SCRANTON — In a city where voter registration favors Democrats by a better than 2-1 margin, it’s not a surprise the Democratic candidate won the election to become Scranton’s next mayor.
Bill Courtright, the city’s current tax collector, defeated attorney lawyer Jim Mulligan, a Republican, by an unofficial tally of 8,481-6,694 with all 48 precincts reporting.
At a victory rally in the Radisson Lackawanna Hotel, Courtright thanked supporters and voters for once again electing him to a public office. In addition to tax collector, he’s previously served as a city councilman.
“I’m humbled … that the people once again put their trust in me,” he said.
When he’s sworn in next year, Courtright, 56, of West Scranton, will become just the third person to occupy the mayor’s office in the past quarter-century, following 12-year runs by Christopher Doherty and Jimmy Connors.
Scranton has been in financially distressed status since 1992 under the state’s Act 47 program and Courtright will have to come up with a way to end that status, something his predecessors could not accomplish.
“We’ve got to get to work, we’ve got to fix this city,” he told supporters during his victory speech. “But tonight we’re going to celebrate.”
Mulligan, 56, of the city’s Green Ridge section, ran on a platform that focused on economic development and strengthening Scranton’s neighborhoods.
He wanted to reduce the real estate transfer tax, explore ways to reduce the Mercantile/Business Privilege Tax and focus on the city’s infrastructure.
Doherty, who spent four years on City Council before being elected to his first of three terms as mayor in 2001, has not announced what he’ll do when his term ends in January.
He’s had failed runs for state senator and lieutenant governor in the past.
Courtright won the Democratic nomination in a four-way primary race, while Mulligan was nominated by the GOP after Garett Lewis, who won a two-candidate Republican primary, dropped out shortly after the election.