PoliticsPA: Cawley fires back at critics
By Alex Roarty
PoliticsPA Staff Writer
Jim Cawley, the GOP-endorsed candidate for lieutenant governor, has been the recipient of regular criticism the eight other people seeking the nomination, many of whom charge he isn’t conservative and received the party’s support only because he was the hand-picked choice of its leaders.
Their attacks haven’t gone unnoticed.
“You mean the same people who campaigned for it and said they would drop out if they didn’t get it?” Cawley told PoliticsPA during an interview Tuesday when asked of his opponents’ criticism.
He added that those candidates have since “rationalized” why they “broke their word” and continued campaigning for the job.
“I’m the only candidate in the race who has received the state party’s endorsement,” he said. “And I’m the only candidate in the race who has not attacked Jim Cawley.”
Cawley faces eight opponents: Former auditor general candidate Chet Beiler, York County businessman Steve Johnson, reform-activist Russ Diamond, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, reform-activist John Kennedy, Bill McCue of Washington County, Luzerne County Commissioner Steve Urban, and Erie County resident Jean Craige Pepper.
The criticism of him seems to stem mostly from conservative activists and Beiler, who sought the GOP endorsement but immediately decried the process afterward as improperly controlled by southeast party bosses.
GrassrootsPA on Tuesday prominently featured a mailer the Lancaster County man sent to voters, which called Cawley a “progress/liberal” and cited statistics that showed the commissioner helping grows Bucks County’s government.
Cawley said during the interview he thinks government needs to “live within it means” and become a better partner with the private sector to help the state’ economy grow. That’s the message he takes to voters, he said, not criticism of his opponents.
“I adopt Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican,” he said. “And I haven’t.”
Cawley has several key advantages that likely make him the favorite to win the nomination. He’s the only lieutenant governor candidate to hit the airwaves thus far and, because of the endorsement, will have the institutional support of many party members statewide. Perhaps most importantly, he’s the only one from the southeast.