With the ballots they cast Tuesday, Pennsylvania voters may signal their intent to shake up the status quo this fall. Or they could merely set the stage for the November face-off between Republicans and Democrats.

Even though interest appears low, there's a down-to-the-wire battle between Democrats over a U.S. Senate seat, and Philadelphians will have the chance to enact a key City Hall reform by scrapping the bungling Board of Revision of Taxes.

Here is a review of Inquirer recommendations:

U.S. Senate

The state's longest-serving senator has been derided for years by conservatives as a RINO - Republican In Name Only. But


earned that moniker for his willingness to work across party lines. More than ever, Washington needs lawmakers eager to do that. And now Specter is running as a Democrat.

Even as a Republican in the minority, he remained a highly influential lawmaker and appropriator on behalf of Pennsylvanians. He's also rare for his expertise and wise counsel on the Middle East, federal law enforcement, the judiciary, and health-care research.

PAT TOOMEY, the man who drove Specter from the GOP, has worked on Wall Street and run businesses. He's clearly the stronger candidate for the Republican nomination.


In tough fiscal times, voters want leaders who make hard decisions about spending and taxes devoid of any political calculation. For Democrats, that type of leader is someone already taking a focused, unbiased look at how Pennsylvania can do a better job managing its budget: state Auditor General



The decorated Marine veteran served 10 years on Pittsburgh's City Council and 10 years in the state Senate. As auditor general, Wagner has done 25,000-plus audits, saving taxpayers millions.

Republicans have an easy choice in Attorney General TOM CORBETT, who is shaking up the corrupt culture that's taken hold in Harrisburg.

Lieutenant Governor

As governor understudies, Republican JIM CAWLEY, a Bucks County commissioner, and State Rep. SCOTT CONKLIN, a Centre County Democrat, stand out.

U.S. House

In Bucks County's 8th District, former GOP Rep. MIKE FITZPATRICK has a commendable record of public service. In Montgomery County's 13th District, Republican and Abington businessman CARSON DEE ADCOCK is best.

State Senate

In the city-and-suburb 8th District, no one has made the case to replace longtime Democrat ANTHONY WILLIAMS, who's also running for governor. For Bucks County's 6th Senate seat, banker JOHN J. JORDAN, who sits on the Governor's Advisory Commission on African American Affairs, offers a valuable perspective.

City questions

Approving a referendum to disband the long-mismanaged Board of Revision of Taxes should mean fairer property assessments eventually. Three more YES votes: A City Charter change to slim down the Zoning Board of Appeals, capital project funding, and a charter change to promote disadvantaged businesses and workers.