Race for PA Senate seat

February 18, 2008 3:46:56 PM PST
Three democrats are vying to take State Senator Vince Fumo's job.Vince Fumo, loved by some, reviled by others, is a political force.

"My staff and I added up what I brought back to the city and the region in 30 years, just stuff that I've done, [and it added up to] 8 billion dollars," Vince Fumo said.

This year, he is facing a 139 count federal indictment and a high profile opponent, union boss John Dougherty. There is no love lost between them, and the common wisdom is things could get nasty.

Dougherty cancelled an on-camera interview Monday, Fumo thinks Dougherty may drop out, implying he may not have the stomach for a tough race.

"I don't view him as a serious candidate," Fumo said.

Not all the candidates are household names, such as Ann Dicker.

"I want to get universal single payer health care and I want to improve our public schools," Ann Dicker said.

An activist, who has battled the casino industry, she is running as a reformer. Her's is a face to face campaign. She has nowhere near the million and a half dollars Fumo says he is likely to spend, but she says money isn't everything.

"Look at what happened last year in the mayor's race with Michael Nutter surging in the end, defeating a candidate that had millions and millions of dollars in his own money to spend," Dicker said.

Attorney Lawrence Farnese is also running as a reformer. Among his issues are hand gun control and schools. He wants to connect unions with high schoolers not headed to college.

"It's to give them an opportunity to learn a trade and pass an apprenticeship exam upon the time that they graduate from high school," Lawrence Farnese said.

Some have charged that Farnese's family had ties to Fumo in the past and Farnese is running to split the reform vote with Dicker to help the incumbent.

"It's not true. I'm in this race to win it. I could care less who else is in this race," Farnese said.

Actually, Farnese has entered two races. He and his staff said they will meet soon to decide whether to stay in the Senate race or focus on running for another seat.