Lehigh Valley

Battle for Allentown mayor takes center stage in Pennsylvania primary election

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Today's the day voters in Pennsylvania will head to the polls and make their picks, setting up showdowns for November's election.

And of course one of the big day's biggest races is the battle for mayor of Allentown.   

The incumbent is Democrat Mayor Ed Pawlowski. His office has been under investigation in connection with a pay-to-play scheme, but he has not been charged, and experts say, with such a wide field, he could have the advantage.

Democrat Ray O'Connell, is the current president of Allentown's city council. O'Connell says, he's seen things first-hand, and it's time for a change.

Speaking of change - the next candidate changes the age dynamic. Democrat Joshua Siegel is 23, fresh out of college, and believes in tolerance as the "proud son of a gay father and brother of a transgender sister." 

Lehigh County Commissioner David Jones, also a Democrat, says he brings 25 years of multi-faceted experience - from government to non-profit, and is also a church pastor.

Democrat Charlie Thiel is an Allentown School Board member and a businessman. He says his experience would help him run a city.

Sam Bennet, the only woman in the race, is a Democrat who runs a Bed and Breakfast in a historic home in Allentown, and as a former Washington D.C. CEO, says she brings political and business strengths.

The final Democrat - Nathan Woodring, is a former Wilson Borough Councilman who says he wants a change from the present administration.

On the Republican side, the list is shorter, just two:

Luiz Garcia, a detective with the Allentown Police Department, says he wants to bring hope back to the city, and work closely with its public safety departments.

And Republican Nat Hyman, has a background in real estate - and claims he never considered a career in politics, until what he calls the "cloud of scandal" fell on Allentown. He says *he can help the city grow into one of the greatest in the nation.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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