WILKES-BARRE – Presidential elections historically have always brought out the vote, but Tuesday’s ballot – featuring the high-powered, multibillion-dollar bid for the White House – could set record highs at the polls.
Hurricane Sandy has placed some doubt on voter turnout in the hardest-hit areas, but analysts still are predicting a big turnout nationwide.
In Luzerne County, there are 110,217 registered Democrats to 63,518 Republicans. Pennsylvania has 4.2 million Democrats to 3.1 million on the GOP side.
Those numbers haven’t prevented voters from electing a GOP majority in the state House of Representatives, Senate and a governor.
Locally, there are several contested races that should have a lot of voter interest.
There are two U.S. House races in our region – U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, is challenged by Democrat Gene Stilp of Dauphin County.
Stilp, a Luzerne County native, is known for his advocacy against government waste and corruption. His trademark fleet of pink pigs has long served as symbols of Stilp’s battles on behalf of taxpayers.
In the 17th Congressional District Democrat Matt Cartwright, an attorney from Moosic, faces Republican Laureen Cummings, a nurse with a small campaign fund compared to her opponent.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, is facing a tough challenge from Republican Tom Smith, who has injected some $17 million of his own money to try to unseat the first-term Democrat. Libertarian Rayburn Smith also is on the ballot.
In the races for Pennsylvania General Assembly, there are contested races locally.
In the 120th District, Democrat Phyllis Mundy, who has spent two decades in the state House, is running against Aaron Kaufer, a young Republican who is running a spirited campaign.
Incumbent Democrat Gerald Mullery, Newport Township, is facing GOP challenger Rick Arnold of Rice Township for the second consecutive time.
Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Butler Township, is just two years removed from defeating former Democratic state Majority Leader Todd Eachus, but recent developments have some thinking Democrat Ransom Young, also of Butler Township, could be pulling closer in the 116th District race.
In the 118th District, incumbent Democrat Mike Carroll is opposed by Republican Terrence O’Connor of neighboring Monroe County.
Incumbents Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake (117th), Sid Michaels Kavulich, D-Taylor, (114th) and Democrat Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, are unopposed. State Sen. John Gordner, Republican, also is unopposed to retain his seat in the 27th District.
Contested races for state office include:
Attorney general: Scranton native Kathleen Kane, a Democrat, against Republican David Freed and Libertarian Marakay Rogers.
Auditor general: Republican John Maher, Democrat Eugene A. Depasquale and Libertarian Betsy Summers of Wilkes-Barrel.
State treasurer: Republican Diana Irey Vaughan, Democrat Robert M. McCord and Libertarian Patricia M. Fryman.
Mitt Romney, President, Paul Ryan, Vice President, Republican;
Barack Obama, President, Joe Biden, Vice President, Democratic;
Jill Stein, President, Cheri Honkala, Vice President, Green;
Gary Johnson, President, James P. Gray, Vice President, Libertarian.
Tom Smith, Republican;
Bob Casey Jr., Democratic;
Rayburn Douglas Smith, Libertarian.
David J. Freed, Republican;
Kathleen G. Kane, Democratic;
Marakay J. Rogers, Libertarian.
John Maher, Republican;
Eugene A. Depasquale, Democratic;
Betsy Elizabeth Summers, Libertarian
Diana Irey Vaughan, Republican;
Robert M. McCord, Democratic;
Patricia M. Fryman, Libertarian
11th Congressional District:
Lou Barletta, Republican;
Gene Stilp, Democratic
17th Congressional District:
Laureen A. Cummings, Republican;
Matthew A. Cartwright, Democratic
State Senator 27th District:
John R. Gordner, Republican
Sid Michaels Kavulich, Republican/Democratic
Tarah Toohil, Republican; Ransom S. Young, Democratic
Karen Boback, Republican/Democratic
Terrence J. O’Connor, Republican; Mike Carroll, Democratic
Rick Arnold, Republican; Gerald J. Mullery, Democratic
Aaron D. Kaufer, Republican; Phyllis Mundy, Democratic
Eddie Day Pashinski, Democratic