Friday, March 19, 2010

Challenging Times Concerning Political Petitions

The petition-poaching season (the week or two following filing deadlines for elected office) is brief, but sometimes eventful.

Dan Onorato's campaign challenged Joe Hoeffel's petitions, then it didn't, then Onorato (left, with a junior aide) claimed his campaign had never done any of it.

Progress Pittsburgh overstated the situation with the headline "Has Dan Onorato Lost His Mind?" -- by about one-tenth of one degree.

Hoeffel filed roughly seven times as many signatures as were required, suggesting that Onorato's primary motivation was to exploit his funding advantage by bleeding Hoeffel's scarce dollars. The Onorato camp's stated explanation -- that fear of a Hoeffel challenge to Anthony Williams' petitions triggered the Onorato challenge, and that learning that Hoeffel had not challenged Williams' petitions caused Onorato to withdraw -- would not place Onorato in any more attractive light. For an ostensibly confident campaign based primarily on building a perception that its candidate's nomination is inevitable, the Onorato camp's unnecessary revelation of insecurity was a strange misstep.

Another interesting point: Veteran Republican overachiever Mike Turzai, state senator from the North Hills, has challenged the petitions of an unknown Democrat, Sharon Brown. One of the three registered Democrats named as a challenger is a David J. Malone -- who shares at least a name with a big donor to Democrats who also happens to be a prominent local beneficiary of the decisions of pragmatic Democratic elected officials (such as Tom Murphy). Malone (right) is among Luke Ravenstahl's biggest funders; Malone and Turzai are part of Ravenstahl's "problem-solving" pension panel.

Unless the situation involves two David J. Malones, why would two-way Democratic player Malone and Republican heartthrob Turzai form a tag-team to scuttle an inconsequential Democratic primary candidate? Someone should ask Jim Burn.


Anonymous said...

Some of us are wondering - do you have any opinions on Mayor Ravenstahl?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Infinonymous said...

The presentable portion of the preceding comment (punctuation edited) was:

Challenging petitions is standard procedure . . . Why does the Post-Gazette pay any attention to this?

The unpresentable portion has been deleted.