New Castle News

Closer Look

February 23, 2013

John K. Manna: An interesting mix emerges for ballot in local contests

NEW CASTLE — Just when you were breathing a sigh of relief after the presidential campaign ended, here comes another one.

Not a presidential campaign, of course, but one right in your backyard where some of your friends and neighbors — and enemies — are expressing an interest in running in the May primary for county and municipal offices and school boards.

If you’ve followed politics in Lawrence County for any length of time, nothing should surprise you. So, you shouldn’t be surprised — or shocked — by some of the people who may end up being on the primary ballot.

Based on preliminary reports of those who have secured nomination petitions to get on the ballot, there are some novices, but also a lot of familiar names.

Some names that may cause you to say, “You can’t be serious.”

Serious or not, Pennsylvania is still a democracy where anyone meeting the age requirement can run and hold office as long as he or she hasn’t been convicted of a felony.

Remember Mark Sanford?

When he was South Carolina’s governor, he told people he would be hiking the Appalachian Trail, when in fact he was having an extramarital affair with his mistress in Argentina.

Although his political career was derailed and his marriage ended in divorce, Sanford is attempting a comeback by running for his old congressional seat. He is one of 16 Republicans running in the March 19 primary. So, considering the number of candidates, he appears to have a good chance of winning.

There is nobody running in Lawrence County who has a life experience  similar to Sanford’s. At least none that I’m aware of.

But the point is that political comebacks — or the attempt at political comebacks are everywhere. If Sanford can run, the door is wide open for just about anyone.

Besides, it makes for good theater if you get the right mix of candidates. And we might have that to some extent, even judging by some of the people who have officially announced their candidacies.

It’s just a hunch.

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