Okay - it's time to analyze of the candidates of the 2010 PA-3 race. This is a totally subjective summary based upon my observations and interviews of the candidates. If you agree or disagree, that's absolutely fine with me. Ultimately, I'm not going to tell you for whom you should vote (although an endorsement is forthcoming). I want you to make your own decision. That said, here's my PA-3 voter's guide with the candidates listed in alphabetical order...
Where: I met Fisher at the Grove City Trade Show.
Pros: Fisher seems like a really nice guy. A smart guy. He comes off as a business professional/policy wonk who can get into the underbelly of Washington and make things happen. He doesn't just know buzzwords...you get the idea that he knows the background. He's also personable and can talk to you about the "joys" of being a homeowner as easily as healthcare policy.
Cons: Fisher didn't come across as a type-A people person. He seemed more like the quiet type. Once you start talking to him, he'll get going...but you gotta get him going. There's nothing inherently wrong with "the strong, silent type," but it's almost required to have at least a little "killer instinct" when you head into modern Washington.
Where: I met Franz at the Grove City Trade Show. I've also been to his HQ in Mercer.
Pros: If you want a blue-collar everyman, Franz is your guy. Sick of slick, professional politicians? Franz is your guy. Need someone to cut your taxes and your firewood? Franz is your guy. He's very friendly, yet very concerned about the direction of the state and country. He has seen 2000 fellow GE employees get the ax while Dahlkemper has fooled around with socialized medicine. Franz gets it. He's unashamed about being conservative.
Cons: He's not polished, which may concern some voters. The blue-blood, country club types won't understand him (this is an obvious plus to many others, though).
Where: Grabb was the first to contact me for a sit-down chat. I also talked with him at a Grabb event in Butler.
Pros: If you're absolutely sick about the trashing of the Constitution, then Grabb is your guy. He has an absolute passion and fire for the Constitution and can speak readily about the need to cherish it. He's far more concerned with the Constitution than the party label. He's also smart about the real world. He spends the day traveling as a pharma representative. He's good with people. He's also the only one that proudly embraces the Tea Party platform. On top of it all, he's a Navy vet, so you can believe he cares deeply about the oath of office. If you want a candidate who is American first and Republican second, you'll love Grabb.
Cons: He is running a totally grassroots campaign. This can really be difficult in modern campaign. He's also despised by the establishment Republicans because of his deep conservative roots and desire to follow Constitution over party. Mercer County GOP chair David King has snubbed Grabb at least four times now (King should resign immediately). If you want a candidate who is Republican first and American second, you'll hate Grabb.
Where: Huber was the second candidate to seek me out for a chat.
Pros: Huber knows business. He had a successful business before selling it to retire. He sees everything in the scope of business. In this era of skyrocketing debt, we really need more businessmen and far less lawyers. It's not just the bottom line for Huber, either. He really understands trade issues and policies that clog DC. Owning a business will do that. The more successful you are, the more the government comes calling. Huber knows how painful that is and how to fix it.
Cons: Huber has a terrible albatross around his neck. He was a Democrat until last year. He became a Dem during JFK and never changed. He has financially supported Republicans throughout his life, but I still would have changed...especially in 1980, 1992, 1994, or 1998. At what point are you outraged enough to change?
Where: I met Kelly at his kick-off event in Grove City.
Pros: Kelly is a likable guy. I'd watch a football game with him. Heck, I might even buy a car off him (and I hate car dealers). He has some background in local government, so he's not going in totally green. He's extremely personable and is a smooth talker (in a good way). He can speak off the cuff and stays on message. He's passionate about reversing the downward direction of the country.
Cons: His passion makes him come across as angry. Many people have noticed this. And when he gets angry, he doesn't control it well. He's also the clear insider favorite. Perhaps the GOP bosses see his money and realize he's "their boy." The biggest problem is his past political donations. He's plopped some big money down to help liberals. Really. One was for an opponent of English (when Phil was a conservative) and another big chunk went to an opponent of Rep. Metcalfe (the most conservative guy in Harrisburg). That's scary. Finally, when I asked Kelly which modern politician he most matches, he paused. I offered the options of Reagan, Bush, and McCain. He chose "a little of all three." Would any conservative claim to have ANY McCain in him?
Where: I have yet to talk with or meet Dr. Moore. I'm still hoping to meet her and amend this as necessary.
Pros: Healthcare. It's her issue. Our country is going to sink under socialized medicine. We can only hope it is repealed, then have folks like Moore to step in and point out where the government is crushing the US system. She's just a citizen who wants to make a difference. Kudos to her. We definitely need more citizens to say (as Moore says) "enough is enough."
Cons: She's got nearly no name recognition, which is terribly hard to overcome.