Democrat Dan Onorato lost to Republican Tom Corbett in Allegheny County by 649 votes despite a huge voter registration edge. Allegheny County Council President Richard Fitzgerald says he is “surprised” that Onorato did not do better in Allegheny County. The Democrat says he thought Onorato, who is the highest elected official in Allegheny County, had a good story to tell. “Our unemployment rate has been below the national average,” says Fitzgerald, “He’s held the line on taxes, he’s been a very fiscally disciplined Executive.” Fitzgerald says Onorato took over the county seven years ago and led it out of “a very difficult situation.” Some felt voter turnout was to blame but Fitzgerald does not agree, “The turnout by Democrats was huge, it was every bit as big as it was in 2006,” says Fitzgerald. That was the year when Ed Rendell beat Lynn Swan for the Governor’s mansion and Bob Casey beat Rick Santorum in the US Senate race. “The independents, or maybe some swing voters, were angry, or whatever it is, and wanted to have change and voted to go back to the Republicans,” says Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald says they will have to work hard to make sure the Republican swing does not continue next year when several county council and row office seats are up for election. “Campaigns are campaigns but then you have to roll up your sleeves and do the business of running the county,” says Fitzgerald. He says he thinks things are very bright economically in the county and says the Democrats will have to continue to grow economic development if they want to do well in 2011.
(Above: Rich Fitzgerald talks to Dan Onorato election night.)