Northeast Times

Plenty to ponder in these pre-election days

— The pres­id­en­tial race gets top billing, of course, but many im­port­ant de­cisions await you when you get in­to the pri­vacy of the vot­ing booth.

The na­tion will be watch­ing on Tues­day to see wheth­er Amer­ic­ans give Barack Obama an­oth­er four years, or wheth­er they make the Demo­crat a one-term pres­id­ent.

Na­tion­al polls seem to give Re­pub­lic­an Mitt Rom­ney a slight edge, but the all-im­port­ant battle­ground states ap­pear to be lean­ing to­ward Obama, set­ting up the pos­sib­il­ity of Rom­ney win­ning the pop­u­lar vote but the pres­id­ent cap­tur­ing the Elect­or­al Col­lege.

Liber­tari­an Gary John­son and the Green Party’s Jill Stein will also ap­pear on the bal­lot.

Here are the oth­er races for fed­er­al and state of­fices:

United States Sen­ate

Demo­crat­ic Sen. Bob Ca­sey Jr. is seek­ing a second term. He’s the son of a former gov­ernor, but former Gov. and fel­low Demo­crat Ed Rendell has cri­ti­cized Ca­sey for run­ning a quiet re-elec­tion cam­paign.

Tom Smith is a wealthy former coal com­pany own­er who used much of his for­tune to eas­ily cap­ture the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion, des­pite not hav­ing the party en­dorse­ment. He was a con­sid­er­able un­der­dog to Ca­sey at the be­gin­ning of the cam­paign, but polls have nar­rowed and Roll Call news­pa­per now rates it in the com­pet­it­ive “Leans Demo­crat­ic” cat­egory.

Liber­tari­an Ray­burn Smith is also in the race.

1st Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict

Demo­crat­ic Rep. Bob Brady won a spe­cial elec­tion in 1998 and has eas­ily won re-elec­tion ever since. He rep­res­ents 30 per­cent of the North­east, much of it new ter­rit­ory along the North Delaware Av­en­ue river­front that he took from Rep. Allyson Schwartz in re­dis­trict­ing.

The Re­pub­lic­an is Re­altor John Feather­man. He said he’s run­ning to im­prove the lives of people in what is one of the na­tion’s poorest con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts.

State At­tor­ney Gen­er­al

Re­pub­lic­ans have won every race for at­tor­ney gen­er­al since it be­came an elec­ted of­fice in 1980. The GOP has gen­er­ally run pro­sec­utors and be­nefited from a view that it’s the law-and-or­der party. Demo­crats have put up some lackluster can­did­ates.

However, this year, Demo­crats think they can elect one of their own. Former Lack­awanna County As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kath­leen Kane de­feated former con­gress­man Patrick Murphy in the primary and should be­ne­fit from a Demo­crat­ic voter-re­gis­tra­tion ad­vant­age.

The Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate is Cum­ber­land County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Dav­id Freed, a son-in-law of former state At­tor­ney Gen­er­al LeRoy Zi­m­mer­man.

Out­side groups have run tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials that have dis­tor­ted the re­cords of both can­did­ates.

Marakay Ro­gers is run­ning as a Liber­tari­an.

State Aud­it­or Gen­er­al

The ma­jor-party can­did­ates are state Reps. John Ma­h­er, a Re­pub­lic­an from Al­legheny County, and Eu­gene De­Pasquale, a Demo­crat from York County. Ma­h­er is a CPA, while De­Pasquale worked for the state De­part­ment of En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion be­fore be­ing elec­ted to the House in 2006.

Liber­tari­an Betsy Sum­mers is a sales rep­res­ent­at­ive for a veter­in­ary sup­ply com­pany and an in­de­pend­ent broker for an In­ter­net com­pany that builds home-based busi­ness net­works.

Ma­h­er and De­Pasquale are both run­ning for re-elec­tion to their House seats.

State Treas­urer

Demo­crat Rob Mc­Cord, of Lower Merion, is seek­ing a second term in a low-key race that also in­cludes Re­pub­lic­an Di­ana Irey Vaughan and Liber­tari­an Pa­tri­cia Fry­man.

Mc­Cord, a busi­ness­man be­fore be­ing elec­ted, is of­ten men­tioned as a fu­ture can­did­ate for gov­ernor or Sen­ate.

Irey Vaughan is a com­mis­sion­er in Wash­ing­ton County.

Fry­man is a re­tired aud­it­or from Ven­ango County.

5th Sen­at­ori­al Dis­trict

Demo­crat­ic Sen. Mike Stack, a law­yer and Somer­ton res­id­ent, is seek­ing a fourth four-year term. The dis­trict has strong Demo­crat­ic lean­ings, and Stack took 72 per­cent against Re­pub­lic­an John Far­ley in 2008.

The GOP’s Mike Tom­lin­son, of May­fair, has run an en­er­get­ic cam­paign, at­tend­ing com­munity meet­ings and knock­ing on people’s doors. He’s a former teach­er and CPA.

152nd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Tom Murt, of Up­per Mo­re­land, faces Ron­ald Kolla, a mu­sic­al theat­er in­struct­or at Hat­boro-Hor­sham High School.

The dis­trict in­cludes four di­vi­sions in Somer­ton.

154th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Demo­crat­ic Rep. Larry Curry is re­tir­ing. The fa­vor­ite to re­place him is Demo­crat Steve Mc­Carter, a long­time high school so­cial stud­ies teach­er. Re­pub­lic­an Mark Sirin­ides, a chem­ist, won a spot on the bal­lot by run­ning a write-in cam­paign on primary day after fail­ing to get the min­im­um num­ber of nom­in­at­ing pe­ti­tions.

The dis­trict in­cludes one di­vi­sion in Burholme.

169th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Demo­crat­ic Rep. Ed Neilson faces Re­pub­lic­an Dave Kralle in a re­match of their spe­cial elec­tion in April.

Neilson is a former polit­ic­al dir­ect­or of In­ter­na­tion­al Broth­er­hood of Elec­tric­al Work­ers Loc­al 98 and an of­fi­cial in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Gov. Ed Rendell. He was work­ing for a law of­fice, hand­ling busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and gov­ern­ment re­la­tions, be­fore run­ning for the seat.

Kralle is a former aide to state Rep. Den­nis O’Bri­en, who held the seat for more than 30 years be­fore join­ing City Coun­cil earli­er this year.

The 169th dis­trict is ex­pec­ted to move to York County after re­dis­trict­ing. If Neilson wins, he could face fel­low Demo­crat­ic Rep. John Sabat­ina Jr. in a 2014 primary. Kralle’s home is ex­pec­ted to be in­cluded in the 173rd dis­trict, cur­rently rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Mike McGee­han.

172nd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Fresh­man Demo­crat­ic Rep. Kev­in Boyle was elec­ted in 2010, de­feat­ing long­time Re­pub­lic­an Rep. John Perzel, who was fa­cing cor­rup­tion charges. Boyle had been an aide to City Coun­cil­man at-large Bill Green­lee.

The Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate is Al Tauben­ber­ger, pres­id­ent of the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Burholme Com­munity Town Watch and Civic As­so­ci­ation. He has pre­vi­ously run for Con­gress (twice), may­or and City Coun­cil.

Both can­did­ates live in Fox Chase.

177th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Re­pub­lic­an Rep. John Taylor was elec­ted in 1984 and has gen­er­ally cruised to re-elec­tion in an over­whelm­ingly Demo­crat­ic dis­trict. If he wins again, he’ll gain more Re­pub­lic­an ter­rit­ory in re­dis­trict­ing.

The Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate is Wil­li­am Dun­bar, a former aide to state Rep. Tony Payton and U.S. Rep. Chaka Fat­tah. He is ex­pec­ted to be­ne­fit from voters who push the straight Demo­crat­ic lever to sup­port Obama.

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The fol­low­ing loc­al can­did­ates, all Demo­crats, are un­op­posed: State Sen. Shir­ley Kit­chen (3rd dis­trict), Reps. Brendan Boyle (170th), Mike McGee­han (173rd), John Sabat­ina Jr. (174th), Mark Co­hen (202nd) and Dwight Evans (203rd) and James “Scoot” Clay in the 179th dis­trict.

••

Phil­adelphia voters will de­cide on four bal­lot ques­tions. Here is the word­ing on each of the ques­tions:

Shall The Phil­adelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to al­low for the es­tab­lish­ment of an in­de­pend­ent rate-mak­ing body for fix­ing and reg­u­lat­ing wa­ter and sew­er rates and charges and to pre­scribe open and trans­par­ent pro­cesses and pro­ced­ures for fix­ing and reg­u­lat­ing said rates and charges?

Shall the Phil­adelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to au­thor­ize the cre­ation by or­din­ance of re­quire­ments for ad­di­tion­al in­form­a­tion to be sub­mit­ted with the an­nu­al op­er­at­ing budget, an­nu­al cap­it­al budget, and cap­it­al pro­gram, in­clud­ing, but not lim­ited to, in­form­a­tion about the cost of per­form­ing spe­cif­ic func­tions, the ef­fect­ive­ness of such func­tions, and the costs versus be­ne­fits of pro­posed ex­pendit­ures, and to re­quire the Fin­ance Dir­ect­or to provide such in­form­a­tion?

Shall the Phil­adelphia Home Rule Charter — which al­lows for a pref­er­ence in the civil ser­vice reg­u­la­tions for the chil­dren of Phil­adelphia fire­fight­ers or po­lice of­ficers who were killed or who died in the line of duty — be amended to fur­ther al­low for a pref­er­ence for the grand­chil­dren of such fire­fight­ers or po­lice of­ficers?

Should the City of Phil­adelphia bor­row One Hun­dred Twenty Three Mil­lion Six Hun­dred Sev­enty Thou­sand Dol­lars ($123,670,000) to be spent for and to­ward cap­it­al pur­poses as fol­lows: Trans­it; Streets and San­it­a­tion; Mu­ni­cip­al Build­ings; Parks, Re­cre­ation and Mu­seums; and Eco­nom­ic and Com­munity De­vel­op­ment?

••

The state’s voter iden­ti­fic­a­tion law re­mains in place, and elec­tion board work­ers will ask voters for an ID card, just like they did in the April primary.

Voters, though, do not have to show an ID to cast a bal­lot. Poll work­ers will ask for the ID only as a test run for when the law will be im­ple­men­ted, dur­ing the May 2013 primary.

••

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Com­mit­tee of Sev­enty has com­pre­hens­ive elec­tion in­form­a­tion on its Web site, sev­enty.org

There, in­di­vidu­als can sign up to vo­lun­teer for the group’s Voter Pro­tec­tion Pro­gram on Elec­tion Day.

Also, by typ­ing your ad­dress in a box, you’ll be able to find the ad­dress of your polling place, along with your ward and di­vi­sion and the names of your loc­al, state and na­tion­al elec­ted of­fi­cials.

For more in­form­a­tion, call the Com­mit­tee of 70 hot­line toll-free at 1-866-OUR VOTE. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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