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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Easton election guide: 2023 municipal primary

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Photo by Caroline Burns for The Lafayette
The primary election will be held on May 16.

Election season has arrived! Yep, the 2023 Municipal Primary is right around the corner, and while it lacks the glitz and glam of the midterms, there are plenty of important votes to be cast on May 16.

First things first: if you are an Independent voter, this election is not for you, due to Pennsylvania’s closed primary law. This guide will be looking at what is on the partisan ballot of someone whose registered mailing address is here at Lafayette. Those registered elsewhere in Pennsylvania or out of state can use vote411.org, vote.org, or your local county elections office to find information on who is running and where or how you can vote.

Getting to the polls

All Pennsylvania voters must be registered by May 1 and, for those who prefer mail-in ballots, they must be requested by May 9. If you are unsure of your voter registration status or polling location, they can be found at ​​vote.pa.gov.

Lafayette students voting in person can do so at Kirby Sports Center between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Those who are in line to vote by 8 p.m. cannot be turned away. Additionally, for those who elect to vote by mail, ballots must be received by the Northampton County Office of Elections and Voter Registration, located at 669 Washington Street, by 8 p.m. on May 16 without exceptions for ballots merely postmarked by that time.

Who is on the ballot?

Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Democratic candidates

Debbie Kunselman has served as a Pennsylvania Superior Court judge since 2018. She previously served as a Court of Common Pleas judge in Beaver County, as the county’s solicitor and in private practice.

Daniel McCaffery has served on the Pennsylvania Superior Court since 2020. Prior to this, he served on Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas and as a Philadelphia prosecutor, in addition to private practice experience. McCaffery is an Army veteran.

Republican candidates

Carolyn Carluccio is the president judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, serving on the court since 2010. Prior to this, she served as the chief public defender for Montgomery County and as a federal prosecutor.

Patricia McCullough has served on the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court since 210. Prior to this, she served as a judge on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and in private practice.

Judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Court

Democratic candidates (Select 2)

Jill Beck is a private practice attorney that provides pro bono representation. She previously clerked for a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice.

Pat Dugan has served on the Philidelphia Municipal Court in 2007, serving as the president judge since 2019. He is an Army veteran.

Timika Lane began her career teaching before going into family law and then a pro bono defense firm before being elected to the Court of Common Pleas in 2013, where she serves currently.

Republican candidates

Maria Battista is a former prosecutor who has provided counsel for the Pennsylvania state and health departments.

Harry F. Smail Jr. is a judge for the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, serving in that role since 2014. He is a former probation and parole officer.

Judge of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

Democratic candidates

Bryan Neft is a private practice attorney that once chaired the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts Board, a board overseen by the state Supreme Court that puts revenue from invested attorney fees into free civil legal services.

Matt Wolf is a supervising judge of the Philadelphia Municipal Court. Prior to his service on the bench, he was a civil rights lawyer. He currently serves in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

Republican candidates

Megan Martin is a former secretary and parliamentarian for the Pennsylvania Senate. She has worked as an attorney throughout the state government, has served as an attorney for the United States Navy and has given pro bono services on behalf of the Young Women’s Christian Association.

Josh Price is a civil rights attorney.

Judge of the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas

Democratic/Republican candidates

Nancy Aaroe has served as both a public defender and a prosecutor in Northampton County. She currently works in private practice.

Brian Panella is the Bethlehem City Council solicitor. He previously served as a custody master for Northampton and Lehigh Counties.

Northampton County District Attorney

Democratic candidates

Stephen G. Baratta served as a judge on the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas from 1997 to 2022. He previously worked in the Northampton County District Attorney’s office, in private practice and in the solicitor’s office.

Terry Houck (Incumbent) has served as Northampton County District Attorney since 2020. He served as a prosecutor in both Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton Counties for several decades prior to his election, heading the child abuse, sex crimes and violent crime units at different times as well as serving as first assistant district attorney from 2006 to 2020.

There are no Republican candidates for district attorney.

Northampton County Controller

Democratic candidates

Nadeem Qayyum is a member of the Northampton County Democratic Committee and serves as an inspector of elections. He has worked in the finance and business sectors.

Tara Zrinski has served on the Northampton County Council since 2018. She also works for SunPulse Solar, is a labor organizer, teaches philosophy classes at DeSales University and authored a children’s book.

Republican candidate

John Cusick, a two-term Northampton County Councilman, is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Northampton County Council (District 2)

Kelly Keegan, a member of the Forks Township Board of Supervisors, is unopposed after the incumbent, Kerry Myers, was thrown off of the ballot due to the dozens of invalid signatures appearing on his nomination petition. There are no Republican candidates for county councilperson.

City of Easton Mayor

Democratic candidates

Peter Melan is a two-term Easton city councilman. He operates a government consulting business called Polity and has served on Easton’s police civil service commission and zoning hearing board.

Salvatore J. Panto Jr. (Incumbent) has served six terms as Easton’s mayor – two terms between 1984 and 1992 as well as four terms since 2008. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Municipal League and is a member of the United States Conference of Mayors. Panto was a founder and chairman of PennPRIME, an insurance trust for municipal governments, has served on the National League of Cities Board of Directors and once owned a meat market with his father. 

There are no Republican candidates for mayor.

City of Easton Controller

Chris Heagele (Incumbent), the city’s controller since 2019, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. There are no Republican candidates for city controller.

Easton City Council (At-large)

Democratic candidates (Select 3)

Ken Brown (Incumbent) is a five-term Easton City Councilman. He has thrice been appointed vice mayor while on the council and once served on the Easton Area School District Board of Directors.

Kurt Carlson has served as the vice chairman of the Easton Affordable Housing Task Force.

Ken Greene has served on the Easton Planning Commission since 2019, chairing it for the past two years. He has served as treasurer of Friends of Easton PA since 2014 and served as superintendent of a school district in Newton, New Jersey for 13 years.

David O’Connell (Incumbent) has served two terms on the Easton City Council. He has worked as a realtor.

Frank Pintabone has served on the Easton Planning Commission since 2022. He served on the Easton Area School District from 2011 to 2017, finishing his tenure as president of the board, and owns a landscaping business.

Crystal Rose serves on Easton’s Civil Service Board and is a vice president of a bank in Clinton, New Jersey. She sits on the board of America’s Grow-A-Row, an agricultural nonprofit.

Lance M. Wheeler is a community activist and constable. He is the founder of the community group West Ward WISE and unsuccessfully ran for judge in 2013.

There are no Republican candidates for city councilperson.

Easton Area School District Director (Region III)

Democratic/Republican candidates

Edward Keegan (Incumbent) has served on the Easton Area School District Board of Directors since 2019 and has served as its vice president. He previously served as a school district superintendent in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

Michael Simonetta is the business manager for Pleasant Valley School District in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. He served as the chief operating officer of Easton Area School District (EASD) from 2011 to 2021 and served as an administrator for several school districts prior to his stint at EASD.

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About the Contributors
Trebor Maitin, Managing Editor
Pennsylvania enthusiast.
Caroline Burns, Photo Editor
Caroline Burns is a senior Policy Studies major and Data Science minor. After offering to help her roommate Deanna edit photos for the print edition, she was brought into the world of The Lafayette. Originally made possible by a borrowed camera (although she has her own now!), Caroline shoots a variety of things on campus, from student artist spotlight portraits to the LIMS concerts. She learned photography and editing from her dad who, throughout her childhood, became a self taught photographer. In addition, Caroline is also on student government, an Orientation Leader, and is the president of the club ski and snowboard team!

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