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A map of municipalities in Luzerne County. Each council member represents the entire county.

The Luzerne County Council is elected by the voters of the county. The governing body consists of eleven members. Nearly half the council is up for election every two years. It rotates between five and six seats. Each council member is elected at-large (to a four-year term). Councilors may serve no more than three consecutive terms.[1]

In the May primary, the major political parties (Democratic and Republican) select their top candidates for the general election. For example, those who place in the top five or six become the nominees of their party. Third party (or independent) candidates may also join the race. In the November general election, all political parties/candidates square off on the same ballot. Those who place in the top five or six will be elected or re-elected to council.

BackgroundEdit

On Tuesday, November 2, 2010, Luzerne County adopted a home rule charter by a margin of 51,413 to 41,639.[2][3] The following year (in 2011), the first election for the new government was held. On Monday, January 2, 2012, the previous government (the board of county commissioners) was abolished and replaced with the new form of government (council–manager government). The first members of the Luzerne County Council were sworn in that same day. The council chair, who is appointed by his or her fellow council members, is both the highest-ranking officer on the council and the head of county government for ceremonial purposes.[4] The first council chair was Jim Bobeck.[5]

ElectionsEdit

2011Edit

The first general election for the Luzerne County Council was held on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. The first eleven councilors were elected. They included: Rick Morelli, Stephen A. Urban, Jim Bobeck, Stephen J. Urban, Tim McGinley, Edward Brominski, Harry Haas, Rick Williams, Elaine Maddon Curry, Linda McClosky Houck, and Eugene Kelleher. To this day, Rick Morelli is the only Republican to come in first in a general election, and he is the only candidate (Democrat or Republican) to receive the most votes (25,026).[5][3]

Seats after the election
Party Number of seats
Democratic 6
Republican 4
Independent 1
Luzerne County general election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Rick Morelli 25,026 5.25
Democratic Stephen A. Urban 23,657 4.97
Democratic Jim Bobeck 23,412 4.91
Republican Stephen J. Urban 22,598 4.74
Democratic Tim McGinley 21,654 4.54
Democratic Edward A. Brominski 21,630 4.54
Republican Harry Haas 21,299 4.47
Independent Rick Williams 20,359 4.27
Democratic Elaine Maddon Curry 19,593 4.11
Democratic Linda McClosky Houck 19,375 4.07
Republican Eugene L. Kelleher 18,867 3.96
Democratic Eileen M. Sorokas 18,811 3.95
Republican John Ruckno 18,594 3.90
Democratic Jane Walsh-Waitkus 18,419 3.87
Republican Kathleen M. Dobash 17,556 3.68
Democratic Michelle Bednar 17,532 3.68
Democratic Salvatore Licata 16,601 3.48
Republican Blythe H. Evans III 16,261 3.41
Republican William Bill James 15,611 3.28
Republican Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt 14,723 3.09
Democratic M. Theresa Morcavage 14,299 3.00
Republican Gina Nevenglosky 13,849 2.91
Republican Michael Cabell 12,855 2.70
Libertarian Michael A. Lacey 11,108 2.33
Independent Jeremy Packard 11,095 2.33
Libertarian Tim Mullen 10,770 2.26
American Independent Charlie Bible Buck Hatchko 6,309 1.32
Libertarian Brian R. Bergman 3,734 0.78
Write-in 862 0.18
Total votes 476,459

2013Edit

The second general election was held on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. Five seats were up for election. Elaine Maddon Curry did not seek re-election. Councilwoman Linda McClosky Houck was the top vote getter (with 18,980 votes). Eileen Sorokas and Kathy Dobash were both newly elected to the council. Eugene Kelleher was the only incumbent to lose his seat in the general election. In the end, the number of seats per political party remained the same — six Democrats, four Republicans, and one independent.[6]

Seats after the election
Party Number of seats
Democratic 6
Republican 4
Independent 1
Luzerne County general election, 2013
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Linda McClosky Houck (Incumbent) 18,980 10.18
Democratic Eileen M. Sorokas 18,287 9.81
Republican Kathy Dobash 17,829 9.56
Republican Harry Haas (Incumbent) 17,552 9.41
Independent Rick Williams (Incumbent) 17,226 9.24
Republican Sue Rossi 17,147 9.20
Democratic Richard Kick Heffron 16,929 9.08
Democratic Renee Ciaruffoli Taffera 16,560 8.88
Republican Eugene L. Kelleher (Incumbent) 16,339 8.76
Democratic Michael Giamber 15,345 8.23
Republican Paul M. Defabo 13,586 7.29
Write-in 688 0.37
Total votes 186,468

2015Edit

The third general election was held on Tuesday, November 3, 2015. Six seats were up for election. Jim Bobeck and Rick Morelli did not seek re-election. During the May primary, Democrat Robert Schnee lost the Democratic nomination, but won the Republican nomination with 384 write-in votes.[7] In the November general election, Robert Schnee and Jane Walsh Waitkus were both newly elected to the council. Even though Schnee won the election as a Republican, he went on to serve as a Democrat. Former Councilman Eugene Kelleher, who lost his seat two years earlier, was elected in 2015. Stephen J. Urban was the only incumbent to lose his seat in the general election.[8]

Seats after the election
Party Number of seats
Democratic 7
Republican 3
Independent 1
Note: Even though Robert W. Schnee won
the general election as a Republican,
he went on to serve as a Democrat.
Luzerne County general election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Tim McGinley (Incumbent) 23,892 10.37
Democratic Edward A. Brominski (Incumbent) 21,066 9.14
Democratic Stephen A. Urban (Incumbent) 20,967 9.10
Republican Eugene L. Kelleher 20,331 8.82
Democratic Jane Walsh Waitkus 20,287 8.80
Republican Robert W. Schnee 19,487 8.46
Republican Stephen J. Urban (Incumbent) 19,117 8.29
Democratic John Gadomski 18,214 7.90
Democratic Anthony J. Rostock 17,661 7.66
Republican Marc Dixon 17,577 7.63
Republican Ray Gustave 16,491 7.16
Republican Mark A. Rabo 14,898 6.46
Write-in 486 0.21
Total votes 230,474

2017Edit

The fourth general election was held on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Five seats were up for election. Kathy Dobash, Eileen Sorokas, and Rick Williams (the only independent on the council) did not seek re-election.[9][10] Sheila Saidman, Matthew Vough, and Chris R. Perry were newly elected to the council.[11][12] In the end, the Democratic majority grew from seven seats to eight.

Seats after the election
Party Number of seats
Democratic 8
Republican 3
Luzerne County general election, 2017
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Sheila Saidman 21,415 10.92
Democratic Matthew Vough 20,393 10.39
Democratic Linda McClosky Houck (Incumbent) 20,380 10.39
Republican Harry Haas (Incumbent) 20,328 10.36
Republican Chris R. Perry 20,138 10.26
Republican Stephen J. Urban 19,770 10.08
Democratic Wendy Cominsky 19,375 9.88
Republican Marc Dixon 19,125 9.75
Democratic John Gadomski 18,349 9.35
Republican Gregory S. Wolovich Jr. 16,631 8.48
Write-in 278 0.14
Total votes 196,182

2019Edit

The primary is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Six seats are up for election. There will be six Democratic nominees, six Republican nominees, and potentially several independent/third party candidates seeking office. The fifth general election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5, 2019. Those who place in the top six on Election Day will go on to serve as councilors. Libertarian candidate Nicholas Fazio had entered the race but dropped out in July of 2019.[13]

Luzerne County general election, 2019
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Timothy McGinley
Democratic Robert Schnee
Democratic Joe Sebastianelli
Democratic Patrick M Bilbow
Democratic Jane Walsh-Waitkus
Democratic Anup K Patel
Write-in
Total votes '
Luzerne County general election, 2019
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Kendra M Radle
Republican Gregory S Wolovich, Jr.
Republican Walter L Griffith, Jr.
Republican Stephen J Urban
Republican Lea-Ann McDermott
Write-in
Total votes '
Luzerne County general election, 2019
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Libertarian Nicholas Fazio (write in)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Board, The Editorial. "Our choices for Luzerne County Council". www.citizensvoice.com.
  2. ^ Voters say 'yes' to home rule - News. Standard Speaker (2010-11-03). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2017-10-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-02-04. Retrieved 2018-02-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ a b "Luzerne County Council members sworn in - The Times Leader reports" – via www.youtube.com.
  6. ^ "11/05/13 General & Municipal Elections". results.enr.clarityelections.com. Retrieved 2019-09-09.
  7. ^ Buffer, By Michael P. "Schnee, Kelleher win write-in nominations for county council". www.citizensvoice.com.
  8. ^ "Municipal Election 11/03/2015". results.enr.clarityelections.com. Retrieved 2019-09-09.
  9. ^ Wellock, Bill. "Luzerne council seats will be open". www.standardspeaker.com.
  10. ^ Leader, Times (August 16, 2017). "Luzerne County Councilman Rick Williams won't run again". Times Leader.
  11. ^ Leader, Times (December 29, 2017). "Luzerne County Council chairmanship decision Tuesday". Times Leader.
  12. ^ "Municipal Election - November 7, 2017". results.enr.clarityelections.com. Retrieved 2019-09-09.
  13. ^ "Luzerne County Council At-Large". Our Campaigns. Our Campaigns. Retrieved 16 September 2019.