@edhed:Why Joe won

@edbod:U.S. Rep. Joseph Pitts, R-16, of East Marlborough handily kept his seat in Congress while many of his peers went down in defeat in last week's election. We believe it's because he's a man of integrity who ran clean campaign.

The pundits claimed that the Democrats beat many conservative Republicans because the American people are fed up with President George Bush and the War in Iraq. That's probably true.

And yet, based on press releases we have received, we know Mr. Pitts supports of Mr. Bush and a strong offensive in the Middle East. He hasn't kept his stands secret, and we're sure his constituents are aware of his positions. With a record like that, he could have succumbed like Rick Santorum, Curt Weldon and others.

The difference is that most people of his district respect him and know that he respects them back.

Over the years he has met with farmers and business professionals and responded to their concerns. He has spoken out against violations of human rights at home and abroad, and we're impressed by his compassion. We hear reports that when people call him with problems, he returns their calls and often takes action to help.

We've also seen him personally entertain representatives of foreign countries, housing them with local folks and taking them to Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania Dutch country and elsewhere. As those foreigners return home, they appear to have a new love and understanding of America and its people at a personal and grassroots level.

And all the while, Mr. Pitts comes across as someone who deals with issues logically, intelligently and compassionately.

In the aftermath of the tragic Amish schoolhouse shooting that occurred in his district, Mr. Pitts resisted what could have been an opportunity to grandstand on the issue. He released a simple statement of sorrow and outrage, and then asked the public to refrain from intruding into the privacy of the victims' families.

That, we believe, showed some class.

Finally, Mr. Pitts refrained from insulting his opponent and slinging mud on television during the campaign. That, we believe, endeared him to some local voters who would ordinarily vote against a conservative Republican.

With that said, we would also like to praise the campaign run by Mr. Pitts' worthy and intelligent opponent, Lois Herr.

Like Mr. Pitts, her campaign was upbeat and clean. Like Mr. Pitts, she put up some signs and made campaign appearances. But even when her supporters goaded her on to take verbal stabs at the Congressman, she refrained.

Ms. Herr represents the hope that many Americans have for a sooner rather than later end to the war. She is a strong proponent of saving the environment, and she strongly supports the rights of women and minorities. It's a good mix, and had she been elected, she would probably have represented the 16th District well.

When it was all over, she had garnered a healthy percentage of the vote and showed that there is definitely a growing Democratic presence in the region.

The people of Southern Chester County can be proud of the Congressional contest they just witnessed. We congratulate Mr. Pitts and Ms. Herr on their clean campaigns and good manners.

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