SCRANTON, Pa. — There was no election night party for Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti due to the pandemic.
Instead, she spoke to members of the media and just a handful of supporters here at her campaign headquarters in downtown Scranton.
She claimed victory in her primary race against city controller John Murray.
Cognetti says she got a call from Murray conceding the race.
She had a strong lead as soon as the votes started to roll in and maintained it throughout the night.
In her victory speech, Mayor Cognetti talked about the challenges she faced in her first year and a half in office.
She finished out the term of a former mayor currently in prison for public corruption.
Then, the pandemic hit a few short months into her term.
She talked about the challenges the city faced last year and will continue to face in her next term if she's successful in November.
Paige Cognetti is the incumbent mayor, having won a special election in November 2019. She replaced disgraced former Mayor Bill Courtright, who pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges. Cognetti ran as an independent in 2019 and won with 36.5% of the vote amidst a large field of contenders. This time around she is running for a full term as a Democrat. Cognetti, a Beaverton, Oregon, native got her bachelor’s degree at the University of Oregon and a master’s in business from Harvard. She worked as a teacher in Japan in the early 2000s before coming to Pennsylvania to work on Chris Carney’s successful congressional run in 2006. Cognetti then worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2008 and was hired by Barack Obama’s campaign to help coordinate campaign workers from out of state here in Pennsylvania. She parlayed that into a job as a special assistant in the U.S. Treasury Department. Cognetti met her husband, Ryan, the owner of a grocery store in South Abington Township, during her time on the Carney campaign. She worked for Goldman, Sachs & Co. for two years before moving to our area. Scranton School Directors appointed her to the school board in 2017, but she quit in December of 2018 to work in Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s office and helped write a scathing report of the Scranton School District.
John Murray is challenging Cognetti. Murray is the Scranton City Controller who worked in the State Auditor General’s Office from 1997 to 2017. He is a 1974 graduate of the now-defunct Bishop Hannan high school and holds an associate degree from Lackawanna Junior College and a degree in business administration from Marywood University. Murray worked for Emery Air Freight for more than a decade after college before taking a position with the State Workers Insurance Fund. He has been a board member and volunteer with a number of organizations in Scranton and was the chairman of Scranton’s Democratic Committee from 2010 to 2014.
Darwin Shaw is the only Republican on the ballot. He is a minister who was born and raised in Scranton whose website lists “the fight for social justice” and “progressive change” among his core values. He pledges to “fix the roads and clean up Scranton blight…protect the elderly…and improve our economic condition for both the small business owners and residents of Scranton.”