by TOM FORD

STROUDSBURG – Unofficial election results posted by the Monroe County Department of Elections and Voter Registration provide a measure of relief for Mount Pocono Interim Mayor Michael Penn.

Penn, seeking his first full term after filling out Fred Courtright’s, walked away from the polls on election day one vote behind Republican challenger Randy Altemose for the Democratic nomination.

On election day, Altemose secured 27 write-in votes on the Democratic side, while Penn received only 26 from his fellow Democrats. Other democratic write-ins included Matt Hensel, who penned a letter signed by over a dozen former council members and Mayor Courtright, calling for Penn to resign. Despite being unopposed on the ballot for the Democratic nomination, Penn’s 26 votes is the lowest in-person total ever received by any Mount Pocono primary candidate in this century.

The following day brought Penn better news as mail-in and absentee ballots boosted his total vote to 79 to apparently secure his spot on the November ballot.

Rounding out the Mount Pocono voting, Penn’s ally, newcomer Ann Marie Harris, was the top vote-getter on the Democratic side for one of three council positions, with 106 votes. Incumbent council member Stacy Stewart-Keeler was next with 93 votes. Patricia Bucco, appointed by Penn and his council to fill out Matt Hensel’s term, and another Penn ally, also received only 26 votes on election day, but the mail-ins raised her total to 72.

On the Republican side, Altemose, who received 87 votes on election day, added 29 to his total with the mail-in votes for 116. Casino Theatre owner Donald Struckle, in his first foray, was the top vote-getter for the republican council nod with 104 votes. Next was former council president Karl Davis, who received 84 total votes, and trailing the pack was Ron Emilie with 72.  Emilie was appointed to fill out the term of Donna Casole. Struckle, Davis, Emilie, Harris, Stewart-Keeler, and Bucco will vie for the three open council seats in November.

With the Mount Pocono tax collector seat open, the Borough has two candidates – both are spouses of council candidates. On the Democratic side Damon Keeler ran unopposed for the nomination, garnering 109 votes. Keeler is Stewart-Keeler’s husband. Casino Theater co-owner, Karen Struckle was the top vote-getter of the day with 122 votes for the Republican treasurer nomination.

Pocono Rocks manager Colleen McGuire ran unopposed on the Republican side for Judge of Election; there was no Democratic candidate for that spot.

Lamantia Out in Coolbaugh

Six years after entering office with the highest vote totals for Coolbaugh Supervisor in 20 years, Anthony Tony Lamantia lost his bid for the Democratic nomination to another term. Lamantia, with 417 votes, was edged out by fellow supervisor Alma Ruiz Smith, with 479 tallies. Newcomer Joseph Rogan was the top vote-getter with 551 votes. Those three will compete with newcomer Brian Viskay, who was the sole Republican candidate for the two open seats on the board.

November will see a contest in Coolbaugh’s second precinct for Judge of Election between Democrat Margaret Williams and Republican Robert S. Carvel. Carvel is also standing unopposed for the Inspector of election spot in Coolbaugh Two.  There were no other contested elections in Coolbaugh. 

Toby: Fritz v. Colyer in November

Tobyhanna voters will be choosing between Democrat Tia Marie Fritz and Republican Joseph C. Colyer for one open seat on the township’s Board of Supervisors. Fritz ran unopposed, while Colyer bested Edward Tutrone for the Republican nod. Rachel Schickling had filed to run, but withdrew her name before the primary. Schickling was appointed to Llyod Vought’s seat after he resigned. Vought’s spot will be on the ballot in November. It is anticipated that the Democratic and Republican parties will place candidates on the ballot for that seat.

All remaining contests in Tobyhanna had only unopposed candidates.

PMSD: Garvey & Strunk Gain Seats, Lopez and Stern in November Face Off

Newcomers Christina J. Grape Garvey and Nathan Strunk appear to be heading to seats on the Pocono Mountain School District Board of Directors in January. Unofficial results show the two winning both Republican and Democratic nominations for the two seats in Region 1. The pair were unopposed on the Democratic side. Republican Christoffersen ended up 19 votes shy of Garvey on the GOP ballot. Military and overseas votes have not yet been counted. It is unknown if there are enough ballots outstanding to make up that difference, although it is considered unlikely.

In Region 3, challenger Anna Lopez had filed to run on both tickets, but was removed from the Republican side after a challenge. She narrowly defeated incumbent Michael Stren to gain the  Democratic berth, 567 to 532. Stern was unopposed on the Republican ballot so the two will face off in November.

Region Two will have the hottest contest, with four candidates seeking to fill three seats. On the Democratic side, challengers Marion Pyzik and William Nathan bested incumbent John Coyle and newcomer Bert Rinehimer. For the GOP nomination, Colye and Rinehimer came out ahead of Pyzik. The four will contest for two seats in November.

Flynn Wins Senate Race

Democrat Marty Flynn defeated Lackawanna County Commissioner Chris Chermak in the special election to fill John Blake’s state senate seat in the 22nd District. The 22nd District covers all 163 precincts in Lackawanna County, 10 in Luzerne County, and Coolbaugh, Barrett, and Price townships in Monroe County. 

County Contests

Candidates for county-wide seats ran unopposed for their nominations. For Coroner, incumbent Thomas A. Yanac, Jr., took the Democratic Party nomination, while challenger Ed Kmetz will be the Republican candidate. For treasurer, incumbent Theresa Johnson was unopposed for the Republican nomination. There was no Democrat registered for the primary. Lucas Debartolo organized a write-in campaign. Write-in votes will be counted March 21. Debartolo will need to have garnered at least 250 write-in votes to secure a spot as the Democratic nominee for the post on the November ballot.

Votes Still Outstanding

Military and overseas votes are not due until May 25 and therefore have not yet been counted. Write-in votes will be counted beginning May 21.

Where there was no registered candidate on the ballot, a write-in candidate could secure a spot on the November ballot if they have at least the same number of write-in votes as they would have had to get signatures on a nominating petition. None of the decided recorded votes appear to be close enough to be affected by the military and overseas votes, but that always remains a possibility.