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  Onorato reeling from 'unique' loss to Corbett in home county
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ContributorScottĀ³ 
Last EditedScottĀ³  Nov 06, 2010 11:19pm
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CategoryNews
AuthorTimothy McNulty
MediaNewspaper - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
News DateSunday, November 7, 2010 05:00:00 AM UTC0:0
Description"After a more than a year of nonstop campaigning, fundraising and crisscrossing state travel, Dan Onorato can console himself that he was just one of many Democrats swept under in a national Republican wave year. It is what happened at home that must concern him.

The Allegheny County executive lost his home county in the governor's race to Republican Tom Corbett, an indignity in a county where his party has 2.3 times as many votes. That has to be on his mind -- and those of possible GOP or Democratic rivals -- as he considers running for an unprecedented third term as county executive next year.

Mr. Corbett beat the Democrat by 649 votes in Allegheny County, the first time a GOP gubernatorial candidate had taken Pittsburgh's home county since Tom Ridge won re-election over Squirrel Hill's Ivan Itkin in 1998. In an open contest like this year, a Republican had apparently not won since the city's Democratic ascendancy began in the 1930s.

"It's a blow to the executive of this county not to win his own county," said Moe Coleman of the University of Pittsburgh's Institute of Politics. "It's very unique."

Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak won Allegheny County, tallying 230,934 votes in his unsuccessful race against Pat Toomey. Mr. Onorato earned 211,466 votes countywide.

Almost 20,000 voters "split their ballot and did not vote for Dan. That does not bode well for him," said Jim Roddey, the chair of the county's Republican committee who lost to Mr. Onorato in the 2003 executive race.

Mr. Corbett cleaned up across the county's northern suburbs, including his home base of Shaler, where he won every last voting district, despite the municipality's Democratic registration edge. The votes even bled into the northern neighborhoods of Democratic-dominated Pittsburgh, such as Mr. Onorato's neighborhood of Brighton Heights. There, in city's 27th Ward, the executive took just 65 percent of the votes."
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