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Mayor Gabe, Opportunistic Dave and the Write-In Rage

Last week’s column, Deciding Who Deserves a Do-Over, raised a lot of eyebrows. If you missed it or would like a reread, all that is Webb Weekly past can be found at

I do not endorse candidates, although I will compliment them if they’re doing a good job. I will, however, un-endorse candidates. With everything going on in today’s world, it’s hard to keep up. For many voters, it’s difficult to even remember who won the Primary Elections in May. We must remember there’s a reason there are Primary Elections — it’s to thin the herd for November.

In our upcoming October 30th issue, the candidates for County Commissioner and Mayor of Williamsport will be provided a half-page editorial space to tell you in their words why you should elect them. Both races are very important to our local area. Now there is one catch, I believe in our Primary Election process. The candidates the Webb Weekly will provide space for are those who won their way on to the November ballot. The idea of a write-in candidacy was not intended to create a double elimination opportunity for Republicans or Democrats. It was intended to keep the election process pure and give everyone the opportunity to seek public office.

So, here’s where we get real. I’ve been a supporter of Mayor Gabriel Campana. I consider him a good friend. He has been through a lot the last four years, some self-inflicted, some just bad fortune and life events, and some just pure politics. All of which, when you live in the public’s eye, create an opportunity for people to kick you when you’re down. And there was plenty of that going on.

I sat down with the Mayor this past week and told him what I truly believe; it was a difficult conversation to have. It was his choice to run for Lycoming County Commissioner in May, which he lost. It was understood at that time he would not return as mayor of Williamsport as his term was up. It is a terrible decision for him personally, and for the future of Williamsport, for him to enter the Mayoral race as a write-in.

He did a great job his first two terms as mayor. Due to all going on in his life, he wasn’t able to put forth the same effort in his last term. His mayoral ship has sailed. He needs to take care of himself, his family, move on to the next chapter, and enjoy life.

The City of Williamsport needs and deserves new leadership. Hopefully, this will create a situation where the Mayor’s Office and City Council work together for the good people of Billtown.

Whoever is elected, whether it’s Businessman Eric Beiter or Councilman Derek Slaughter, will have a lot on their plate due to the past disconnect at City Hall.

The best thing Mayor Campana could do is gracefully withdraw from the election. Both candidates deserve the opportunity to compete on a level playing field and win the voters’ confidence. Obviously, Mr. Campana’s decision affects Businessman Beiter’s campaign more negatively.

If Mayor Campana chooses to follow this path to the first Tuesday of November, I encourage Williamsport voters to choose either candidate Beiter or candidate Slaughter. Both won their way to have this opportunity. If you do decide the vote for Mr. Campana, just skip the middleman, and cast your vote for Derek Slaughter. This reality is doubled if you are a registered Republican.

Next stop in my just-say-no endorsements is Mr. Dave Huffman. Boy, did I get my ears filled on Mr. Huffman’s political aspirations this past week. And I didn’t even mention his name in my column.

Mr. Huffman has run for Williamsport School Board, Montoursville School Board, Upper Fairfield Township Supervisor, Register and Recorder, Prothonotary, State Senate, and State Representative twice. He has only ever won one election, which was to serve on WASD Board.

This past year, he circulated petitions to run for three different County positions; Prothonotary, Register and Recorder, and Treasurer. After he discovered current Register and Recorder Kathy Rinehart made a mistake regarding the proper number of signatures needed on her petition for office, he filed a complaint and had her, the incumbent Republican, removed from the ballot. He then jumped at the created opportunity and took her spot on the ballot. Incumbent Rinehart will be on the ballot as a Democrat on November 5th.

I don’t even know where to start here. I will attempt to stay positive. Mr. Huffman is either the smartest, most qualified, most concerned person about his fellow man in Lycoming County, or he just wants a job and benefits. This, of course, at the expense of the taxpayer.

He’s probably out there somewhere right now figuring out how he can get elected to do my job; that way, he could write whatever he wants on page 2, win election to a County office, and also get paid to do my job. Of course, he would be looking out for all the hard-working tax-paying citizens of Lycoming County. A vote for Dave Huffman is an endorsement of what is wrong in politics from Washington to Williamsport.

I will discuss the County Commissioner race next week; hopefully, all the Republican write-in candidates have come out of the woodwork by then. Just a lifetime observation, the Democrats stick together like Velcro and follow party lines to a fault. The Republicans always seem to have a problem understanding this. This is just another example of “Me Over We” on the right side of the aisle.

God Bless America.

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Jim Webb

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  • Alison Hirsch
    October 24, 2019, 3:34 pm

    I agree with everything you say here, except your final point. Republicans vote straight party much more often than Democrats in Lycoming County. Last year the numbers were 18,401 straight party Republican vs. 7,104 Democratic. In past years, the numbers have been even more striking. Republicans outnumber Dems 2-1 here, but some years (2016 for instance) Republicans vote straight party 3 times as often. And it’s true in municipal election years too. Official numbers here: