11/11 Ups & Downs
There were hundreds of winners and losers in Tuesday’s elections, so the up/down bar is a tad higher than our typical week. For the most part, you can infer an up for the winners and a down for the losers.
Joe Paterno. Few in Pa. history have been held in as high regard as JoePa during his peak. His immediate fall from grace in light of the sex-abuse scandal at Penn State is breathtaking. God willing, his fate will stand as a lesson to anyone tempted to turn away in the face of future wrong-doing.
PA Republicans. The top-ticket statewide judicial races split, and both parties scored significant wins on Tuesday (see below). However, the GOP gets the Up this week for expanding their majorities in 11 counties (possibly 12, depending how Mercer turns out). Whether that comes as a result of demographic trends, the general political environment, grassroots efforts or recruiting – it’s good news for Republicans.
Montco Dems. This is the moral victory Democrats across the state needed. Sure, demographics have come to favor Dems. But Republicans and Dems alike thought the GOP had gained significant ground in the latter weeks of the campaign and had a real shot to win. In the end, Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards ended up finishing well above their opponents (Richards outpaced incumbent Commissioner Bruce Castor by over 9,000 votes). It’s a credit to the campaign they put together – and Chairman Marcel Groen’s successful effort to usher Joe Hoeffel aside – and further proof that a high-power field program makes a difference.
Westmoreland GOP. Nowhere was there a more complete Republican victory than Westmoreland County, where the party flipped not only the Board of Commissioners (first time in 65 years), but every County row office. When PoliticsPA named Elaine Gowaty to our list of best county party chairs, we wrote, “While Westmoreland Dems relax and enjoy their 50-year supremacy, Gowaty is working hard to bring it to an end.” Mission accomploshed.
Rich Fitzgerald. The Allegheny Exec race was supposed to be close, but Fitz ended up defeating Republican Raja by 24 points. Not only does he enter office with a mandate, but prospective opponents know that he is more than willing to return a punch – even for its own sake.
Philly Old Guard. It’s spring cleaning in the city – the highest turnover in elected officials in at least two decades. Six new members will join City Council. On the City Commission, Joe Duda and Marge Tartaglione are out, reformers Al Schmidt and Stephanie Singer are in. The body that oversees elections in Philadelphia is about to enter the twenty-first century.
Joe Sestak. The former Congressman stepped in it this week, when he asserted that Paterno and outgoing PSU President Graham Spanier hadn’t been afforded “due process” by the University’s Board of Trustees. It was an incredibly tone deaf remark in light of the sex-abuse victims, who have been denied due process for a decade.
Vince Fumo. All this hubbub about resentencing, and the former lawmaker gets a measly six additional months in prison. We’re sure no jail time is fun, but given prosecutors’ zeal, the 17-year maximum sentence, and his idiotic emails, Fumo got off lightly.