Up until now it was pretty bland affair with both candidates touting their bonefides but that changed on Wednesday when all hell broke loose.
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton put out a press release attacking his rival for the Democratic Senate nomination 119th State Represantive John Yudichak because Yuddy voted for the bill that would allow tolling of I-80.
WILKES-BARRE — Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton, candidate for state senate in the"It looks like an implosion of Mayor Leighton's campaign," 14th District Democratic primary, today applauded a decision by federal highway officials to ban the tolling of traffic on the I-80 interstate in Pennsylvania.
He further called on his opponent, state Rep. John Yudichak, to reverse his previous position supporting tolls and not try to overturn the decision.
“There may be attempts to appeal this federal decision or pass additional legislation to allow tolling. There have been some suggestions of that publicly. I hope Yudichak will see the wisdom of reversing his previous position and follow the wishes of many hard-working people and college students in Northeastern Pennsylvania who use I-80 everyday as part of their daily commerce.
On July 17, 2007, Yudichak voted for Act 44, which converted interstate
80 into a toll road. The bill passed, 124-79 and was signed by the Governor. [HB 1590, Concurrence w/ Senate, 124-79, 7/17/07].
The response was fast and furious
"This is obviously a diversionary tactic so they do not have to discuss the serious issue that was raised today," Yudichak said. "That's obviously the big news today in federal court, and he has to address those issues."
He was referring to the revelation that Bill Brace admitted to taking money from yet another unnamed contractor in exchange for help getting business in the city of Wilkes-Barre.
Yuddy told SPPE
"Brace admitted to accepting kickbacks for his efforts to secure Wilkes-Barre City contracts for an unnamed company," Yudichak continued. "The pay-to-play politics scheme occurred under Leighton's watch as Mayor of Wilkes-Barre. Mayor Leighton needs to open the books on city contracts and address the issue of pay to play politics in the City. Mayor Leighton's desperate press release attack today smells like a classic diversionary tactic."
Leighton called Yudichak a liar
"John Yudichak is a career Harrisburg insider who wants to continue his career as an insider politician in Harrisburg," Leighton said. "He'll stoop to any low level to do so. Even lie." ..."
Then Yuddy took a shot at Ed Mitchell
"The mayor has to stand on his own two feet," Yudichak said. "Don't stand behind political consultants, don't hide behind political cronies and hacks. Stand before the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania."
Yuddy wants a debate with Leighton but not just one of those bland candidates forums without a back and forth between candidates. I game for that.
Yudichak will officially open his new Wilkes-Barre Township campaign office, located at the corner of Route 309 and Coal Street, this Saturday, April 10th. The grand opening will begin at 11:00 am, followed by a festive reception for his many supporters and volunteers to follow. The event is open to the public.
I'm told that you will not have to pay a toll at the door.