Pinto Wins a Straw Poll
By Ben Hulac, Contributing Writer and Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
Frank Pinto defeated party favorite John Maher in Saturday’s NECRA caucus straw poll by a vote of 13 to 9 on Saturday. Maher, a state Rep. From Allegheny County, had a stronger showing in the NEPA straw poll, which he won 13 to 3.
The former head of The Pennsylvania Community Bankers, Pinto, 68, had been running against both Maher and a third candidate, Ann Duke, the Chester Country Treasurer. Duke dropped out of the race on Friday, citing Governor Tom Corbett’s clear support for Maher. She also endorsed Maher.
Following his NECRA caucus victory, and perhaps with his slogan “He’s Smart, He’s Tough and Nobody Owns Him” in mind, Pinto spoke about the victory.
“Today’s win further strengthens an already energized campaign to move forward to victory,” he said. “It proves that the voters are looking for a leader with no political baggage, no controversial votes, and no conflicts of interest.”
Pinto is an engaging speaker, and several state committee members have told PoliticsPA that his entertaining speaking style is what won their votes. He remains the only candidate in any Republican primary opposed to a nominee with Corbett’s support.
Wyoming County optometrist David Haire dropped out of the race for Treasurer when Corbett made clear his support for Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughn.
Correction: The straw poll results so far (including NECRA, NEPA and the central caucus) are Maher 63, Pinto 48, Duke 24. Percentage-wise, its Maher 47 percent, Pinto 36 percent, and Duke 18 percent.
The candidates will meet with the southeast Pa. caucus on Wednesday, and southwest and northwest caucuses on Saturday. Republican state committee will hold its endorsement meeting in Hershey on January 28.
Pa. Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D-York) is the likely Democratic candidate for the office.