Remember Dan Onorato? Not enough people ever got to know the Democratic nominee for governor of Pennsylvania to give him a chance in November. The tumultuous mid-term election was dominated by tea partiers, Nancy Pelosi, and in Pennsylvania, the Senate race between Pat Toomey and Joe Sestak.
But I thought of Onorato today because Pittsburgh TV analyst Jon Delano had a post-election interview with him. When I met Onorato earlier this year I thought his candidacy might catch on, because he struck me as the real thing – a politician who’d actually accomplished something.
As executive of Allegheny County, he’d made some changes in government and fought property tax hikes. But he’d also had the guts to fight for a tax increase for mass transit when it was needed. I figured once the Democrat-rich areas in southeastern Pennsylvania got to know him, he could make it a competitive race. But it never happened.
It was hard for him to raise enough money to buy the TV ads he needed, and in our state with no limits on contributions, Republican Tom Corbett was able to get over $700,000 in contributions from natural gas interests.
I hope Corbett makes an effective governor. There’s value in cutting government spending, and he’ll have the chance to see if he can do enough of it to balance the budget and maintain critical services. A very tall order.
But I suspect we haven’t seen the last of Onorato. Maybe he has to run statewide twice for everybody to learn his name.