Donchez, Reynolds are Only Candidates for Mayor
No Republicans file nominating petitions for mayor; hot dog vendor runs for City Council; Councilwoman Jean Belinski will not seek re-election after 16 years.
Democratic City Councilmen Bob Donchez and J. William Reynolds are the only official candidates for Bethlehem mayor, according to an unofficial list of candidates released by the Northampton County Election Office.
The deadline for filing nominating petitions was Tuesday.
Barring any write-in campaigns, the whole issue of who will replace John Callahan as the city’s 12th mayor could be decided on May 21, Primary Election Day.
With the mayor’s office, city controller’s office and four City Council chairs up for grabs, only one registered Republican – Chris Morales – filed nominating papers.
It has been at least a decade since a Republican was on City Council and 15 years since the last Republican mayor, Ken Smith, left office. Republican Meg Holland served as city controller from 2007 until January 2012, when she unexpectedly quit.
Morales, co-owner of the Easy Weenies hot dog vending cart that frequents W. Fourth Street and the parking lot at Lowe’s, is running for City Council. As the city’s lone legal street vendor, he has been at the epicenter of an ongoing controversy over how the city regulates businesses like his.
Six Democrats have filed to run for four seats. Jean Belinski, who has served four terms and 16 years on council, is not among them. That means there will be at least two new members of council in 2014.
Incumbent Councilman David DiGiacinto has already announced that he is running for city controller instead of council. And according to the unofficial candidates list, DiGiacinto has no apparent opposition in the Democratic primary or from the GOP for that office.
Incumbent Council President Eric Evans and Councilwoman Karen Dolan both filed petitions for re-election.
The other four Democrats seeking a nomination for City Council are deli owner David “Lump” Sanders, economic development professional Steve Melnick, home painter Adam Waldron and the mayor’s brother, teacher Bryan Callahan.
After two full terms as mayor, John Callahan is required to leave office under the city’s home rule charter. Now, the mayor finds himself in a three-way Democratic primary race for Northampton County executive with County Councilman Lamont McClure and former executive Glenn Reibman.
Donchez and Reynolds both announced their mayoral candidacies in January. Reynolds, 31, tried to paint himself in the mold of the city’s last two dynamic young mayors, Callahan and Don Cunningham, while Donchez, 62, touted his experience and maturity.