Edward "Ed" Kleha, of Shenandoah, is expected to announce in the next few days his resignation as chairman of the Democratic Party of Schuylkill County.

Kleha has been the party's most successful leader and his sudden decision to step down comes as a surprise to many party members. His success was when he first got Tim Holden, who was the county sheriff, to run and win the Congressional seat then known as the Sixth Congressional District more than 18 years ago. The district was later realigned and re-named the 17th Congressional District which a good Republilcan majority but Holden continues to win.

Another success was having Tim Seip win a seat the state house of representatives from the 125th Schuylkill Legislative District which also had a majority of Republican voters. Seip twice defeated Gary Hornberger, a former county controller, who was better known in the district. Seip lost his bid for a third term in Tuesday's election.

Kleha's greatest success came three years ago when the Democrats captured the courthouse winning all but two "row" office seats including commissioners office.

There is speculation that Kleha will run for county commissioner next year.

The executive committee must find a replacement as next year's election, called the Municipal Election. In that election a new judge in the county will be elected as Judge D. Michael Stine, of Tamaqua, is retiring. Also, the election of two district justice seats to replace Bernadette Nahas, who retired, and Charles Moran who is on sick leave.

The courthouse will become another important contest as the offices of commissioners, controller, prothonotary, treasurer, Clerk of Courts, Register of Willis and Recorder of Deeds are up for re-election.

All the incumbents have indicated they will seek re-election. Recorder of Deeds Matt Dudish and Treasurer Jacquelyn McGovern, both are Republicans, were the two lone Republicans to win election two years ago and are up for election next year.

Seeking their second terms are Controller Melinda Kantner and Register of Wills Michael McCord. Also running are Clerk of Courts Stephen Lukach and Prothonotary Peter J. Symons, all Democrats.

Frank Staudenmeier, Republican, who became the minority commissioner in the election three years ago when he finished behind Mantura Gallagher and Francis McAndrew in the commissioner race, said he wll seek re-election. Staudenmeier was the majority commissioner prior to the election.

Gallagher, who will be finishing her second term and McAndrew, who was sheriff for many years before running for commissioner, announced sometime ago they were not seeking re-election.

Also to be elected will be school directors, supervisors, tax collectors and mayors of school districts and municipalities.