Newspaper Endorsements Open Thread

newspapersIt’s that time of year. Newspapers around PA are backing candidates. Here’s PoliticsPA’s running list of endorsements for the April 26th primary contests. We’ll update as they come in.

Did we miss one? Please email the link to

Philadelphia Inquirer

President: Hillary Clinton

Such self-inflicted controversies dampen the enthusiasm that should attach to a candidate who is not only thoroughly qualified for the presidency but also historically unprecedented by the long line of men who have occupied it. To paraphrase a Republican, Sanders may have “the best words” in this contest, but HILLARY CLINTON is better prepared to lead her country.

President: John Kasich

Granted, many voters want to send a message this year: The status quo isn’t working. But getting things back on track starts with some basics – working well with others, doing your homework, standing up to bullies, and treating others as you expect to be treated – and requires a candidate with the best chance of running a competitive campaign in the fall. For Republicans on Tuesday, that candidate is JOHN KASICH.

Senate: Joe Sestak

JOE SESTAK, a former Navy admiral who served two terms in the House, has the best credentials and experience to immediately serve Pennsylvania and the nation. His unrelenting intellectual curiosity has helped Sestak, a notoriously hard taskmaster, form a deep understanding of government and foreign policy that Katie McGinty and John Fetterman cannot match.

Attorney General: Josh Shapiro and John Rafferty

But the Democrats’ most compelling candidate, with a record of competent management, political independence, and reform-mindedness, is JOSH SHAPIRO. As chairman of the Montgomery County commissioners, he has shown he can inherit a fiscal and political mess and restore order. He has worked with the opposite party in that post and a precocious stint as a state representative, which also saw him take a bold stand for integrity in defiance of Democratic leaders. His campaign has appropriately emphasized ethics and the untapped potential of the Attorney General’s Office to advocate forward-looking environmental and education policy.

State Sen. JOHN RAFFERTY possesses the political seasoning and pragmatic bent to make the Attorney General’s Office work again. The Montgomery County native distinguished himself as a politically courageous problem-solver by championing legislation to raise fuel taxes and restore dangerously depleted transportation funds. He has also accumulated extensive knowledge of law enforcement policy on the Judiciary Committee and worked as a deputy attorney general and lawyer in private practice.

PA-2: Dan Muroff

Dan Muroff, a Northwest Philadelphia activist, party leader, lawyer, and lobbyist, has substantial experience as a congressional aide and passion for taking on the gun violence plaguing the district. He has also led environmental, community, and gun control organizations.

Experience is valuable, but the Second District also needs a departure from past experience. DAN MUROFF offers the best combination of both.

PA-7: Mary Ellen Balchunis

In the Seventh District Democratic primary, MARY ELLEN BALCHUNIS is the better candidate. The La Salle University political science professor’s attention to detail would benefit the heavily gerrymandered district, which includes most of Delaware County and parts of Chester, Montgomery, Berks, and Lancaster Counties.

PA-8: Steve Santarsiero

In the Eighth District’s Democratic primary, the better candidate is STEVE SANTARSIERO, whose heavily Republican legislative district is inside the congressional district. He is already well versed on the issues facing its residents, including job creation. And he is an able advocate for campaign-finance reform and tougher gun laws.

PA-8: Brian Fitzpatrick

Warren and Duome make a good point about the party’s endorsement process, but it doesn’t invalidate the fact that BRIAN FITZPATRICK has attributes that would likely make him more effective in Washington. His national security background would be an asset in Congress. Fitzpatrick could be more up to speed on local issues, having been absent from the district for several years, but family ties and frequent visits have kept him informed.

Philadelphia Daily News

PA-Sen: Katie McGinty

We favor McGinty for the biggest difference she would bring: She would help alter the serious gender gap in the Senate, where only 20 of the 100 members are female.

And if you think that doesn’t matter or that we’re reaching for empty gestures of political correctness, we invite you to review the battles Congress has initiated over Planned Parenthood and women’s access to reproductive health care, including birth control.

Attorney General: Stephen Zappala

In the Democratic race for attorney general we favor Stephen Zappala Jr., who has served as district attorney in Allegheny County since 1998.

PA-2: Dwight Evans

In the 2nd Congressional District, the choice is easy. We favor state Rep. Dwight Evans. A veteran with decades of experience in Harrisburg, Evans is a man of substance, a hard worker and a policy wonk, who is also a practitioner of practical politics. We believe he would be just as effective in Congress.

As to Fattah, he deserves the presumption of innocence in the face of the serious corruption charges against him. We simply feel it is time for him to move on.

Philadelphia Tribune

President: Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders offers an inspiring message and bold vision for America without the excessive baggage of Clinton, which is why Sanders is our choice for president in the Democratic primary.

President: John Kasich

In the Republican primary, Ohio Governor John Kasich, a conservative who has worked with African-American state legislators on police reform is easily the best GOP choice.

Senate: Joe Sestak

There are several Democrats seeking to replace Toomey in the Senate. We endorse Joe Sestak, former Navy admiral and former congressman, to be the Democratic nominee. Sestak lost to Toomey in a close election in 2010, despite having many Democratic Party leaders opposed to him because of his independence. Sestak did well in an election year where Republicans rode tea party anger against Obama to take control of Congress. On the issues, Sestak and his closest rival, Katie McGinty, are not far apart, but Sestak has the experience and proven record in Congress.

PA-2: Chaka Fattah

Fattah is constitutionally entitled to due process. Former congressmen have been indicted on racketeering charges before and have been acquitted. It would be a disservice to Fattah’s years of public service and his constituents if Fattah was abandoned now only to be found innocent of the charges against him.

Attorney General: Josh Shapiro

Fortunately, Kane has decided not to run for re-election.

We believe the best person in the Democratic primary to replace her is Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro. Shapiro, chairman of the board of the third-largest county in the state, chairman of the state Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and a former four-term state representative, has the management, legislative experience and demonstrated intelligence and integrity needed to reform the Attorney General’s Office.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Senate: Joe Sestak

Democrats who want a formidable challenger to take on U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey in November should nominate the person who nearly beat the Republican six years ago: former congressman and three-star admiral Joe Sestak.

Attorney General: John Rafferty

For his broad-gauge interest in effective laws, his abiding concern for victims and his eagerness to team up with local crime fighters, John Rafferty Jr. has distinguished himself as the better choice for the Republican nomination and has earned the Post-Gazette’s endorsement.

Attorney General: Stephen Zappala

This time the party should choose a winner. Stephen A. Zappala Jr. is seeking the nomination for a chance to end the disconnect between people and the criminal justice system. The Post-Gazette endorses him in the April 26 primary.

Harrisburg Patriot-News

Attorney General: Stephen Zappala

For Democrats, we endorse the veteran Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr.

A member of a politically connected western Pennsylvania family, Zappala, 58, has served as Allegheny County’s top prosecutor for 18 years, overseeing an office of 250 employees.

In an interview with the PennLive/Patriot-News Editorial Board, Zappala sketched out a vision of an office that straddles the line between hard-nosed criminal prosecution and one that would use its civil tools to protect Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens – its children and elderly.

Zappala wants to fight Pennsylvania’s heroin scourge, but believes in treatment, not jail, for nonviolent offenders. He wants to fight both corporate and political corruption and called for tough enforcement of consumer protection and oversight of charities.

Critically, Zappala wants to restore both the morale and credibility of the office, telling PennLive that setting a strong example for those who work for him would go a long way toward doing that.

“The first order of business will be to restore confidence in that office,” he said. “That’s one of the most important things a prosecutor does.”

Attorney General: John Rafferty

On the Republican side of the ledger, long-serving state Sen. John Rafferty of Montgomery County, is the best pick for GOP voters who are no doubt looking forward to recapturing the AG’s office after four years of Democratic control.

A 12-year veteran of the Senate, Rafferty has previously worked in civil practice, where he focused on municipal, business and real estate law. He served three years as a deputy attorney general, where he worked on Medicaid fraud cases.

During his tenure in the Senate, Rafferty led the successful push for a bipartisan transportation funding bill that depended on an unpopular fuels tax to raise billions to repair Pennsylvania’s badly frayed bridge and highway system. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Rafferty played a role in creating many of the laws he would be called upon to enforce.

PA-Sen: John Fetterman

That makes John Fetterman the best choice for Democratic voters in search of an aggressive advocate who will not only safeguard their interests, but pose a credible challenge to Toomey.

And in a year of unconventional candidates, the very unconventional John Fetterman is the advocate Pennsylvanians need and deserve.

Bucks County Courier-Times

PA-8: Brian Fitzpatrick

We believe Fitzpatrick is more reflective of Bucks County Republicans than the other candidates. And that he brings to the table sterling credentials and, despite his lack of political experience, an uncommon awareness of and well honed positions on the important issues of the day. For these reasons the Courier Times Editorial Board recommends Brian Fitzpatrick to Republican voters.

PA-8: Steve Santarsiero

Bucks Democrats are fortunate to have two desirable candidates to choose from in selecting a nominee for the Eighth District congressional race.

If elected to Congress, Santarsiero says his priorities would include protecting the environment, with a focus on climate change; investing in education, early childhood education in particular, with a similar emphasis on college affordability; economic security for the middle class, including workforce development; and gun safety.

On guns, Santarsiero has been a vocal advocate of universal background checks for all gun purchasers. He would work to improve federal gun laws, including reinstating a ban on the sale of assault weapons.

Most members of our editorial board consider Santarsiero’s experience an asset that Naughton’s similar ideas and freshness cannot match. And so the Courier Times Editorial Board recommends Steve Santarsiero as the Democratic Party nominee for Congress.

31 Responses

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  3. Ask Fred Thiemann about the Federal probe of Russell, Rae and Zappala Bond Counselors that went away the second he became U..S. Attorney with the aid of Godfather Steve Sr., nephew of 1930’s Pittsburgh mob boss John Bazzano. It stretches to Hickton but maybe stops there, depending on whether he goes after Lurid Luke and his connections to Uncle Charley.

  4. Rollo – What evidence is there that the US Attorney’s Office in Western District is corrupt?

  5. Reason 1…Fear. Zappala goes unopposed in every election since his first one when his opponent was attacked and beaten while coming out of a bar. Ok, he was a bad drunk and a poor opponent but what does that say about the Bazzano-Zappala-Porter mafia?
    Reason 2…Fix. The mob has owned the Western Pa U.S.Attorney for the past twenty years. When Junior wanted people out of his way but at arm’s length, he got people like Mary Beth “Loose” Pukecannon to indict Cyril…because he refused to stop holding coroner inquests…and Sheriff DeFazio…because he wouldn’t convey control of his deputies to the DA’s office…and Mayor Murphy(almost)…because he wouldn’t give Uncle Charley bond issues…and Police Chief Harper…because somebody had to be sacrificed to save Lurid Luke from himself.
    We need to see more of that so Sonny Corleone is the perfect choice to lead all of Pa. Law Enforcement and keep Fumo out of prison.

  6. Rollo – if all that is true, why is he still D.A. in Allegheny County? Why hasn’t a progressive Dem given him a Primary challenge? Why hasn’t a R beaten him?

    Why isn’t he under indictment?

  7. Junior Zappala never tried a case anywhere, even before he was named, not elected, D.A. To fill a vacancy. He was a property tax Master, fixing values for the assessment bureau and had a sidecar position in his relative’s law firm…Chuckie Porter, jr., son of Jailed Pgh. Mafia capo, Chuckie the rat, Sr.Junior is now a way overpaid consigliere to the Allegheny Co. District Attorney’s office. Steve junior is the brother of Greg Cash for kids Zappala who runs the family’s Pa. And Western Pa. For profit juvenile prisons. D.a. Steve junior has enabled the imprisonment of juveniles to his family’s prisons by packing the juvenile court with friends, former D.A. Staffers and his brother in law, judge jack McVey. We need to elect Junior to control all of Pa. Law enforcement as A.G. So that we can see more of that.

  8. Really, Jessica Myers?? Is that so? Do tell !! You must be a big-booty’d Latina or Ebony. That’s what Seth likes:

    BY DAVID GAMBACORTA & DANA DiFILIPPO, Daily News Staff Writers,

    FOR AT LEAST two recent weeks, the Twitter account of District Attorney Seth Williams was following two accounts that regularly dished out nude and seminude photos of women.

    The accounts, @RateMyLatin and @RateMyEbony, were suspended between March 9 and March 11 by Twitter and disappeared from the D.A.’s account. They resumed posting on March 12 but were not restored to Williams’ feed.

    Images captured by the Daily News in late February showed the lewd accounts listed in plain sight among the 573 Twitter users that Williams’ account, @DASethWilliams, followed at the time.

    Williams declined to comment, but spokeswoman Tasha Jamerson said last week that the D.A. had “no idea” how the smutty feeds ended up among the accounts that he follows.

    (For those unfamiliar with Twitter, a user must click a “Follow” button to follow another account. A Twitter user can see the profile photo and description of the other account before clicking the “Follow” button.)

    The profile photos for @RateMyLatin and @RateMyEbony – both of which feature busty, scantily clad women – would have popped up in Williams’ Twitter feed every time the accounts tweeted.

  9. Is Steve Zappala related to the Greg Zappala that is involved with the “Kids for Cash” scandal? If so – is Steve, as D.A.,sending kids to his brother to imprison? And is Greg making money off those kids that Steve ships up to him?!?

  10. Zappala has “BEEN a District Attorney for 18 YEARS but never prosecuted a case”??

    Anyone know if that is true?

  11. I just love Democrats
    Only in the Democrat Party will you dare run a candidate that:
    1. Has a Brother and Uncle who were involved in paying Judges to send Kids to their detention center (Cash for Kids) And even takes Blood money political donations………..
    Little Stevie didn’t know……
    2. Has a Father that is ex Justice of the Supreme Court that used his connections to keep his family free.
    Little Stevie didn’t know.
    3. Has a nephew that burnt a house down but “because arrest mistake” HA HA Charge could would not stick.
    Little Stevie didn’t know.
    4. Has a Godson involved in a Murder a “BEATING of a young man”. But again NO charges filed.
    Little Stevie didn’t know.
    5. Has his Fathers Gaming Commissions connections??? Wow that doesn’t appear to be legal…. .
    Little Stevie didn’t know.
    6. Has a connection to a cover up sexual scandal within his church….
    Little Stevie didn’t know.
    7. Has BEEN a District Attorney for 18 YEARS but never prosecuted a case….. He never performed his duties of that job!!
    Little Stevie didn’t know.
    8. After the news broke of illegal activity within the City building-Little Stevie will now open an investigation…. Ha HA HA
    No worries the
    US Attorney General is now involved
    Auditor General is now involved
    FBI is now involved.
    Story to unfold before your eyes
    Interesting Candidates you Democrats pick to run for Attorney General.
    You just cant make this shit up!!!

  12. Hooray for the Inquirer. The editors spotted Sonny Corleone dragging Fumo’s toilet paper from his shoe and decided that it was too much of another mob tie. It won’t be the same in Pittsburgh where the Trib has cut a deal with the Bazzano-Zappala-Porter mafia and the “other” paper is worthless, weak and incredible. There is still the new and disproved “CityPaper” but they only endorse hoes at strip joints. Little Stevie might qualify there.

  13. Marie aka HaHaHa – – Trust me, I know. I’ve experienced his ways more than once in my professional life.

  14. Agreed, Jessica.

    But calling him a “dweeb” or an “ass” is really understating what he really is: a corrupt, racist, woman-hater.

    The Superior Court just held that his conduct in the Penn State case was “highly improper.” I keep waiting for Frank Fina and Kathy Martin to try to disparage the Superior Court – like they did the many Leaders that spoke out against Seth Williams for keeping them on the City’s payroll.

    Seth Williams has already forced out a hard-working career prosecutor for speaking out against Fina. And he has demoted another.

    Now we find out that Fina is in bed with Fina’s pals in Harrisburg!! He is supposed to be Philadelphia’s D.A. – not Fina’s PR machine.

    Philadelphia deserves better than ASS-DWEEBS like Frank Fina and Seth Williams. Seth has to know that he will never get re-elected in Philadelphia. He should just resign now.

  15. Speaking of endorsements – why hasn’t anyone asked for MY endorsement???

  16. I will never forget how much self destruction went on in that office.

  17. Pat — Guess what unit Fina is assigned to at the DA’s Office?

    The one that FIGHTS the RightToKnow requests that come in. Yep. Fina is now, literally, collecting a salary to protect himself (and the rest of the Corbett Pervs on the Philadelphia Govt’s payroll) from the truth.

    That’s where our taxpayers dollars are going. LMAO. Hope the Feds are paying attention!!

    Of course, since Seth Williams is now a Corbett Republican, this all seems perfectly fine to him:

    This is great!! Can’t make this stuff up …

  18. I guess they didn’t look into Joe’s family living in VA. I wonder if they’ll print a retraction when Joe puts his PA house up for sale when he loses his election.

  19. Please don’t EVER release the videos we used our Government computers to send around. Seriously — not the videos!!!! We have wives … we have children …. Please !!!! Don’t make us CRY like Eakin ….

  20. Nick – why no article about this:

    Methinks if this article was about the other key figure in the Hate-gate scandal (Ms. Kane), you would have written something immediately!!

    In this age of transparency, why in God’s name would Seth Williams and Kathy Martin be trying to hide this information? Why wouldn’t they comply with a proper “Right to Know” request???


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