Lackawanna Sheriff’s Campaign Gets Complicated

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SCRANTON -- Lackawanna County's Sheriff is retiring. Meaning, if this were a typical primary election, voters would select candidates for the first new sheriff in more 30 years.

But this is not a typical primary election. After the vote, there may be no sheriff's office at all.

It's a crowded race for the new Lackawanna County Sheriff, with three people running for the Democratic nomination and two people running for the Republican nomination. The candidates have been campaigning for months knowing that voters could also choose to eliminate the job all together and make the sheriff an appointed position.

Democratic candidate Nick DeSando's tasks are twofold. As he went door to door in Moscow on Tuesday he not only asked for a vote for him but also for vote to keep the job he's vying for.

"It's law enforcement, it's not a job that should be done for any other reason than wanting to do it," DeSando said.

They may disagree on the issues or party but the five candidates agree that the Lackawanna County Sheriff should stay an elected position.

Democratic candidate Rob Mazzoni's spending campaign funds to make sure the position stays as is. He's sent out mailers and advertised in the newspaper asking voters to vote "no" on the referendum.

"We have to advertise for a "no" on the ballot, on the referendum. We want that to be a no answer. We have to work on that and also we have to work on the election. It's a more difficult election than your average election," Mazzoni said.

The referendum was put forth by Lackawanna County Commissioners. It asks voters whether they want to abolish the sheriff's office that serves the county courts and make the sheriff an appointed position.

Democratic candidate Mark McAndrew's worked in the sheriff's office for 23 years and learned during his campaign for sheriff that the job may not exist after this election.

"Worst case scenario is the referendum is passed, but I met a lot of nice, great people in Lackawanna County. So, it was a wonderful experience either way," McAndrew said.

Joseph Albert is one of two Republican candidates for Lackawanna County Sheriff.

The other is current Sheriff's Deputy Dominic Manetti, who'll be watching three races come primary election night.

"I've got to wait and see how my races goes, I have an opponent, so I have to wait and see how I come out in that race. Then you're waiting to see who's coming out on the Democratic side, and then you're waiting to see if the question's going to pass or fail. It's going to be a long night," Manetti said.

If the referendum passes, and the position of Sheriff is abolished, the winners of the primary races would not run in November.

Primary Election Day is May 21.