Candidates Chosen for Scranton Mayor Special Election

SCRANTON, Pa. -- We now know the names that will be representing the two major political parties on the ballot in a special election for Scranton mayor in November.

The city Democratic and Republican committees picked their candidates this week. The two men will run in November to serve the last two years of former mayor Bill Courtright's term.

Attorney Chris Cullen is no stranger to Scranton politics, but you may not know his name. He's worked behind the scenes until now. Earlier this week, the city's Democratic party picked him as their candidate in November's special election for mayor.

Cullen says it'll be his only election season. He says if elected he will not run for a full term in two years.

"It takes an extraordinary circumstance to create a candidacy like my own. And I want to take advantage of that extraordinary circumstance to provide solutions over a two-year time period and get the job done," said Chris Cullen.

Cullen is now one of the mayoral hopefuls looking to finish the term of former mayor Bill Courtright. Courtright is scheduled to be sentenced on federal corruption charges in November about a week and a half after Election Day.

Cullen says the next mayor's most important job is restoring trust in City Hall.

"Recent events have taught us that sometimes those easy lessons are hardest to learn. Now, we have to have a little remedial time and bring those true essence of Democratic theories and principles to reality."

That's something he and the Republican pick Charlie Spano agree on. The two have known each other for decades and will face each other on November 5.

"We must reinstate and institute standards of high behavior in this building so people have confidence that their vote means something. I can do that. I'm not doing this for a job. I'm not doing this for advancement for a career," Charlie Spano said.

Spano is a retired elementary school teacher from south Scranton. He has run unsuccessfully for county commissioner in the past and has served on the Scranton Planning Commission.

"I think people, no matter what party you're in, are disgusted by what they've seen in the last few years. They are shocked and they are disheartened. We can change that. I can change that," said Spano.

Cullen and Spano will likely not be alone on the ballot. Election officials say several people have started the process of becoming an independent candidate.

They will have to have petitions signed by the middle of September to appear on the ballot.

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