An Odd Couple of Pols Have Stayed in the Running for a Half Century

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LEWIS RUN, Pa. -- Tuesday, voters in this small borough, population 573, will decide whether one of the longest-lasting, though little-known, political teams will stay together.

Mayor Albert Montecalvo and his right-hand man, Council President Frank Langianese, both 87 years old, are up for re-election, seeking their 15th and 16th terms. The pair, who were next-door neighbors as children, have worked together for 56 years on matters like water, sewer and garbage collection.

They agree on most things, except politics.

"He blames everything on the Democrats, and I blame everything on the Republicans," says Mr. Langianese, a Democrat.

"He," says Mr. Montecalvo, a lifelong Republican, nodding to his partner, "was the original Arlen Specter," referring to the Pennsylvania senator who earlier this year switched from Republican to Democrat. Mr. Langianese, originally a Republican, changed allegiances in 1958 after he lost in the Republican primary but was elected in the general election thanks to write-ins from Democrats. That's different, says Mr. Langianese. "I didn't change midterm. I don't believe in that."

Both men have won every election since the mid-1950s but don't take anything for granted, even though the mayor is running unopposed. "There is always a concern someone will write someone in," says Mayor Montecalvo, whose friends call him Abbe. "People sit in bars. They drink, complain about roads not getting plowed and garbage not picked up, but they never come to meetings. They say get rid of the old guys, but they don't want to run."

That is happening in Lewis Run and elsewhere. There are a lot of octogenarians on Pennsylvania ballots this election. Dan Rose, 88, is running for his fifth term as mayor of Irwin, in western Pennsylvania. In the eastern part of the state, James C. Kennedy is running for his fifth term as mayor of South Coatesville. He turned 92 in October and is older than South Coatesville itself. It was incorporated in 1921...

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