PITTSTON – Less than two weeks into the new year, election campaigns are under way.
Mark Singer, a Luzerne County assistant public defender, announced Thursday he is campaigning for district judge in the Pittston area, a seat left vacant by Fred Pierantoni III, who was elected to the county Court of Common Pleas in 2010.
Senior District Judge Andrew Barilla temporarily has been handling cases at the magisterial district.
It's going to be a tough race, and I'm looking forward to it, Singer said.
He will be seeking the Democratic and Republican nominations in the May 21 primaries, he said.
Singer is the second candidate to announce a campaign seeking the post.
Attorney Alexandra Kokura, of Dupont, kicked off her campaign Wednesday night. Kokura is a special master presiding over family court in Lackawanna County.
I have lived in Dupont my whole life, said Kokura. I want to bring my experience as a judicial officer to serve the community where I live and was raised, and where my family has resided for generations.
Candidates can circulate nomination petitions to be on the primary ballot from Feb. 19 to March 12.
Other possible candidates for the magisterial district seat are Arthur Bobbouine, who oversees the county's prothonotary and clerk of courts offices, former county Recorder of Deeds Red O'Brien and attorney Jerry Mecadon.
Former county District Attorney Jacqueline Musto Carroll also is considering a run.
Singer is no stranger to the justice system of Luzerne County. He served as an assistant district attorney in the 1990s, prosecuting felony cases, including homicides and rapes, and is certified to defend homicide suspects facing the death penalty.
He is married to the former Heidi Baldygo. They have a daughter, Anjelica Nicola. Singer is a longtime school director for Pittston Area.
The magisterial district might face changes under a realignment proposed by President Judge Thomas F. Burke Jr. in early 2012. The district currently consists of Avoca, Hughestown, Dupont, Duryea and Pittston.
Under the proposed changes Burke submitted to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, Yatesville and the townships of Jenkins and Pittston will be moved to the Pittston-based magisterial district.
Salary for district judge, a six-year term, is about $78,000.