Although circulating and filing of nominating petitions for this year's Municipal Election is not until mid February, all incumbent office holders at the Schuylkill County Courthouse whose terms expire in December have indicated they will be seeking re-election.
The dean of the group is Stephen M. Lukach, Lake Hauto, a Democrat, will be seeking his seventh four year term as Clerk of Courts. Peter J. Symons, Gordon, will be seeking is fourth term as Prothonotary. Symons served his first two terms as a Republican but then switched and was re-elected four years ago as a Democrat.
At the present both are uncertain whether their positions will remain as elected officials as the State Supreme Court has been mulling for some time of taking in the two office heads under the state and they would become appointed positions. The decision will have to be made before the first filing date of nominating petitions.
Two other Democrats will be seeking re-election to their second term, Michael McCord, St. Clair, as Register of Wills, and Melissa Kantner, North Manheim Township, as Controller. Kantner's position is a unique one because of her many battles with the county commissioners, whose majority are Democrats, she has become in disfavor with Democratic County Chairman Ed Kleha, who suspended her from the party's executive committee. She probably will have opposition in the Primary Election next May 17.
The two current incumbent Democratic County Commissioners, Mantura Gallagher, Pottsville, and Francis McAndrew, Lost Creek, some time ago announced they would not be seeking re-election. Gallagher is finishing her second term as a commissioner as she was first elected as a minority commissioner and McAndrew served 16 years as the county sheriff and is completing one term as a commissioner.
Three Republican candidates who survived the Democratic takeover of the county four years ago will be seeking re-election. Frank Staudenmeier, Ashland, who has been a commissioner for 8 1/2 years is running again. Staudenmeier was first appointed to finish the unexpired term of Jerry Knowles, Tamaqua, who is now a state representative, and then served a full term as chairman of the board of commissioners and was reduced four years ago to be the minority commissioner.
Jackie McGovern, Pottsville, is the dean of the Republican candidates. She will be seeking her fifth term as Treasurer and Matthew Dudish, Pottsville, will be seeking his fourth term as Recorder of Deeds.
There is also a vacancy to be filled on the county bench. Judge D. Michael Stine, Tamaqua, retired as of Jan. 3 with a year remaining on his term. This could be an advantage to the Republicans because the new governor is a Republican and can appoint to fill the vacancy and the appointee then could run as an incumbent for the 10 year term which begins in 2012.
Stine was a Democrat. Of the four current county judges only President Judge William E. Baldwin is a Democrat while Judges Cyrus Palmer Dolbin, John Domalakes and Charles M. Miller are Republicans. Like Stine, Dolbin's term expires at the end of the year but he will be running for re-election on the retention ballot.