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Primary Super Tuesday Picks!

So today’s the day. Primary elections are taking place in Arkansas, Oregon, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, and a special election in Pennsylvania to fill the seat left open when Jack Murtha passed away.

The conventional wisdom is that voter anger with Washington is so great that most of the incumbents will go down for the count, especially Democrat Senators Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas and Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania.

I’m not really a fan of conventional wisdom, and I laid out in yesterday’s blog my concerns with voting for someone because they are more partisan than another candidate rather than being a better candidate than the other.

But today I am going to make a statement I have never made before: I am going to endorse publicly candidates for office. Sure, I’ve raised money for folks in the past, but never have I outright endorsed a candidate.

And I am going to endorse candidates in my home state of Pennsylvania and my hometown region of Scranton. Why? Well, you’ll read my reasoning for supporting each candidate when I endorse them. But I am doing this because I think it is important that people stand up for candidates they believe in, rather than being a silent majority.

Too often in primary races, only the extremes have a voice, hence the situation in which we find ourselves today politically as a nation. But since I am anything but an extreme one way or the other, I think it’s important for me to share my thoughts on the candidates in the area I care so deeply about.

So here are my choices for Pennsylvania:

Senator Arlen Specter for Senate – Arlen Specter can be difficult, argumentative, and even annoying. And that makes him an amazingly capable senator. While a handful to deal with, his capacity, intelligence, and knowledge of the legislative process is unparallel. Add to that his intimate knowledge of Pennsylvania politics, his global relationships, and his bipartisan approach, Arlen Specter knows how to get stuff done, and most importantly, does. People complain that Arlen and has been in Washington for too long, and that may well be true. But people don’t learn how Washington and Congress work in just 4 years. They need experience and seniority. Arlen Specter is the best man for the job.

Corey O’Brien (PA-11) – As the Metaphysical Center of the Universe, Scranton needs a Member of Congress that is young, ideal, intelligent, and willing to take risks. Corey O’Brien is all of those things. But I will tell you the honest-to-God reason I am backing Corey: he keeps his word. When I tried to base the Interparliamentary Conference on Human Rights and Religious Freedom in Scranton, only two elected officials made commitments and actually followed through: Corey O’Brien and Chris Doherty (we’ll discuss Chris shortly). His opponent, 12-term Congressman Paul Kanjorski made all kinds of promises, all kinds of commitments, all kinds of words. But never came through with anything. We brought countless business development ideas to him, and all he and his office would do is give me a pat on the head. Only Corey O’Brien took the time to research, discuss, and dialogue. If he didn’t think it was a go or a feasible idea, he said so. No games. I always knew where I stood with Corey, while I never had an idea with Kanjorski. I take loyalty EXTREMELY seriously. It shows integrity and maturity. Corey demonstrated that. And that is why I support him in PA-11.

Chris Doherty for State Senate – Chris Doherty is a different kind of politician. He says what he means and does what he says. Chris isn’t interested in pomp and circumstance; he isn’t interested in filling his own pockets; he isn’t the establishment’s man. Chris Doherty is interested in the People’s business; he’s interested in doing the right thing for the people he works for: his constituents. Chris Doherty is a man of integrity, honesty, and public service. He has dedicated his life to the people of Scranton and did an amazing job in turning the city around. Without a doubt I am convinced he will do the same for the people of his senate district and for all of Pennsylvania as a state senator.

So there you have it. My very first ever endorsements for elected office. While I am sure they will have no impact on your or anyone else’s voting trends, I know that I did my part to speak out rather than sit in quiet political grumbling.

The democratic process is not an easy process. It requires work, attention, and action. Our Founding Fathers expected us to take our decisions seriously and to think, meditate, discuss, debate, and form well-prepared decisions on our voting.

I don’t expect people to agree with my choices, either. But that is the basis of our political system: polite debate and disagreement.

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