Tuesday, April 27, 2010

That's Rich PA-3 Voter's Guide: Candidate Summary

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...

Steven Fisher
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.

Ed Franz
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).

Clayton Grabb
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.

Paul Huber
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?

Mike Kelly
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?

Martha Moore
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.


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this write up of the candidates. For the first time in my life I am looking to back a candidate in a local election. I just have not decided who yet and I have been starved for information. I have been leaning towards Clayton Grabb and this pushes me further in his direction.

Steve Fisher said...

Thank you for providing your assessment of the candidates. Yes, I may be a little quiet at times, but I get the job done when needed. I have always found more success by taking this approach versus being a bull in a China shop.
Steve Fisher

Peter said...

This is not at all even-handed. Mike Kelly has given more to conservative causes and candidates than all of the other candidates combined. You should check the official record.
If you're going to lambast him about past political donations, then you should put that in context relative to his spending on conservative candidates and relative to the other candidates' commitments to conservative candidates and causes. It doesn't seem just to do otherwise.
Plus, it might be worth investigating why at the time he donated to these candidates, rather than presuming a bias. Perhaps you should simply ask him instead of speculating.

Rich Talbert said...

Peter - this review is absolutely even handed. I was up front and said this is purely subjective based upon my own interaction and observation of the candidates.

I've pointed out pros and cons of each. If you don't like the fact that Kelly has dubious donations in his past, that's Kelly's problem, not mine. Frankly, I don't care why he donated against Metcalfe. When you try to oust the most conservative person in Harrisburg, it doesn't look good when you call yourself a conservative.

And finally, you helped me remember another negative. I need to edit my post. So, thanks!

Peter said...

The problem is you're lampooning Kelly for donations as if that's a qualifier without even mentioning the fact that the other candidates have done very little, if anything, for conservative candidates.
By the way, you can't be both even-handed and subjective. That's contradictory on it's face.

Rich Talbert said...

Clearly there is a language issue. I can be even handed in my review. My subjectivity is based upon my own observation, not a bias toward candidates. Understand the difference? If not, I can't help you further.

Kelly is your guy. I got it.

If you prefer I perform an in-depth interview with him, I'll gladly do it. I'm sure you can set it up.

And donating with the intent of ousting conservatives is bad in my book. Period. If he donated to Phil English's opponent in the 2000s, then THAT would be laudable since Phil went RINO. But in 1994, he was a conservative. Just like Metcalfe in 2002.

Back to the review...I mentioned his donations as a tiny part of the review. I wouldn't call that "lampooning." But thanks to your comments, I've had to flesh it out in greater detail as to why conservatives should worry. You're only hurting your candidate in the long run.

No other candidate has complained, even though I pointed out their faults, too.

Are you going to complain about how I called out Huber for being a Dem, even though he has supported conservative candidates? Or is this just about Kelly?

Peter said...

In Huber's case you stated that he was a Dem but has supported Republicans. You took the reverse course with Kelly.
Any definition of even-handed has a synonym which is objectivity. So it is contradictory to say you’re both even-handed and subjective. Being even-handed in your subjectivity is an oxymoron.
The fact that you’re getting angry in your response about Kelly further proves a bias that is illustrative of your blog… One that will only aid Dahlkemper.
But, I doubt you'll continue to publish my remarks as I can tell you're becoming irked, instead of responding with a modicum of civility.
Aren't you the same guy who has blogged against Republicans getting elected, even when the candidate was facing very liberal dems? Care to explain?

Rich Talbert said...

And no, Peter...I'm not going to continue posting your comments.

Everyone gets it...Kelly is your guy. He can't do anything wrong. He walked on water the other day. Awesome.

Of course, I have to wonder why you care since you're in Washington DC (IP: Are you some consultant that gets paid to post on blogs and message boards all day? Kelly should ask for a refund.

Anonymous said...

I believe the reason Steve Fisher is quiet at times. It's because he is listening to the concerns of the people instead of opening his mouth to quick. You have to listen first thats why you have two ears. I believe he is the right person for this job. First he listens, does not want to be a politican ( do you hear anyone else say that)He has the background to fight against this foolish health care. If that is what you can call it. Etc Etc

Philip Longstreet said...

I want to begin by saying I am proudly supporting Clayton Grabb & am actively working in his campaign. But I must say I believe your assessment is spot on with all the candidates. I attended the forum in Meadville on April 26, & was pleasantly surprised by the unity of all the candidates in agreeing that Washington is out of control. That is why it is disturbing to see that Kelly is the obvious party favorite. If Washington is pulling his strings, I don't see how he could possibly be able to to make any substantive changes.

Phil Longstreet
McKean, Pa.