Salena Zito

The stereotype of Western Pennsylvanian politicos as Labor Democrats was shattered in January when three rust-belt Republicans were sworn in as the governors of Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Like Indiana's Daniels, Ohio's John Kasich and Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett were born to working-class Democrat families in Western PA.

Daniels said in an earlier interview that the values he learned from his parents, both Mon Valley natives, are the same ones that Main Street Americans use in their everyday lives.

“They balanced their checkbooks, they wanted better lives for their children and they did not live beyond their means,” he explained.

If the elder Paul decides to run again for president, his son is unlikely to challenge him; in fact, the Senate freshman already has filed for re-election to that seat, which is not up for grabs until 2016.

Santorum has been most active of these four potential contenders, making scores of visits to the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Daniels has been less visible, yet he clearly wowed young conservatives at the annual CPAC conference in February and continues to gain national attention.

Our first president returned to Western Pennsylvania several times following his icy plunge; his only battlefield surrender occurred just south of Uniontown (and led to a worldwide conflict, the French and Indian War).

As president and commander-in-chief, he and his Treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, sent troops here to suppress the rebellious Scots-Irish who were irate over the taxing of their whiskey trade.

Years earlier, as a young surveyor, Washington acquired more than 58,000 Pennsyvanian acres; he laid out one town here, Perryopolis, in the shape of a wagon wheel.

Legend has it that he wanted it to become the nation’s capital.


Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.