New Castle News

Closer Look

March 1, 2014

John K. Manna: Son of football legend leads political field in poll

NEW CASTLE — Jay Paterno announced last week that he will be a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in the May primary.

Earlier this week, a poll showed Paterno leading the field of Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor by a slim margin. The survey, conducted by Harper Polling, included six candidates. For the record, it excluded the lone female running for the position.

Nonetheless, the poll shows what name recognition will do for you.

Being the son of legendary football coach Joe Paterno doesn’t hurt. Jay Paterno did gain some notoriety on his own as Penn State’s quarterbacks coach for several seasons.

The others in the Democratic field include a state representative, a state senator, a county commissioner and former U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, who Lawrence County voters should be familiar with.

Obviously, the common thread among these men is that they have governmental and political experience. Paterno has not held public office.

Does this make him less qualified? Maybe not.

The saving grace for any candidate for lieutenant governor, though, is that it is a position in which a person has time to learn the ropes since the lieutenant governor’s duties are limited.

However, the position is not one to be taken lightly since the lieutenant governor can suddenly be elevated to the top executive post if illness or death should occur to the governor.

Then there was the suggestion from Keystone Politics this week that Paterno ought to consider running for the state Senate post currently held by Sen. Jake Corman, a Republican of Centre County. The argument is that if Paterno wants to help advance progressive politics in the state, the best thing to do is run for the Senate and abandon “this doomed campaign for lieutenant governor.”

It does raise the issue of whether a person seeking the second top executive post in Pennsylvania should have some government experience. The current occupant, Lt. Jim Cawley, had some government experience, serving as a Bucks County commissioner.

One could ask: Did that really prepare Cawley to be lieutenant governor? Or is a former quarterbacks coach just as prepared?

As far as Paterno’s campaign for lieutenant governor being doomed, consider the fact that in 2010 Cawley won the Republican nomination with just 26 percent of the vote in a field of nine candidates.

The fact is voters don’t pay as much attention to the lieutenant governor candidates as they do to those running for governor. So anything is possible.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Closer Look
  • well.jpg Lawyers to address fracking

    Lawyers will address public concerns about oil and gas regulations and other topics at a program next month. Oday Salim and Megan Lovett of Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services in Pittsburgh and attorney Michael Oliverio of Lynch Weis in Cranberry Township are to present the program.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yauger.jpg Yauger enters guilty plea in federal court

    The former executive director of the local intermediate unit has entered a guilty plea in federal court.


    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lottery.jpg Lottery officials: Seniors should get smaller payout

    State lottery officials say less means more for seniors. The lottery took in $3.8 billion in sales last year and will give more than $1 billion of it — or 28.5 percent — to programs for senior citizens.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • phone.jpg Attorney general warns of phone scams

    Assorted scams in the commonwealth have prompted a warning from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said several scams have been reported to the Bureau of Consumer Protection in recent weeks.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • disability.jpg Disabilities group unveils new icon

    Disability Options Network is joining forces with the Accessible Icon Project. Officials of the community organization, located at 1929 E. Washington St., said its new icon will replace the current international symbol for accessibility.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Auditor: State doesn’t have enough inspectors to monitor wells

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.


    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • vote.jpg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • manna.jpg John K. Manna: Measuring the money

    Should we even bother to have an election in November? By some accounts, maybe the results of some contests are already in.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • shooting.jpg Man injured in city shooting

    A man was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Thursday morning following a shooting on West Lincoln Avenue.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • police.jpg Police: Man pulls gun on construction workers

    Construction workers in Neshannock Township flagged down police Thursday claiming a business owner had pulled a gun on them.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Section Teases
Must Read
Continuous Super Bowl Coverage