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Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. wins Democratic nomination

Mayor Sal Panto Jr. will be the Democratic candidate in November’s election after beating his challenger Taiba Sultana in Tuesday’s primary election.As of 10 p.m., unofficial results from Northampton County listed Panto in the lead with 76 percent of the votes and Sultana with 24 percent.“I believe the electorate has spoken and the vast majority of people agree the city is going in the right direction, and that’s encouraging for me,” Panto said on Tuesday night from his campaign party at Tommy’s Sole Mio Italian Grille in the South Side, where about 150 supporters gathered at one point.Panto is serving his third consecutive term as mayor. He also served two terms from 1984 to 1992.On Tuesday night, Panto said he looks forward to creating more jobs in the city, and will continue working to make the city safer and cleaner.In the 2015 election, he ran unopposed. But this year Panto faced Sultana, a 35-year-old South Side resident who is vice chair of the Northampton County Democratic Party and a member of the Easton Democratic Committee.Sultana says Panto has been at the helm too long and the city is ready for change. She campaigned on a platform that included addressing homelessness, affordable housing and livable wages.Taiba Sultana during a May 6 Easton mayoral debate with incumbent Sal Panto Jr. (Rick Kintzel/)The former owner of a mini market, she moved from Phillipsburg to the city in 2016. In 2017, she ran an unsuccessful campaign against incumbent Easton Councilwoman Sandra Vulcano.“We ran a really tough campaign. It was a challenge,” Sultana said Tuesday night from her campaign rally at Rivals Sports Bar & Restaurant in downtown Easton.Sultana said she hopes Panto will encourage more public engagement in local politics and work hard to represent all of the city’s residents.Panto will face off against Timothy Reilly in November, the first Republican to run for Easton mayor in eight years, with the support of the Northampton County Republican Committee.Independent or third party candidates have an August deadline to file petitions for the Nov. 5 general election.Reilly has served on the Easton Fire Department since 1996; is president of the Rice Ebner Post Association, a nonprofit social club that supports the American Legion; served on the Easton Area School Board for 12 years; served in the U.S. Army, including tours in Iraq, and was a member of the New Jersey Army National Guard for 15 years.Reilly is a lifelong resident of the city. He and his wife, Mary Reilly, live in the city’s South Side with their teenage daughter.Reilly has also been a member of the community Block Watch and South Side Civic Association of Easton. He was also part of the Easton Home Rule Charter Study Commission, which drafted the city’s home rule charter that was approved by voters in 2007.Christina Tatu can be reached at 610-820-6583 or
Source: Morningcall

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