’Brien’s ambition of 2010 will comer back to haunt him a year later. O’Brien of course ran for Congress against Paul Kanjorski in the primary election. An ordinary election was transformed into a donnybrook when certain events in 2010 charted the course for this year. Jim Wansacz ran for State Senate and was defeated. Mike Washo threw everything into chaos by announcing that he was not running for re-election again. It was assumed that a Washo-O’Brien ticket would give the latter some political cover. But with Washo gone, the enmity that was always there against O’Brien came out in full force. In a Super Bowl ad that cost more than most people in LuLac make per year. O’Brien picked Blakely Mayor Jeanette Mariani and they began to run as a team. Enter then former State Representative Jim Wansacz who’s $70,000 a year job was taken by Sid Michaels Kavulich. Wansacz teamed with Brian Jeffers to run against O’Brien and Mariani. Other candidates joining in were Tom Fox, Tom McHugh, Elizabeth Randol. Randol is the most intriguing because she actually served as Chief of Staff in the Washo-O’Brien administration. She is making strides among mainstream Democrats and women’s business groups. On the GOP side you have Bill Jones II, Patrick O'Malley and Bruce Smallacombe. In 2003 in Luzerne County, the only incumbent running was Steve Urban who won his nomination on the Republican side. However the last time that happened in Lackawanna County was 100 years ago in 1911!!! Lackawanna County politicos on both sides have always insisted on running as teams. And when one member opted out, he was replaced speedily by the party apparatus. (O’Brien is the only incumbent seeking re-election).
I used the pronoun “he” in the last sentence because in Lackawanna County there has not been a woman County Commissioner. Evie Refalko McNulty tried hard in 2007 but came in third.
With 7 Democratic candidates in the race, and with everything so fluid, you might get a tried and true team running together that would make politicos lives very easy in Lackawanna County. Or you can get a political shot gun wedding where you have two candidates not in sync at all. The media guys would love that !
Look at the contrast between these two ads:
The County Controller’s race is going to be pretty interesting. John Mellow who threatened to be dragged kicking and screaming from his office a few years ago wants another turn at the wheel. He is opposed by Gary Debilio who has decided to give up his crusade to be Scranton Mayor and run for this seat. Word is DeBilio will have this one in a walk.