10. Best Magic Trick: Demise of Bob Mellow.
Under Mr. Mellow’s leadership, a party with a voter advantage of 1.2 million was perennially locked into second-fiddle status and couldn’t rise above 20 seats. In the face of IRS and FBI investigations, Mr. Mellow retired to his corporate board room with an annual pension of almost $139,000.
9. Best Political Ad: “Chicken Little.”
Tarah Toohill pinned House Majority Leader Todd Eachus in the last period of the election with a game changing reversal. Mr. Eachus, like most incumbents, steadfastly refused to debate his challenger. Ms. Toohill baited Mr. Eachus to debate via a political commercial disguised as a “debate” where the Majority Leader was dressed in a chicken costume.
8. Luckiest Caucus: Senate Republicans.
Senator John Eichelberger touched off the Bonusgate firestorm by asking the Attorney General to look into shenanigans within his own caucus. The Senate Republicans ran out the clock on the investigation, and are unlikely to come under fire from a Governor who needs their votes to confirm his agenda.
7. Least Covered Power Shift of the Year: House Dems.
House Democrats stripped Dwight Evans, the King of WAMS, as ranking member of Appropriations. They also put Mark Cohen, former Caucus Chair,out to pasture. The moves leave Philadelphia without any leadership posts in the caucus, and shifts power to Pittsburgh.
6. Most Embarrassing Defeat: Dave Argall.
Not only did Dave Argall prove the pay raise still has legs, but in a year when Republicans swept to power, he lost his home county to Democratic co-resident Tim Holden by 12,000 votes.
5. Worst Campaign of the Year: Dan Onorato. Most people still don’t know who Dan Onorato is unless they visit a bar in Pittsburgh and use the urinal. Tom Corbett offered up a bucket of malapropos, but the Democratic gubernatorial candidate couldn’t decide on a message or get this campaign in gear.
4. Luckiest Pol: Pat Toomey.
In any other year, Pat Toomey would have to suffer through “he’s too conservative for Pennsylvania.” In 2010, all the stars were aligned for the Golden Boy ofthe Tea Party Movement: Specter lost to an ad campaign, Toomey had no primary challenge and Joe Sestak had torun against two parties in the general election.
3. Broken Promise of the Year: Senate Republicans.
Senate Republicans steadfastly promised there would be no lame duck session. They also agreed to vote on a Marcellus Shale tax, then Senate R’s out maneuvered the headless-House Democrats, convened a sine die session, killed the severance tax and secured a fiscal watchdog.
2. Person of the Year: Arlen Specter.
Arlen Specter’s defeat changed the political map, and put and end to a career that defied political gravity to span a half-century. Arlen survived the “magic bullet theory,” defended Ira Einhorn, persecuted Anita Hill,sidestepped Lynn Yeakel’s challenge, muscled past Pat Toomey’s insurgency, and defeated multiple bouts of cancer, only to lose to a political neophyte with a lackluster campaign, but a jaw-dropping commercial that pasted Arlen with the unforgettable mantra, “My change in party will enable me to be reelected…reelected.”
1. Story of the Year: GOP.
Pennsylvania’s Republican political realignment on November 2 will be cemented through redistricting.Compounding the electoral and geographical dislocation for Democrats, is the lack of juice in D.C. and Harrisburg after the death of John Murtha, defeat of Arlen Specter, and departure of Ed Rendell.
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