Dan Onorato

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Dan Onorato
Dan Onorato.jpg
Chief Executive of Allegheny County
In office
January 2, 2004 – January 3, 2012
Preceded byJim Roddey
Succeeded byRich Fitzgerald
Controller of Allegheny County
In office
January 4, 2000 – January 2, 2004
Preceded byFrank Lucchino
Succeeded byMark Flaherty
Member of the Pittsburgh City Council
from the 1st district
In office
January 6, 1992 – January 4, 2000
Preceded byBernard Regan
Succeeded byBarbara Burns
Personal details
Born (1961-02-05) February 5, 1961 (age 58)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materPennsylvania State University, University Park
University of Pittsburgh

Daniel Onorato (born February 5, 1961)[1] is an American Democratic politician from the state of Pennsylvania. He served as the Chief Executive of Allegheny County from 2004 to 2012, and in 2010, he was the Democratic nominee for Governor.[2] He lost to State Attorney General Tom Corbett in the general election.[3]

Early life, education and family[edit]

A life-long resident of Allegheny County, he attended Penn State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1983. He worked several years as a Certified Public Accountant before continuing his education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, earning a Juris Doctor in 1989. Onorato and his wife Shelly reside in Pittsburgh's Brighton Heights neighborhood with their children: Kate, Emily, and Danny.[4] In 2012, Onorato began working for Highmark, where he is the vice president of corporate communications and external affairs.

Political career[edit]

Onorato marches with Senator Hillary Clinton in Pittsburgh's 2008 St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Onorato practiced as a private attorney until he was elected to the Pittsburgh City Council in 1991, when he defeated first district incumbent Bernard J. Regan in the primary election.[5] He served two terms on the council before being elected Allegheny County Controller in 2000. In 2003, he defeated Jim Roddey for the position of Allegheny County executive. He was named runner up for the 2003 Politician of the Year by the political website PoliticsPA, who noted his youthful energy and his fundraising power.[6]

Allegheny County drink tax controversy[edit]

In late 2007 Allegheny County received permission from the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pursue increased taxation of poured alcohol and rental cars to subsidize the Port Authority of Allegheny County.[7] Members of the Allegheny County Council and Onorato believed that such a tax was preferable to increasing county property taxes. After the 10% tax on poured alcohol passed, Allegheny County bar and restaurant owners protested the new tax, claiming that it would hurt that business.[8] A lawsuit by the bar and restaurant owners challenging the legality of the drink tax was thrown out by the courts, but they sought a referendum overturning the tax in the November 2008 general election.[9] Onorato subsequently withheld the funds raised by the drink tax from the Port Authority, demanding that the transit agency first restructure its labor costs.[10]

2008 Presidential election[edit]

He announced his endorsement of Senator Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential bid on March 14, 2008, saying, "Hillary Clinton has the experience and the determination to clean up the mess in Washington and deliver results."[11]

2010 Gubernatorial campaign[edit]

Onorato won the Democratic nomination in the 2010 election for Governor of Pennsylvania on May 18, 2010.[12] Onorato had more than $4 million for a campaign left over from his re-election bid. He also received media attention when the G-20 Summit was held in Pittsburgh. He defeated State Senator Anthony Williams, Auditor General Jack Wagner, and Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel. He was defeated by Republican State Attorney General Tom Corbett in the general election with 45.5% to 54.5% of the vote.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2010-03-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. ^ "AP: Onorato wins 4-way Pa. Dem primary for governor". Google.com. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  3. ^ "GOP's 'Sweet' Wins In Governors' Races May Pay Off". NPR.org. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Dan Onorato Official Biography". Official Website of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on 2007-07-03. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  5. ^ Sheehan, Andrew (December 21, 1991). "City budget shows slight tax increase". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
  6. ^ "Politician of the Year". PoliticsPA. 2003. Archived from the original on 2003-12-20.
  7. ^ Rujumba, Karamagi (March 1, 2008). "Drink tax passes first test - compliance". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  8. ^ Twedt, Steve (July 10, 2007). "Restaurant owners vow to fight drink tax". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  9. ^ Rujumba, Karamagi (February 21, 2008). "Drink tax challenge could go on ballot". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  10. ^ "County exec witholds [sic] funds, demands ATU concessions". Atu.org. Archived from the original on 26 October 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  11. ^ "HillaryClinton.com - Media Release". 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-04-02.
  12. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]

Media related to Dan Onorato at Wikimedia Commons

Civic offices
Preceded by
Bernard Regan
Member of the Pittsburgh City Council
from the 1st district

Succeeded by
Barbara Burns
Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Lucchino
Controller of Allegheny County
Succeeded by
Mark Flaherty
Preceded by
Jim Roddey
Executive of Allegheny County
Succeeded by
Rich Fitzgerald
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ed Rendell
Democratic nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Tom Wolf