Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Senate race: Pennacchio getting mentioned, and why we need an open primary

While I am happy that Bob Casey, Jr is running against Rick Santorum, there is no question in my mind that an open primary, especially if it is conducted the right way, will only help the Democratic party. How so?

1) Let the party have an honest, open debate with its members about who we want to represent us in the general election.

2) Gain lots of free publicity for our candidates as they debate. Santorum will win his primary, and it will be barley covered. If we have a competitive primary, it becomes a huge national and statewide story. Which leads to....

3) More candidates bashing Santorum on a daily basis. Put it like this, without Chuck Pennacchio's campaign, we would not have had the video of Drexel Republicans shouting 'hey hey, ho ho, Social Security's got to go." Instead, that video was disseminated across the internet, mentioned in the NY Times, and is helping to stop Dubya's social security destruction. And, I am pretty damn sure it will come in handy as an attack ad against Santorum in the general election, whomever the candidate is.

4) Above all else, the people should decide. Backroom politics in PA have gotten us nowhere. We constantly lose every state race except Governor. And, in fact, by the logic of a closed primary, Rendell himself would never have had a chance to take the message of change to Pennsylvanians, and kick the ass of the then sitting Attorney General.

To that end, it is really annoying that Pennacchio consistently fails to be mentioned in any story about the race. In fact, reporters say over and over again that the primary is over. Well, guess what, it isn't. And, finally, Pennacchio is at least getting mentioned. From an Inky article about Casey, and his risks of running for Senate:
At a media briefing last week, Reid dismissed a question about whether a Casey candidacy represented the party's effort to reach voters who oppose abortion. The pull was Casey's polling numbers, Reid said, which show him beating Santorum, a two-term senator.

"Obviously Casey's the best candidate," Reid said.

Some abortion-rights advocates are not happy that Casey was anointed, and he faces a challenge from the left in the Democratic primary from Chuck Pennacchio, the history program director at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Pennacchio has raised about $15,000, according to the latest campaign-finance filing.
Again, I am happy Casey is running. But, at the same time, I am also thrilled that Pennacchio refuses to make this a coronation. And, now, he is at least getting mentioned.

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