The Phoenix Reporter and Item (

EDITORIAL: Voters should reward candidates with positive message

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The way we choose a lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania is, in the big picture, probably better than the running mate selection process in presidential elections.

In Pennsylvania, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run in separate primaries — and the two winners are teamed up as ticket in the general election.

That’s a more democratic process than the politicized presidential running mate selection process that has saddled our nation with the likes of Dan Quayle and Joe Biden. Let the people choose who would potentially be first in the line of succession.

Still, this year we kind of wish gubernatorial candidates could choose their running mates.

On the Republican ticket, incumbent Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley is a done deal — he has no primary opponents.

On the Democratic side, five candidates are vying for the nomination — most of whom you’ve probably never heard of (the one you probably have heard of, Jay Paterno, is no longer in the running).

State Sen. Mike Stack, former U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski, Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith and state Rep. Brandon Neuman all seem like decent, competent candidates.

But none of them really light up an electorate. What a shame the Democratic nominee can’t choose a running mate with more star power.

If the polls showing Tom Wolf way ahead in the gubernatorial race are accurate and he becomes the Democratic nominee, and if the nominee could choose a running mate like presidential candidates do after their conventions, we would suggest Mr. Wolf choose one of his current rivals: Katie McGinty.

She’s a class act.

While Rob McCord and Allyson Schwartz have run desperate, negative campaigns against Mr. Wolf, Ms. McGinty has — like Mr. Wolf — focused on her positive attributes rather than try to tear down her rivals.

As we come down the home stretch toward the May 20 primary, Ms. Schwartz and Mr. McCord have continued their relentless assault on Mr. Wolf. Mr. McCord shamefully tries to paint Mr. Wolf as a racist — or an apologist for a racist — because of his honorary chairmanship of former York Mayor Charlie Robertson’s campaign many years ago. Other broadsides have raised unfounded innuendo about Mr. Wolf’s business history.

Incredibly, Mr. McCord, who once (according to a Philadelphia Inquirer article) advocated outsourcing jobs to India, attacked Mr. Wolf for distributing cabinets made in Indiana — the state, not the little Pennsylvania town.

Oh my gosh, Tom Wolf is practically the Wolf of Wall Street! (We’re surprised we haven’t seen any big, bad Wolf TV ads yet.)

Instead of that nasty negativity, Ms. McGinty focuses in debates and TV ads on her ideas and on her experience (in the Clinton administration and as Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection secretary under former Gov. Ed Rendell.), though she has spoken negatively about Gov. Corbett’s record.

She might be underfunded, and she might not win, but we respect her for maintaining her dignity rather than wallow in the mud with Mr. McCord and Ms. Schwartz.

Ms. McGinty would make a wonderful running mate for Mr. Wolf — and an excellent lieutenant governor.

Alas, it doesn’t work that way in Pennsylvania.

So, in the Democratic primary, if for some reason you can’t or won’t vote for Mr. Wolf, at least choose the candidate who hasn’t run a misleading, negative campaign.

And we sure would like to see Ms. McGinty as a key member of a Wolf administration. (Or vice versa.)