Paige Cognetti named first female mayor of Scranton

SCRANTON, PA (WNEP) -- This has been an unprecedented race for Scranton mayor, and now it is also a historic one. Paige Cognetti has accepted victory, becoming the Electric City's first female mayor.

Paige Cognetti is an unusual candidate for more than one reason. She hasn't been a city resident for long. She's an Oregon native. She moved here after marrying her husband, Ryan, who is from the area.

“There are so many people around the world and around the country that have their eyes on Scranton," said Cognetti.

Cognetti will serve out the term of former mayor Bill Courtright, which ends in January of 2021. Courtwright was forced to resign on July 1 after entering a plea deal on three federal charges including bribery, conspiracy, and extortion.

Cognetti, a registered Democrat, ran as an independent candidate. A native of Beaverton, Oregon, she was appointed to the Scranton School Board in 2017 but quit in December of 2018 to work in Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s office. She helped write a scathing report of the Scranton School District.

Another first, she will be the first mayor-elect to give birth. Their first child is due in December.

Voters showed they wanted something different, and that's what they're getting.

Some think a woman in office would improve life in the city for families.

"I don't want to say that men don't think about us but we do think about overall every single aspect of life," said Cristiane Guimaraes.

"Being a working single mother, it's hard and I think she can bring in new ideas for us and she can relate to women. I think it's great actually," said Melissa Thomas of Scranton.

Cognetti will serve two years, fulfilling the term of former Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright.

"I think being from Oregon, not being from here is part of that. I think people are hungry for a fresh perspective, I think that my husbands family has been here for many many generations. That paired together is something really powerful. I think people are ready to move on from the corruption. Being a woman is one thing. It's really exciting to make history tonight, but I believe my experience in the federal government, working in finance, I think those things are what really pushed me over," said the mayor-elect.

Cognetti didn't rule out another run in 2022. She will be sworn in as mayor of the city of Scranton in the beginning of January.

The runner up in the Scranton mayor's race, city councilman Kyle Donahue.

Donahue conceded the race to mayor-elect Cognetti but told supporters he still has work to do in the Electric City.

"This election was about giving the residents of this city the government we deserve, and I am confident we'll accomplish that. Despite tonight's outcome, we will continue to fight for every resident of this city because they deserve a government that works in their best interest," said Donahue.

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