Three of the four incumbents who represent Schuylkill County voters in the state Senate and state House of Representatives in Harrisburg have opposition for re-election in next Tuesday's General Election. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
State Sen. David G. Argall, Lake Hauto, Rush Township, a Republican who became the state senator from the 29th District, which includes all of Schuylkill County and parts of Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton counties, is being challenged by Tim Seip, Washington Township. Seip, a Democrat, is the former state representative from the 125th District in Schuylkill County.
Argall, who served as a state representative from the 124th District from 1984 until 2009, ran for the unexpired term of the late James Rhoades, and is now up for re-election. Rhoades died from injuries he suffered in a motor vehicle accident in Monroe County.
Two of the three county candidates seeking re-election to the state House of Representatives are being challenged.
State Rep. Jerry Knowles, 16 Oxford St., Rush Township, a Republican who was elected to the House in 2009 to fill the vacant seat of Argall, is seeking re-election and is being challenged by Dante Picciano, West Penn Township, an Independent. Picciano, a retired patent attorney, obtained more than 1,000 signatures of registered voters so that his name could appear on the November ballot. He classifies himself as a fiscal conservative and wants to cut government spending.
Knowles was elected in the middle of the budget battle and became a strong voice for fiscal restraint and responsibility. Since being elected, his committee assignments include local Government, Children and Youth and Intergovernmental Affairs. He was also named to the Small Business Task Force of the House Republican Policy Committee. He is a former small business owner.
The 124th District comprises parts of Schuylkill and Berks counties. In Schuylkill, it includes the townships of East Brunswick, East Union, Kline, North Union, Rush, Schuylkill, Union, Walker, West Brunswick and West Penn, and the boroughs of Coaldale, Deer Lake, McAdoo, New Ringgold, Orwigsburg, Port Clinton, Ringtown and Tamaqua.
State Rep. Mike G. Tobash, Sharp Mountain Road, Pottsville, a Republican, is being challenged by Vicki Harman, a Democrat, for the seat in the 125th District, which consists of parks of Schuylkill and Berks counties, In Schuylkill County, it includes five wards in the City of Pottsville (1, 2, 3, 4 and 7), the townships of Barry, Eldred, Frailey, Hegins, Hubley, North Manheim, Pine Grove, Porter, South Manheim, Tremont, Upper Mahantongo, Washington and Wayne, the Village of Lavelle in Butler Township and the boroughs of Auburn, Cressona, Landingville, Mechanicsville, Mount Carbon, Pine Grove, Schuylkill Haven, Tower City and Tremont.
State Rep. Neal Goodman, Mahanoy City, a Democrat, has no opposition in his bid for re-election as representative in the 123rd District. It is comprised of parts of Schuylkill County consisting of wards 5 and 6 in the City of Pottsville, the townships of Blythe and Branchs, villages of Englewood, Fountain Springs and Northeast of Butler, Cass, Delano, East Norweigan, Foster, Mahanoy, New Castle, Norweigan, Reilly, Ryan and West Mahanoy, and the boroughs of Ashland, Frackville, Gilberton, Girardville, Gordon, Mahanoy City, Middleport, Minersville, New Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Port Carbon, Shenandoah and Saint Clair.
State offices which will be filled include attorney general, auditor general and treasurer.
For attorney general, there are three candidates, as follows: David J. Freed, Camp Hill, Republican; Kathleen G. Kane, Clarks Summit, Democrat; and Marakay J. Rogers, York, Libertarian. The winner will succeed Linda Kelly, last year's gubernatorial appointment who is filling out the term of Tom Corbett, who was elected governor. She agreed not to run for the four-year term. Kane is a former Lackawanna County assistant district attorney and Freed is Cumberland County's district attorney.
Three candidates are running for auditor general, including John Maher, Upper Saint Clair, Allegheny County, Republican; Eugene A. DePasquale, York, Democrat; and Betsy Elizabeth Summers, Wilkes-Barre, Libertarian. The current auditor general, Jack Wagner, is completing his second four-year term and is limited from seeking re-election by state law.
Three candidates are running for treasurer, including Diana Irey Vaughan, Eighty Four, Washington County, Republican; Robert M. McCord, Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, Democrat; and Patricia M. Fryman, Bryn Mawr, Libertarian. McCord is the incumbent.
Jobs and the economy are the key issues on the minds of the voters as they enter the polling places to decide which candidate is better to perform the task. The presidential race brings out the biggest vote in the county.
Four years ago, 64,862 county voters went to the polls, which was 68.81 percent of the registered voters. In other years, the total barely reaches 40 percent.
Four years, ago, President Barack Obama did not carry the county, losing to Republican John McCain by a margin of 37,767 to 21,300.
This year, there are four candidates seeking the office, along with their running mates, including Obama and Vice President Joe Biden; Republicans Mitt Romeny and Paul Ryan; Green Party candidates Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala; and Libertarian candidates Gary Johnson and James P. Gray.