The Republican Party would really like to see that Democratic state Rep. Jesse White doesn’t get a sixth term. The party is responsible for a series of scathing mailers that rightly criticize Mr. White for his sophomoric stunt last year of creating false identities to take shots at his own critics on the Internet, but wrongly paint him with demeaning labels such as “deranged,” “mean,” “sick” and “demented.”
The GOP should have put more time and attention into a selecting a candidate to challenge Mr. White in the race to represent the 46th District, which includes Collier, South Fayette, Bridge-ville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale in Allegheny County, plus Canton, Cecil, Mount Pleasant, Robinson, Smith, Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway in Washington County.
Republican nominee Jason Ortitay, 30, of South Fayette, is engaging and an enthusiastic booster for the region, but the business owner — he manufactures cheesecakes for sale by fund-raising organizations — offered few important contrasts to the incumbent, was uninformed on too many topics during an interview with Post-Gazette editors and relied on the old trope of finding waste and improving efficiency to address the state’s budgetary challenges.
There is no doubt that Mr. White, 36, of Cecil, made a foolish choice with his online antics in 2013, disrespecting his constituents and embarrassing himself.
He’s also made a lot of enemies — enemies in the Marcellus Shale industry by being a watchdog over the drilling boom that is taking place in his district and enemies in politics, including within his own party. It’s important to note, though, that Mr. White’s opposition to unsafe action by drillers does not extend to seeking a ban on hydraulic fracturing. He is an advocate for responsible drilling with appropriate regulation from the state Department of Environmental Protection, and he is correct when he says that the DEP has done a less-than-stellar job of it.
In the Legislature, members face a host of issues, but the 46th District is, as the incumbent correctly describes it, “ground zero” for drilling. He provides valuable oversight, and that’s why the Post-Gazette endorses Jesse White for another term.