Anticipating the Democratic Party bosses would be working against her winning the nomination, Schuylkill County Controller Melinda Kantner surprised everyone by announcing she would not seek the party's nomination in the Primary Election on May 17 but will be running as an Independent candidate in the General Election to be held in November.
Kantner dropped the bombshell at a fund raising event Friday evening at the Blu Tavern Restaurant in Branch Township before about 50 followers. Her decision was based on action taken against her by Democratic Party Chairman Edward Kleha who suspended her from the party's executive committee. Under the party's by-laws the elected officer automatically becomes a member of the executive committee. Kantner claimed the action to suspend her should have been brought to a vote by the entire executive committee and not solely on the action of the chairman.
Kantner was elected controller in 2008 when the Democrats took control of the courthouse in Pottsville also taking over from the Republican the Register of Wills Office and gaining the majority as county commissioners.
Kantner, however, proved not to be a team player and for the past three years has had many clashes with the Democratic controlled commissioners which has resulted in two law suits filed in the county courts.
The Democrats as of now have one candidate seeking the nomination for controller, Bradley Pechulis, 38, manager of Marlin Markets, Norwegian Township, who holds the position as treasurer of the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority. The Republicans also have a candidate, Eric Hollen, 42, of Llewellyn, Branch Township, who holds a bachelor of science in accounting from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.