McCord Begins Second Term

McCord swearing in

McCord says the oath of office to Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd as his wife and sons look on. Photo: Dept. of Treasury

Pa. Treasurer Rob McCord completed the trio of statewide Democrats who took the oath of office today. In his case, it’s the second time.

“As I look ahead to my second term, my team and I will continue to find new, innovative ways to save and make money for the people of Pennsylvania,” McCord said. “We’ve made Treasury a place where innovation and thinking outside the box thrives. That’s what it will take to solve the problems we face today.”

The prospective 2014 gubernatorial candidate challenged the anti-government message of Gov. Tom Corbett and Republicans.

As Capitolwire reported:

He drew loud and fervent applause as he said government can be “magnificent” in its achievements and more when he outlined an alternative to the “pinched pessimism” he implied was the message of Gov. Tom Corbett, especially when it came to investing in education, transportation and other priorities.

He also criticized voter ID measures in the context of his diverse family, saying, “We need to stop people – even if it polls well – from repealing voting rights. That is a wrong, we need to stand and fight. And we will.”

Newly-Minted Auditor General DePasquale Steps Up to Bully Pulpit

DePasquale oath

DePasquale takes the oath of office as his family looks on

Harrisburg — Eugene DePasquale promised to put his reform agenda into action as he was sworn in as Pennsylvania’s new Auditor General.

The three-term York state lawmaker took his oath as his family and politicos from around Pa. and both parties looked on.

He said his role was not just to expose the problems of government, but to propose solutions as well.

“Part of this job is using this as a bully pulpit to outline what is happening and to express to the people of Pennsylvania what needs to be changed,” he said. “The Auditor General is a very interesting role. You have enormous power in the sense you can go in and conduct the audits, but you don’t have the power to go in and make the change.”

“I am going to use my understanding of the General Assembly and what it takes to get laws done, and also working with the Corbett administration, to make the change that is needed.”

He talked about education and infrastructure, but his highest notes came on the subject of the environment. He emphasized his commitment to balancing economic growth with safety vis-a-vis development of Marcellus shale.

“That is why one of my first official duties as Auditor General will be to initiate a performance audit of the Department of Environmental Protection to make sure our constitutional right to pure water is not being compromised,” he said.

As York County Controller Robb Green pointed out, DePasquale is the first York countian to win statewide office since Gov. George Leader in 1954.

And as newly elected state Sen. Rob Teplitz noted, “he’s the first Pa. Auditor General to have mastered P90X.”

DePasquale seated

Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane Makes History

Kane speech

Attorney General Kathleen Kane. Her husband, Chris, looks on

Harrisburg — It took Kathleen Kane about 5 minutes as Pennsylvania’s new Attorney General to demonstrate that she’s not like the other people who have won that office. She’s a mother, too.

Kane tends sonHer younger son, Zach, fainted during her inauguration speech on the steps of the Capitol rotunda. Kane concluded her remarks and tended to her son (who was overheated and recovered quickly – he’s fine now, she said later).

But in a matter of minutes, the first woman ever elected to the AG’s office went from triumphant political leader to concerned mom.

Kane and her family celebrated her decisive November win among dozens of friends, family, and luminaries from all corners of Pa. politics.

“We are the believers of progress. This is our call to duty. History will mark the significance of this day and progress will mark the significance of my call to serve the Commonwealth,” she said.

She reiterated her campaign theme of protecting the defenseless; children, the elderly, and victims of crime. She also addressed the topic of gun violence.

“I am here for those who live in fear of that nightmare that when their kids go out to play or are at school they may not come back. I am here for those whose neighborhoods are being overrun by drugs, gangs and guns.”

Tomorrow, Kane will address one of the big questions of her tenure: how aggressively will she confront Corbett and other Harrisburg Republicans.

By far the most watched of issue of all is in what manner will she investigate the way that the AG’s office under Corbett dealt with the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal at Penn State.

But those questions will wait for Wednesday.

“It’s her day,” Corbett told reporters.

Front roll all men

“Today, mothers across this Commonwealth can rightly promise their daughters: anything is possible. Go and follow your dream,” Kane said.

The historic nature of the occasion was emphasized even more by the front row of Pa. officials at the event. With the exception of Mrs. Terese Casey, all of them were men.

Some political scientists believe that the election of more women to office will yield a political process that is more civil and productive. In that human moment when Kane’s son fell down, they were proved right.

Campaign trail barbs forgotten, Gov. Tom Corbett was among the first to respond. He jumped from his front row seat to hand Kane a bottle of water and some tissues for her son.

“She’ll be Attorney General for at least the next four years, but it’s clear she’ll be a mother for life,” remarked Dan McCaffery, the event’s emcee and Kane’s one-time Democratic primary rival.

Corbett Kane's son

Gov. Corbett steps forward to lend a hand – and a bottle of water

First Dem Surfaces for Superior Court

Judge Joe Waters

Philadelphia Judge Joe Waters looks likely to toss his hat in the ring for the open Superior Court seat in 2013.

That’s according to a Democratic operative with direct knowledge of Waters’ decision process.

Waters, 59, serves on Philadelphia Municipal Court and is a former police captain and retired Marine.

His name pops up just as the state’s top politicos head to New York City for Pa. Society.

On the Republican side, attorney and party stalwart Vic Stabile is the early favorite for the GOP state committee endorsement. He ran in 2011 but lost to David Wecht.

Sitting Superior Court Judge John Musmanno turned 70 in March and is constitutionally ineligible to run for retention.

The Superior Court doesn’t rule on the constitutionality of law like the Pa. Supreme Court does. Rather, judges hear appeals from Courts of Common Pleas.

Pennsylvania’s biennial judicial races tend to be low attention but high intrigue affairs, with much of the action happening at party state committee meetings.

DePasquale Announces Transition Team

Forget John Kerry and Susan Rice. Auditor General-elect Eugene DePasquale announced his transition team on Tuesday. It contains a number of familiar names from the Rendell era.

“We want to be ready on day one to serve the citizens of Pennsylvania, and am thrilled to have the guidance of a strong, diverse, and experienced transition team,” said DePasquale. He noted no taxpayer funds are being used for the transition.

Here are the names and bios from the DePasquale press release.

The co-chairs of the transition team are Joe Powers and Dave Myers. Powers served in a variety of roles in state government, including stints as Chief of Staff to the Lieutenant Governor and Executive Deputy Secretary in the Department of Environmental Protection, and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at St. Joseph’s University. Myers, who is the Director of the O’Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Public Service at Alvernia University in Reading, served in senior management positions in the Rendell and Casey administrations.
Suzanne Itzko and Liz Wagenseller are serving as co-coordinators of the transition team. Itzko formerly served as Deputy Secretary of Administration for PennDOT; Wagenseller was DePasquale’s campaign manager for his auditor general race.

Wagenseller will also serve as press contact during the transition period.

Committee chairs and other members include:

Abe Amoros, former DePasquale campaign chairman

Chuck Ardo, a West Shore based communications consultant

Charlie Bacas, a former Cabinet office under Gov. Casey and co-founder of software tool company

Joan Benso, President and CEO, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children

Neal Bisno, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania and Secretary-Treasurer of the SEIU PA State Council

Ron Boston, Director of Government Relations, Triad Strategies

Stuart W. Davidson, attorney at Willig, Williams & Davidson, representing labor unions and employee benefit plans

Ron Deibert, former deputy auditor general

Gerald Lawrence, attorney who represents institutions and individuals ranging from Fortune 100 companies to small businesses to individuals and is General Counsel to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party

John Lori, controller for Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania

Cathy Myers, faculty member at Alvernia University

Tony Ross, President of United Way of Pennsylvania

Adrian E. Shanker, President of Equality Pennsylvania

Mary Soderberg, former Budget Secretary, currently adjunct faculty at the Fels Institute at the University of Pennsylvania

David Sweet, attorney and former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Jim Wansacz, Chairman of Lackawanna County Commissioners

Tom Weaver, former Executive Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth

Maps: How Casey, DePasquale & McCord Compared to Obama

Three Democrats, three men whose names are in the conversation for Pa. Governor. Here’s how they compared to the so-called top of the ticket on election day.

In case you missed ‘em, here is PoliticsPA’s map on how Obama 2012 stacked up against Obama 2008, as well as John Kerry 2004. And here’s our map of the romp by Attorney General candidate Kathleen Kane.

U.S. Senate: Bob Casey

Despite being outspent, Casey outperformed Barack Obama significantly – and not just in western Pa. where the President is weak. Obama cleared Mitt Romney by 5.2 percent statewide; Casey beat Tom Smith by 9.1 points.

Auditor General: Eugene DePasquale

With little money spent, the York Co. state Rep. rode the President’s coattails to a win on Tuesday over GOP colleague John Maher from Allegheny County. He won by a relatively tight 3.2 percent margin.

Pa. Treasurer: Rob McCord

It’s tough to say exactly what contributed the most to McCord’s win. He’s an incumbent, and he spent hundreds of thousands on a steady TV presence. Those factors made a difference in the Pittsburgh, Johnstown and Scranton markets. Statewide, he won by 8.6 percent. He even outperformed the President in his opponent Diana Irey Vaughan’s home County of Washington.

Maps: Kathleen Kane’s Mandate

Sometimes row office candidate rely on the top of the ticket to carry them to a win. They tend to be lesser known than, say, the presidential candidates, and count on riding their party’s coattails.

Not Kathleen Kane.

She made history twice on Tuesday when she became the first Democrat and first woman elected Pa. Attorney General. She achieved a fairly impressive performance across the state.

The map above compares her win margin to that of President Obama. Obama won the state by 5.2 points, 52 percent to 46.8 percent for Mitt Romney. Kane won by 14.5 points, 56.1 percent to 41.6 percent for Dave Freed.

On election night she exceed the President’s performance in eastern Pa. and showed none of his weakness in western Pa. (Obama maps here).

The map below shows how Kane did compared to another AG hopeful back in 2004. Tom Corbett was running alongside President George W. Bush’s re-election effort, which turned out to be the best GOP performance since 1988.

The map below shows Kane’s 2012 vote share compared to Corbett’s in 2004. Many of the differences reflect Pa.’s basic red-v-blue county dynamic. But Centre County is worth a special look.  Kane campaigned on criticism of Corbett’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky case and turned the AG contest into a referendum on the investigation.

In the epicenter of Nittany Nation, which Corbett won by 8 points in ‘04, Kane won by 17 points this year – a 25 point swing.

(She also outperformed his vote share there during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, by 2 points).

Statewide Races Election Day Open Thread

Check here to find the latest on the Presidential, U.S. Senate and Row Office races across Pa. We’ll have updates all day Tuesday, and returns Tuesday evening.

10:54 pm: The Associated Press has called the race for Auditor General for Democrat Eugene DePasquale.

10:41 pm: The Associated Press has called the races for Attorney General and Treasurer for Democrats Kathleen Kane and Rob McCord.

7:56 pm: From Daniel Cook, Campaign manager to Sen Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill): “Turnout has been solid throughout the district and has been consistent with the initial morning numbers .  Our volunteers are still making last minute phone calls to those voters who haven’t reached the polls yet. Voters have responded to our message the entire campaign in a positive manor and its clearly showing with the enthusiasm we are hearing from Pine Grove to the Poconos.”

4:52pm: Election admin problems in Philly. Reports the City Paper: The names of registered Philadelphia voters are not showing up on voter rolls and poll workers are instructing them to vote using provisional ballots, according to voters and poll workers in West and North Philadelphia. Provisional ballots,if they are counted, are not counted until up to seven days after the election.

4:30pm: Romney adviser ang GOP veteran operative Ed Gillespie had hopeful words about Pa on CNN:

“When we saw what was going on in Pennsylvania, we thought here is a real opening in a pretty big state that favors Governor Romney. That’s why we saw them in the Philadelphia collar counties the other night and in Pittsburgh today. So we feel very, very good about Pennsylvania. I think he’s going to win Pennsylvania tonight.”

3:50pm: Romney is on the ground in Pa., greeting GOP volunteers in Green Tree. There’s not currently any media event planned. Here’s a photo from Romney’s campaign.

1:50 p.m.: Former Gov. Tom Ridge told Fox News that the GOP thinks PA turnout may sway in their favor. He said voters in “the collar counties in Philadelphia” as well as those in Bucks and Montco will decide against the President, who Ridge said has been divisive and promoted class warfare.

“A lot of them have sons and daughters that graduated from college who can’t find a job. So you pull these things together and there is an intensity and an excitement as evidenced by the 30,000 people in 45-degree weather on Sunday night we haven’t seen in Pennsylvania in a long, long time.”

12:40 p.m.: A door hanger seemingly paid for by the PA Dems has been sending York voters to the wrong polling place. The door hanger included a photo of the President and Sen. Casey, and was distributed in what is considered to be a Dem stronghold. The Patriot-News reported that if the mixup “deters a significant number of people from voting, it could affect a potentially close presidential race…as well as the 4th Congressional where Democrat Harry Perkinson needs a strong showing in York to compete with Republican Scott Perry. State Rep. Eugene DePasquale, whose district includes York, would also like a strong turnout to boost his run for Auditor General.”

12:27 p.m.: A PA election judge has ordered an Obama mural in a Philadelphia polling place to be covered up.

Noon: A GOP operative working around several congressional and state legislative races says turnout is high everywhere: the suburbs, in the city and in rural areas.

“Looking more like ’08 than ’04 at this point.  We are doing the traditional strike-and-drag program as well as some targeted door knocking.”

11:28 a.m.: A clarification of the BPP allegation – this photo was taken by the PAGOP at 1221 Fairmount Ave in Philly. Fox News also recorded their own footage and broadcast it.

11 a.m.: PA GOP spokesperson Valerie Caras tweeted this morning about a mural of President Obama painted on the wall of a Philadelphia polling place. “Talk about #demshenanigans,” she wrote. The party has been scouring Philly for signs of impropriety.

10:30 a.m.: New Black Panthers sighted in Philly? From Philly’s good government Committee of 70: “Seventy dispatched volunteers to the Philadelphia polling place at 11th St. and Germantown Avenue this morning, where reports surfaced earlier today that the New Black Panthers were back in Philly and at this polling place. Neither Seventy’s volunteers, nor City officials who visited the polling precinct and checked in with Seventy, saw any signs of the New Black Panthers. We’ll keep you posted, but as of now, no hard evidence that this report is true.”

10:18 a.m.: Chatted with team Casey and they’re feeling good. Strong turnout reported in NEPA so far, plus good weather there as everywhere.

9:55 a.m.: In Philly, a Court of Common Pleas judge ordered polling locations to seat GOP minority inspectors. The PAGOP celebrated:

So far this morning, Democratic operatives prohibited 75 legally credentialed Republican election workers from accessing polling places in heavily Democratic areas in Philadelphia. Incidents ranged from judges of elections refusing to seat Republican Minority Inspectors and Clerks, to reports of Democratic election operatives announcing that “No Republicans will be allowed in the polling place.”

9:50 a.m.: The AFL-CIO is expecting “well over 3,500 volunteers staging from three dozen locations across the state,” said a spokesman.

9:41 a.m.: Said one Dem insider in Montgomery County: “Turnout started off slow in SEPA but then increased a lot…some of the precincts in my district are already between 25%-35% turnout.”

9:30 a.m.: From Tom Smith CM Jim Conroy: ““Thousands of volunteers across the commonwealth have been knocking doors and making calls for months, and their effort peaks today.”

9:20 a.m.: From all over the state – the North Hills and Butler County in the west, to Luzerne County and Bucks in the east – we’re hearing reports of heavy early turnout.

7:00 a.m.: The polls are open! We’ll be up with our first update soon.

GOP Ticket on Last Day Blitz

Smith speaks as Toomey looks on

Camp Hill — The stump speeches are set and the candidates exhausted. Republicans up and down the ticket stumped across Pa. on Monday in their last-ditch effort to make the news and reach out to undecided voters.

It’s the bipartisan day-before-election playbook – events that aren’t so much rallies as press opportunities – as Republicans criss-cross Pa. on Tom Smith’s campaign bus.

In Camp Hill, two dozen party faithful cheered Senate hopeful Smith, Attorney General candidate Dave Freed, likely future Congressman Scott Perry and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

“We have these polls now in this United State Senate race very, very tight. We have a nice race on our hands. And it’s because of you. You have worked your hearts out and I am asking you to just continue to do that until we push this over the end line tomorrow evening,” said Smith.

“We need new leadership in Washington, and I will so happy to be able to do down, to win this election and go to Washington and be called ‘Junior.’ I have not been called that in many years.”

“We’ve got a message for [NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg] and for Bill Clinton and for everybody else: we’re gonna get it done on Tuesday and we’re gonna tell them that Pennsylvania is a red state,” said Freed.

Toomey echoed the importance of the AG race.

“We have had the good fortune in Pennsylvania not to have lived through the experience of having a liberal, hostile-to-business Attorney General,” said Toomey. “It is not good for the economy, it is not good for job growth, it is not good for opportunity when the wrong people are in that office.”

And all the candidates emphasized their belief that Pa. is in play for the national race, too.

“If we do the job that we need to do, over the next 36 hours, then I’m going to have a colleague in Pennsylvania who will help to make sure that we get to be allies in the United State Senate of Mitt Romney,” Toomey said.

Republicans moved east to west; Democrats – headlined by former Pres. Bill Clinton – moved from west to east.

Here are all the GOP events today (note: some overlap)

Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Conshohocken and Bethlehem:
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. Senator from Minnesota Norm Coleman and actor Jon Voight

Bensalem, Wilkes-Barre, Camp Hill, Johnstown, Erie and Green Tree (with Gov. Corbett):
Tom Smith & Dave Freed with Sen. Pat Toomey and other local candidates

Newspaper Endorsements Open Thread

It’s that time of year. Newspapers around Pa. are backing candidates. Here’s PoliticsPA’s running list of endorsements in statewide and congressional races. We’ll update as they come in.

Did we miss one? Please email the link to press@politicspa.com. You can find state House & Senate endorsements in the Legislative Election Updates section of the Morning Buzz every day.

President

Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice: Barack Obama

The core question before voters in Tuesday’s presidential election is:

“Which of the candidates will pursue policies more likely to produce broad prosperity after nearly four years of anemic growth and four decades of widening economic inequality?”

Despite the uneven economic results of his first term – attributable mostly to the intransigence of his opponents but also to his own early leadership failures – the answer is Barack Obama.

Bucks County Courier Times: Mitt Romney

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a record of bipartisan success. During his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, with Democrats firmly in control of the state Legislature, Romney produced landmark health care reform that earned bipartisan support and stands as a model for the nation. Bringing that mindset to Washington and breaking the stalemate there could go a long way toward resolving critical issues that threaten our nation’s future.

Sunbury Daily Item: Barack Obama

While the Obama presidency has not accomplished all we had hoped, the president has led the nation through a difficult period with a steady hand and the better record of political compromise and consensus the nation wants and needs.

York Daily Record: Barack Obama

We think Mitt Romney is a good, decent man who could certainly handle the presidency with the same competency of his Massachusetts governorship or his management of the Olympic games.

But in our hearts, we just believe President Obama is the better choice for this particular moment in history.

Centre Daily Times: Barack Obama

We endorse Barack Obama for re-election to a second term as president of the United States over his challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Obama deserves four more years in office to continue his efforts to improve the economy, make the country safer and enhance access to education and health care.

Easton Express-Times: Barack Obama

We endorse Barack Obama for a second term, with some serious reservations, but with the belief that he’s the steadier, cooler leader to deal with global threats. His approach is known, it’s pragmatic and at times has been way too centrist for his left-leaning supporters.

Indiana Gazette: Mitt Romney

He has carved out a position that calls for reducing the deficit, cutting the size of government and getting the national debt under control to create a better business climate. Small businesses are the drivers of job creation in this country, Romney believes, but they will struggle to succeed if taxes and regulations are too burdensome. We stand behind him on this ideology.

Uniontown Herald-Standard: Mitt Romney

Much like the rest of the country, the debate raged on between the two sides. But when it came time to take a vote, the majority of the board sided with Gov. Romney and the overwhelming need for change. Four years of Obama was enough, they maintained. It’s time to let someone else run the country for the next four years and take their turn at getting the economy moving again. And that someone is definitely Romney.

Bucks County Intelligencer: Barack Obama

Yes, the so-called recovery could be stronger. But Obama stopped the bleeding, and the country is slowly starting to heal. For 31 straight months, there has been job growth, with more than 5 million jobs created.

And as imperfect as the Affordable Health Care Act is, we now have guarantees of health care. The president was willing to tackle this enormous problem despite the political consequences.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Barack Obama

BARACK OBAMA is the better candidate in the presidential race. A vote for him is an investment in a strong future, which is why The Inquirer endorses his reelection.

Altoona Mirror: Mitt Romney

Romney has a sensible plan to get the private sector growing by lowering tax rates, generating jobs and creating opportunities for working Americans.

More important, Romney brings the predictability on government regulation and taxes that businesses need to create jobs – and families need to begin buying again and, thus, growing the economy.

New Castle News: Neither

Obama inherited a lousy economy. But he has not demonstrated the leadership necessary to move the country back to real prosperity. Washington’s failure to resolve differences and craft a clear fiscal direction creates the sort of uncertainty business despises.

Unfortunately, Mitt Romney fails to persuade us that he is that person. Frankly, we don’t know what he would do as president, because he flips and flops on assorted issues, seemingly seeking to shape his message for the moment. That’s not leadership.

Washington County Observer-Reporter: Barack Obama

No, President Obama has not yet shown himself to be deserving of a spot on Mount Rushmore. He may never. But, in the near-term, we believe his sober, thoughtful leadership is best suited to move America forward.

Harrisburg Patriot-News: Barack Obama

That is the type of candidate this newspaper could endorse to run our country. Unfortunately, that is not the type of candidate we see in Romney as he campaigns for president, and is why we endorse President Barack Obama for a second term. From issues as varied as health care reform, abortion, global warming and illegal immigration, Romney has morphed his positions.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Barack Obama

This well may be a generation-defining moment. What will America’s future be? Will this still be a land of opportunity and freedom for all people or just for the favored few? Because we still hope, we endorse for president Barack Obama, whose heart — unlike his challenger — has not wavered nor his principles changed.

Williamsport Sun-Gazette: Mitt Romney

With Gov. Romney’s private sector experience, we can foresee reasoned problem-solving, based on his track record, with a fresh hand reaching across the aisle for bipartisan help.

Erie Times-News: Barack Obama

President Obama’s record reflects his centrist views, despite the efforts of the far right to portray him as an extremist. Bipartisan cooperation has been hard to achieve under Obama’s presidency, but we believe that Obama is far more capable of pulling the two sides together in compromise, having learned from tough experience. He has also learned about the hazards of non-cooperation in his first term, as well as the ineffectiveness of letting Congress take the lead on policy.

Scranton Times-Tribune: Barack Obama

Overall, Mr. Obama’s record amid some of the most pressing economic challenges in U.S. history is rather good, especially considering the political constraints.

Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney is a former governor, a proven leader, with a successful record both in governing and in business. He understands the importance of free enterprise. He comprehends with perfect clarity that small businesses and entrepreneurs – not the government – are the drivers of a strong economy.

Romney promises to unleash America’s energy resources like never before, ushering in a new era of energy independence. And our region will benefit greatly from that goal. Romney will halt Obama’s premeditated efforts to crush one of our area’s most precious job creators – the coal industry.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney offers a seasoned, strategic and mature public policy mind so sorely needed in the White House and so necessary to enable our great nation and its people to excel.

It’s time to begin restoring America. It’s time to elect Mitt Romney as president of the United States.

U.S. Senate, Tom Smith, R v. Sen. Bob Casey, D

Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice: Bob Casey

In his first term as a U.S. Senator, Bob Casey has been a moderate, modest and centrist voice in Washington, D.C., a city where modesty and compromise have been out of fashion of late.

Unlike many of his colleagues in the Senate, Casey rarely seeks the spotlight, but that does not make him ineffective.

Tri-County Courier Express: Tom Smith

But for five years, Sen. Casey has done … nothing much. Another term for Casey also ensures another grating year of Nevada Sen. Harry Reid as Majority Leader.

Bucks County Courier Times: Ed Rendell

So, here’s our suggestion: Write in a candidate. And we don’t mean just anybody. We’re not suggesting that you make a joke of your right to vote. Use it to send a serious message to the major political parties that we expect a choice between substantive candidates — people who actually get stuff done; people who aren’t on the political fringe.

To that end, our substantive choice for U.S. Senate is former Gov. Ed Rendell. He led the state for eight years after running, with great effectiveness, the city of Philadelphia. In fact, give Rendell a significant share of the credit for Philadelphia’s impressive comeback. If he could tame and then unify the collection of characters who comprised City Council, he could bring steadying and veteran leadership to a U.S. Senate that, even as the nation drifts toward ruin, too often is immobilized by partisan bickering.

York Daily Record: Bob Casey

Sen. Casey is a better choice than the inexperienced Mr. Smith.

Meeting with our editorial board recently, Mr. Casey talked from the heart about wanting to bridge partisan divides to solve the serious problems facing our nation. Watch a complete video of that session at yorkblog.com/ydrpolitics.

A centrist, pro-life Democrat is in a better position to bridge those divides than the far-right Mr. Smith.

Delaware County Daily Times: Bob Casey

Perhaps most indicative of Casey’s willingness to seek compromise has been his ability to work with the state’s other senator, freshman Republican Pat Toomey. Washington does not need more of the kind of vitriol spouted by Smith, along with his tea party talking points, his insistence that the Affordable Care Act be repealed, while not offering an alternative.

Easton Express-Times: Bob Casey

While some Pennsylvanians may think him understated, he’s put together an effective record and will begin capitalizing on his seniority if re-elected. Indeed, if the nation is to overcome its deep-rooted problems, Congress needs more members arguing loudly from the center, rather than from the edges.

Indiana Gazette: Bob Casey

That’s the kind of bipartisanship we need. Now is not the time to send a potentially divisive tea party voice to an already fractious Congress. Instead, voters should return the socially conservative Casey to the Senate, where his moderate, soft-spoken approach has already paid benefits for the people of Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Bob Casey

Rather than being thoughtful, Smith has been parroting extreme right-wing points of view. There’s too much of that in Congress now. What Congress needs is more thoughtful leaders capable of finding common ground. The Inquirer endorses BOB CASEY, a strong advocate for Pennsylvania who would help restore the civility that Washington needs.

Lancaster New Era: Tom Smith

A Smith win would send a clear message to Washington that Pennsylvanians are fed up with the gridlock and are ready to change direction.

The New Era wants to see that happen, which is why it strongly endorses Smith’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

New Castle News: Bob Casey

We think voters should stick with Casey, a moderate politician who has demonstrated an ability to work with others regardless of party. Smith hasn’t shown us he’s prepared to do that.

Washington County Observer-Reporter: Bob Casey

Apparently less interested in generating headlines and lingering in the spotlight, Casey has worked diligently, if unspectacularly, on such issues as natural gas and agricultural development, promoting medical research and helping unemployed veterans find jobs or start businesses.

Harrisburg Patriot-News: Bob Casey

Casey has been a solid member of the U.S. Senate who seeks out ways to work with, and has the respect of, those on both sides of the political aisle.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Bob Casey.

Bob Casey has a record of working with both parties in his first term as senator. He’s a centrist Democrat with conservative views on abortion, guns and stem cell research.

Tom Smith, the millionaire Republican who wants to replace him, would ramp up political polarization on Capitol Hill with his Tea Party agenda.

Erie Times-News: Bob Casey

Casey is right to emphasize that working together is an obligation, not just a feel-good gesture. Voters long for an end to the brutal fights and gridlock in Washington. Casey’s even-tempered approach to politics will be an asset if, as he hopes, Republicans and Democrats can negotiate a debt agreement in 2013. No matter whether President Obama or Mitt Romney wins the election, “I think after the election we can still bring folks together. Both parties know the gravity” of our country’s problems, he said.

Scranton Times-Tribune: Bob Casey

Sen. Bob Casey entered politics on the strength of his father’s name but he long ago resolved any doubt about his own merit as a public official. In his first term as a U.S. senator, the 52-year-old Scranton resident has enhanced his claim to the trust he earlier had earned as state auditor general and treasurer.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Bob Casey

We don’t agree with some of the policies advocated by the first-term Democrat. But we have come to appreciate him on a personal level and to admire the congenial manner in which he interacts with not only his constituents but also Pat Toomey, his junior Republican colleague in the Senate. It’s that kind of personal comity that serves Pennsylvania and the nation best.

Mr. Casey is being challenged by Republican Tom Smith. He was a Democrat committeeman as recently as 2010. Despite our policy differences with Casey, we prefer the Democrat we know to the Republican of convenience.

Attorney General, Open, Dave Freed, R v. Kathleen Kane, D

Tri-County Courier Express: Kathleen Kane.

Ever since Zimmerman was elected, Republicans have held the office. That leads to political inbreeding in staff and support positions. There is value to the two-party system. Pennsylvanians regularly recognize that by rotating governorships, e.g. Ridge/Schweiker, Rendell, Corbett. The GOP has held the attorney general’s office for longer than is comfortable.

All things considered, we think Kane makes a better case to be Pennsylvania’s next attorney general

Centre Daily Times: Kathleen Kane

We think she offers the best opportunity to fully understand how the Jerry Sandusky case was handled, especially during the time when Gov. Tom Corbett was in the Attorney General’s Office.

And she will bring a tough, focused approach to the office’s handling of all types of criminal activity.

Lancaster Intelligencer Journal: Kathleen Kane

Kane argues that, with the surge in natural gas drilling, the attorney general’s office needs to focus greater attention on the environmental crimes division to protect residents.

Kane’s most salient point is her contention that Pennsylvania needs an independent attorney general.

We share that view, and support her run for Pennsylvania attorney general.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Kathleen Kane

But it’s on combating urban violence where Kane stands out: She would move decisively to close the so-called Florida loophole on gun permits, push for an antitrafficking law on reporting lost or stolen weapons, and generally bring a welcome activism to stemming illegal guns.

….

Sure to be a passionate, independent watchdog as attorney general, KATHLEEN KANE earns The Inquirer’s endorsement.

Lancaster New Era: Dave Freed

Kane has tried to score political points by tying Freed to Gov. Tom Corbett, a former attorney general.

She has called for a thorough investigation of Corbett’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse case when he was attorney general.

That suggests a deep misunderstanding of how the attorney general’s office works. To assume that Corbett ran roughshod over such an expansive operation, with its numerous law-enforcement agents and prosecutors with no particular political agenda, suggests that Kane has no conception of the office.

New Castle News: Kathleen Kane

We are endorsing Kane in this race, mainly because of party. Right now, Republicans dominate all branches of state government, and that’s not going to change after Tuesday. Kane’s election would help to provide the sort of political balance we prefer.

Harrisburg Patriot-News: Dave Freed

The Patriot-News endorses David Freed for attorney general because he brings a wider range of experience as a prosecutor and his nonpartisan approach to being smart and effective with criminal issues.

Having Freed in our backyard has given The Patriot-News a close look at how he conducts himself. He has gone after Republicans and Democrats and independents.

In short, he has kept a professional eye on prosecuting criminals, regardless of who they are or where they come from. We believe he will do the same as attorney general.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Dave Freed.

…he has a proactive plan for the attorney general’s office, focusing on abuse of children and the elderly, aggressively pursuing cyber crimes and going after distributors as well as street-level sales of dangerous synthetic drugs.

The Post-Gazette endorses David Freed because he has a comprehensive plan and the best experience to be Pennsylvania’s next attorney general.

Erie Times-News: Kathleen Kane.

Our pick is Democratic candidate Kathleen Kane, a Scranton native who has worked as an assistant district attorney for Lackawanna County. We are impressed with Kane’s commitment to protect victims of sexual assault; to advocate for children; to find alternative ways to deal with mentally ill criminals; and to educate Pennsylvania citizens, especially seniors, about scams.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Dave Freed.

In the open and hotly contested race for Pennsylvania attorney general, experience and commitment to criminal prosecution go to Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed. The Republican is a lifelong, no-nonsense prosecutor.

Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale, D v. John Maher, R

Tri-County Courier Express: Eugene DePasquale

We aren’t making a classic endorsement in this race; this one isn’t a question of “Who is better?” because both are good. We lean toward DePasquale only because we like the idea of having a Democrat in the watchdog office of auditor general when Republicans control the Legislature and governor’s office.

York Daily Record: John Maher

It’s not every year that a York countian has a serious shot at winning such a seat, and Rep. DePasquale seems to have a good chance.

If he does, we will congratulate him, wish him well and feel confident that our state has a solid fiscal watchdog. We have little doubt that Mr. DePasquale is prepared for such a challenge.

But we have to call it like we see it, and Rep. Maher, R-Bethel Park, seems better prepared for the job when compared side-by-side with Rep. DePasquale.

He has a stellar record of promoting transparency of state government.

Uniontown Herald-Standard: John Maher

We were impressed with both candidates and thought either would make a good auditor general. In the end, it was a choice between someone with a CPA background and someone who might be a better watchdog.

It was a very close and difficult decision, but a majority of the HeraldStandard.com Editorial Board picked Maher over DePasquale, believing that the streak of auditors general in Pennsylvania not being CPAs should end in 2012.

Philadelphia Inquirer: John Maher

Both Maher and DePasquale offer impressive resumes, and have been welcome voices for reform, independence and, in particular, openness in government.

….

His auditing background gives JOHN MAHER the edge. With Maher, voters can be assured of having an auditor general who needs no on-the-job training. He even likes wearing a green eyeshade.

Lancaster Intelligencer Journal: Eugene DePasquale

Pennsylvania voters are fortunate to have two solid candidates in DePasquale and Maher. Both have the credentials and drive to ensure that Pennsylvania tax dollars are protected.

We believe, however, that Eugene DePasquale will exercise greater independence when it comes to protecting both the state’s natural resources and its human resources — students in public schools.

Lancaster New Era: John Maher

In these times of concern for wise use of limited government funds, there is no more important public office overseeing financial accountability than that of state auditor general.

And in the Nov. 6 election to fill that position, there is no more obvious choice for that position than state Rep. John Maher, a man of impeccable integrity, extensive experience and extraordinary credentials.

Harrisburg Patriot-News: John Maher

[Maher’s] auditing background has long been missing from this state office and would be a welcome change. Even though the auditor general doesn’t do much of the grunt work himself, he still directs the team and decides which pro-jects to pursue. Maher also brings solid ideas for reform.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: John Maher

Mr. Maher is an auditor. Although that professional certification is not a requirement to run for auditor general — and it’s not training that recent occupants have brought to the office — it is expertise that provides a tie-breaker in the contest between this year’s qualified candidates.

Erie Times-News: John Maher

In the end, Maher’s accounting experience and his innovative ideas to target questionable spending before performance audits are conducted make him our preferred choice.

Scranton Times-Tribune: John Maher

Auditing is not typically the stuff of inspirational rhetoric, but John Maher has a passion for it that makes him an ideal choice for state auditor general.

Mr. Maher, however, seems born to the office, and is the better candidate in this campaign.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: John Maher

The clear choice is Republican state Rep. John Maher of Allegheny County, a CPA who built his own auditing firm and whose commitment to government transparency and accountability is unflinching.

Treasurer, Diana Irey Vaughan, R v. Incumbent Rob McCord, D

Lancaster Intelligencer Journal: Rob McCord

Irey Vaughan is a good candidate, but McCord has more than proven his worth as state treasurer.
Taxpayers would benefit from his re-election.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Rob McCord

In his first term as treasurer, ROB McCORD has demonstrated an exemplary ability to achieve excellent returns on the state’s investments. His independence and grasp of the mechanics of his office make it easy to recommend his reelection to voters.

Lancaster New Era: Diana Irey Vaughan

While the office of state treasurer is larger and more complex and has more employees, the challenge is the same: to be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars.

Vaughan has the tools and talent — and the right approach — to do an outstanding job.

Harrisburg Patriot-News: Rob McCord

The treasurer also will have the tough task of continuing to modernize the state treasury’s technology and systems in lean budget times. McCord brings a lot of financial expertise to the job and has set a higher standard for state treasurers to follow.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Rob McCord

Mr. McCord, a Democrat, is a gregarious, talkative guy anyway, which makes him a natural in statewide politics. But when he starts explaining the big picture and all the minutiae that’s involved in being the state’s chief investment officer, it’s obvious that he not only knows his subject but also is in his element.

Erie Times-News: Rob McCord

McCord, the incumbent, gets the edge because of the many successes he’s achieved in his first four years in office and his commitment to be an independent voice for taxpayers. He successfully sued to attend meetings of the State Gaming Control Board and challenged the amount of debt that former Gov. Ed Rendell wanted to incur for capital budget projects. “I’m heavily engaged in the call for capital budget reform,” he says.

Scranton Times-Tribune: Rob McCord

Ask state Treasurer Rob McCord what time it is, and he’ll tell you not only how to make a watch, but where to mine the ore to make the parts.

Such technical expertise, gained as a venture capitalist and entrepreneur, has helped to make the Montgomery County Democrat an effective treasurer who is worthy of a second term.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Diana Irey Vaughan

For state treasurer, Republican challenger and longtime Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan offers innovation over the status quo of Democrat incumbent Rob McCord. And that will be crucial in dealing with the state’s pension crisis.

Congress (in order of competitiveness)

PA-12, Keith Rothfus, R v. Rep. Mark Critz, D

New Castle News: Keith Rothfus

Rothfus is more centrally based in the district. We view this as an advantage for Lawrence County.

And while Rothfus is conservative, we were impressed with his expressed willingness to work across party lines for solutions. If he wins, Rothfus will need to move quickly in that regard to deal with pending budget issues.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Mark Critz

Mr. Rothfus has built a campaign on hopes and promises in which the details don’t add up. Mark Critz is a real-world congressman who wants to help his district and solve the nation’s problems. For that he has earned the Post-Gazette endorsement.

Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Mark Critz

Critz, who was elected to fill Murtha’s seat in a special election in 2010 and defeated sitting Congressman Jason Altmire in a spirited primary for the newly drawn 12th district, has the ability to work with both Democrats and Republicans.

Pittsburgh TribuneReview: Either

Either Keith Rothfus or Mark Critz. This is one of those rare instances in which either the Republican or the Democrat would be a perfectly acceptable choice. Mr. Rothfus, the Republican challenger, would serve the new, now slightly GOP district (a combination of the old 4th and the existing 12th) with energy, credibility and distinction. And Mr. Critz, the old 12th’s incumbent who succeeded the late Jack Murtha, has done just that.

PA-8, Kathy Boockvar, D v. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, R

Bucks County Intelligencer: Kathy Boockvar.

Overall, Fitzpatrick’s voting record belies his frequent claim of independence. (He’s not alone in this. Many incumbents make such a bogus assertion.) On the votes that really matter, Fitzpatrick goes with his party.

Voters who are comfortable with that will support him. Boockvar is a most credible alternative, however. She offers a background as an attorney and a mediator. That’s what’s missing in Washington — someone willing to listen to all sides and work on compromise. If she can do that, she’ll be head and shoulders above most of the members of Congress serving today. We think she understands that in our two-party system, “giving” is as important as “taking.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: Kathy Boockvar.

A scurrilous Republican ad campaign against Democrat Kathy Boockvar offered Fitzpatrick a chance to speak out against the divisiveness that continues to paralyze Washington. But instead of showing leadership, he has mostly talked about his bipartisan credentials as a former county commissioner.

….

Fortunately, voters have an alternative in Boockvar, 43, a voting-rights attorney. Like Fitzpatrick, she wants to boost jobs by cutting corporate tax rates and trimming red tape for small businesses. But she also wants to pass cost-containment measures missing from the Affordable Care Act, rather than jettison it without a viable alternative, which is what Fitzpatrick would do.

PA-6, Manan Trivedi, D v. Rep. Jim Gerlach, R

Philadelphia Inquirer: Jim Gerlach.

The decade-long tenure of Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach, 57, hasn’t dimmed his passion for open-space preservation in his sprawling district covering Chester County, parts of Reading, and beyond. The former state legislator has bucked his party on renewable energy and stem-cell research – even as he adheres to a strict fiscally conservative outlook on federal spending.

PA-7, George Badey, D v. Rep. Pat Meehan, R

Delaware County Daily Times: Pat Meehan.

We laud Meehan for being a strong voice in reacting to the biggest economic crisis the county has faced in years. When both Sunoco and ConocoPhillips announced their intention to get out of the refinery business and shut down local plants if a buyer could not be found, Meehan was one of the first to react. He met with the unions, as well as company officials, and most importantly reached across party lines to seek solutions. It is exactly that kind of bipartisan action that earned our support two years ago.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Pat Meehan.

Serving his first term, former Delaware County prosecutor Patrick Meehan toed the GOP line on the Obamacare repeal and House budget. But Meehan, 56, also joined a handful of others in supporting a bipartisan budget alternative that sought tax hikes and entitlement spending to tame the federal deficit. That act of political courage alone recommends PAT MEEHAN for a second term, in addition to a demonstrated ability to work across party lines on projects that mean jobs. He is challenged by personal-injury lawyer George Badey.

Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal: Pat Meehan.

Badey brings a centrist approach to this campaign. His internal polling shows he has a chance. We like Badey’s stance on the issues and feel he would represent the interests of all residents.

But Meehan’s views more accurately reflect those of his constituents in the eastern portion of Lancaster County. He has a track record here as a prosecutor. He deserves a second term in office.

PA-18, Larry Maggi, D v. Rep. Tim Murphy, R

Washington County Observer-Reporter: Tim Murphy.

But this endorsement is not just a reflection of Maggi’s weaknesses. Though he is sometimes hard to pin down ideologically – perhaps in part to the Democratic registration edge in the district – Murphy’s deep knowledge of policy is worthy of respect from partisans on both sides of the aisle and stands in stark contrast to his opponent. A psychologist by training, Murphy has immersed himself in health care issues, supporting measures that would allow doctors to volunteer at health centers and has called for the public reporting of hospital-acquired infections, the reduction of which would help lower health care costs and improve outcomes.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Tim Murphy.

The inadequacy of the Democrat, Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi, is the best argument for returning Mr. Murphy to Congress for a sixth term.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Neither.

Longtime Republican incumbent Tim Murphy is being challenged by Washington County Democrat Commissioner Larry Maggi. Mr. Murphy always attempts to make a nice, conservative bed each election year, then turns down the covers and hops back in it with his union buddies shortly thereafter. You can’t respect Murphy in the morning, so to speak.

Mr. Maggi could be the poster candidate for running a fill-in-the-blanks boilerplate liberal campaign. No thanks.

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