As many people are working on getting ready for Christmas, in the political world, the focus is on the primary elections in 2020.
As you many remember, the primary election is not the same day in every state. So although Pennsylvania's isn't until April, others are much sooner so candidates have to be out on the campaign trail.
It is interesting to see how some candidates are already dropping out of the presidential race.
• • •
While many are seeking the Democratic nomination for president, nobody has mentioned any possible candidates for the running mate. As you know, the party chooses the presidential candidate, but the candidate then chooses his or her own vice president.
Often the governor from Pennsylvania — no matter which party — is rumored to be among the possible candidates. However, Gov. Tom Wolf has already said he is not interested in being a vice presidential candidate.
• • •
While Wolf isn't interested in moving up the ladder in politics — at least as a vice president — some state elected officials are already hinting of "possible" candidates to succeed Wolf when his term expires in three years. The four offices that have term limits are auditor general, attorney general, treasurer and governor.
Some have suggested U.S. Sen. Bob Casey may run for governor. You may remember, Casey was auditor and treasurer before becoming senator. His father also was auditor, but instead of seeking the Senate seat, he was elected governor. Will young Casey follow that path?
• • •
Attorney R. Charles Thomas should feel honored and his family should be proud of the accolades given to him at the recent Vernon Township supervisors meeting. Several former supervisors and the former township manager, Dave Stone, attended the meeting to offer congratulations to Thomas on his retirement after 40 years of serving the township. Unfortunately, Thomas wasn't feeling well that night and couldn't attend.
Stone was laughing as he came in, noting he came so the meeting would last longer. He said one person told him that since he left, the meetings didn't last that long. Stone retired a year ago and not only praised Thomas but praised his successor Robert Horvat, the supervisors and all the staff on how well the township is doing.
Although he said he would make the meeting last longer, it didn't — at least by more than five minutes!
Vernon supervisors discuss pending business in a work session the night before in detail so by the night of the televised meeting, the voting is quick with limited discussion.
• • •
Linesville Borough Council will welcome back a former member, Mike Heaney, who won a seat on the board with write-in votes in the fall election. He won both a four-year seat and a two-year seat. He is taking the four-year position.
Council then will have to appoint other members.
• • •
Linesville Borough Council recessed its last meeting until Tuesday to vote on the final 2020 budget. President Kevin McGrath said it would only be a quick 10-minute meeting. Holly Miller, council member, said it's her birthday and wanted to be sure it would be a quick meeting. Members joked about bringing wine to celebrate her birthday.
• • •
The upcoming retirement of Crawford County President Judge Anthony Vardaro is well deserved, and he will be missed. He has been a fixture with the county for many years — even before becoming judge.
He served as county solicitor and assistant public defender. He has done a great job as judge.
Although he said he had no intention to run for judge, once he made that decision, he hit the trail running. He and his campaign committee were everywhere and spent time talking with people and walking in parades. I remember no negative campaigning in that race.
The outcome showed that despite the Republican majority in Crawford County, a Democrat could win a countywide race. Vardaro obviously won the support of Republicans and Democrats alike.
• • •
The recent death of Ida Sheriff, former assistant chief deputy assessor for Crawford County, brought back a fun memory for me.
One election was very close, and Commissioner Morris Waid had to go to several election sites to retrieve the large wooden ballot boxes where paper ballots were placed by poll workers after the votes were counted. I was going as a reporter, but since Waid was Republican, he needed a Democrat to go as well.
The first choice was Joe Galbo, chief assessor, who everybody knew was Democrat because he was so active. However, Galbo wasn't available so Waid — not knowing how many people were registered — started asking and learned Sheriff was. So Sheriff joined Waid and I to pick up ballot boxes.
One thing, which to me was interesting, was Waid and many others were not aware of which party some employees were registered.
I never knew either unless they came to a political party's dinner.
Sheriff, to my knowledge, was not too politically active or at least didn't come to the dinners. She will be missed, as she stayed active in her community after she retired.
• • •
The county also lost another retiree last week with the death of Fred Cunningham, who was director of the Crawford County Office of Veterans Services. A retired Marine, he was very active in promoting services for veterans and also stayed active after his retirement. He too will be missed.
Jane Smith is a retired Meadville Tribune reporter who specialized in covering government and politics.