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No rest for nominees after elections

| Thursday, May 20, 2010

The gubernatorial nominees weren't off for long.

"It is about leadership and it is about making tough decisions," Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett said at Allegheny County Airport 18 hours after the polls closed for Tuesday's primary elections. "I have a track record as an executive across the entire state, with a (department) budget of over $100 million."

In Pittsburgh Wednesday, Democratic county Executive Dan Onorato renewed a pledge to seek reforms in Harrisburg. He said his strength goes beyond Allegheny County, pointing out that he led in 62 of the state's 67 counties.

Onorato reiterated calls to reduce the size of the General Assembly and enact a severance tax on natural gas. Corbett said such a tax could chase the gas industry away from Pennsylvania.

At his celebration, Onorato called himself the outsider. Corbett said "it is a desperate move for him."

In West Mifflin, Corbett joined GOP senatorial candidate Pat Toomey, who was making a six-city tour.

"We can create the jobs we need ... through the private sector," Toomey said, also stressing a need for fiscal discipline in Washington.

He expressed respect for Democratic foe U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, but said Sestak is "far to the left even of the mainstream of the Democratic Party."

Sestak also didn't get much sleep after his win over U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.

He was seeking votes in a pre-dawn visit to Market East Station in Philadelphia.

Corbett hailed his running mate for lieutenant governor, Bucks County Commissioner Jim Cawley. Onorato still could have one of two running mates.

Centre County state Rep. H. Scott Conklin led former Philadelphia city controller Jonathan Saidel by less than 5,000 votes, just above a one-half of 1 percent margin where Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro Cortes could order a recount.

Also at County Airport, Melissa Haluszczak, a Coraopolis Republican, started her challenge of 14th District U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills.

Fourth District GOP nominee Keith Rothfus, an Edgeworth attorney taking on U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Bradford Woods, also was there.

"This is not about a political party," Haluszczak said. "This is about our country and the country that we will leave to the next generation."

She and Doyle were unopposed in their primaries. Haluszczak said voters in the 14th "realize the Doyle-Pelosi agenda is not good," referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

"We cannot spend our way to prosperity on the backs of our children, nor can we nationalize health care on the backs of our seniors," Haluszczak said.

"It is reckless to put American jobs at risk with a punishing cap-and-trade agenda that will do nothing for the environment."

Doyle has stressed what his campaign calls "the great progress we are making for people throughout the Pittsburgh region."

McKeesport Mayor James Brewster compared Doyle's situation to that of defeated five-term U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Philadelphia.

"When you lose that kind of seniority, you lose money," Brewster said Tuesday. "Mike Doyle has that seniority now. It is going to pay off for us."

"(The district) has been in a lack of growth since 1979," Doyle's opponent said. "What has he brought into the district?"

Brewster also noted that seniority was lost with the death of U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Westmont, recalling again how Murtha's 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Co. helped McKeesport build the Marshall Drive Extension at a reduced cost.

Pelosi said Murtha aide Mark Critz of Cambria County will be sworn in today, two days after winning a special election to finish Murtha's term.

He also has the Democratic nod for a fall rematch with the Washington County Republican he defeated, businessman Tim Burns.

"This isn't a loss," Burns said late Tuesday. "This is just a setback."

Washington County GOP chairman Tom Uram said "we're going to have to work twice as hard in the fall" to overcome that setback.

Also today, pay-equity advocate Lilly Ledbetter joined 18th District Democratic nominee Dan Connolly in a forum at the United Steelworkers union offices.

Connolly is challenging U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair.

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