Seven Carbon County residents are aspiring to win the Democratic and Republican nominations to represent the 122nd Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, while there are three candidates who want to become a Pennsylvania Senator in the 14th District, both of which represent Carbon County.
The House and Senate races, triggered by the pending retirements of longtime officeholders, highlight the Primary Election ballot on Tuesday, May 18. Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow in each of the county's 51 election districts, where 19,420 Democrats and 14,039 have been certified to vote.
Both political parties have races for the nominations for the 122nd District House seat that was literally owned by Rep. Keith R. McCall of Summit Hill for the past 28 years. The current Speaker of the House announced his retirement earlier this year, sending five Democrats and two Republicans jockeying for the right to advance to November in pursuit of election of a two-year term.
The Democratic ballot has the following candidates, listed in the order they will appear on the ballot:
John J. Wieczorek, 64, of Mahoning Township. He is the current chairman of the Mahoning Township board of supervisors and a retired Bethlehem Steel Corporation supervisor.
Robert Frycklund, 39, of Penn Forest Township. An attorney, he has served as an assistant solicitor to the Schuylkill County Commissioners since 2002 and is the current director of that county's Tax Claim Bureau.
Bruce A. Nalesnik, 50, of Nesquehoning. He is the current county coroner, now serving in his 15th year, and owns the Bruce A. Nalesnik Funeral Home and Valley Pro Hardware and Lumber, both of Nesquehoning, as well as being a chassis sales engineer for Kovatch Mobile Equipment, Nesquehoning.
Justin Yaich, 30, of Jim Thorpe. He is the current president of Jim Thorpe Borough Council, the director of planning for Washington Township, Lehigh County, and a state building code official.
Jeffrey S. Bobish, 38, of Beaver Meadows. He is a Beaver Meadows councilman, and has served as its president for 4 1/2 years, and is a carpentry instructor at the Carbon Career and Technical Institute, Jim Thorpe.
On the GOP side are:
Todd D. Koller, 49, of Mahoning Township. He is a former Lehighton Area Zoning Hearing Board and Lehighton Area School Board member and has worked for 23 years with the Petro fuel oil company in Reading.
Doyle Heffley, 40, of Lower Towamensing Township. He has been employed by the J.P. Donmoyer Inc. trucking company, Lebanon County. In 2008, he was an unsuccessful candidate against McCall.
The retirement of longtime Senator Raphael Musto left two Democrats and one Republican in the battle for that seat, a four-year term in the 14th District that represents parts of Carbon County.
Those areas include: Banks, Kidder, Lausanne, Lehigh, Mahoning and Packer townships and Beaver Meadows, East Side, Jim Thorpe, Lansford, Lehighton, Nesquehoning, Summit Hill, Weatherly and Weissport boroughs.
Seeking the Democratic nomination are: John T. Yudichak, 39, of Nanticoke, who has served the 119th Legislative District of the Pa. House since 1999; and Tom Leighton, 49, of Wilkes-Barre, who is currently serving his sixth year as mayor of that city, having previously served on the city council for 12 years.
The winner will face the lone GOP candidate, third-term Luzerne County Commissioner Stephen A. Urban, 57, of Wilkes-Barre, and Betsy Summers, 52, a Libertarian Party candidate.