January 28, 2010

Allyson's Foes Lining Up

In the name of public service, I have sacrificed myself and attended both of the 13th Congressional District Republican candidate forums over the past week. Why? Because taking out the poster child of the progressive left, Allyson Schwartz, would be the pièce de résistance of a conservative-tea-bag sweep in November.

Six candidates are vying for the 13th district's seat and each brings their own set of endearing qualities to the table. Each possess the same conservative message which swept Steve Christie, Bob McDonnell, and Scott Brown to victories over the last 3 months. A couple hundred committeepeople and GOP die-hards came to see act two.

Here's how I see each of the contenders...

Damian Dachowski, a dentist from Huntington Valley, was first to enter the fray last summer and held the lone health care town hall in the district, at a time when the albatross of state-run care seemed inevitable. Allyson Schwartz knew better than to hold one of her own. Which gives Damian one thing the others can't claim: an early victory in this battle.

Dachowski is solid on the health care debate, but the issue may be DOA and irrelevant by the time the fall campaign is in full swing. He understands the importance of energy independence and its relation to events in the middle-east, but has yet to find his voice on some key issues. After being out in front, Dachowski's left room for others to make this a race. Will he capture the moment?

Charlie McIntyre has worked in sales for Unisys Corp. for 36 years and is a charming, likable fellow. Charlie is well-versed on all the issues and like any good salesman, is confident in the message he brings. That message is best summed-up by Thomas Jefferson, "any government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have". Amen!

Charlie's one weakness seems to be how his style will play in the Philly half of the 13th district. There may be a slight age gap issue. Will Charlie get Philly voters fired up enough to ditch Allyson in November?

Dee Adcock is from my home of Abington. Dee is a successful businessman (W.W. Adcock Inc. out of Huntington Valley) with the sole individual ability to make Allyson nervous about how much money will available to mount a serious campaign. Adcock's dulcitone voice and warm personality give him a commanding presence.

But when the heat is on in November, will Adcock be able to find the fire-in-the belly attitude needed to take out the skilled politician Schwartz? Dee could use some work on message delivery but his style contrasts perfectly against the D.C. insider he will have to battle.

Josh Quinter performed much better tonight than round one. His knowledge is broad and he has a firm grip on the major issues. He's a young attorney and has been tagged a "rising star" by the Pennsylvania Lawyer's Association.

Quinter is also endorsed by the Association of Builders and Contractors. Though he still needs to learn how to connect with an audience and, like Dachowski, seems at times to be struggling finding his voice, he too has got potential.

Lee Falgoust is the lone candidate who has been here before. He mounted a brief campaign two years ago, but when he didn't garner the Montco endorsement, he graciously tossed his support behind Marina Kats.

Lee is also a business owner and like the others, understands the problem lies firmly with an out of control government. What Lee needs to show is an ability to motivate people to get behind him: to rally the troops.

Brian Haughton is a Philadelphia firefighter and owner of SmokeEaters Pub on Frankford Avenue in Mayfair. He's the type of guy we would all love as our representative. He's got that Philly swagger which will endear him to many voters tired of politicians like Allyson talking down to hard-working constituents.

Brian's flaw may sound personal, but it really isn't. There are a good number of committee folks in the Montco half of the district who will not relate. His desire, passion, and wit makes him very likable, but his chances of winning the Montco endorsement seem like a long shot. But this year, in this political climate, perhaps he's exactly what the 13th needs.


To win this race, voters need to be inspired to get out of their seats for you. Simply hoping they are angry enough with the progressive-left's agenda to pull your name along with the top of the ticket isn't going to be enough to win. Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district likes to pull levers on both sides.

At this stage, there is no clear front-runner. Each will need a strong organization, smart message building, and both the Philly and Montco GOP organizations firmly behind them if they have any shot to take out Schwartz. A couple have the potential to mount serious campaigns, but these are NOT seasoned political candidates. How refreshing!

One message I have for the contenders: now is the time to step it up another notch! Allyson Schwartz has proven she can win. She will pull another Bob Casey and run a Where's Waldo campaign until you find a way to get her out in the street for a good ol' Philly brawl. Which one of you is ready to mount that challenge?

February 8th is endorsement night in Montco. What better way for me to spend my birthday?

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