Election 2010: Hoeffel Fires Salvo At Onorato And Williams

Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel, one of four Democrats seeking the gubernatorial nomination in the May 18 primary election, released his first campaign ad today, using it to attack the records of Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams of Philadelphia.  But who will see it?  Hoeffel, who had $101,000 in the bank at the end of March, said the ad will start running in Philadelphia tomorrow and then across the state as he raises more money.  It costs about $1 million per week to effectively run a commercial statewide.

Hoeffel's ad -- click here to watch it -- starts with him holding up a pair of flip-flops that he tosses over his shoulder. "Flip-flops are fine... for the beach," Hoeffel says. "But as governor, people need to know where you stand."  Hoeffel then accuses Onorato of waffling on the issue of abortion and Williams on public schools.  Onorato opposes abortion but says he will not attempt to change the state's law on the procedure.  Williams favors vouchers, the use of public money to pay private school tuition, as one potential way to reform failing schools.

Onorato, who has $6.8 million in the bank, has been up on the air for some time with positive ads touting his story of an economic turnaround in Pittsburgh and the surrounding county.  Williams, with $1.5 million on hand, has been running positive ads about his record and yesterday went negative against Onorato.

Why is Onorato taking all these shots?  The latest Quinnipiac Poll, released today, shows that Onorato leads the field among likely Democratic voters at 36 percent. Hoeffel pulled in 9 percent while Williams tied with state Auditor General Jack Wagner at 8 percent.  The poll also found that 37 percent of the voters have not made up their mind and 60 percent said they might change their minds between now and the primary.

"I think the race is changing," Hoeffel said about the poll. "I think it's unsettled. This ad's going to make a difference. I think Tony's negative ad is going to make a difference. I think this is going to come right down to the wire."