A special election for the office of coroner in Perry County, Penn., will be held on Nov. 7, and Libertarian Party candidate Michael Hoak is by far the most qualified. He is also currently serving in that position as acting coroner, making him the effective incumbent — with far more experience than his Democratic and Republican opponents.
The election will replace long-time coroner Michael Shalonis, who retired earlier this year. Hoak has 15 years of experience as deputy coroner under Shalonis, and decided to run as a Libertarian after the local Republican Party picked Robert Ressler, a patrolman for the East Pennsboro Township Police, to be the Republican candidate.
“They picked Mr. Ressler because he’s the safe candidate; he’s a nice guy.” Shalonis said, expressing his disappointment with the GOP nominee. “I stood there and told them, it’s not about picking the nice guy. It’s about picking the person that will do the best job for the people of Perry County.” He said that picking Ressler was a “slap in the face” to Hoak and other deputies with far more experience.
The GOP nod is important in Perry County, where Donald Trump received more than two thirds of the vote last year during his run as the Republican presidential candidate. Hoak expects to upset that voting pattern this November. He may not be the safe candidate, he said, but he expects to be the winning candidate.
Pennsylvania is becoming a hotbed of local Libertarian Party activism. In Scranton, Libertarian mayoral candidate Gary St. Fleur just scored a major legal victory when Lackawanna County Common Pleas Court Judge James Gibbons ruled in favor of a legal petition brought by St. Fleur and others, and that the city had been overtaxing its citizens in violation of state law by exceeding a state-mandated tax cap. St. Fleur is also challenging the League of Women Voters, which refuses to allow a Facebook live stream of a mayoral candidates’ debate.