LU LAC Edition #5-May 15th, 2006
NEWS OF THE DAY…………….A close look at the numbers now for Primary Election Day on Tuesday. There will be 220 Federal and State office holders running for election. The only two statewide races of consequence are for Lt. Governor where Katherine Baker Knoll faces opposition and State Treasurer Robert P. Casey, Jr. in his bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. On the Congressional level, 19 Congress people have no opposition while 2 have primary challengers. (Don Sherwood from the 10th district is one of the two. His opposition comes from Williamsport resident Kathy Scott.) In the State Senate, there are 3 open seats, with only 6 Senators facing opposition, in the Pa. House, there are 27 open seats with 65 House lawmakers having opponents. Polls open at 7AM and close at 8PM……..
Gene Stilip, one of the founds of Clean Sweep Pa. is bringing a large bell to downtown Wilkes Barre today from 11AM to 2Pm. Stilip is running for the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor. Stilip has named his statewide tour, “Squeal or No Squeal”…………………Word is that the National Democratic Congressional Committee might be ready to pony up some money for Chris Carney in his fall bid to unseat Don Sherwood in the 10th District. The Political Science Professor has shown some muscle in his campaign organization.
COMMENTARIES………The local newspapers on Sunday were devoid of those family oriented “Happy Mother’s Day ads. Only the Sunday Dispatch had one or two………..Dr. Karen Boback was on WILK radio this morning. Pressed for time, she actually turned down an opportunity to “hold over” after the news break thanking the hosts for the brief opportunity. Classy move not seen or heard in this race or for that matter any political race........................
MEDIA WATCH.....PCN going to be doing primary night election coverage most likely zeroing in on 2 huge State Senate races involving GOP leaders Altoona’s Robert Jubilier and Lebonon’s David “Chip” Brightbill.
HOT RACES TO WATCH: The 20th Senatorial District race has been garnering local interest since the retirement announcement of Senator Charles Lemmond. Rather than resign, like his predecessor the late Frank O’Connell did, Lemmond chose to stay in office and fulfill his term. This race will be not be a referendum on Lemmond’s leadership or that of the GOP controlled Senate. Rather it will be the choosing of a new generational politico who most likely with be cemented in this seat mainly because of the huge voter registration edge among Republicans. Unless there is a great political sea change in the district or a monumental scandal, the person elected to this seat will be there as long as he or she chooses.
From the start, Lisa Baker has been the front runner given her associations with Senator Lemmond as well as Governor Tom Ridge. She has quietly built a following among the GOP by not upstaging her bosses, and by being a reliable if not charismatic party member. Her main opponent is Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty who brought to the race energy, articulation of issues as well as a penchant for voicing his opinions, concerns and options as a candidate at the drop of a hat. If there is a tier level in all campaigns, both Baker and Haggerty are the top tier. Baker’s voting strength is the gender vote as well as an acceptance of her inevitability from the power brokers in the GOP as well as the NEPA business community. Haggerty’s strengths are his home base of Kingston and Forty Fort which, if it votes in a block, and turnout is low elsewhere can make him a winner. The key for both Baker and Haggerty, after all the billboards, signs, commercials and cajoling will be turnout.
The second tier of candidates include Russ Bigus and Doctor David Madeira. Both men have individual bases of strength. Bigus as a school director in the Dallas Area and as an educator at Regis Academy and Dr. Madeira as a chiropractor and sportsman. While both men acquitted themselves well on the campaign trail, and have distinct followings that will bear fruit on election day, don’t expect either of these men to be the new Senator in the 20th district.
Carl Sutton and Democrat Robert McNamera are placed in my third tier. While Sutton is articulate, he is not funded well at all for such a huge political undertaking and McNamera, the Democratic candidate is unlikely to win in the general election no matter who wins the GOP nod.
RECENT POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT: Senator Lemmond won election to this seat in 1985 during a special election called upon by the resignation of Senator Frank O’Connell. O’Connell had served since his election in 1978 when he ran against the late Thomas Lehman, an investment banker from Kingston who was a lifelong Republican but had turned Democrat to make the run at the behest of his long time friend, Joseph Tirpak. Tirpak was County Controller and a Democratic powerhouse at the time. In 1978 the seat became open with the retirement of Senator T. Newell Wood who served numerous terms throughout the 60s and 70s in the Republican controlled district.