Governor: Governor Comeback Rendell will crush "Outsider" Lynn Swann.
A year ago, reelection prospects didn't look so good because of Rendell's shameless role in a midnight legislative payraise. But then Speaker of the House John Perzel disingenuosly claimed tattoo artists and dairy farmers made more money than state legislators, and Rendell was able to shed a heavy millstone.
And if truth be told, he's an effective governor. In the land of midnight payraises and with a Republican majority, he somehow delivered on eight out of eight pre-elections promises. He turned a deficit into a surplus, addressed property taxes, increased the minimum wage, passed slots, passed an environmental and economic development package known as Growing Greener II, increased education funding to record levels, expanded child health care, cut state waste by $1 billion, and reduced business taxes. Pretty impressive stuff. Democrats could do much worse.
Rendell's opponent, Lynn Swann, was hand-picked by the state Republican hierarchy, a disservice to its rank and file. Party bosses bullied Bill Scranton to drop out and give Swann a free pass through the primary. What Republicans ended up with is an amiable sports analyst who votes when he feels like it and avoids questions after an embarrassing debacle on Meet The Press. Republicans could do much better.
Rendell has been endorsed by The Morning Call, Express Times, Philadelphia Daily News, Patriot News, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Philadelphia Inquirer, etc., etc.
U.S. Senate Race: Bob Casey will convincingly defeat Rick Santorum.
Let's get this out of the way. Casey lost every debate. I've read all the revisionist recreations that tried vainly to spin a word here and there to make it appear that Casey had won. He didn't. And if campaign season were one or two months longer (Heaven help us!), Santorum would win. Casey is just a lousy campaigner and a boring public speaker. And he's certainly no liberal.
But there's one big difference between Casey and Santorum - Santorum is out of his frickin' mind! This, for example, is a report of what Virginia's third senator told the editorial board at The Bucks County Courier Times:
Embattled U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said America has avoided a second terrorist attack for five years because the "Eye of Mordor" has been drawn to Iraq instead.
Santorum used the analogy from one of his favorite books, J.R.R. Tolkien's 1950s fantasy classic "Lord of the Rings," to put an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq into terms any school kid could easily understand.
"As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else," Santorum said, describing the tool the evil Lord Sauron used in search of the magical ring that would consolidate his power over Middle-earth.
"It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S.," Santorum continued. "You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States."
Casey has been endorsed by Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal, New Castle News, Morning Call, Patriot-News and Express-Times. And guess what? The Bucks County Courier Times must also be allied with the evil Lord Sauron.
15th U.S. Congressional District: The 15th Congressional District consists of nearly all of Northampton and Lehigh counties. Incumbent Charlie Dent has been challenged by Democrat Charles Dertinger and Green Greta Browne. - Dent will easily retain his seat.
Of the three candidates, the only person totally unfit for any office is Greta Browne. FEC records show her as a recipient of blood money from Big Money republicans, but what really disturbs me is her unwillingness to be accountable. We have enough prima donnas like that in office already.
Charles Dertinger is an intelligent and articulate Northampton County Councilman who has proved a formidable opponent for Charlie Dent. Personal attacks lodged against Dertinger have been unfair. But when I saw them together at a debate in Pen Argyl, it was clear to me that Dertinger is simply not ready for prime time. His remarks about being "dragged" into this race have come back to haunt him, and they should. Charlie Dent's views are far more conservative than mine, but there's really not much difference between his views and those of most Pennsylvania Democrats. He's fiscally conservative and socially moderate. Dent has a very unusual quality for a politician - he's open-minded. Before he formulated his immigration position, for example, he sought out advice from both proponents and opponents of tougher measures. He's backed the ban on torture, stem cell research, is pro-life and supports alternative fuels like hydrogen.
Despite his personal strengths, Team Bush should have made Dent vulnerable. He'll escape because local Democrats failed to field a candidate and would have none at all were it not for Dertinger's willingness, at the last minute, to wage a write-in campaign. In truth, he was dragged into this race. Too little, too late.
Dent will win, and that's not such a bad thing. He's an impressive guy who's been shackled by a borderline incompetent president, and is far more moderate than his predecessor, Pat Toomey. Dent is well on his way to the U.S. Senate.
Dent has been endorsed by The Morning Call, Express Times, and Esquire.