DURING HIS YEARS as U.S. attorney, we admired Patrick Meehan, who spearheaded many anti-corruption cases, including a successful case against Vincent Fumo.

But our head has been turned by challenger Bryan Lentz, whom we endorse for the Delaware County 7th Congressional District.

Lentz is a state representative who most recently sponsored a bill in Harrisburg to close the so-called "Florida loophole"; the bill failed. His record shows him to be unafraid to stand up against the status quo: He voted against the state gaming bill, and the Teamsters recently withdrew their endorsement of his candidacy for his bill that would fine construction firms for misclassifying workers to avoid taxes.

Former prosecutor Lentz is smart and well-informed, and his military background as a member of the 82nd Airborne, for which he served in Bosnia and Iraq, gives him a sharper edge on global and defense issues. His strong profile has been somewhat marred by his admission that his campaign staff helped put tea party candidate Jim Schneller on the ballot by helping him collect signatures, apparently as a strategy to have Schneller divert votes from Meehan. This may be distasteful but it isn't illegal, and we file it under the "politics is a blood sport" column.

Throughout the campaign, Meehan has seemed less than focused on a clearly defined agenda, preferring to follow Republican Party lines on a "failed" stimulus and opposition to health-care reform. He doesn't show the same zeal he did as U.S. attorney, except for banging Lentz for changing his views about using a state car.

Endorsement at-a-glance

State Rep. Bryan Lentz is smart, well-informed and is unafraid to sponsor unpopular bills, including the state gaming bill. Meehan has a good track record as U.S. attorney, but shows less focus as a candidate.