Easton Voters Choose Panto Again
Sal Panto easily fends off challenge from Mike Krill to win another term as Easton's mayor.
Easton voters have once again chosen Sal Panto to be their mayor.
Panto, a Democrat who served two terms as mayor in the 1980s before returning to office in 2007, easily won re-election Tuesday, defeating challenger Mike Krill with nearly 80 percent percent of the vote.
With 100 percent of the city precincts reporting, Krill had 656 votes to Panto's 2,521, according to unofficial county results.
Speaking at campaign headquarters in downtown Easton, Panto said that perhaps the hardest battle of this election was the low turnout in the city.
"We knew we had the votes," he told supporters. "We didn't have the voters."
In the end, only about 2,900 people voted, the mayor said. By 11 p.m., with all the numbers in, the total figure was actually 3,105. The city has about 15,000 registered voters, according to figures from Northampton County.
Those voters who did turn out included South Side resident LaRue Curto, who praised the Panto administration for making improvements downtown and for dealing with things like dilapidated properties in her neighborhood.
"He's kept the streets cleaned, plowed in the winter," Curto said.
Krill had criticized Panto and his predecessors for focusing too much on downtown -- "Neighborhoods First" was his campaign slogan -- but that argument held no sway for Miray Boudaher, another South Side Panto supporter.
"There's no preference," she said. "He treats everyone the same."
Panto thanked Krill for running "not only a good campaign, but a campaign that was about issues, not about personalities."
Speaking from his South Side home, Krill commended the mayor for the same reason. He said he hopes his campaign will get the administration to consider some of the issues he raised.
"If that's the case, I think I accomplished something," Krill said.
Krill, a city firefighter and activist, said he'd always considered this to be a David and Goliath battle.
"I'm the underdog," he said. "My expectations weren't really high."
Looking ahead to the next four years, the mayor said he wants to focus on making government more efficient and improving communication with the public. He said there are hurdles to overcome, such as the threat of losing Community Development Block Grant funding from the federal government, and state funding for a variety of city programs.
"Obviously, keeping the city fiscally sound is going to be a challenge," Panto said.
As for Krill, he said it's too early to tell if he'll run for office again.
"I will not close any doors," he said. "I have to see what the future brings."