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January 24, 2006


John Featherman

I was at the debate last night. It was attended by roughly 30 people, the majority of whom were either campaign staff or supporters for either Chuck Pennacchio or Alan Sandals. There were a few members of the press, and one writer thought the most interesting question came from me.(http://www.pennlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news/1138098181314760.xml?pennnpol&coll=1)

In my opinion, neither candidate delivered a knock-out punch, but both were candid, cordial to each other, and, most importantly, gave the voters an opportunity to hear their views. The same can't be said for Bob Casey, who probably would have been humiliated debating them. While I personally don't agree with most of the fiscal views expressed by either Pennacchio or Sandals, they should be proud of themselves. They presented their plans, and they have ideas worth listening to.

I found their ideologies to be strikingly and predictably similar with a few caviats, but their presentations could not have been more different. The Associated Press (http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/news/politics/13694974.htm) called Pennacchio "fiery" and Sandals "subdued," which I found accurate.

Additionally, Pennacchio focused on the audience whereas Sandals often worked from notes.

I may attend next Saturday's debate, and what I'm looking for is more differentiation between Pennacchio and Sandals. There have got to be more differences, and I'd like to see them. They are both smart guys, but I was tired of hearing them say they were on the same page.

A final point. I just read Alan Sandal's press release (http://www.alansandals.com/press) "Alan Sandals Wins First US Senate Debate."

Who is the Sandal's campaign kidding? This wasn't a credible press release; it was poor propaganda.

I like both Alan and Chuck, and I'm glad they are in the race, but for Alan to claim victory is pretty lame. Additionally, they didn't even mention Pennacchio's first name -- a must in a press release -- and they couldn't even spell Chuck's last name correctly. They referred to him as "Pennachio."

Folks, there were no knock-out punches. But was a victor -- it was the voters in PA.

John Featherman
Republican Candidate, US Senate-PA

Dave De Vetter

There's of course one huge difference between Pennacchio and Sandals and that is that Chuck Pennacchio has Washington experience (As a personal aide for US Sen. Alan Cranston) and he knows firsthand how to win tough US Senate campaigns. He ran successful campaigns for Sens. Tim Wirth, Tom Harkin, and Paul Simon.

Plus, Chuck is out there all over the state meeting voters. As far as I can tell, this debate is the first time Sandals has been outside of SE PA.

Sandals is a nice guy with the right position on the issues, but he doesn't have Chuck Pennacchio's passion or his campaign skills.

John Featherman

I agree with Dave that Chuck Pennacchio has more grassroots and political experience than Alan Sandals. I also sense from the media reports and their Website calendars that Pennacchio has traveled more than Sandals.

As for passion and campaigning skills, last night's debate showed differences. Pennacchio can become very "fiery" and Sandals is more mellow and cerebral. I don't think that one is necessarily better than the other. Ultimately, I'd like to know which one will be more of a consensus builder in order to both inspire their party as well as coalition build with Republicans.

Saturday, Dave, will lend more insight.

John Featherman
Republican Candidate, US Senate-PA

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