Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Chuck Pennacchio and Alan Sandals: Splitting the Progressive Vote

So, there are officially three U.S. Senate candidates in the PA Democratic primary: Chuck Pennacchio, Bob Casey Jr. and Alan Sandals. Casey, is too conservative to appropriately represent the actual interests of most Democrats.

Bob Casey, Jr.
On abortion – pro-life
On stem cell research – opposed
Accepts PAC money – yes, but not corporate or industry
War in Iraq – supported
Troops in Iraq – stay the course
National Health Care – opposed
Raising the minimum wage – supports
NAFTA/CAFTA – opposed both
Alito confirmation to Supreme Court – supports confirmation

Unfortunately, Casey has enormous name recognition, because he is the son of PA's former two-term governor Bob Casey Sr., which makes him the front-runner. Chuck Pennacchio, on the other hand, is a Democrat who actually represents Democratic interests.

Chuck Pennacchio
On abortion – pro-choice
On stem cell research – supports
Accepts PAC money – no
War in Iraq – opposed
Troops in Iraq – out as soon as safely possible
National Health Care – supports
Raising the minimum wage – supports living wage with different levels depending on where the worker lives
NAFTA/CAFTA – opposed both
Alito confirmation to Supreme Court – supports a filibuster

Alan Sandals is also more progressive than Bob Casey Jr., but is not preferable to Pennacchio, as illustrated in my previous post. See Sandals' positions here.

The matter of concern becomes the splitting of the progressive vote in the Democratic primary. What happens if the vote tally ends as such:

Casey 49%
Pennacchio 30%
Sandals 21%

Because Pennsylvania does not has a runoff primary election, this could be an actual outcome of the race. In this case, if either Pennacchio or Sandals had dropped out of the race, the progressive candidate would likely have won the election. Who knows if either Pennacchio or Sandals will garner this much of the primary vote--I believe that Pennacchio can--but the already arduous task of beating Casey in May is made twice as difficult when both Pennacchio and Sandals are fighting for votes from the same subset of PA Democratic primary voters.

When two people are running as the anti-Casey, progressive efforts are spoiled. Pennacchio or Sandals (preferably Sandals) needs to drop out of the race if Bob Casey Jr. stands a chance of being defeated in May.


At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Rebecca said...

As I mentioned in a previous post, if the goal is to get rid of Santorum while remaining true to Democratic values, then Alan Sandals is the candidate to do it. His appeal is broader than Chuck's and will not alienate moderate Republicans and Independents, whose votes any Democratic candidate will need in order to beat Santorum in November.

At 3:53 PM, Blogger cseverett said...

I disagree. I've heard a couple Chuck Pennacchio speeches and each time there were enthusiastic responses from Republicans in the crowd. I guess you'd call these people moderate Republicans; do liberal Republicans exist?

At 1:34 AM, Blogger Shlomo Boudreaux said...


I'm basically repeating a comment from my other post, but that's OK. On what EXACTLY are you basing your statement that Sandals' "appeal is broader than Chuck's and will not alienate moderate Republicans and Independents?" I have seen no polling indicative of this viewpoint. I'm curious to hear your evidence.

I agree that the goal is to remove Santorum from office. In fact, I would certainly choose Sandals over Santorum in an election. However, I have to respectfully disagree with you rationale. Pennacchio and Sandals have very similar positions on most issues. What precisely is so much more radical about Pennacchio than Sandals?

If attracting moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats is the goal, then we should be supporting Casey. If we are trying to fire up the base, then Pennacchio is the answer, because he already seems to have a stronger grassroots following than Sandals. Like I said, I have nothing AGAINST Sandals, I just BELIEVE in Pennacchio.


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