Texas Gov. Rick Perry might be leading the national polls for the Republican presidential nomination, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears to have pretty good support in Philadelphia.
The Northeast Times sponsored a straw poll at Sunday’s annual Republican City Committee clambake at Cannstatter’s, and Romney defeated Perry and nine others.
In all, 92 people voted. Romney topped the field with 29 votes, followed by Perry (17), Texas Rep. Ron Paul (eight), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (seven) and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (six). Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman received five votes apiece, with businessman and political commentator Herman Cain getting four votes. Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter and former Govs. Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Buddy Roemer of Louisiana each picked up one vote.
Eight people voted for others. Among the write-ins were two for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and one for Common Pleas Court Judge Chris Wogan.
Wogan, a Bustleton resident, served 21 years as a state representative before being elected a judge in 2001. He will seek retention to another 10-year term on Nov. 8.
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The clambake was originally scheduled for Aug. 27, but heavy rains postponed it.
An Elvis Presley tribute artist and Ferko String Band entertained the GOP faithful on Sunday.
Vito Canuso, the party chairman, welcomed the general election candidates on stage to be introduced.
Among those in attendance were mayoral candidate Karen Brown, register of wills challenger Linda Bateman and all five Council at-large hopefuls: David Oh, Dennis O’Brien, Joe McColgan, Al Taubenberger and Michael Untermeyer.
City Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.) was on hand, along with elections Commissioner Joe Duda and Al Schmidt, who is running for commissioner.
Statewide judicial candidates Vic Stabile (Superior Court) and Anne Covey (Commonwealth Court) made the trip to Philadelphia. Locally, the Common Pleas Court contenders were Anne Marie Coyle, Ken Powell, Jim DiVergilis, Ted Vigilante and Angelo Foglietta.
Coyle earlier declined the party’s suggestion that she run for mayor. If she loses her bid for judge, she might be right back on the ballot for state representative. O’Brien is favored to win an at-large seat and would give up his 169th Legislative District seat, setting up a special election next spring.
One other possible contender for O’Brien’s seat was present. That would be Shawn Dillon, Democratic leader of Ward 66-A.
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Brown, the mayoral candidate, told the crowd in her remarks that Mayor Michael Nutter is refusing to release his campaign polling because it shows her taking 43 percent of the vote. Canuso, the party chairman, has been impressed with her campaign.
“She has taken this city by storm,” he said. “I think she will surprise a lot of the political pundits come November.”
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It’s not too early to talk about the 2012 campaign.
Perry County attorney Marc Scaringi, a former aide to Santorum, greeted voters at the clambake. He wants to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey next year. His platform includes term limits and a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Other Republicans eyeing a run include retired U.S. Army Col. John Vernon, of Tioga County; Tom Smith, a former coal company owner and Tea Party leader from Armstrong County; former state Rep. Sam Rohrer; decorated Vietnam War veteran David Christian, an executive at a Holmesburg manufacturer that serves the Department of Defense and the commercial industry; Malvern businessman Steve Welch; and Lackawanna County Tea Party leader Laureen Cummings.
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The GOP Riders, a Republican motorcycle club, is looking for new members.
The group goes on memorial rides and attends bike rallies and charitable events. It is open to registered Republicans who have a love of country and riding motorcycles.
For more information, go to www.gopriders.com ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or email@example.com