Monday, July 25, 2005

Beaver County Times Allegheny Times - News - 07/25/2005 - Casey Still Over Shadows Republican gubernatorial hopefuls

Beaver County Times Allegheny Times - News - 07/25/2005 - Republican gubernatorial hopefuls differ in speaking styles, not much else: "Republican gubernatorial hopefuls differ in speaking styles, not much else
Marc Levy, Associated Press Writer

GRANTVILLE, Pa. - Three candidates for the GOP's gubernatorial nomination gave a list of reasons Saturday why they want to unseat Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, but offered a Republican crowd little contrast among themselves - other than their public-speaking styles.

Former Lt. Gov. William Scranton III thundered from the podium, gesturing at every turn and audibly tapping his fingers in front of the microphone to underscore his points.

Lynn Swann smiled early and often throughout his speech, warming up the crowd of GOP faithful with stories from his days as a star wide receiver with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And state Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, known for his serious personality, effusively thanked the crowd for their grassroots work on GOP campaigns, but yielded most of his speaking time to a campaign consultant who narrated a PowerPoint presentation of Pennsylvania voting trends.

About 150 county chairmen, volunteers and party operatives at a suburban Harrisburg hotel listened, having already attended training sessions on grassroots organizing at a Republican State Committee event.

The state committee will likely endorse a candidate early next year, several months ahead of the gubernatorial primary.

The election will be held in November 2006 and Rendell is expected to run for re-election.

Already, the candidates are raising campaign funds and traveling around the state, promising to reach every county.

Saturday's event was not the first time the three men have appeared together.

On policy, all three hit on the traditional GOP theme of cutting taxes, and Piccola even talked about ending property taxes as a way to fund public schools.

Education was also a central theme, as the candidates talked about the need to improve schools and bring down costs.

None of the candidates mentioned his competitors by name; and none told listeners why he would be a better person than the other two to bear the GOP standard.

Scranton, the only one of the three to have won a statewide election, sought to reassure the crowd that he is "deadly serious" about returning to statewide public office after nearly two decades in the private sector.

"I lost an election in '86," he said, referring to a gubernatorial campaign he lost to Democrat Robert P. Casey. "I'm not going to lose another election."

Piccola's campaign consultant, John Morgan, said that Piccola's name-recognition in central Pennsylvania should help increase turnout in his favor; he also said Piccola's Italian heritage would appeal to Italians in the battleground suburbs around Philadelphia.

Piccola twice called himself "the strongest candidate to bring off" a victory against Rendell, whose broad appeal in southeastern Pennsylvania helped carry him to victory in 2002.

And Swann, who works as a college football television analyst and co-chaired the African-American steering committee for the Bush-Cheney campaign, used anecdotes from the Steelers' championship days to illustrate the trust and leadership he said he would bring to the governor's office.

"I am about winning people," he said. "Let's get that straight."

┬ęBeaver County Times Allegheny Times 2005 "