Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Primary Election Day in PA

Today is primary election day in Pennsylvania. Not a tremendous number of hotly contested races in the primary, but voting is always important (Lynn Swann should be reading this).

We are now seeing the ill effects of a disastrous election , so it should reinforce the need to vote. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a summary of the issues for PA voters, in At Pa. polls, a moment of truth.

The suspense of today's election comes farther down the ballot, as almost a third of state legislators face challengers - and an electorate still mindful of the General Assembly's July pay raise vote.

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"If just one of them is defeated, it sends a message," said John J. Kennedy, an assistant professor of political science at West Chester University. "If they all survive, you might interpret it as the status quo. But even in that situation, I think lawmakers will remember this for a long time."

Non-presidential primary elections usually bring about 25 percent of registered voters to the polls, according the Department of State. Weather forecasts across the state call for overcast skies with showers possible - which could hinder turnout in the Southeast, where the anger over the pay raise has not been as strong as it has been elsewhere in the state.

Though the races for governor and Senate lack competitive nomination fights, candidates across Pennsylvania are challenging incumbent legislators in numbers that haven't been reached in more than a decade.

For me, the real issue is: Do I vote for Bob Casey???

Blogger Richard Cranium of The All Spin Zone has addressed my angst in his post, Voting Conscience Today in Pennsylvania. As he said:

How can anyone who considers him/herself "progressive" in Pennsylvania support Bob Casey Jr.? While Casey is surely to the left of Santorum, his platform and personal politics are still far to the right of what anyone could remotely consider "progressive".

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During the runup to the general election last year, I felt that anyone throwing a conscience vote to a progressive presidential candidate other than John Kerry was wasting their vote, and even potentially damaging the prospects of getting George Bush out of the White House. After the election, I changed my mind...

I've been doing this "voting" thing for the past 33 years, and in 2004 I came to a realization that it was way past time to vote my conscience. I'm electorally tired of compromising my personal principles by voting for the least offensive of the two major party candidates.

I agree with that view philosophically, but I also think that every effort to unseat Santorum must be made. Casey certainly has been disappointing, since he has exhibited a bit too much Hillary Clinton syndrome for my taste, but he is still a major improvement over his Republican opponent. I can accept his religious-based opinion regarding abortion, even if it does not match my view, but a few of the other issues that he has supported have struck me as an attempt to pander to conservatives in the state (you know, that terrible T in the middle of the state).

One of the Ladies Who Lunch in my office & I had a long conversation about this issue today. I couldn't decide. I know I want to vote for Chuck Pennacchio, but I don't know if I will.

So, what will it be? I'm on my way to vote now. I guess that I'll decide when I'm in that booth . . . .

UPDATE: OK, I voted. I voted my heart, not my head. Translation = Chuck now. Casey later, I'm guessing.


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