With Mitt Romney now the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Pennsylvanian voters still have several statewide primary races to decide on Tuesday — with heated contests on both the Democratic and GOP ballots.
An uncharacteristically competitive battle to face U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) in November pits a field of five Republicans, including two largely self-financed millionaires — one from this region, one from the Pittsburgh area. Despite the inspiring life story of an opponent who went from working in a coal mine to owning a coal company, Malvern businessman STEVE WELCH is the best choice.
Welch, 35, is an entrepreneur whose first successful company developed patents to make flu shots more efficient, and his ideas fly like sparks off an anvil — a quality that no doubt helped him earn his party's endorsement. Besides fresh ideas, Welch offers the wisdom of a man who has actually started businesses from scratch, and has the humility to admit he made mistakes on the way to his considerable fortune.
One of two statewide Democratic races may be just a prelude to voters picking another Republican for state attorney general, as they have without fail since the office became elective 30 years ago. But not if a former Lackawanna County assistant district attorney has any say in the matter.
Even though she's a political newcomer up against an accomplished former congressman and military veteran, KATHLEEN KANE has the edge in this race. Kane, 45, offers an impressive legal resume, and possesses the state-court experience, skill, and passion to excel as the state's top law-enforcement official.
Her opponent in the Democratic primary is former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Bucks County, whose experience includes a stint as an Army lawyer.
The choice is easier for GOP voters deciding on a nominee for state auditor general. The commonwealth's fiscal-watchdog responsibilities for about 6,000 financial and performance audits annually would be in good hands with a state representative from Allegheny County.
JOHN MAHER, 53, offers a fitting background as a certified public accountant. Before entering public office, he founded one of the largest accounting firms in Western Pennsylvania, which specialized in government work. As a legislator, Maher coauthored the state's Right-To-Know Law.
In the only state Senate contest in this region, the incumbent Senate majority leader has the clear edge. The more moderate views of DOMINIC F. PILEGGI, 54, far better serve his district, which spans Delaware and Chester counties, than his opponent, with tea-party leanings.