Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shimkus Will Fight

State Representative Frank Andrews Shimkus will fight to keep his seat. The Scranton Times is reporting that Shimkus will not only appeal his removal from the 2008 Primary Ballot but if unsuccessful in his appeal, conduct a write-in.

One can only assume that he contends to conduct this write-in on the Republican ballot since Kevin Murphy was able to fend off challenges to his own candidacy and remains the lone Democrat on the ballot in the 113th Legislative District.

It is difficult to say how Republican voters will feel about Shimkus. The Judge’s opinion was rather scathing, stating that Shimkus intentionally misled the voters. Shimkus is also a Reverend, which some would argue causes people to expect a greater level of integrity from Shimkus. Also, it was argued in the case that Shimkus misled voters to cover for living with his fiancĂ©e before they were married, an obvious taboo for a man of the cloth. Shimkus has also been very supportive of the Democratic leadership in the state, counting as a powerful ally State Senator Robert Mellow.

Should Shimkus conduct a write-in, he has a distinct advantage over many challengers. Shimkus worked in local television as a news anchor for many years under the “stage name” of Frank Andrews. This will obviously contribute to an increase in name identification to the average voter. He still faces challenges, as explained above, but this give him a far better chance of overcoming them.

It is unknown if the Republican Party will field a write-in candidate since this race is now essentially an open contest. Should the Republican Party not field a successful candidate and should Shimkus win the Republican nomination, this may create a situation not seen in the Scranton area since 2005.

In 2005, the Republican Party did not field a candidate against Mayor Chris Doherty. Doherty was challenged in the Democratic Primary by insurance agent Gary DiBileo. DiBileo lost the Democratic nomination, but secured the Republican nomination due to write-in votes. DiBileo however refused to change parties. This caused many Republicans to feel shunned and either support Doherty or just skip the race entirely. Doherty was successful in securing a second term, breaking the trend of Democrats loosing re-election to the office of Mayor in the City of Scranton.

Should Shimkus win the Republican nomination but still remain a Democrat, he may face this DiBileo-type challenge himself. The best thing that Shimkus could hope for is a favorable opinion from the State’s higher court and be placed back on the Democratic ticket to avoid this wrangling.

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