The LuLac Edition #2035, April 24th, 2012
PRIMARY ELECTION NIGHT 2012
This was a quiet primary election year in Pennsylvania. It was silenced all the more by the ending of the Republican Presidential race when Rick Santorum suspended his campaign. In the Republican primary to take on incumbent Bob Casey in the fall election, 5 candidates vied for the chance to meet the popular Democrat from Scranton. David Christian Sam Rohrer Marc Scaringi Steve Welch Tim Burns Tom Smith started out this multi field race. The number of candidates running was an indication of how the state GOP could not come up with a big name to take on Casey. Former Governor Tom Ridge was wooed unsuccessfully and there weren’t any other big name Republicans willing to give it a go. After a raucous campaign, the winner was Tom Smith who spent a great deal of money and ran a very aggressive campaign. The unendorsed candidate really gave a spanking to the Tom Corbett endorsed Steve Welch.
The race for State Attorney General was a wild campaign waged by Scranton lawyer Kathleen Kane vs Patrick Murphy who has ties to Wilkes Barre. The winner will face off against David Freed, a Republican from Central Pennsylvania. Despite Murphy’s support in the Philadelphia area, Kane prevailed and becomes the first female nominee for Attorney General. In the race for Auditor General, where Jack Wagner is retiring, Frank Pinto took on the endorsed John Maher for the GOP nomination. Maher won and will face off in the fall against Democrat Eugene Despasquale was running unopposed.
Incumbent Democrat Rob McCord had no opposition but in the General election will face off against Diane Irey Vaughan.
In Congressional races in LuLac land, the 11th District primary between Bill Vinsko and Gene Stilp was punctuated by politeness throughout. StiLp’s pink pig was everywhere as was Mr. Vinsko. But in the end the long term activism of Gene Stilp and his pink pig prevailed over Attorney Vinsko. One thing that hurt Vinsko was the fact that he was not from the District and even though we here in LuLac land know the new district is a stone’s throw away from his house, the fact that Stilp could say Vinsko was not a resident, made it an uphill battle. Stilp, a Wilkes Barre native will take on Lou Barletta in the fall. Stilp will give Barletta a run for his money. It will be interesting to see if Barletta agrees to a debate. If he does, it will be an incredible event.
In the 10th Congressional District, Tom Marino romped to an easy renomination. He will most liely crush his fall opponent. Phillip Scollo of Dingman Township.
In the 17th, a bitter race ensued between challenger Matt Cartwright and incumbent Congressman Tim Holden. Cartwright had a solid base of recognition in botn Wilkes Barre and Scranton. He also spent a great deal of money too. Holden touted his seniority and had the backing of all the political power brokers in the county. In the end though, Cartwright won for a number of reasons. He ran a smart campaign, toured the district’s major areas and hinterlands and had an easy going manner. Cartwright also did not shy away from his Democratic party beliefs either. But the real reason why Cartwright won is because the 17th was a merger of two old districts, the 10th and 11th. For over 60 years, those two districts in Lackawanna and Luzerne County were proprietary districts. It was known as a Scranton seat as well as a Wilkes Barre seat. With the combined district, those two cities who enjoyed the fruits of the labor of Dan Flood, Paul Kanjorski, Joe McDade and Don Sherwood, wanted “their Congressman” back. They got him tonight with the election of a NEPA local, Matt Cartwright. Cartwright will be opposed by Tea Party activist Lureen Cummings in the fall.
The State Representative races in Luzerne County were pretty much yawners. No one, incumbent or challenger had an opponent in the primary. The only challenge came in the 117th where Mark Barnett tried to mount a write in vote on the Democratic side to get on the ballot against Karen Boback the incumbent. Boback had 3741 votes and had a few write ins. Totals for Barrett’s effort were not available. The way the fall line up shapes up is this way, in the 119th, Democrat Gerry Mullery takes on Republican Rick Arnold, in the 118th and 121st Mike Carroll and Eddie Day Pashinski have no opposition in the fall, in the 120th Phyllis Mundy the Democrat faces off against newcomer Aaron Kaufer and in the 116th Republican incumbent Tarah Toohill faces off against Democrat Ransom Young.
In Lackawanna County, in the 112th, incumbent Ken Smith and Kevin Haggerty faced off. The end result was that Smith’s tax problems, which he did not fix or could not articulate, did him in. Haggerty has no opposition in the fall and is on his way to Harrisburg. The 113th primary race between incumbent Kevin Murphy and challenger Marty Flynn got complicated. You would think an incumbent like Murphy would have received the endorsement of the Times but he didn’t. Plus Murphy had a problem with the fact that his educational credentials were questioned during the last weekend of the campaign. Despite his best efforts to get his paper work in, more than a decade after completing school, this did Murphy in. Murphy took office after questioning the per diems of Frank Andrews Shimkus and was a visible representative. Never in his wildest dreams did Murphy ever think he’d be tripped up by an issue of his past education credentials. The problem with Murphy was that no one believed his explanation plus the fact that he became fodder for jokes. When they start laughing at you in public life, you’re done. Flynn however ran a very organized grassroots effort with signs all over the district. Flynn had an undercurrent running and all he needed was an issue to explode it. The end result was Marty Flynn winning in a close race. And in the 115th, Ed Staback is going to be replaced by Frank Farina. Farina beat former Lackawanna County Commissioner Randy Castellani by less than 100 votes. The race between Castellani and Frank Farina got very nasty and ugly. Plus the two candidates seem to have done everything to give the nomination to each other. Farina’s arrest record was questioned and he did himself no favors by going on Steve Corbett the other day. But the fact that Castellani admitted to quitting as Commissioner really did not help his effort. Farina’s ads were produced by Bob Harper of Florida. Despite the inadequacies of Farina as a candidate, Harper is now 2-0 in recent elections with Farina and last year’s Stefanie Salavantis campaign for District Attorney in Luzerne County.
A voter referendum in Hazleton passed allocating 1% of the school board budget to the Hazleton Public Library. The funding does not raise taxes, just guarantees a percentage of money for the library.
Those are the results……..now on to the fall where the marquee race is going to be Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney. Romney, by the way, won the Pennsylvania primary today as well as contests in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware.