— In a Scranton mayor’s race that only exists because a corrupt ex-mayor resigned mid-term for the first time in the city’s 153-year history, historical connections had to come up.
We all know about how Paige Cognetti could become the city’s first woman mayor, but there were smaller historical touchstones, too.
Three mayor candidates – Democratic nominee Chris Cullen, Republican nominee Charlie Spano and City Councilman Kyle Donahue – all have connections to the 1985 mayor election.
Republican David Wenzel upset incumbent Democratic Mayor James McNulty in that one.
Cullen and Spano worked to elect Wenzel, and Cullen worked unpaid as a lawyer for Wenzel for about a year. Cullen claims he helped thwart a McNulty-hatched idea to build an estimated $14 million downtown arena with a $25 million bond issue.
Donahue’s mom gave birth to him only about three months after that election. His ties to that election exist entirely because McNulty became his mentor.
Donahue told me today his campaign handed out roses at some polling places. McNulty turned roses into one of his trademarks. For a long time, only a picture of a rose marked his place on the walls of mayor portraits at City Hall.
Donahue’s his post-election gathering tonight is in the house that McNulty built – the Radisson at Lackawanna Station Hotel. McNulty once hired actor Eli Wallach to narrate a video about the hotel’s conversion from train station to hotel.
— As of today, independent candidate Gary St. Fleur still had not filed his pre-election campaign finance report, which was due Oct. 25. I can’t understand how someone can think he can fix the city’s finances if he can’t remember to file a simple campaign finance report. All the other mayor candidates filed one.
— Businessman Bob Bolus got knocked off the mayor election ballot, but he ran a spirited write-in campaign, that’s for sure. He had a TV ad and lots of campaign signs. He might affect the outcome if it’s close by attracting some votes, but he won’t win.
— Did not know this, but political consultant Ed Mitchell, who ran as a Democrat against Republican Rep. Joe McDade in 1976, has a tie to Cognetti. The late Sal Cognetti Sr., who owned a produce company in South Scranton and the father of famed lawyer Sal Cognetti Jr., was one of Mitchell’s first three donors.
“He was a great and wise man,” Mitchell said of Sal Sr.
Sal Sr.’s son, Joe, is the father of Ryan Cognetti, Paige Cognetti’s husband.
McDade clobbered Mitchell, 125,218 votes (62.6%) to Mitchell’s 74,925 (37.4%).
Sal Jr. eventually successfully defended McDade against federal corruption charges. Mitchell, a former aide to the legendary Rep. Daniel Flood and press secretary to Gov. Milton Shapp, later turned a lawyer named Paul Kanjorski into a 13-term congressman.