Very interesting interview with the only true reformer we have in the race for Governor, State Auditor General Jack Wagner. Wagner, outmatched in funds nearly 10 to 1 (or about 8 to 1) will begin airing tv ads at the end of his campaign, while Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato has been flooding the airwaves with them, counting on his large bankroll to be able to defeat Wagner, Joe Hoeffel and Sen. Anthony Williams.
However, lurking quietly in the back of challengers minds is the fact that they are running against Jack Wagner, second leading voter getter in Pennsylvania history, who outperformed Obama in 2008. Jack obviously has bi-partisan appeal. Although polling shows a lack of name recognition and disinterest in this race, trust me... that thought is there.
Two days ago, in an interview with Jon Delano of KDKA, Wagner made an important point. He is the candidate talking about ending the back room deals in Harrisburg, and handing out the no-bid contracts, and stopping school district credit default swaps, which have costed PA taxpayers millions. The most important point Wagner made, is that Onorato is Rendell's candidate. Dan frames himself as the hero that turned around the Pittsburgh economy, whereas Jack Wagner and I see a region that has less jobs today than it did in 2004 when he took over.
This, as Jack is correct, is the kind of misrepresentation that 6 million bucks can buy, but we all know the truth. Onorato is the Governors candidate, the one to "hand out the contracts" and thus get the campaign cash. It is "pay to play politics" at its worst, and something that disgusts most people away from politics. That's the kind of cruddy environment Ed Rendell has created in Harrisburg, and while Dan calls himself the "champion of reform" through his lenses, we see "pay to play" Eddie Jr.
Jack Wagner is the best candidate to emerge in the Fall because I think he would fare best against Corbett, particularly when running in Central and Western Pennsylvania from an electability standpoint. Also, Im not atuned to how much "reform" Dan will be willing to hear when the Guvs friends /big donors come calling for more contracts. In fact, I think Corbett already has his campaign commercials made for Onorato made.
The other candidates, State Senator Anthony Williams and MontCo Commissioner Joe Hoeffel both could easily take the cake too as 65 percent of primary voters for the Democratic Party are in Southeastern PA. Williams has had great messaging on property tax reform, while Hoeffel has made head waves out west for attacking Luke Ravenstahl's initial refusal of the prevailing wage bill in Pittsburgh. Other that me enjoying someone make Luke look foolish, it was good headway for Hoeffel and I think opened some eyes including perhaps Ravenstahls.
With only weeks to go, it is anyones ball game as most voters are undecided.