Carbon County voters will finally have their say in who they want to represent them in Harrisburg and Washington when Primary Election 2010 takes place tomorrow in the county's 51 election districts.
While Democratic and Republican nominations are at stake during the statewide 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. polling, Carbon's participation in Tuesday's showdowns in four races will set the stage for General Election battles come November.
Closer to home, voters will decide nominees for both parties in the General Assembly races where longtime incumbents Keith R. McCall, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Sen. Raphael Musto, 14th Senatorial District, are retiring. (See related story below.)
Besides those all-important races, county voters will vote as part of three other major races: Pennsylvania governor; Pa. lieutenant governor; U.S. Senate; and U.S. House of Representatives, 11th Congressional District.
Voters from both parties have choices to make tomorrow as four Democrats and two Republicans are vying for nominations for the right to succeed two-term Gov. Ed Rendell.
On the Democratic side are:
Jack Wagner, 61, of Allegheny County. He is the commonwealth's two-term watchdog of spending, having been the state's auditor general for the past six years. Previously, he served in the state senate for 10 years.
Anthony Williams, 52, of Philadelphia. He is a current state senator, representing the 8th District, and formerly served in the House of Representatives for 10 years.
Joseph M. Hoeffel, 50, of Abington. He is a Montgomery County Commissioner who served both in the Pa. and U.S. House of Representatives.
Dan Onorato, 49, of Pittsburgh. He is the chief executive of Allegheny Count and formerly served as the county controller and as a Pittsburgh City councilman.
On the Republican side are:
Tom Corbett, 51, of Shaler. He is in his second term as Pennsylvania's attorney general and is a former U.S. assistant attorney.
Samuel E. Rohrer, 54, of Reading. He has served in the state House of Representatives for the past 18 years.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have a bitter fight between longtime Sen., Arlen Specter, 80, of Philadelphia and Joe Sestak, 58, a U.S. Congressman from Newtown Square.
Specter has represented Pennsylvania in the Senate since 1981, and was a Republican until about 13 months ago. Previously, he was the district attorney in Philadelphia.
Sestak has served in the Congress since 2006, after completing a 31-year military career in the U.S. Navy, where he was an admiral.
The winner of that race will face the Republican winner in a race between Peg Luksik, 54, of Johnstown, and Pat Toomey, 49, of Zionsville. Both candidates are small business owners. Toomey is also a former U.S. House member, having represented Lehigh County for six years.
For the first time as long as anyone can remember, there is a Democratic race for the 11th Congressional District seat, where longtime incumbent Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, 72, of Nanticoke, faces opposition from within his party.
Kanjorski has served the district since being elected in 1984 and is the current Chairman of the Capital Markets Subcommittee.
He is opposed by Corey O'Brien, 36, of Moosic, who is serving in his third year as a county commissioner, and Brian W. Kelly, 62, of Wilkes-Barre, a Marywood University business information technology professor.
The winner will face Republican Louis Barletta, of Hazleton, the current mayor of that community. He is unopposed on the GOP ticket.
The lieutenant governor's race has three Democrats and nine Republicans seeking their parties' nominations. The winner of each nomination joins the gubernatorial nominee on the ballot similar to how the vice president nominee partners with the presidential nominee.
Carbon's Democrats will choose from:
Doris A. Smith-Ribner, 65, of Philadelphia, who served on the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania for 21 1/2 years before retiring.
Scott H. Conklin, 52, of Philipsburg, a state representative from Centre County.
And Jonathan A. Saidel, 49, of Philadelphia, a practicing attorney and former city controller.
The Republican candidates are:
Steve Johnson, 46, of York, a business owner for 17 years and military leader for 13 years.
Jean Craige Pepper, 54, of Erie, a financial adviser for 33 years for Fortune 500 Financial Institution.
Russ Diamond, 46, of Annville, an entrepreneur who founded PACleanSweep in 2005.
Chet Beiler, 46, of Manheim, a 23-year business owner and CEO.
Jim Cawley, 41, of Langhorne, a Bucks County Commissioner and former Senate chief of staff member.
Billy McCue, 48, of Monongahela, a self-employed businessman.
John Kennedy, 71, of Camp Hill, a railroad consultant and real estate developer.
Stephen A. Urban, 58, of Wilkes-Barre, a current Luzerne County commissioner and a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army.
Daryl Metcalfe, 47, a six-term House of Representatives member from Butler County.