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MARC FRIEDENBERG

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FRED KELLER

All Wyoming County voters go to the polls next Tuesday, May 21, to cast their vote in a special election for a U.S. Congressman in the 12th District of Pennsylvania to fill a seat that has been vacant since Tom Marino stepped down in January for personal reasons.

Voters will have an opportunity to vote for Republican Fred Keller, now in his ninth year in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, or Democrat Marc Friedenberg, a lawyer who teaches cybersecurity at Penn State University’s main campus.

In addition, Republicans and Democrats face a hotly contested primary race for Wyoming County commissioner. But those and lesser races are open only to registered Democrats or Republicans.

Three Democrats and seven Republican commissioner candidates will battle in the primary hoping to advance to the municipal election Nov. 5. That’s when the top two primary vote-getters from each party will compete for spots on the three-member board of commissioners.

On the Democratic side, Ernie King, owner of K&K Tire Barn in Tunkhannock, and a former mayor of Nicholson; is taking on Mick Cronin, a former president of the Tunkhannock Area school board; and Rick Hiduk, a part-time Rocket-Courier reporter involved in a number of media ventures. Incumbent Mike Stabinsky, who was appointed this winter to fill a vacancy created by Ron Williams’ death is not running in the primary.

Fighting for the two Republican nominations are incumbent commissioner Tom Henry, and six challengers: former county auditor Sandra Ritz; Exeter Township supervisor Rick Wilbur; Triton Hose Co. Chief and Tunkhannock Township Supervisor Randy White; County EMA Director Gene Dziak Sr.; Procter & Gamble employee Tina Henning who operates a Mehoopany farm with her husband; and Tunkhannock Borough Councilman Daniel Gay, who manages Gay’s True Value. Judy Kraft Mead, who’s held the post for more than 19 years is not running for reelection and will retire at the end of the year.

Two contested races face voters on the Republican ballot.

Incumbent Karen Bishop and newcomer Cindy Zika Newhart, a paralegal, are running for Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts.

Also, Tunkhannock Borough Police Officer Bob Roberts and David Smith, who works in the county correctional facility and is a part-time deputy, are running for Sheriff, to succeed Ned Sherman.

At the municipal level, incumbent Kenny White faces Mark Novak for Eaton Twp. Supervisor; incumbent Roy Landsiedel and Luke Franko are on for Falls Twp. Supervisor; incumbent William Smith and Verne Croasdale are running for Nicholson Twp. Supervisor; incumbent Gerald Fritsch Jr. and John Walsh are squaring off for Overfield Twp. Supervisor; and incumbent Marshall Davis is being challenged by Ronald Coolbaugh for Tunkhannock Borough Councilman, Ward 4.

Of the contested races for school board, incumbents David Thorne and Joe Strauch face a challenge from Brian Petula for two seats in Lackawanna Trail’s Region 1 which includes Clinton Twp., Nicholson Twp., and Nicholson Borough. In Wyoming Area, incumbents Toni Valenti and Gerald Stofko will be challenged by Matt Bartoli, Lara Best, Ross Giamusso, Leonard Pribula Jr. and Philip Campenni for five at-large spots.

Most of the other races on the Democratic or Republican Primary ballot are uncontested, and write-ins could be a big factor as well.