Ryan Verdekal, 30, informed the Independent Gazette on Sunday, March 8, exclusively, that he will be ending his campaign for the office of mayor of the City of Wilkes-Barre, citing the entry of too many candidates seeking the Democratic Party nod. Verdekal announced his candidacy in January and said he has collected the requisite 100 Democratic signatures, but will not be handing in his petitions, claiming that he didn’t want to split what he termed the “honest vote.”
Verdekal said, “There are two types of voters in Wilkes-Barre, those that vote for corruption, and those who vote against. So when you have a candidate like George Brown who is hand-picked by the current city mayor, and all other candidates splitting what’s left of the honest vote, it’s easy to see that corruption wins every time, and that is why I’m not only ending my campaign, but asking my supporters to get behind Tony George.”
Tony George, former Wilkes-Barre Chief of Police and a current Wilkes-Barre City councilman, has been outspoken in his opposition to many Leighton initiatives, and was, for many months, the lone councilman calling for a termination of the LAG Towing contract. George now one of four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor, facing off against fellow councilman George Brown from South Wilkes-Barre, Brian W. Kelly, also a South Wilkes-Barre resident, and Darlene Duggins Magdalinski, who recently moved back to the city.
Following the May Primary the Democratic candidate will face the Republican challenger in November. Currently, former Gazette reporter Frank Sorick, 42, of South Wilkes-Barre, is the only declared Republican seeking the office of mayor. Sorick is taking on hiatus from the newspaper while he campaigns for the seat.
Verdekal stated that Tony George is a good man, and the best chance Wilkes-Barre has for defeating what he called just another Leighton plant. He urged everyone to get behind Tony George now before it’s too late. Verdekal went on to say, “I’m a city resident, a property owner, and under the current mayor I’ve seen my property taxes rise, and my [property] values drop. I’m trapped: I can’t simply sell my home and leave. I really care about this city, and that’s why I decided to run, and that’s why I must drop out. Doing the right thing is often the hardest thing one can do.”