Endorsements: Pat Toomey for U.S. Senate

toomeyendorseIf you’ve been watching your TV of late, you’ve seen two portrayals of U.S. Senate Candidates Pat Toomey (R) and Katie McGinty (D) — and can’t be blamed if you think them both corrupt and owned by special interests.

The campaign ads are cartoonish attempts to massively exaggerate the flaws of both candidates, in both cases bordering on downright dishonest. The truth is, as is usually the case, more nuanced and filled with grey areas that require a closer look.

In truth, both candidates give us pause — and choosing to support either is a difficult decision.

In Toomey’s case, many of his stances remain too far to the right of most Pennsylvanians — his opposition to abortion, his refusal to push for judicial hearings on U.S. Supreme Court nominee  Merrick Garland and his ties to Wall Street that make those ascribed to Hillary Clinton pale in comparison. We also would like to have seen him make a stronger stand on Donald Trump.

As for McGinty — that she is even the nominee speaks volumes as to why voters in both parties distrust and even despise the elites of their party. She is a not particularly accomplished public servant who has never held elective office. And, if legislative sources on both sides of the aisle are to believed — she doesn’t play well with others; as Gov. Tom Wolf’s Chief of Staff she blamed by many for precipitating the long budget standoff. She was a top-down choice by party leaders over former Congressman Joe Sestak, who lost narrowly to Toomey in 2010.

Were Sestak the Democratic nominee he would have been an easy choice to endorse and likely would be running well ahead of Toomey in the polls.

And yet, both candidates offer reasons to support them, as well.

In McGinty’s case, a Democratic win (which we think is the likely outcome) would help build a Senate majority, allowing a very likely President Clinton to at least get her cabinet and judicial appointees through. In truth, she probably won’t be any worse than Sen. Robert Menendez (D- N.J.), but probably won’t be a leading light of the Senate. Her victory would help to secure voting rights, abortion rights, campaign finance reform and redistricting reform, among other issues, but no more so or less so than any other Democrat who would have run.

Toomey, on the other hand, unlike many of his GOP brethren, has worked well across the aisle on certain issues — most notably gun control, showing enough bravery to go up against the National Rifle Association to back a bill calling for universal background checks, in the process seeing his NRA rating drop from A to C — a risky, if not suicidal, move for a Republican. With the continued bloodshed in our county and our repeated calls to action, it would be hypocritical of us not give Toomey credit here where credit is due. Also true: he’s worked well with Democratic Senator Bob Casey Jr. on a number of issues specific to Pennsylvania. Lastly, regardless of his ideology, he is intelligent and exceptionally well versed in the issues and seems to have grown with the job.

If ideology or party ID is your primary reason to vote, your decision is already made. But if you measure your vote on the character of the person and the bigger picture of politics, Toomey has shown enough smarts and political courage to deserve a second term in the U.S. Senate.

We endorse Pat Toomey for reelection to the United States Senate.

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