Tornado Warning Lackawanna County

Three Votes Separate Dunmore Mayoral Candidates

DUNMORE -- In the unofficial count, three votes separate the two candidates in the Democratic primary for mayor in Dunmore.

The winner would likely be mayor as there's no one running on the Republican ticket. That narrow margin will also likely unseat the mayor who has been in office for more than two decades.

The incumbent is trailing a long-time borough councilman by just three votes. The pair are life-long friends -- the top vote getter, Councilman Tim Burke, isn't accepting victory yet.

This has all the makings of a feud, but Burke insists it's not. It was principle, not politics, that led him to run against his old friend, Dunmore Mayor Patrick "Nibs" Loughney.

"I had to get permission from the wife, of course, and she gave me permission, actually, the very last day," said Burke. "The only reason I ran was, I think, the biggest issue in the county, was the landfill. We were just two opposites on that issue."

The issue of whether or not the Keystone Sanitary Landfill in Dunmore should be able to expand. Borough zoning laws that would allow it are being challenged in court.

But Burke says, as mayor, he would be able to better advocate against the expansion.

"It will be another voice in a different department of government from Dunmore, that's if I win, that's against the landfill. I think that speaks volumes," he added.

Unofficial election results have Burke winning by only three votes. He isn't accepting a victory until the results are certified, but he told us Loughney called him to concede.

Elections this close aren't all too uncommon. Officials here at the Lackawanna County department of Elections say that just two years ago, a Dickson City council race was decided by only one vote.

Certifying the election is a long process that really won't start until Friday -- the voting machines were just being returned this afternoon. Election officials say they will need to count any provisional ballots -- or ballots that may not have scanned properly.

With a three vote margin, those could make all the difference.

"I would have been happy with a close election and a loss. Naturally, if I win, that's a better feeling," he said. "But, just to keep the landfill issue alive, people know, believe Dunmore knows that was the issue that I'm up three votes."

We tried to reach out to Mayor Patrick Loughney today -- but we have not heard back.

Election officials say it could be a few weeks before we know who won the race for sure.