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Scaringi, Freed, Maher Win Post-Forum GOP Straw Poll

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

The Bedford, Blair, Centre and Huntingdon County Republican committees co-hosted a forum for statewide candidates on Thursday night and, though PoliticsPA was unable to attend, we got a hold of the post-event straw poll. Here it is, along with some free association about the results.

The Santorum boost is evident: he was routinely finishing in second place or worse in small regional straw polls in Pa., usually losing to Romney and the anti-Romney flavor of the month. He’s back!

The U.S. Senate results are interesting, but not surprising. Marc Scaringi has been on the stump for over a year, knows his issues front and back, and consistently comes across very well at these events. He’d better. With little campaign cash, these are his only real opportunities to make an impression on voters.

We’ve likened Steve Welch to Mitt Romney in this campaign – very steady, very professional, on message, and probably the most senatorial-sounding of the candidates.

As the Tea Party candidate for governor in 2010, Sam Rohrer knows how to hit some high notes in a crowd of conservatives. That said, he has a tendency to extend comments about 20 percent longer than their natural conclusion.

Q&A sessions are probably Tom Smith’s weakest point as a candidate.

We haven’t yet seen an event in which either GOP Attorney General hopeful has spoken to a crowd of undecideds – just their announcement speeches to supporters – so we will reserve judgment here. Suffice it to say Cumberland County DA Dave Freed overtook Montco state Senator John Rafferty by a 3-2 margin.

For Auditor General, PoliticsPA interviewed John Maher recently so we’ll save some of the juicy details for that story. But speaking to attendees at this event and a similar one Wednesday in Lancaster, Maher – who literally wrote [a] book about government auditing – comes across very well. He’s a good communicator and his resume offers him a great deal to talk about.

Frank Pinto is one of the most fun campaigners we’re hearing about this cycle. The former head of the Pa. Community Bankers, 68, is an old hand in politics. His remarks come accompanied with Ross Perot-reminiscent gag glasses and a few clown noses. Check out his Morning Call interview… from 1990.

“Tonight’s Republican Candidate Forum was a tremendous success,” wrote Blair County Republican Committee Chairman A.C. Stickel. “With cooperation and participation from Bedford, Centre and Huntingdon County Repulbican Committees we hosted one of the largest candidate forums in the state.”

He said 21 percent of poll respondents indicated they had changed their mind on the U.S. Senate race after hearing the candidates.

3 Responses

  1. Congratulations to Marc Scaringi on another solid debate performance! He’s 2-for-2 so far.

  2. What is going on in the GOP AG race? Freed is far better suited than Rafferty. But Rafferty is the Asher toad in the race. So I guess there will be another big blow-up, huh?

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