August 31st Ups & Downs
A couple of former Democratic officials are in legal trouble, attack ads are debuted in the race for PA-1, racist Facebook posts are made from a GOP official in Beaver County, and much more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Rob McCord. The former Democratic Pennsylvania Treasurer was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison on Tuesday for attempting to use his public office to “strong-arm political contributions” during his unsuccessful 2014 bid for Governor, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. McCord, 59, was also fined $5,200 and ordered to report to prison in 60 days according to the Morning Call. McCord was seeking $125,000 in donations from two firms, $25,000 from the managing partner of a Philadelphia law firm and up to $100,000 from the owners of a western Pennsylvania property management firm. He threatened to interfere with the firms’ ability to get state contracts if they did not provide the donation, if he lost the election.
DNC Reform. Sometimes, it feels like the 2016 campaign has never ended. This past weekend in Chicago, the Democratic National Committee made some changes in an effort to heal some of the wounds within the party. A number of reforms made in the party in which DNC Chairman Tom Perez deemed to be “a historic day for our party,” but the shift towards superdelegates reform garnered the most headlines. “The vote we took this weekend was a vote for inclusion,” said Nancy Patton Mills, Chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. “We’ve shown the country that we are an inclusive party and that our door is open to all Democrats. All Democratic candidates can go into 2020 confident that they have a fair shot and a level playing field.” The issue of superdelegates was a sensitive topic between Sanders and Clinton supporters in 2016. Superdelegates have never overturned the outcome of the primary process, but it’s worth noting that Clinton in addition to winning the primary in Pennsylvania, also secured each of the 20 superdelegates in Pennsylvania over Sanders.
Journalism In PA. It was a bad week for Journalism in the commonwealth. Tuesday was the first day the city of Pittsburgh in over 100 years went without a printed newspaper being released. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is now going to print only five days a week, no longer going to print on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The change went into effect Saturday, Aug. 25. On Wednesday, Ryan Briggs from City and State PA shared via Twitter the following message about the online publication, “So in not-so-surprising news: Our parent company is shuttering City & State PA news operations.” Just this week, Briggs, of City and State released the news about a Lauren Vidas announcing her bid to primary incumbent Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson for the 2nd District.
JUDGE WILLIAM J. NEALON. Cementing his legacy. On Tuesday, Senior U.S. District Judge William J. Nealon, of Scranton, became the longest-serving district judge in the 229-year history of the federal judiciary. Nealon surpassed the late Henry Potter, who spent 20,346 days in a district court in North Carolina between 1802 and 1857. Nealon was appointed by President John F. Kennedy in Dec 1962 to the Middle District of Pennsylvania bench. Sadly, Nealon died yesterday at the age of 95.
Carla Maloney. The Republican Committee of Beaver County’s Secretary made a number of racist Facebook posts last year criticizing black NFL players who decided to kneel during the national anthem, according to the Beaver County Times. She called them “overpaid ignorant blacks”, “baboons”, and telling the players that if “You don’t like it here go to Africa see how you like it there,” among other racist comments. Chip Kohser, chairman of the RCBC, said the posts were made before Maloney was named secretary earlier this year. Maloney did not respond to a request for comment to the Beaver County Times.
Attack Ads in PA1. If you watch TV in the Philadelphia media market, you are probably aware of this race now. On Wednesday, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP super PAC endorsed by House Republican leadership, and Democratic candidate, Scott Wallace released their first attack ads for the race between Wallace and GOP incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks). CLF’s ad slammed the Democratic candidate on a previous tax lien, while Wallace tried to tie Fitzpatrick to big oil corporations and the GOP tax reform bill in his 30 second ad. This is anticipated to be one of the closest watched house races in Pennsylvania for November.
Vaughn Spencer. Former Democratic Reading Mayor, Vaughn Spencer was found guilty on all counts in his federal bribery trial, Thursday evening. Spencer, 71, was found guilty on nine counts of bribery, one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy.
Lip Sync Challenge Controversy. Like many police departments across the country, The York City Police Department participated in the lip sync challenge, which PennLive dubbed “2018’s Ice Bucket Challenge”. The York City Police Department joined with the hometown Maple Donut Firm to create the video. The problem? York Mayor, Michael Helfrich, did not like the perception of the city partnering with Maple Donuts, which has a reputation for politically driven advertising. Last fall, the company put up a billboard that stated, “Maple Donuts Takes a Stand, Not a Knee.” York NAACP President, Sandra Thompson, took issue with the company and shared her disapproval with PennLive. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 15 President Jeremy Mayer, told PennLive that he believed the video expressed no political agenda and it was purely a politically motivated move from Helfrich.
Tom Wolf. The incumbent Governor had to be pleased with the most recent Franklin & Marshall polling showing him holding a double digit lead, but more importantly an addition to the family earns an up arrow. More importantly, Gov. Wolf and first lady Frances announced that they became grandparents this past weekend. On Monday, Wolf made the announcement in a tweet with him holding the newborn.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
YOU THINK YOU’VE GOT PROBLEMS TALK TO RICK SANTORUM. https://t.co/QJWEeEVsNt
— Chris Potter (@CPotterPgh) August 28, 2018