Election season feels like it’s really begun now. This week’s Ups & Downs takes a look at the trail, as well as a few items in Harrisburg and Washington.
Bill Shuster. The Congressman from Blair County is typically a behind-the-scenes guy. He got a big promotion this week, when Speaker John Boehner tapped him to rescue the transportation funding reauth – over the committee chairman. On the Hill, that’s a huge deal and is quite the show of clout.
Rick Santorum. When the former Pa. Senator said Ohio was the key Super Tuesday state, everyone – the press and his opponents – got on board. But Mitt Romney came out on top of that state this week, as well as a majority of the others. Now, the delegate math is nearly impossible for Santorum – even if Newt Gingrich drops out.
Elections Officials. Thanks to the Voter ID legislation, which appears poised to be signed into law, the men and women overseeing our elections will no longer have to spend hours and hours reviewing the plethora of voter impersonation allegations. Indeed, between 2002 and 2005, according to the Department of Justice, 26 people in the United States were convicted of voting fraudulently. That’s 0.065 voters per state, per election. But thankfully, no more.
Joan Orie Melvin. The more witnesses testify in the trial of her sister, Pa. Sen. Jane Orie, the more the Pa. Supreme Court Justice looks like she’s going to be implicated in the corruption scandal. We’re not in the courtroom, and guilt or innocence is not ours to guess. But the PR damage alone is enough to earn this down arrow.
Tim Holden. The Congressman faces a tough primary challenger from Matt Cartwright, a well known attorney from the new, NEPA part of the 17th district. If he got votes only from Democrats from Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, Cartwright would defeat Schuylkill native Holden by 12 points. But Holden this week pulled in the Luzerne Dems’ endorsement, along with three local committees in Lackawanna. We recognize that endorsements aren’t the same as votes, but so far both candidates have played for each committee, and Holden has come out ahead.
Nate Kleinman. The ‘Occupy’ movement candidate seeking to unseat Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Montco) – and get publicity – came closer to at least one of his goals this week. Though a judge threw his name off the ballot, Kleinman said he would mount a write-in campaign. And he got a boost from former Rep. Joe Sestak, who will be a featured guest at a fundraiser for him.
Missa Eaton. The assistant psychology prof at PSU Shanango is now the only Democrat challenging Rep. Mike Kelly in the 3rd congressional district. Both of her opponents got knocked off the ballot this week.
Early Returns. The political blog of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette lived up to its name Tuesday night, with intensely complete coverage of the Super Tuesday race. In all they did 15 posts in the few evening hours. Yowza.