It was a Saturday for some candidates to crow about as the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference concluded its two-day event and released its straw polls.
More than 750 conservatives from across 44 of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties attended the event in Camp Hill. Attendees participated in the annual Pennsylvania Straw Poll which covers state and federal issues as well as a pulse of current candidates reflection from the conservative voter base.
Bill McSwain and Doug Mastriano shared top billing in the PLC straw poll for governor. The pair each received 88 votes or 24.2 percent to easily outdistance Dave White who came in at 15.4 percent (56). Charlie Gerow and Lou Barletta were fourth and fifth at 11.3 percent (41) and 9.9 percent, respectively.
Nche Zama (26, 7.1%), Joe Gale (20, 5.5%), Melissa Hart (5, 1.4%) and Jake Corman (4, 1.1%) trailed.
Conservative commentator Kathy Barnette nearly doubled up the competition in the straw poll for the U.S. Senate nomination, receiving 127 votes of the 354 cast or 35.9 percent, while Jeff Bartos was second with 64 votes (18.1%). Carla Sands was third with 52 votes or 14.7 percent, followed by David McCormick (50, 14.1%) and Mehmet Oz (43, 12.1%). George Bochetto and Sean Gale each received nine votes.
The straw poll for lieutenant governor nearly ended in a draw as well. Clarice Schillinger edged Teddy Daniels by a single vote, 61-60, with each garnering approximately 18.5 percent of the 322 votes cast. Jeff Coleman was a close third at 15.8 percent (55), while Russ Diamond (46, 14.3%), Rick Saccone (35, 10.9%) and Carrie DelRosso (33, 10.2%) also reached double-figure support. Chris Frye (20), James Jones (15) and John Brown (7) rounded out the field.
Other results indicated that the respondents feel that the Pennsylvania Legislature is on the wrong track (60%); that election integrity is the most important issue facing the General Assembly this year (61%); and that three-quarters of the group feel PA should suspend its gas tax.
Nationally, the PLC straw poll showed that 52% of respondents disapprove of the performance in Republicans in Washington.