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PoliticsPA Up & Down: 2010 Edition

It’s been an interesting year in PA Politics: great for some, career-ending for others. These are the people who end the year at the top of their game, and the people who would have been better off if 2010 had never happened.

Rob Gleason. In a year when Republicans everywhere found success, Pennsylvania set the bar nationally. Gleason directed millions of dollars in an effort that yielded record GOP turnout in PA. There’s a reason that his name has been floated for RNC chair.


Ed Rendell. The DC pundits mostly blamed Democratic losses on Obama’s sinking numbers, but it was a different story in PA. Here it was Rendell’s deep unpopularity that doomed so many Dems, including Dan Onorato. And virtually his entire legislative agenda is on the chopping block of the Corbett administration.


State Rep. Dave Reed. He led an historic effort at the HRCC and helped secure the biggest GOP State House victory in generations. And he’s 32.


Bob Mellow & Todd Eachus. Former powerhouses who left office in disgrace and defeat, respectively. It’s been a bad few years for Democratic leadership.


Pat Toomey & Tom Corbett. Great campaigns that stayed (for the most part) right on message: Smaller government, lower taxes, more jobs. They set the tone for PA’s GOP sweep.


Arlen Specter. Specter leaves the Senate in defeat, one of the few things he’s ever done not on his own terms. Pennsylvania is immeasurably better off for his service. An old-fashioned, bring-home-the-bacon legislator, he shepherded billions to PA. His contribution to medical research is likely the greatest of any elected official in our nation’s history.

Joe Sestak. Sestak surprised everyone with his upset of Arlen Specter, a prohibitive favorite when Sestak entered the primary in 2009. He came within a hair in November, outperforming Democrats across the country – especially in PA.


Joe Hoeffel. As if finishing last place in the Democratic primary for governor wasn’t bad enough, Hoeffel is now being targeted by his own local party. He’s in danger of losing his place on the Democratic ticket for Montgomery County Commissioner.


Marcellus Shale Industry. Gas drillers dodged a bullet this year with the failure of the severance tax and new regulations in the legislature. And political contributions from the industry have yielded a Corbett administration and GOP State House that are both on record opposing any kind of tax.


Pennsylvania. It’s bad enough to lose a congressional seat, but PA also lost a large chunk of its congressional clout. The passing of Congressman Murtha followed by the defeats of Arlen Specter and Paul Kanjorski leaves the Commonwealth without its three greatest pork-barrel patrons.


Pat Murphy. He lost his re-election bid, but he pushed what was a singular achievement in this congress in the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.


Organizing for America. The vaunted vestiges of the Obama campaign came up short this year, big time. They came on late and had difficulty coordinating other Democratic groups. Their effectiveness seems limited unless their boss’s name is on the ballot.


Tim Holden. He breezed through this election cycle, garnering an 11-point margin of victory. He’s now PA’s most senior member of Congress, and the 2nd ranking Dem on the Agriculture Committee. Now the buzz is that the GOP has given up on redistricting him out and will instead opt to pack his district with more Dems, to protect Barletta and Gerlach.

Chris Doherty. He came up empty in the governor’s race and dropped out, then proceeded to lose a primary for State Senate. Now, even his clout in Scranton is waning. This once bright prospect may not even make it out of NEPA.

2 Responses

  1. OFA was just awful. They are self-righteous and bad at their jobs. If feeding people a line of bs was their job, they would have won. They are about as effective as a legless dwarf at dunking a basketball. My new years resolution is to not believe in mythical happenings like OFA doing actual work.

  2. Hoeffel is certainly down having been dragged there by a combination of his own outrageous arrogance and steadfast defense of the corrupt Jim Matthews. But Matthews, himself, must be the biggest loser. He goes from the state ticket for LG in 2006. To not endorsed for re-election by the pary executive committee, barely is endorsed as a two term incumbent by the county committee, comes in third place (worst finish in history by a GOP candidate) in 2007, proves everyone right who said he is a liar by joining with the defeated democrats, is censured by the GOP, runs county government into the ground, is under Grand Jury investigation, has become radioactive for Corbett and Asher and now has no chance are being re-elected. I would suggest that the “Down Arrow” of the Decade (so far) for really bad choices has to go to Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews. Hoeffel is bad, but Matthews is beyond belief bad.

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