The first day for political candidates to file nominating petitions to have their names on the ballot for the Primary Election on May 17 is Tuesday, Feb. 15, with a number of candidates already announcing their intentions.
In Schuylkill County this year will be the Municipal Election with posts to be filled in the county courthouse, boroughs, townships, school districts and district justice seats.
The latest to announce is District Attorney James P. Goodman, who held a press conference Saturday to announce he was a candidate seeking the judge seat in the county court, which was vacated by the retirement of Associate Judge D. Michael Stine on Jan. 3.
Stine's term does not expire until the end of December and it appears the county political parties are making no indication to have the governor appoint anyone to serve out the term. Since the bovernor is a Republican, the appointment would favor the Republican Party. Goodman is running for a 10-year-term which begins next January.
A spirited race for county commissioners is in the works. Two of the three incumbent commissioners, Mantura Gallagher, who was the first woman to serve as chairman, and Francis McAndrew, had announced they would not seek re-election. Both are Democrats.
Already four candidates have announced seeking Democratic Party nomination, John Platchko, Pottsville, a contractor; Jeffrey J. Dunkel, mayor of Mount Carbon; Gary Hess, mayor of Schuylkill Haven; and Laine Mack, council president of Tremont.
The current minority county commissioners, Frank Staudenmeier, Ashland, a Republican, announced he will be seeking re-election. Staudenmeir previously served as the chairman of the county commissioners but in the last election the Republican Party lost control of the courthouse and Staudenmeier became a minority commissioner.
Two others candidates have announced seeking the Republican Party nomination for commissioner: Darlene Dolzani, former county fiscal administrator, and Larry Padora, New Ringgold, who is vice chairman of the Schuylkill County Republican Party. Each party nominates two candidates in the primary and in the General Election in the fall only three commissioners are elected.
The Republican Party also will have a contest for the office of controller. To date, Eric Hollen, of Llewellyn, Branch Township, and Christy Joy, Norwegian Township, are running for this office. On the Democrat side, Bradley Petchulis, of Marlin, Norwegian Township, is running for controller.
The incumbent controller, Melinda Kantner, North Manheim Township, earlier this month announced she will not seek the nomination of the Democratic Party, but will run in the fall as an Independent candidate. Kantner has been locked in legal disputes with the majority commissioners, Gallagher and McAndrew, who are of the same party.
Theresa Santai-Gaffney, of Friedensburg, announced she is seeking the Republican Party nomination for Register of Wills which is currently held by Michael McGovern, of Saint Clair, a Democrat. McGovern indicated he will seek re-election but as yet to make any official announcement.
Also seats to be filled are for county treasurer, prothonotary, recorder of deeds and clerk of courts.
The current holders of these seats have indicated they will seek re-election but have not officially announced. They are treasurer Jacqueline McGovern, Republican; prothonotary P.J. Symons, Democrat; recorder of deeds Matt Dudish, Republican; and clerk of courts Stephen M. Lukash, Democrat.
The last day to circulate petitions is March 8. The last day file objections to the nominating petitions is March 15. tThe last day for withdrawal by candidates who filed nominating petitions is March 23; and the last day to register to vote before the primary is April 18.