This year, a whole host of people you likely know are up for public office.
For years (generations, really), you’ve heard about these people, “Oh, he’s a great guy!” or “Oh, she’s great. Perfect for the job!”
And then something happens to these great guys and perfect ladies. They use that charm and good nature to get themselves into office.
That’s when it happens. They turn into swamp creatures.
Now, we’re not saying all the local politicians are actual swamp creatures. But it’s nearly impossible to come out of that swamp without getting a little slimy.
Red Swamp, Blue Swamp
And this year, voters in Schuylkill County have another chance to drain the swamp, as it were, at the Schuylkill County Courthouse. A nearly full cast of Republican incumbents goes up against nearly an entirely new cast of Democrats. Only one office features two political newcomers running against each other.
If voters created a “blue wave” as it were, they could, essentially, drain the Courthouse swamp in a single night … except for the two offices where the Democrats aren’t running candidates for some reason.
But if we drain the swamp, are we just going to fill it up with even more swamp creatures — these just wearing a different political costume?
Schuylkill County Municipal Election 2019
For years, we’ve been electing “good people” to these public offices.
Literally, the Good Ol’ Boys Club (Girls Allowed)
Now, these people may very well be “good people” as they claim to be and as you’ve come to know them. They probably helped you out when you needed them or they’re just personal or family friends.
Voting against them is like a sin, right?
Well, we don’t have to go too far back in our history to find out that picking “good people” for these offices often results in regret, frustration, and a general disdain for these “good people” when they pass through the metal detectors at the Courthouse.
Schuylkill County just watched as its previous Clerk of Courts pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges. Steven Lukach faces years in prison for his money scheme that he cooked up over the course of his 27 years in office.
How did he get away with it for so long? He’s a good guy, of course. Even if you don’t agree with that statement (we’re not saying we do), you can easily find someone who’ll defend him to the end.
And then you have the recent sudden departure of the last Schuylkill County Prothonotary David Dutcavich.
Here’s a guy who when faced with serious questions from the County Controller played a game of political dodgeball and then left office. Don’t worry though, this good guy left that office to his good friend and his wife to run until this year’s election.
Nothing to see here … good people, all of them.
Consider, these are the ones we know about and only recently. There are stories that go back decades on the behavior of people once they cross into that Courthouse work environment.
The 2019 Races at Schuylkill County Courthouse
So, this year, Democrats in Schuylkill County are running hard against what they see as corrupt or just lame Republicans in office at the Courthouse. The GOP is everywhere up there. The only place you can’t find a registered Republican is in the District Attorney’s Office and the one minority County Commissioner. And it’s not a DA election year, so the Democrats are focused in on the other offices up there — the ones voters are hard-pressed to describe what they do.
The Democrats have been visible and vocal leading up to the Nov. 5 General Election. And some have been slinging mud and accusations against anyone they can find. They promise change and all sorts of things they believe will make Schuylkill County a better place to live and do business but how can you not expect these would-be election winners to act the same as the people they’re replacing?
Here’s a look at the big Schuylkill County offices up for grabs in this year’s Municipal General Election (Incumbents in italics):
- Schuylkill County Commissioner: George Halcovage (R), Frank Staudenmeier (R), Gary Hess (D), Joe Palubinsky (D)
- Schuylkill County Controller: Christy Joy (R)
- Schuylkill County Treasurer: Linda Marchalk (R), Catherine Mahon (D)
- Schuylkill County Prothonotary: Bridget Miller (R), Mark Atkinson (D)
- Schuylkill County Coroner: David Moylan (R), Deb Detweiler (D)
- Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts: Maria Casey (R), Ron Pellish (D)
- Schuylkill County Register of Wills: Theresa Gaffney (R), Joe Ferraro (D)
- Schuylkill County Recorder of Deeds: Ann Dudish (R)
Draining the Swamp or Picking Your Buds?
Take our quick reader poll telling us why you’re voting for the candidates you’ll pick on November 5:
Why Are You Picking the People You’re Voting For Locally?
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