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Deciding Who Deserves a Do-Over

Before I get started, tip of my Little Mountaineer Little League cap to a wonderful lady, Dori Rankinen, chairperson of the South Williamsport Mummers’ Parade. Dory has done a fantastic job breathing life back into the event and keeping a great tradition marching down the streets of South Side.

It’s great that the Mummers’ Committee is celebrating the South Williamsport Little League Major Softball in the mountainside march. If you remember, the girls made it all the way to Portland, Oregon, and the World Series this past summer. They will serve as honorary Grand Marshals.

If it fits your schedule, get out and about and enjoy one of our great fall happenings in the West Branch Valley. What a terrific job the South Side community does hosting the event.

There is so much to write about the upcoming 2019 elections, but first, a public service message. Please do not vote straight party! The closer the election is to home, the less party affiliation matters. What is most important is to elect the best-qualified person for office. It would also be great to see this at the state and national level instead of straight-party politics.

Williamsport’s thought to be lame duck Mayor Gabe Campana recently announced that he’s launching a write-in candidacy for the mayoral office. If you remember, he ran for Lycoming County Commissioner in the Primary election and lost. It was then assumed that he would ride off into the sunset, get a job in the private sector, and be remembered as one of the best mayors in Billtown history. Well, that would be way too easy in all that is Williamsport City politics.

Mayor Campana deciding to throw his hat in the ring at the eleventh hour represents a Titanic-sized monkey wrench thrown into the gears of Businessman Eric Beiter’s campaign. Mr. Beiter won the Republican nomination for mayor fair and square this past May.

Obviously, the potential big winner in this scenario is Democratic candidate Derek Slaughter. It’s safe to say Mr. Campana will draw votes away from his Republican counterpart, not from Councilman Slaughter. It also creates the potential for voters to question the direction of Williamsport’s Republican Party. People are getting upset with this type of political wrangling at every level. They might simply decide Councilman Slaughter deserves a shot based on Mr. Campana muddying up the water. Something that is completely underserved by the hardworking, clean campaigning businessman Beiter. I will be catching up with Mayor Campana and have much more on this next week.

Many also believe Mayor Campana’s decision to run for Lycoming County Commissioner in the Primary affected the Republican ticket for November’s Race. He drew potential votes away from both incumbent Commissioners Tony Mussare and Jack McKernan. Commissioner Mussare made it through — Commissioner McKernan did not. This may also have helped Republican candidate Scott Metzger earn the spot of top vote getter. There are only so many republican votes to go around, and that’s meant as no disrespect to Mr. Metzger, who is a more than qualified, solid candidate.

All of the above triggered Commissioner McKernan to launch his own Incumbent write-in rerun. He believes the final count will change when Campana’s votes are thrown back in the water.

With Commissioner Rick Mirabito appearing as the democratic shoo-in. It appears there are three Republicans for two spots, just like it should have been back in May. Jack now having the handicap of winning a write-in campaign. This will definitely make things interesting coming down the home stretch.

Next up, an office I never thought I’d be writing about, that of Register and Recorder for Lycoming County. Incumbent Republican Kathy Rinehart will be running as a Democrat on your ballot. And no, I have not been hitting the hard cider. Please bear with me, as this is a little more difficult to explain.

Republican Rinehart lost her spot on the May ballot due to a technicality; therefore, she became a write-in candidate. It is almost impossible to win a primary election as a write-in candidate, which is driven by party association. Most just simply show up and vote for the person on the ballot representing the party. This especially holds true for the undercard of offices, those that are not the main event for the upcoming fall election.

If Kathy Rinehart had been on the ballot, as she should have been as the Republican incumbent, she probably would have received 99% of the vote. The lady has 27 years of experience, followed up Annabelle Miller after her retirement, and simply knows the office inside and out.

However, there’s always somebody lurking in the shadows when it comes to politics. Somebody that just wants a paycheck and benefits at the expense of the taxpayer. Someone that could care less about working for “We the People.” Someone that probably has no clue what the job description of the office even is.

This is what has occurred in the case of Register Recorder Kathy Rinehart. An individual just simply hijacked the Republican nomination away from her. This same person has attempted to run for more offices over the years than I can even list. Before he came up with this scheme, he intended to run for Prothonotary in 2019. However, with time on his hands, he found a loophole of opportunity, schemed up a plan, and took advantage of an honest person’s mistake.

So there is just another example of the poppycock reality of politics. The best person for a job is the Republican incumbent that is now the Democratic candidate. You just can’t make this stuff up. This is where, after further review, both parties’ voters need to unite and put the most qualified, best person in office. This sends a go home, not-on-our-watch message, to any person just looking for a government job at the cost of the American taxpayer.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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