The LuLac Edition #1603, May 18th, 2011
PHOTO INDEX: "ELECTION RESULTS" LOGO.
This election for Luzerne Counting Judge will go down in history as a change election. Voters on Tuesday shaped the Common Pleas Court for the next three decades. Five of the candidates who were successful in garnering the nominations of both the Republican and Democratic parties are in the early to mid 40s. That means that if there are no retention issues Fred Pierantoni, Michael Vough, Joseph Sklarosky Jr., Lesa Gelb and Jennifer Rogers will be formulating the character and work process of the court well into the middle of this century. The remaining race will pit Democrat Molly Hanlon Morabito against Republican Dick Hughes. The vote totals were:
Fred A. Pierantoni . . . . . . . 16,787
Michael T. Vough . . . . . . . . 15,103
Joe Sklarosky Jr.. . . . . . . . 14,076
Lesa Gelb . . . . . . . . . . 13,850
Jennifer Rogers . . . . . . . . 13,072
Molly Hanlon Mirabito . . . 12,170
Joe Saporito and Dick Hughes registered Republicans finished less than 500 votes from the coveted top 6 position.
The top 6 on the GOP side were:
Dick Hughes. . . . . . . . . . 9,912
Joe Sklarosky Jr.. . . . . . . . 7,274
Michael T. Vough . . . . . . . . 7,251
Fred A. Pierantoni . . . . . . . 7,156
Lesa Gelb . . . . . . . . . . 6,350
Jennifer Rogers . . . . . . . . 6,280
93 votes separate 6th place winner Jennifer Rogers over Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty.
This class of Judicial candidates seem to spend less than those in the ’09 class. It seemed they also went to every event that was held in the county and stressed the fact that they will restore pride and integrity to the Luzerne County bench.
Barring any unforeseen difficulties among the top 5 candidates who won the dual nominations, there will be one election pitting two veterans of the District Attorneys office, Dick Hughes and Molly Hanlon Maribito. That election will test the strength of the Luzerne county GOP. It will be their challenge to see whether they can put a quality candidate like Hughes over the top in a one on one race. Hughes finished a strong third in the 2009 General behind William Amesbury and Tina Polachek Gartley.
The County Council race on the Democratic side was impossible to predict and improbable to analyze. Here are the results:
Stephen A. Urban . . . . . . . . 12,142
Linda McClosky Houck. . . . . . . 11,001
Jim Bobeck . . . . . . . . . . 10,526
Edward A. Brominski . . . . . . . 10,299
Jane Walsh-Waitkus . . . . . . . 9,488
Eileen M. Sorokas. . . . . . . . 9,357
Salvatore Licata . . . . . . . . 8,967
Tim McGinley . . . . . . . . . 8,948
Michelle Bednar . . . . . . . . 8,818
M. Theresa Morcavage. . . . . . . 8,106
Elaine Maddon Curry . . . . . . . 7,870
Current Commissioner Steve Urban and former Commissioner Ed Brominski got a seat on the Council proving that old dogs can deal with new tricks. Eileen Sorakas, a long time Democratic state committee woman placed well as did Home Rule committee member Jim Bobeck. Four members of the Working Families for Luzerne County ticket won. They were Linda McClosky Houck, Theresa Morcavage, Jane Walsh Waitkus and Sal Licata. Throughout the night members of this group kept on exchanging leads until all the numbers came in. This group was heavily supported by Wilkes Barre area unions and was criticized for not interviewing members from the Hazleton area. Elaine Maddon Curry got by for the 11th nomination outdistancing beleaguered Hughestown resident John Adonizio by just 282 votes.
On the GOP side another Urban was the top vote getter. Stephen J. Urban, the Commissioner’s son was the top vote getter. Not to diminish Steve Junior here but there has to be a segment of the population that think they were voting for Urban senior who earlier this year changed his party registration to Democratic. Others following up were:
Rick Morelli . . . . . . . . . 8,769
Kathleen M. Dobash . . . . . . . 8,081
John Ruckno. . . . . . . . . . 7,875
Harry Haas . . . . . . . . . . 7,747
Blythe H. Evans III . . . . . . . 7,081
William Bill James . . . . . . . 6,747
Eugene L. Kelleher . . . . . . . 6,664
Gina Nevenglosky . . . . . . . . 6,601
Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt . . 6,586
Michael Cabell................... 6582
The GOP race answered a lot of concerns about representation from the Hazleton area. Dobash and Cabell as well as Morelli hail from that area. Endorsements too here took a beating with the GOP contenders. Kathy Dobash was endorsed then unendorsed by the erratic C.O.P.S. group and it didn’t seem to hurt her. Blythe Evans III was inexpicabely not endorsed by the Times Leader and he breezed through to a primary win. So save for that labor group, endorsements didn’t mean a hill of bneans here. Harry Haas a former candidate for school board in Wilkes Barre also had a good showing. Each party was smart enough to put a Transition Committee member on the council in the persons of Rick Morelli and Jim Bobeck. Only 233 votes separated Linda J. Urban, Steve Senior’s wife and Steve Junior’s step mom from winning a nomination. If that happened, the Urban Family most likely would have not only been running against each and with other but most likely would have got a reality show on HBO.
Things have yet to shake out for real because of the 465 write in votes for Mayor on the Democratic side but it appears Grace Cuozzo will face off in the General against Joe Yanuzzi. Congressman Lou Barletta made a belated appearance on behalf of the Mayor and Yannuzzi’s opponent Jeff Cusat was not really endorsing the Mayor when question by WYLN TV’s Tiffany Cloud on election night. Yannuzzi won the renomination by 173 votes. The write ins are intriguing and we’ll have to find out who they were for and how it will affect the race.
Tom Leighton won the Democratic primary for Mayor in Wilkes Barre over Charlotte Raup by about 600 voters. For the amount of money Leighton spent vs the amount Raup didn’t, you’d think it wouldn’t be this close. Leighton isa going for a third term. No Wilkes Barre Mayor since the strong Mayor form of government started in 1975 in Wilkes Barre has won a third term. On the GOP side, Lisa Cope beat Frank Sorick by less than 100 votes. Sorick was on talk radio saying he was Mayor Leighton’s worst political nightmare but he had to win a nomination for that to happen. If you look at this race closely there is an anti incumbent if not an anti Leighton aura existing. If you take the combined GOP field’s numbers, which is 945 votes and add Raup’s and Pinko’s numbers there were 2,819 votes cast against Tom Leighton. Leighton of course win the primary with 2736 votes. Now these numbers might normally scare a politician but in Wilkes Barre you have a pitiful Republican party that will have to unite and try to beat him. It can happen but history dictates that Republicans in the city would rather fight among themselves then fight one common enemy. That said, the Mayor’s people need to study these numbers. Don’t be surprised to see an appliance pick up before the general election in Wilkes Barre.
Rick Cronauer won the nomination for South Wilkes Barre district Justice on Tuesday night. Cronaurer succeeds Bill Amesbury in that post. He faced stiff opposition from Attorney Chris O’Donnell and Jeff Thomas the brother of Tony Thomas current council member who is leaving council at the end of the year. City Council Dems who won were George Brown in A, Tony George in B, Maureen Lavelle in C, Bill Barrett in D and Mike Merritt in E.
THE DREAM TEAM??
The Lackawanna County Commissioner’s race came down to this: John Wansacz and Corey O’Brien are running as a team. The two who faced off against each other with teams Brian Jefferrs (Wansacz) and Jeanette Mariani (O’Brien) now are going to have to find a way to kiss and make up. The GOP nominees are Bill Jones and Patrick O’Malley. O’Malley used to be head of the State wide Pennsylvania Young Democrats so thisa is going to be interesting Liz Randol who worked as O’Brien’s Chief of staff finished a close third. Already wags are proclaiming this team “The Brylcream boys” given their fine head of respective hair. More on this later this week.
Gary DeBilio coasted to victory as the Lackawanna County Controller and Roseann Novembrino won still another term even though she was told she had stayed too long at the fair. I guess she told them!