Friday, January 13, 2006

Disappointing withdrawal (Piccola was way better than Bill Scranton)

Disappointing withdrawal: "Disappointing withdrawal
Thursday, January 12, 2006
State Sen. Jeff Piccola's run at the governorship was always a long shot, considering his limited name recognition and the fact that he hailed from a region with far less voting power than Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

But despite one's views on the issues -- and we have differed with the Dauphin County Republican's positions on more than one occasion -- it's unfortunate that the candidate among the GOP field with the most political experience and clearly the best grasp of the issues was forced out of the race so quickly.

Aware that he wasn't going to gain even a native son endorsement from the central Pennsylvania Republican caucus, and facing polls showing him well behind front-runners Lynn Swann, a Pittsburgh Steelers hall of famer, and former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton, Piccola withdrew last weekend.

Swann, as evidenced by admiring crowds and autograph seekers during a visit to the Pennsylvania State Farm Show, has star power, but his post-playing days have been spent, well, on football as a sideline reporter on college football telecasts. Scranton, meanwhile, has virtually vanished from Harrisburg for most of the past two decades.

This is not to say that neither Swann nor Scranton is gubernatorial timber, and a case can be made for having someone from outside state government and the political skirmishes of recent years bringing a fresh perspective to the table.

But neither has yet to elaborate on the issues, and it is here that we think Piccola would have played an important role in the debate. His knowledge and experience likely would have forced the two front-runners into specific positions and would have given voters an indication of how they would govern.

We understand, however, the political and financial challengesthat Piccola faced and we respect his decision, as well as his passion for wanting a better Pennsylvania."

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