Editorial Board Endorsement

US Senate

Published Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:29 PM EDT

It’s bad enough that the presidential election has been plagued by one of the most negative campaigns in the history of our country.

Adding to the misery has been the Pennsylvania race for the U.S. Senate between Republican incumbent Pat Toomey and his Democratic challenger Katie McGinty. Residents across the commonwealth have been subjected to an endless barrage of television ads, featuring all sorts of wild accusations and charges from both sides. With the race one the few contested Senate elections in the country, contributions have been pouring in from conservative and liberal groups in an effort to influence the outcome.

However, the ads have done very little to explain the candidates’ stands on the issues. And that’s a huge problem, considering that control of the U.S. Senate and the future of the country could hang in the balance.

The Herald-Standard Editorial tried to get down to the issues and ended up deeply divided in its endorsement.

Those opposed to Toomey, criticized him not taking any real stands on the difficult issues facing our country. For instance on climate change, Toomey said it’s real, unlike many of his Republican counterparts who say it’s a fraud. But he criticized the Paris Accords, which could ease the dangers of climate change.

It’s the same for Obamacare. Toomey says it’s a disaster but notes that the portability and pre-existing conditions should be saved as any part of a new plan. Of course, they were the two major signatures of Obamacare, which had been denied to consumers previously by health insurance firms.

It’s much the same with his refusal to hold hearings on the confirmation of Merrick Garland for the U.S. Supreme Court and his tip-toeing around whether or not he’ll vote for Donald Trump.

It’s all part of the same pattern. Toomey is trying to please both conservatives and liberals in Pennsylvania and is doing neither. The commonwealth needs someone who will take strong stands like McGinty who has made no bones about her support for Hillary Clinton, her backing of clean energy, her wanting to improve not repeal Obamacare and her opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United, which paved the way for the unprecedented spending in this campaign.

Those supporting Toomey pointed to his actions in regards to curbing opioid abuse, which has ravaged our area. They praised his work in passing legislation to prevent the abuse of Medicare beneficiaries going to multiple physicians and pharmacies to receive large quantities of opioids. He was also commended for advocating better drug treatment programs.

They noted that Toomey has been a friend to the coal industry and its workers, pointing to his support for the Miner’s Protection Act which would shore up the dwindling pension fund for retired coal miners and provide needed healthcare funds.

They added that Toomey has also been willing to work with Democrats, especially on gun control issues, even though it has cost him support among his fellow party members.

In the end, the endorsement came down to the fact that Toomey took the time to take part in an interview with the Herald-Standard, while McGinty turned down the same opportunity. But by turning us down, she was also turning you down. And we urge you to remember that when you go to the polls.

Toomey did take the time to inform area residents of his views on the issues. For that he received our endorsement, and we hope your vote in Tuesday’s election.

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