Monday, April 10, 2006


Lemmond Endorsement (Part 2) Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

Was Lemmond's endorsement of Baker a "shoot first, ask questions later" process?

20thsenatorial has launched an inquiry into the Lemmond endorsement of Baker. We will take Lemmond's letter on its face. We posted the letter in Part One of this article. We asked the four other Republican candidates what type of interaction they had with the incumbent Senator with regards to the evaluation process. After all, if Baker is the "best" candidate, let's see what type of probing questions Lemmond asked the other candidates before he made his difficult decision. Comparison does require at least two subjects, because if you only look at one thing it must be the best, by definition. Then again, it's also the worst, by definition.

Here's what the guys had to say:


"I was never contacted by Senator Lemmond to discuss my political views or opinions, so when he gave his endorsement to Lisa Baker it was an uninformed decision. Although I would have enjoyed talking with the Senator, I do not feel I need an endorsement from somebody who isn't interested in talking to the fellow Republican who may take his place."


"I have known Senator Lemmond for several years as a result of working for my profession as President of the Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association. I visited him in Harrisburg on several occasions and discussed issues related to health care. I always found him to be receptive and gracious. He was generally supportive and listened carefully to what I had to say.

When I was thinking about running last January, I met with Lemmond and told him I was giving it careful consideration. He was very gracious and told me how much he enjoyed serving as a Senator and that it was likely to be a crowded field. He said he had not made up his mind about his future at that time and I told him I would not announce publicly until he made his intentions clear.

He introduced me to some political people and wished me well, but we never discussed issues or qualifications at that time or any time since."


"As far as Lemmond goes, I had attempted to contact him for 18 months straight! At first, long before the campaign, I tried very much to talk with him in my capacity as President of the Dallas School Board specifically and only regarding Act 72. It seemed no matter how hard I tried, I could not get him to the phone or into his office. I was at a legislative breakfast one morning regarding Act 72 and his office told me he would be there and I could talk with him there. Every other elected official showed up, but no Lemmond, only Shawn Murphy who knew very little about Act 72.
Once Act 72 was over, I began making attempts to talk with him once again regarding my contemplation on running for his seat. The rest is history because to date he has never returned my calls or bothered to speak to me.
One night, not long after he announced his retirement, Lemmond was a guest on Channel 44 with Bill Kelly. (If you have the time it is worth your watching this tape). In any case, Lemmond spoke very highly of his experiences in the past on being a member of the Dallas School Board and how valuable this experience is as well as encouraging school board members to seek higher offices! He actually mentioned it several times on the show. Yet, he never gave me just 5 minutes of his time as a "fellow school board member" not to mention simply a constituent who really needed some assistancee with a major Act like Act 72. "


"While I have great respect for Senator Lemmond, his endorsement of Lisa was a foregone conclusion. He never sat down and talked to me about the issues, my educational background, or my eight years as Mayor of the largest community in his district. I never even received a phone call. Even when the Times Leader endorses, you sit down and meet with the editorial board. How can Lemmond say that Baker is the best candidate when he hasn't spoken to the other candidates? Senator Lemmond is doing a favor for a friend and not doing a serious evaluation of the candidates. "

20thsenatorial gave Baker a chance to respond to the following questions.

1. Why didn't Lemmond talk to any of the other candidates before endorsing Lisa?
2. Didn't Lemmond know he was going to endorse Lisa years ago?
3. When did Lisa decide she was going to run for state Senate?
4. How does Lemmond know that "Lisa is far better acquainted with the people, the communities, the views, and the hopes that make up the district than any of the other candidates" if he never spoke to the other candidates?

We have not heard back from Baker, and this is the blogosphere. Things move fast. If Baker does respond to these questions in the future, her answers will, of course, be posted in their entirety.

(We did not contact McNamara on this story, but we are quite certain he was not contacted by the Senator, either.)

Great reporting.
Right on, Gort. Good job, Norton. Why don't our local newsapapers do this kind of reporting?
Ole Time Cholly just did what PatSo told him to. He probably didn't want to...but he was bought and paid for since the day he was a Luzerne County Judge.
It's about time somebody had the balls to show Chuckles Lemmond for what he really is.
yea yea yea want some cheese with that whine
great reporting would be to ask Senator Lemmond for comment - as for Baker's comment - she was probably out in the district, perhaps monroe county, do the other candidates even know how to get there???? That might be the reason he endorsed her
I gotta agree - the very fact that each of these cancicates responded so quickly tells me they are not out there. Maybe Lemmond didn't need to speak to other candidates
Monroe County is about 3% of the District. Madeira is winning Wayne County right now...which is 28% of the District. Apparently he got directions out there...but he sure didn't get them from Charlie's office. Shawn Murphy was probably busy working on Baker's ambivalent abortion stance.
Did Pat Toomey or Eryll Flynn,the Hunting organization or Clean Sweep or the Trial Laywers Association sit down with each of the candidates before they endorsed? Better check your facts on Wayne county too.
Norton's response to comments:

1. The "non-Lemmond-endorsed" candidates were asked for comment on the article (posted at 5:15pm, Monday) on Saturday morning. Their responses were not immediate, but all were in by Monday morning.

2. We will add Lemmond to our e-mail list, and may solicit his comments in the future.

3. Clean Sweep sent out a questionnaire, Toomey probably didn't talk to anyone but Madeira, Errol Flynn did talk to some of the other candidates, I don't know about the "hunting organization," and the "Trial Lawyers" did not endorse.
Sen. Lemmond can certainly announce his preference for one candidate without the necessity of speaking to or “probing” all. After all, the average voter certainly does not speak to all candidates before voicing their preference in the voting booth. Unfortunately, Sen. Lemmond is not the average voter, he’s the sitting office holder, and I think “as a matter of basic fairness,” he probably should have, at a minimum, spoken to the other candidates before anointing his successor. As it is, his words come across as disingenuous.
Well said, s. dogood! It's a seat Lemmond held for 20+ years. The other candidates have a right to feel slighted. No offense to Lisa Baker, but you just have to expect a little more from the guy who holds the seat.
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