The Pennsylvania Republican Party has suffered in this election what can only be characterized as a crushing defeat which should cause a great deal of soul-searching to occur.
Not only did President Obama win the state by a decisive margin with victory in just 11 of our 67 counties, but the Democrats swept the state row offices of auditor general, treasurer, and achieved the election of the first Democratic woman attorney general.
I believe that a key reason for the GOP collapse was the insulting negative campaigns waged against the opponents, a turn-off to an intelligent electorate. (The Democrats were no angels in this either, but the Republicans were worse.)
The only race not marred by hostility and contempt was that of auditor general, in which state Representative Eugene DePasquale emerged the victor. In that race, voters rejected veteran Republican House member John Maher despite his sterling credentials as a talented, articulate, intelligent individual and entrepreneur, the only Certified Public Accountant in the General Assembly. I would suggest that Maher's votes for the 50% legislative pension enhancement of 2001, the middle of the night 2005 pay grab, and against the Clean Indoor Air Act (which eliminated smoking in most public places) came back to haunt him.
In western Pennsylvania, a state Senate seat long held by the GOP changed hands, Democratic Representative Matt Smith winning after a campaign marked by distortion and viciousness.
A defeat of this magnitude should leave a state party in shambles. When will GOP State Party Chairman Rob Gleason be shown the door? When will campaigning with honor and integrity be adopted by both major parties?
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