12th Congressional District Race Garners Attention in Wyoming County

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Supporters of Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko (top, center) for representative of the state’s 12th Congressional District who rallied for the candidate on Tuesday evening at Perkins Restaurant in Tunkhannock Township included (from left) Crystal Very, Tom Henry, Dennis Montross and William Eggleston. Wyoming County director of elections and voter registration Flo Kellett (above, right) prepares voting machines for the May 15 primary elections with assistant Laura Watts.

Photos and Story by Rick Hiduk

(Also published in the Rocket-Courier)

With the only local races in Wyoming County being that of party committee members for select municipalities, attention for the May 15 general primary is focused on the U.S. Senator campaign and several state contests, including the bid by two Democrats and two Republicans to serve the 12th congressional district in the state’s House of Representatives.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s redistricting of congressional districts in January caused candidates to scramble, including Democrats Judy Hershel of Susquehanna County and Marc Friedenberg of Centre County and Republicans Doug McLinko of Bradford County and Tom Marino of Lycoming County. Voters on May 15 must select from one of the two candidates, respectively, in their registered party. Hershel and McLinko have the likely edge among party faithfuls due to their proximity to and familiarity with Wyoming County.

There are no Democratic contenders for either the 20th Senatorial District nor the 117th Legislative District, in which Republicans Lisa Baker and Karen Boback are running unopposed. Both are listed on the ballot as being from Luzerne County, but Boback served as a teacher and guidance counselor for many years in the Tunkhannock School District.

Northeast Pennsylvania is grossly underrepresented in the state’s contest for governor and lieutenant governor. Incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf is running unopposed on the Democratic ballot, while Republicans must chose between Scott Wagner of York County, and Paul Mango and Laura Ellsworth, both of Allegheny County. There are five Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor from southern counties: Kathi Cozzone, John Fetterman, Mike Stack, Ray Sosa, and Nina Ahmad. Republican contenders include Kathy Coder, Dian Irey Vaughn, Jeff Bartos, and Peg Luksik.

The U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania is a contest between incumbent Democrat Bob Casey Jr. and the ballot winner on May 15 between Republicans Lou Barletta and Jim Christina. Three polls cited at Ballotpedia.org predict that Casey will hold either contender at bay in the fall, but Wyoming County’s predominantly Republican electorate will give the Lackawanna County native a run for his money.

Democrats in Nicholson Borough, and Monroe, Northmoreland, and Tunkhannock townships will have the opportunity to vote for party chairpersons, but none of the registered candidates are necessarily opposed. Republicans must choose between Joe Strauch and William Eggleston, both of Clinton Township, to represent the county on the Republican State Committee.

As of Tuesday morning, Wyoming County Director of Elections Florence Kellett and assistant, Laura Watts, were about half done cleaning and testing voting machines at the county courthouse. Kellett, who had reported earlier this year that there was a shortage of workers for the polls, was pleased to note that enough people had stepped up to close the gaps.

We have full boards,” she remarked. “That’s a good thing.”

There are no new regulations for polling places this year, but Kellett reminds voters that no weapons, no cameras and especially no “selfies” are allowed.

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