Open Thread of Newspaper Endorsements

newspapersIt’s that time of year. Newspapers around PA are backing candidates. Here’s PoliticsPA’s running list of endorsements for the November 8th general election contests. We’ll update as they come in.

Did we miss one? Please email the link to press@politicspa.com.

Philadelphia Inquirer

PA-Sen: Katie McGinty

If corporations were people, Pennsylvania’s Republican freshman Sen. Pat Toomey would be the right senator for them. His approach to governance is to slash regulations and taxes to help companies, which he believes would provide good paying jobs. But that hasn’t worked for average people struggling with flat wages, job insecurity and wondering why so little of the good economic news isn’t about them.

In contrast, there is no doubt that Toomey’s challenger, Democrat Katie McGinty, has the interests of Pennsylvania’s people at heart. She speaks as a woman who grew up working class in Philadelphia and struck out on a career in public service, advising President Bill Clinton on the environment, leading Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection and serving, albeit briefly, as Gov. Wolf’s chief of staff.

Because she has a genuine grasp on the human consequences of government policies and seeks to improve the quality of life for all, The Inquirer endorses KATIE MCGINTY for U.S. Senate.

Attorney General: Josh Shapiro

Pennsylvania needs an independent attorney general who will restore integrity to the office, protect average citizens, and won’t let politics get in the way of upholding the law. One candidate is better prepared to carry out that job. The Inquirer endorses JOSH SHAPIRO.

Auditor General: Eugene DePasquale

Pennsylvanians also must choose an auditor general, another position with great fiscal responsibility. Running for reelection is Eugene DePasquale, a Democrat, who is facing John Brown, the Republican county executive for Northampton County, who says he has returned $40 million to his county’s budget by eliminating waste and fraud.

DePasquale, however, has also done a creditable job as auditor general. With a staff of only about half the 900 that worked in the department in the 1990s, he has used advanced technology to reduce the time it takes to conduct audits, cut travel expenses, and reduce the office’s vehicle fleet.

Brown contends DePasquale should be saving the state more money, but the value of some audits can’t be counted in dollars and cents. For example, DePasquale discovered that 43,000 child abuse hotline calls weren’t answered and more than 3,000 rape kits were never tested by police. Audits that reveal where the state needs to invest more resources have value too. The Inquirer endorses EUGENE DEPASQUALE.

State Treasurer: Joe Torsella

Although he has not held elective office before, Torsella was a deputy mayor under Mayor Ed Rendell, served as chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Education, and was a U.S. representative to the United Nations. His belief that Pennsylvania can “lead the nation in transparency and integrity in state government” makes JOE TORSELLA the better choice for state treasurer.

PA-1: Robert Brady

Against stiffer competition, Brady’s unremarkable congressional record might mean trouble. His district is one of the poorest in America. The longtime boss of the city Democratic Party also has kept that creaky machine chugging along despite a string of corruption convictions involving judges and other elected officials he steered into office.

Fortunately for Brady, Williams’ candidacy is hard to take seriously. Her resume includes a patchwork of short-tenured jobs: insurance agent, personal trainer, legal assistant, retail clerk, and actress. She wants to bring more economic opportunity to the district, but exhibits little ability to do that.

Given one more chance, BOB BRADY may become the congressman that the poor First District needs.

PA-2: Dwight Evans

Veteran Democratic State Rep. Dwight Evans is running in the Second District, which covers much of Philadelphia and the Lower Main Line, to replace Chaka Fattah, who was convicted earlier this year on federal fraud and racketeering charges in a scheme to pay off a debt involving an illegal campaign contribution.

Evans’ opponent, businessman James Jones, a Vietnam war veteran, is yet another sacrificial lamb offered up by city Republicans. That his top campaign advisor is former State Sen. Milton Street, a perennial candidate for various elective offices who was convicted of violating federal tax laws, hardly commends Jones. Then there’s the paltry $1,535 that the GoFundMe website says Jones has raised for his campaign.

Evans did not receive the Inquirer’s endorsement in the Democratic primary because his commendable early record as a state legislator has been tarnished by his relationship to a nonprofit he founded that came under scrutiny by state investigators for mismanaging millions of dollars in state grants. Federal investigators poked around too, but never brought charges.

Evans also was criticized by this newspaper in 2011 for reportedly using strongarm tactics to get the School Reform Commission to give a charter school company he favored the contract to manage Martin Luther King High School. That said, his background and genuine desire to make the Second District a better place to live make DWIGHT EVANS the better choice.

PA-8: Steve Santarsiero

The Eighth Congressional District, covering Bucks County and a slice of Montgomery County, is a battleground district in a battleground state, attracting the attention of both national political parties.

Both parties have strong candidates, giving voters competent yet contrasting choices. Republican Brian Fitzpatrick is looking to follow in his brother’s footsteps, while Democratic State Rep. Steve Santarsiero wants to graduate from Harrisburg to Washington.

Because of his character and legislative experience, the Inquirer endorses STEVE SANTARSIERO in the Eighth District.

Philadelphia Daily News

PA-Sen: Katie McGinty

Toomey, a former businessman, has a far-right record like Sen. Rick Santorum’s, but he lacks Santorum’s snarly demeanor. He comes across as a reasonable guy.

But we shouldn’t judge the race on matters of style and personality.

That’s why we enthusiastically endorse Katie McGinty for the U.S. Senate.

PA-2: Dwight Evans

We endorse Dwight Evans. He is a skilled legislative veteran who not only talks the talk about independence, but walks the walk. He’s never been unwilling to work with Republicans in Harrisburg when it came to fulfilling mutual goals.

PA-8: Steve Santarsiero

In the Eighth District, centered in Bucks County, U.S. Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick is retiring. The candidates seeking to replace him are Democrat state Rep. Steve Santarsiero and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican who is the congressman’s brother.

Rep. Fitzpatrick worked hard to get the Republican nomination for his brother, and we applaud him for his loyalty to his family. But we don’t believe that political office should be subject to inheritance. We endorse state Rep. Santarsiero, who also has a far more impressive record.

Philadelphia Tribune

PA-Sen: Katie McGinty

On Sunday, we endorsed Hillary Clinton for president because we believe she is the most experienced, most knowledgeable and has the best temperament. We also believe Clinton will make the best choices for the U.S. Supreme Court and has the best plans to move America forward.

However President Barack Obama’s two terms in office proves that to get something done in Washington the president needs strong allies in Congress.

The Tribune endorses Democrat Katie McGinty for the U.S. Senate in part because she will be a strong and able ally for Hillary Clinton in Washington. If elected, McGinty could take one of the five seats needed by Democrats to take control of the Senate next year.

Clinton will need McGinty to be part of a new Congress to get anything done on jobs, education, health care and other social issues.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Attorney General: John Rafferty

Kathleen Kane’s term as Pennsylvania attorney general started in hope, turned into a fiasco, ended with a perjury conviction and led to jail time. The office, staffed by dedicated professionals, deserves a leader who can restore its integrity. Pennsylvania needs a drama-free attorney general who will protect citizens and vigorously enforce the laws of the commonwealth. This year, Pennsylvania voters are lucky to have two serious and well-qualified candidates for the position, Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican John Rafferty Jr. While either would serve the state well, we believe that Mr. Rafferty is the better choice for attorney general in 2016.

But in the present climate — after a criminally wasteful effort by Kane, the first Democrat to serve as attorney general since it became an elected position in 1980 — we see the value in turning over the office to a more traditional Republican who will regard it as the pinnacle of his career. Mr. Rafferty has a proven track record in working with law enforcement and district attorneys across the state and across the aisle, as well as the temperament and inclination to focus on the meat and potatoes of the job. We endorse John Rafferty Jr. for attorney general of Pennsylvania.

State Treasurer: Joe Torsella

The next treasurer of Pennsylvania will have a full plate. In addition to the regular duties — safeguarding about $100 billion in public assets — the treasurer will have to rebuild public trust in an office tainted by corruption, weigh in on pressing matters such as pension reform and consider how to expand the treasury’s impact on Pennsylvanians.

Both major-party candidates in the Nov. 8 election, Republican Otto Voit and Democrat Joe Torsella, are well-versed in fiscal management. Both have good ideas and impressive records of public service.  However, Mr. Torsella has broader, more practical experience, and he receives our endorsement.

However, Mr. Torsella also brings diverse experiences — as well as a deeper knowledge of government and a record of having pushed multiple bureaucracies toward improved performance. This practical experience will serve voters well, and they should elect Joe Torsella on Nov. 8.

Auditor General: Eugene DePasquale

The auditor general — responsible for ensuring that taxpayers get the best bang for their buck and that services are delivered efficiently — has a critically important role in a state often derided for corruption and inadequacy. In the Nov. 8 election, the major-party candidates for this office are the Republican challenger, Northampton County Executive John Brown, and the incumbent Democrat, Eugene DePasquale. While Mr. Brown has an impressive record in local government, Mr. DePasquale already has done yeoman’s work and deserves a second term.

Mr. Brown cuts an impressive figure and may yet find a place on a larger stage. This year, however, the incumbent has more to offer, and voters should give him another four years to see how many more rocks he can turn over. We endorse Eugene DePasquale for auditor general.

PA-14: Mike Doyle

To demand action on gun-control legislation, Democratic members of Congress, including Rep. Mike Doyle of Forest Hills, staged a 26-hour sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives in June. It was an unusual step into the spotlight for Mr. Doyle, who is neither flashy nor a leader of his caucus. He has benefited the 14th District, however, and we endorse his bid for a 12th term.

Continuity will help build momentum in the 14th District. That is why voters should re-elect Mike Doyle.

New York Times

PA-Sen: Katie McGinty

Democrats need a net gain of five seats to control the Senate next year, four should Hillary Clinton win. Among the most closely contested states is Pennsylvania, where Pat Toomey, the incumbent Republican, is engaged in an expensive and sometimes nasty battle with Katie McGinty, his Democratic challenger. Ms. McGinty seems on the upswing as Donald Trump’s campaign implodes, and now leads Mr. Toomey by less than a percentage point.

Ms. McGinty’s working-class roots — she is one of 10 children born to a Philadelphia policeman and a restaurant hostess — inform her advocacy. She would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 over four years, and on the whole shows far greater sensitivity to the needs of the jobless and middle-class families than her opponent.

Mr. Toomey portrays Ms. McGinty as a sure rubber-stamp for Hillary Clinton. Our own take is that she has an independent streak that would place her state’s interests before party fealty. In any case, she is clearly the much better choice for anyone concerned about social and economic fairness.

Harrisburg Patriot-News

PA-Sen: Pat Toomey

With a proven track record of achievement over more than a dozen years in Washington and an admirable independent streak on one of the key public policy issues facing our nation – the scourge of gun violence – The PennLive/Patriot-News Editorial Board endorses Republican Pat Toomey for re-election.

In April, we passed over McGinty for the endorsement in the Democratic primary, finding her too-cozy ties with Big Energy and longstanding relations with the Bill and Hillary Clinton, along with Rendell and other senior Democratic figures, fatally undermined her claim to the outsider mantle.

That position has not changed. And it was reinforced by her conversation with the Editorial Board.

Attorney General: Josh Shapiro

Either Republican John Rafferty or Democrat Josh Shapiro, both of Montgomery County, would make a fitting successor to Kane.

But as we consider their respective qualifications and experience, the Editorial Board of PennLive/The Patriot-News gives Josh Shapiro the slight edge over John Rafferty for Attorney General.

Shapiro was passed over for our endorsement in April partly because of a concern that he would use the post as a springboard to higher office. He has been widely mentioned as a future gubernatorial candidate. And that concern remains.

As we note above, Pennsylvanians would be well-served by having either John Rafferty or Josh Shapiro as their next Attorney General.

But with his progressive vision for the office and edge in management experience, we believe Shapiro is better suited for the job of restoring credibility and stability to an office that badly needs both.

Scranton Times-Tribune

PA-Sen: Katie McGinty

The editorial boards of The Citizens’ Voice, The Times-Tribune in Scranton and the Standard-Speaker in Hazleton endorse McGinty for Senate.

For the most part, Toomey has been a reliable supporter of the policy of obstruction executed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. One notable and commendable exception was his effort to extend gun-purchase background checks following the 2012 slaughter of first-graders and their teachers in Newtown, Connecticut. But that was a non-starter in his caucus, from which Toomey has not strayed on other issues.

And, in a highly irresponsible act, Toomey has stood with his caucus in stonewalling President Barack Obama’s nomination of highly qualified appellate Judge Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court of the United States. That violates the spirit, if not the letter of the Constitution, hamstrings another branch of the government and makes a mockery of the notion that the Senate is the world’s greatest deliberative body.

Consider the consequences if the highly volatile presidential election were to come down to resolving an electoral dispute in a particular state, as it did in 2000. Rightly or wrongly, the Supreme Court ruled in Bush v. Gore, resulting in the customary peaceful transition of power. What would happen if the court had a 4-4 tie? Voters should not reward Toomey’s refusal to insist on a timely confirmation process.

Now, Toomey can’t bring himself to denounce Donald J. Trump because he needs the GOP standard-bearer’s supporters to win. But he won’t say that Trump has his vote.

Toomey’s record does not warrant re-election whereas McGinty has the policy credentials to be an effective senator.

Attorney General: Josh Shapiro

The editorial boards of The Citizens’ Voice, The Times-Tribune and The Hazleton Standard-Speaker endorse Democrat Josh Shapiro, 43, a Montgomery County commissioner and former state representative.

Both candidates can be relied upon to restore a calm focus on business in the wake of the Kathleen Kane scandal hurricane, to help fight the opioid epidemic and otherwise attend to law enforcement issues.

But Shapiro is more likely than Rafferty to instill a vision making the office an instrument of progress for the commonwealth. He has the potential to become not simply the next attorney general, but the most innovative attorney general.

State Treasurer: Joe Torsella

One candidate for state treasurer is extraordinarily qualified. Editorial boards for The Citizens’ Voice, The Times-Tribune and The Hazleton Standard-Speaker endorse Democrat Joe Torsella over Republican Otto Voit.

Torsella has a remarkable record of not just education, but its application in the realm of public service. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a Rhodes Scholar, Torsella was deputy mayor for planning and policy for Philadelphia. He was a principal architect of then Mayor Ed Rendell’s turnaround plan that resolved a $1.2 billion deficit and began one of the great urban renaissance stories in recent history. That plan took on deeply entrenched interests, some of which were important Democratic political constituencies.

Later, Torsella exhibited similar tough-mindedness as chairman of the state Board of Education, overseeing the development of meaningful graduation requirements over the objections of education unions and others.

Torsella is the superior choice.

Auditor General: Eugene DePasquale

Pennsylvanians have two good choices for the important position of state auditor general in incumbent Democrat Eugene DePasquale, 45, a former state legislator from York County, and Republican challenger John Brown, 52, the Northampton County executive and former mayor of Bangor.

Based on his solid record during his first term, the editorial boards of Times-Shamrock newspapers the Standard-Speaker, The Times-Tribune of Scranton and The Citizens’ Voice of Wilkes-Barre endorse DePasquale.

The auditor general’s office has a state-mandated roster of auditing responsibilities. But DePasquale has regularly has exceeded those requirements, especially with highly insightful performance audits of controversial state charter school financing and of nearly bankrupt, poorly managed municipal government pension systems. Those audits are not simply dry analyses of money flowing in and out, but blueprints for badly needed reforms.

That level of effectiveness is not limited to statewide matters. One of his audits, for example, exposed the folly of the Scranton School Board in declining to seek bids for its transportation contract.

Brown has had an active and controversial two years as county executive, attempting to reduce the government’s costs but losing court challenges and labor board rulings in the process. Yet he correctly identifies the need to “change the culture” of government — not a bad outlook for an auditor general.

DePasquale already has taken solid strides in that direction, however, earning public confidence and a strong case for re-election.

Bucks County Courier-Times

PA-Sen: Pat Toomey

Our own take is that McGinty’s mostly progressive positions are a bit out of sync with Bucks County’s more moderate profile. We also could not discern a baseline case for her candidacy. That said, McGinty has stellar environmental credentials, having worked in that capacity at both the state and federal levels. She also served as chief of staff to Gov. Wolf before launching her campaign.

For voters at political odds with Toomey or simply seeking change, McGinty is a credible and qualified option.

But our board sees no reason to change. We recommend Sen. Pat Toomey for another term.

PA-8: Brian Fitzpatrick

While many Americans understandably view this year’s presidential election as a matter of picking the lesser of two evils, voters in the 8th Congressional District are confronted with a much more pleasant dilemma: choosing between two outstanding candidates.

Whoever is chosen, Republican Brian Fitzpatrick or Democrat Steve Santarsiero, voters will have selected a competent and honorable representative.

That said, our board agrees that Brian Fitzpatrick is a uniquely qualified candidate and so we recommend him for Congress. We should add that our board endorsed Steve Santarsiero every time he ran for state office. Should he win this election, we’ll be in good hands.

York Daily Record

PA-Sen: Pat Toomey

It’s a tough choice, but we’re going with Sen. Toomey. And we offer the same advice to him as to Rep. Perry: Hold to your conservative roots (shared by a majority of York countians), but be open to principled compromise.

We need to see compromise on a host of such difficult issues if our nation is to move ahead and not just tread political water over the next four years. We need statesmen who can work with a likely President Clinton and not just reflexively oppose her agenda.

Find ways to compromise, Sen. Toomey.

Lancaster Online

PA-Sen: Katie McGinty

As a community newspaper, our primary concern is Lancaster County. Thus, our decision to endorse must come down to which candidate we believe will best serve the interests of people here.

Toomey, of course, has a legislative record that McGinty cannot match.

But we believe McGinty’s record of public service has prepared her to serve in the Senate. And she seems committed to Lancaster County — she has made an effort to connect with the county and its people, and she understands the issues facing working families here.

Both are excellent candidates, with widely differing priorities. Because Lancaster County doesn’t seem to be one of Toomey’s, we narrowly endorse Katie McGinty.

Johnstown Tribune-Democrat

PA-Sen: Pat Toomey

During his first term in the U.S. Senate, Pat Toomey fought to save the Apache helicopter program in Johnstown, helped secure a foreign trade zone for Cambria County and worked to land a grant for the Johnstown Police Department to add two officers for the fight against drugs.

The Republican has been a friend to our region, and has represented Pennsylvania’s interests in Congress.

We endorse Toomey for a second term in the Senate.

Beaver County Times

PA-Sen: Katie McGinty

The most glaring difference between the two candidates comes down to their philosophies on creating jobs and economic opportunities. Toomey has consistently supported proposals that would end regulations on companies and cut corporate taxes, moves he said would spur job growth.

McGinty supports efforts to boost the middle class through an increase in the minimum wage, equal pay for women, affordable college education and investments in manufacturing and renewable energy. She said she is “deeply opposed to the idea of handouts,” but believes that most Pennsylvanians simply want an opportunity to make better lives for themselves and their families.

Ultimately, we believe McGinty has a keen understanding of the many issues confronting the nation and is best prepared to move the country forward in a bipartisan fashion. We endorse her in the race for the U.S. Senate and encourage voters to support her on Tuesday.

Erie Times-News

PA-Sen: Katie McGinty

Katie McGinty’s approach to governing is rooted in her personal philosophy that “work is a virtue in itself.”

Her opponent, incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, we find, has let Erie down.

McGinty’s vision seems compelled less by ideological concerns and more by the real-life, practical concerns of voters in Erie and Pennsylvania. Her can-do vision is a better fit for our state in this era of economic dislocation.

6 Responses

  1. The Rs are pouring gasoline on themselves and lighting themselves on fire. Trump is DESTROYING the GOP like no Dem could.

    It is fun to watch !!!

  2. Generally when the Inquirer endorses you the likelihood that you will be in jail, disgraced, and out of office is 4 years is very high. #KissOfDeath

  3. They’ve got a fantastic track record on getting this one correct:

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

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