10/28 Morning Buzz

Good morning politicos and welcome to the Friday edition of the Morning Buzz.  Be sure to check back with us later today to see who had a good week (and who didn’t) in this week’s Up & Down.

PR Newswire: National League of Cities Announces National Speakers at Upcoming Conference
AP: Sen. Casey Criticizes Social Security Administration Over Philly Basement Case
National Journal: Where Republican Presidential Candidates Stand on Jobs, Economy
Real Clear Politics: CBO Agrees With Sen. Toomey: “Impossible To Prove” That Stimulus Created Jobs
Daily Times: Pa. Steelworkers Go To Capitol Hill Fighting For Jobs
Times-Leader: Representatives From Pa. Dairy Farms Come To Capitol Hill
Times Leader: Marino: Bill Offers Safeguards For Electronic Records
Beaver County Times: Rep. Altmire Gets Local Police Money For Vests
Daily American: Rep. Shuster’s Office Comments On Potential Hospital Cuts Through Supercommittee
The Hill: Rep. Schwartz and Others Push The Supercommittee To Tackle Medicare Payments
Tribune Review: Romney brings Republicans to Uptown fundraisers
Tribune Review: Romney at Consol Energy Center today for pair of fundraisers
Early Returns: Daily Satorum: Tears in South Carolina
Go Erie: Santorum to campaign in Iowa
Fiscal Times: The 10 States that Can Elect the Next President
Huffington Post: Be Careful What You Cut
Huffington Post: Joe Sestak: Also Ensuring the Common Good
Detroit Lakes: Franken introduces senior care bill
National and Legal Policy Center: FBI Files Detail Murtha Corruption

Capitol Ideas: Governor’s mansion vandalized
Capitol Ideas: A Children’s Treasury Of Voucher Vote Reaction
State House Sound Bites: House vetting English-only bills
State Impact: Impact fee vote
Patriot News: PA to consider a law to list teens as sex offenders
Times Tribune: State Senate OKs Vouchers Bill
PottstownMercury: Pa Senate OKs vouchers bill; House fate uncertain
DelcoTimes: Senate narrowly passes school choice bill, moving voucher battle to state House
Newsworks: Casey wants FEMA hurricane aid in place before winter
Post Gazette: Pa. House bill to permit hunting on Sundays gets hearing
Post-Gazette: Senate panel Oks Maceullus legislation
Tribune-Review: Senate committee wants to triple fines for shale drillers
Post Gazette: Pa. senate OKs school voucher plan
Times-Tribune: Analysis: Pull cork on state booze sales
AP, Indiana Gazette: Smith testifies at corruption trial
PR Newswire: Auditor General Jack Wagner to Get PA Man of the Year Award at German-American National Congress Convention
Pride Source: Anti-bullying measure left out of education bill
Danville News: Disaster Recovery Center to close Friday
Gant Daily: Corbett Announces $84 Million Investment in Water Infrastructure Projects in 14  Counties
Business Week: PA Government Recommends Limiting Private Liquor Stores
PR Newswire: Corbett Issues Flag Order to Honor World War II Airmen
PR Newswire: Governor Corbett Sings Bill Making PA Preferred Permanent Branding Program of Ag Products, Helps Consumers Identify Local Projects
abc27: Gov. Corbett applauds passage of education reform bill

Inquirer: Philadelphia cracking down on owners of rundown properties
Inquirer: Corbett may hold line on transit funding
PhillyNow: Mayor Nutter announces crackdown on owners of vacant property
PhillyNow: What does graffiti on Tom Corbett’s house have to do with a former MSNBC host?
6abc: Obama billboard in Chester creates controversy: Update – Mayor responds
6abc: Council takes up new curfew bill
WHYY NewsWorks: Millions more in cuts on the way

Philly Burbs
Times Herald: Shapiro amendment would make gaming revenue more accessible to county
Pottstown Patch: Matthews: Tax Increase Necessary
Ambler Gazette: Commissioner candidates all pledge to right country’s finances
Jewish Exponent: Local elections: A look at what’s ahead?
PottstownMercury: House repeals law withholding contractor’s taxes
PhillyBurbs: Like manna from Harrisburg: Towns get pensions windfall
DelcoTimes: 3 of 4 Delco Senators back school voucher bill; passes first test
DelcoTimes: Steelworkers keep fighting for refinery jobs; plan march on Marcus Hook
DelcoTimes: City council candidates debate issues at DCCC
DelcoTimes: Red-light enforcement cameras OK’d by Pa. Senate
Montgomery Media: Commissioner candidates all pledge to right county’s finances
BucksLocalNews: Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at Valley Forge Military Academy
Intelligencer: Montco chairman sees possible tax for next year
Mainline Times: Manayunk Bridge: A Bridge to Everywhere

Tribune Review: Candidate Raja lays out agenda for his first 100 days in office
Post-Gazette: Poverty indicators show Pa. has work to do
Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh preparing for worldwide youth summit
Post-Gazette: Municpal News 10/27/11
Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Toomey Watch
Tribune-Review: Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission bonds downgraded to ‘negative’
Early Returns: Raja: Fitz picks pols over people
Early Returns: Fitz: More on Raja lawsuits
WTAE: Raja responds to ad taking aim at lawsuits with employees

Times Tribune: State’s Role, Obligations Debated In Wake of Scranton Union Ruling
Times Leader: Dairy farms seek remedy
Times Leader: Marino: Bill Offers safeguards for electronic records
Citizens Voice: Crowd Backs Leighton In W-B Mayoral Candidate Debate
Standard Speaker: Despite Billions In Work, Bridge Problem Remain
Daily Review: GOP Candidates For County Office Speak In Towanda
Go Lackawanna: Lackawanna County Borrowing Plan Approved

South Central
Patriot News: Are red light cameras worth it in Harrisburg?
Patriot News: Derry Township School District may increase taxes
Patriot News: Harrisburg may have another interested buyer for the incinerator
Patriot News: State reports purging 113,000 Medicaid cases since July
Patriot News: Questions of the week: Should the state take over Harrisbugh?
Reuters: Special report: Harrisburg

North by Northwest
Centre Daily: Commissioner candidates debate budget issues
Sun Gazette: Authority approves upgrades

Lehigh Valley
Morning Call: Four District Council Seats Up in Northampton County
Morning Call: Lehigh DA race gets heated
Morning Call: Northampton County Council candidates debate Gracedale, taxes
Reading Eagle: Spencer, McHale spar over business plans
Reading Eagle: Exeter hopefuls air plans

Somerset Daily American: Job creation key in commissioners race
Somerset Daily American: Election board makes changes for Nov. 8
Daily Courier: Westmoreland commissioner candidates hammer one another
Daily Courier: Single district judge race contested in Westmoreland
Daily American: Proposed cuts could be devastating to hospitals

Daily News: Vouchers: Pass
Tribune Review: The Thursday wrap
Post Gazette: Cheers to action: The governor gets the goods on a liquor monopoly
Post Gazette: No access, no loan: Allegheny County must send UPMC a message
Go Erie: Politicians lose touch
Times Leader: Our Endorsement For District Attorney: Jackie Musto Carroll

Tony Phyrillas Politics: Newspaper Endorses Bruce Castor, Jenny Brown for Montgomery County Commissioner
Pa Budget and Policy Center: Maintain and improve state inheritance tax, don’t eliminate it
Lehigh Valley Ramblings: Tom Carroll: The Movie
Lehigh Valley Independent: Tom Corbett is doing it wrong
2 Political Junkies: Mitt, meet the 99%
Green Party of PA: Last election party for Cheri Honkala before the general election
John Hanger: Uncle Sam slims down energy consumption
Centrist: Rep. Joe Pitts: The extinction of the chocolate bunny

Montco Dems Ad: Meet the “Bickersons”

By Brittany Hundzynski, Contributing Writer

Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards, Democratic candidates for Montgomery County Commissioner, have a new nickname for their Republican opponents.

A television ad that began airing on broadcast and cable on Sunday invites viewers to meet the The Bickersons starring Bruce Castor and Jenny Brown – 50′s sitcom style.

The thirty-second spot highlights some of Castor’s less favorable news clips, focusing on his reputation as someone difficult to work with. The piece also continues the Dems’ line of attack against Jenny Brown as a Tea Party sympathizer.

The Shapiro/Richards campaign unveiled their first television ad last week, which was a 30 second split negative/ positive piece that says Republicans Bruce Castor and Jenny Brown, “left the door open for a tax increase.”

The Castor/ Brown campaign launched the first TV ad of the campaign, a 30 second split message television ad that contrasts the tax-and-spend record of their opponents with their record of having never raised taxes.

The clip shows Castor and Brown finishing each other’s sentences about cutting county spending and holding the line on taxes – a message that earned the pair an endorsement from The Intelligencer today.

Shaprio is a Pa. Rep. from Abington, and Richards was elected Whitemarsh Township Supervisor.

Castor is the incumbent County Commissioner, while Brown serves as a Lower Merion Township Commissioner.

Pa. Senate Passes Low-Income Voucher Bill

By Ali Carey, Contributing Writer

By a (relatively) narrow 27-22 vote, the state Senate Wednesday passed the long-awaited plan to implement a new taxpayer funded private school vouchers scheme for low-performing schools in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Sens. Jeffrey Piccola (R-Dauphin) and Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia), passed following a more than four-hour debate.

It’s a political win for school choice advocates like Tom Corbett – for the moment. The Governor applauded members of the Senate for passing the bill.

“I want to commend the members of the state Senate for passing a strong  education reform package that will help improve opportunities for thousands of school children throughout Pennsylvania,’’ Corbett said.

Check out the coverage in the Inquirer, Tribune Review, Patriot News and PA Independent.

Under the plan children from households making less than $29,000 a year would be eligible to receive a full voucher of equal to what is spent in the district in which they live.  Students from households earning less than $41,000 would get a voucher equal to 75 percent of the subsidy amount.  On average, a family would receive $7,700 for each student, but could get as much as $13,000.

Both the PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association) and the PSBA (Pennsylvania School Board Association) strongly oppose Corbett’s plan.  They were disappointed with the state funding cuts which forced already struggling school districts to increase class sizes, decrease course offerings and cut programs.  The PSEA and the PSBA say school vouchers will take even more money away from public schools.

Wednesday, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Association) released a statement accusing the PA Senate of ignoring its obligations to the state legislature by passing private school vouchers.

Promoters of the plan, such as REACH Alliance & Foundation and Commonwealth Foundation believe that the competition created by the voucher plan will ultimately improve schools.

For students from low-income backgrounds, especially black and minority households the voucher plan would provide an opportunity to get out of some of the states worst schools.  Despite the widening achievement gap nationwide, students will have the chance attend more competitive schools, take Advanced Placement courses, and ultimately become more viable candidates for competitive colleges and universities.

Advocacy groups like Dropout Nation expect the passage of this plan will start a conversation about expanding voucher plans to middle-class households, especially in the suburbs.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration where support for the taxpayer-funded voucher system remains uncertain.  House Speaker Sam Smith, R-Jefferson, told the Patriot-News he doubts that the House will pass the education reform plan.

10/27 Morning Buzz

Good morning politicos, and welcome to the buzz. Follow PoliticsPA for dispatches from Mitt Romney’s event in Pittsburgh today.

School Choice: In a 27-22 vote, the state Senate passed yesterday the long-awaited plan to implement a new taxpayer funded private school vouchers scheme for low-performing schools in Pennsylvania.

Superior Court: The two candidates for Pennsylvania Superior Court are busy gearing up for the November election. PoliticsPA checked in with Republican Vic Stabile and Democrat David Wecht to get the latest scoop on their campaigns.

Casey Bundler Update: Casey isn’t the bundler after all! President Obama’s campaign made it official in a statement to the press this week.

Allegheny Exec: The Allegheny County Executive race continues to boil with election right around the corner. Here is what’s been going on over the past few days, including Rich Fitzgerald’s latest attack ad.

PA Preferred: The state will have its own official brand when Gov. Corbett signs Rep. Stephen Bloom’s legislation later today.

New York Times: A Fierce Battle Ahead for the House (NRCC Chair singles out Barletta, Meehan as vulnerable incumbents).
Early Returns: Sen. Toomey Questions CBO Director
The Hill: Rep. Glenn Thompson Among Those Pushing Senate Democrats To Support The “Forgotten 15”
Daily News: Feds Mull Closing Philadelphia Antitrust Office
Times Tribune: Obama Announces Help For Student Loan Borrowers
The Hill: Dems put up token opposition to tax withholding repeal, offset
Cap Times: Biden’s populism is right for Wisconsin
Washington Times: Bullying add-ons make No Child reform less certain
WYFF Greenville: Santorum Talks Taxes, Job in Greenville
National Journal: Happening now: Pelosi Welcomes Democratic Female Recruits
Early Returns: Daily Santorum: taste the flavor
CBSPhilly: Sen. Bob Casey hots autism roundtable at ‘please touch’ museum
Early Returns: Sen. Toomey questions CBO director
Early Returns: Toomey, DNC chair rally in exec race
Early Returns: Toomey Watch
Early Returns: Occupy Pgh to protest Romney

Stateline: Foreclosure probe explained: What state AGs want from big banks
Capitol Ideas: Cork finally popped on booze debate
Capitol Ideas: Wednesday Morning Coffee: Finally Popped On Booze Debate
State House Sound Bites: Teen driving laws
PA Independent: Voucher bill moves forward
State Impact: Impact fee in Commission and more drilling in towns
Patriot News: How much does death penalty cost?
Centre Daily: Political graffiti sprayed at Pa. Gov’s residence
Centre Daily: Corbett: Limit number of stores
Times Leader: Casey Urges FEMA to Speed Storm Aid Delivery to PA
Citizens Voice: State Liquor Store Study Sale Could Provide Billion Dollar Boost
PA Senate GOP: Senate Approves Piccola-Williams Calling for School Choice Expansion
State Column: Casey Measure to Help PA Workers Signed into Law
Gas Business Briefing: State rep: PA lawmakers could vote on impact fee this year
Republic: Pa. House speaker says he was kept out of alleged GOP scheme to do illegal campaign work
Post Gazette: State Senate approves tuition vouchers
Post Gazette: Senate panel OKs Marcellus legislation, minus the impact fee
Early Returns: Fitz, O’Connor on Harrisburg committee
KDKA: State Senate takes up school voucher bill
Indiana Gazette: Campaign 2011: Judge, DA candidates square off in debate

Inquirer: Senate committee OK’s Corbett school proposals
Daily News: 21st-century Robin Hood advocates higher riches for poor to help middle class
PhillyNow: Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission releases report on natural gas
PhillyNow: Philly Rep. Josephs to be Censured by GOP radical?
Philadelphia Weekly: Abortion Bill 732 is bad medicine
Philadelphia Weekly: Wail “Diop” Rahman: Radical, resolute, and running for mayor
CBSPhilly: Councilman Proposes Delay for PPA Penalties
WHYYNewsWorks: Philadelphia steps up efforts against blight
WHYYNewsWorks: Pa. Lawmakers weigh designating English official state language
Inquirer: Rendell endorses Republican Al Schmidt for city commissioner

Philly Burbs
Inquirer: In Bucks County race, Democrats making inroads against GOP incumbents
Mercury: Fallen Pottstown Officer Honored
Intelligencer: Montco chairman sees possible tax hikes for next year
PottstownMercury: Patience tested over waste, crime at Occupy protest sites
PhillyBurbs: House speaker testifies at corruption trial
PhillyBurbs: Political graffiti sprayed at Pa. Gov’s residence
DelcoTimes: State Dems: Remove Chester Butler-Obama campaign signs
DelcoTimes: Voucher bill moves forward, Senate vote expected Weds
DelcoTimes: Pa. Senate approves red-light cameras in 19 cities, including Chester
BucksLocalNews: Republicans defeat effort to give local police use of radar
Times Herald: Shapiro amendment would make gaming revenue more accessible to county
Patch: Gov. Corbett Signs New Teen Driver Law

Post Gazette: Pittsburgh Council tries to keep mayor out of community funds
Early Returns: Red light camera bill goes to House
Early Returns: Sen. Toomey, DNC Chair Rally In Executive Race
Tribune-Review: Hill District growth group poised to hire director
Tribune-Review: Candidate Raja lays out agenda for his first 100 days in office
Post Gazette: Raja has 100-day plan if he becomes Allegheny County executive

Times Tribune: Scranton Unions Say They’ll Work With City On Payment Terms
Times-Tribune: Dismissals and retirement looms in Judge Harhut’s office
Times-Tribune: Madison Twp. bridge listed among state’s ‘worst’
Times Leader: Haggerty Proposes More Properties Protected By Leeve Pay Fee
Times Leader: Municipal Officials Pursuing Buyout
Times-Leaders: Casey urges FEMA to speed storm aid delivery to PA
Citizens Voice: Wilkes-Barre Mayor Puts Record Up Against Two Challengers
Wayne Independent: Auditors Reports Raise More Questions About Honesdale Finances
Standard Speaker: Hazleton Area Movies Forward With Bond Plans
Pocono Record: Incumbent York Faces Mancuso In Brodheadsville District Judge Race

South Central
Post Gazette: Transit spending boost urged
Patriot-News: Liquor store report unlikely to push issue to top of Pa. Legislature’s agenda
Patriot-News: Pennsylvania law on terror-free investment in public pension plans is working, state Treasury report says
Post-Gazette: Cost for Pa. 4-year public universities ranked 3rd in the nation
Public Opinion: Chambersburg to expect drop in funds
Sentinel: Shippensburg School District cuts staff
Patriot News: Mechanicsburg School District examines tax hike
York Daily Record: York County bridges undermined
York Daily Record: York County hospitals working to cope with drug shortages
York Dispatch: HICKS: A cautionary tale, just up the road
York Dispatch: Auditor general calls for action on Pa. bridges

North by Northwest
Go Erie: Fatica, Styn vie for Erie County Council’s 1st district seat
Erie Times: Local and state news briefs
Courier Express: Armstrong candidates respond to questions
Courier Express: DA candidates clash at forum
Sun Gazette: Township issues temporary permits for gas, oil staging

Lehigh Valley
Express Times: Portland Borough Council Commits Grant Money to Lowering Residents’ Sewer Bills
Morning Call: Hellertown Misses Out On $170 In Impact Grant From Casino Cash
Express Times: State Rep. Joe Brennan enters first-time offenders program for DUI arrest

Beaver County Times: Local police get money for vests
Tribune-Review: Westmoreland Commissioner hopefuls trade barbs

Intelligencer: For commissioner in Montgomery County: Bruce Castor and Jenny Brown
Patriot News: Marcellus Shale must be addressed
Patriot News: It is an injustice to criticize the Occupy movement
Centre Daily: Corbett’s reform initiatives on wrong track
Daily News: Obama – no more waiting
PottstownMercury: Cutting spending is not as hard as Congress makes it
DelcoTimes: About that Butler-Obama billboard
DelcoTimes: Spencer: Chester billboard deceiving to voters
Courier Times: Twisting the truth: Loughery was producing jobs long before he was elected
Post Gazette: Howard for controller: The Republican is the choice of experience
Tribune Democrat: Show support for leaner legislature
Beaver County Times: Educate yourself before voting

Keystone State Education Coalition: Note to departing Ackerman: Don’t let the door hit you in your assertions on the way out
Young Philly Politics: Bridges need repair, little old ladies are homeless but have we done enough for the top %1?
Lehigh Valley Ramblings: Shouldnt kids learn how to spell?
Lehigh Valley independent: Bethlehem Dem candidates pander to old Bethlehem
2 political junkies: More on Rick Santorum’s Sex crazie positions
Above Average Jane: A note on posts about Leslie Richards
Keystone Politics: Corbet Report says Pa. should privaitize liquor stores
Dropout Nation: Tom Corbett’s Stand for Parent Power

PA Superior Court Candidates’ Final Push Before Nov. Election

By Ali Carey and Keegan Gibson

Stabile (left) and Wecht

The two candidates for Pennsylvania Superior Court are busy gearing up for the November election. PoliticsPA checked in with Republican Vic Stabile and Democrat David Wecht to get the  scoop on their campaigns.

Each candidate had raised only about $130,000 as of the most recent campaign finance reports, so the campaign is more about shoe leather than strategy.

Stabile is busying traveling throughout Pennsylvania trying to reach out to as many groups as possible.  While he is not a judge, Stabile is a former state attorney who defended state agencies in trial and appellate courts.

Even though it’s a state wide race, Stabile’s strategy is to treat the race like it’s much more local.

“It’s a tough race to run because it’s a mid year and people generally are not all that interested in judicial race so you have to really work hard to get your message out to them,” said Stabile.

When we checked in with Stabile, he was on the road and hadn’t been home in about 5 days.  He expressed tremendous gratitude to his campaign team and he is confident that they will help him “sprint to the finish line” as the election draws near, reiterating that he’s running a grass roots campaign even though it’s a statewide election.

He admitted that fundraising has been challenging as expected and he doesn’t have any “big-to-do staffers” because they simply can’t afford it.

“We will do the best with what we have and hopefully that will be enough to get us over the finish line,” said Stabile.

Instead of focusing on the finances, Stabile is concentrating on getting out and meeting as many voters as possible.  He wants voters to know that he’s a people-person with almost 30 years of broad base leader experience in the courts and he’s the only candidate with solid experience handling appellate cases.

Stabile wants voters to know he has immense respect for the Superior Court.

“I firmly believe these are the peoples courts and I will not legislate from the bench. This position is not about any personal agenda or ego.  The position exists for them [the voters] not for the person holding the office,” said Stabile.

David Wecht hopes to leverage his judicial experience to edge out his opponent.  Wecht has served on the Court of Common Pleas for PA’s Fifth District since his nomination by the Governor.  He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in February 2003 and he was highly recommended by the Pennsylvania and Allegheny County Bar Associations. He also has published extensive scholarly writing and graduated in the top of his class at Yale University.

“I have the extensive experience as a lawyer and as a judge behind me and having decided thousands of cases and written numerous opinions and having dealt with all five areas of the Superior Courts jurisdiction,” said Wecht.

Like Sabile, Wecht emphasized the importance of the appellate courts.

“There is nothing more important than electing a qualified, capable, intellectual judge to these positions,” Wecht said.

His campaign launched the only television ad of the election cycle so far, an upbeat 30-second spot that highlights Wecht’s family and resume. It’s airing on cable and broadcast in southwestern PA.

Wecht’s campaign manager is Mike Dineen.  He is not contracted with a fundraising team and he has lots of volunteers that are helping out.  He also suggested that this is a particularly difficult year to raise money because there is some “donor exhaustion” from last year’s campaign.  Despite that, he is optimistic about the money they have raised so far.

Wecht is also out campaigning, trying to meet as many voters as possible.  He said his campaign in continuing to receive financial contributions and he is very impressed and appreciative of the state party’s support.

On Friday October 17th Wecht and Stabile participated in a forum sponsored by Capitolwire & Widener University School of Law.

Back in May the Pittsburgh Post Gazette endorsed Stabile during the GOP Primary campaign, but on Monday the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial Board announced it endorsed Wecht in the general.

In a fine show of civility, each candidate took a pass when offered the chance to speak critically about his opponent.

Pa. Sen. Committee Passes Rafferty Bill to Protect Kids From Sex Offenders

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Why do we get the feeling we’re going to be seeing this on campaign literature next year?

John Rafferty (R-Montgomery), who is emerging as the establishment GOP candidate for Attorney General next year, is getting a boost from his colleagues in the Pa. Senate.

From yesterday’s Pa. Sen. GOP press release:

Legislation cosponsored by Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) to strengthen Pennsylvania’s laws and better protect children from sexual offenders was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

The measure was amended to strengthen its provisions, close loopholes in current law, and ensure that the Commonwealth complies with federally mandated national standards to strengthen sex offender registration and notification.

“This is a critical step in establishing a coordinated and national system for the registration of sexual offenders and closing existing loopholes – so that we can better enforce laws and keep children safe,” Rafferty said.  “This bill creates a national registry and that law enforcement officers can access and will be available on the Internet.  It also toughens penalties for offenders and ensures that they are more carefully tracked if they move from state to state.”

Updated: GOPers Pounce on Casey Bundler Blunder

By Ali Carey, Contributing Writer

Update: Casey isn’t the bundler after all!

President Obama’s campaign made it official in a statement to the press this week. Said Ben Finkenbinder, Obama for America’s Regional Press Secretary:

“Sen. Casey and a number of donors who had previously given to Sen. Casey attended a fundraiser for the President in Philadelphia.  The funds raised were misattributed to Sen. Casey – Mark Alderman raised the funds from those donors and therefore we are updating our website to reflect that Mark Alderman is the volunteer fundraiser who raised those contributions.  Sen. Casey is not serving as a volunteer fundraiser for the campaign.”

OfA issued a nearly identical statement to the New York Times, whose story on the subject initiated these questions.


After a back-and-forth involving the New York Times, the Morning Call and Bob Casey’s office, his staff confirmed that the Senator has “bundled” campaign contributions for President Barack Obama.  Republicans are having a field day with the confusion.

Here’s the timeline:

On Saturday the New York Times reported on “bundlers” for Obama’s reelection campaign, noting that the President had retained support form several Democratic officials who backed him in 2008, including Sen. Casey.

A bundler is someone who arranges multiple individual or PAC campaign contributions for a candidate, a common practice in federal elections.

Casey’s office initially told the Morning Call that the New York Times story was incorrect, citing the fact that the Bob Casey in their report was listed as a resident of Haverford, PA. Casey resides in Scranton.

“This is another reason why you can’t trust these Washington political operatives,” Casey spokesman Larry Smar told the Morning Call at the time. “They don’t know Haverford from Scranton, let alone Bob Casey’s record of fighting for Pennsylvania.”

A few hours later, Casey’s office redacted their statement, confirming that Sen. Casey has in fact bundled for the President.

“There is a Bob Casey in Haverford, but the reference is supposed to be to Sen. Casey.  Apparently he made the list because of an event he cohosted.  This was news to us.  I apologize for giving you the wrong information earlier,” said Smar.

Before and after Casey’s office confirmed the NYT report, Republicans blasted him for his relationship with the President.

“It speaks volumes that, even as he desperately tries to distance himself from President Obama in public, Bob Casey is busy raising cash for the Obama campaign behind closed doors,” wrote National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Chris Bond in a Tuesday press release.

On Wednesday, the NRSC sent around links to the updated Morning Call article and this piece in Politico.

Casey’s prospective Republican opponent Tom Smith’s campaign echoed the NRSC in its own press release Wednesday.

“Like his voting record, Senator Casey can’t escape the hard facts.  And these facts point to a unabashed support of President Obama’s agenda that continues to move our country in the wrong direction,” said Smith Campaign Manager Jim Conroy.

More on the Allegheny Exec Brawl

By David Gerber, Contributing Writer

The Allegheny County Executive race continues to boil with election right around the corner. Here is what’s been going on over the past few days.

Democrat Rich Fitzgerald’s campaign is airing another negative ad this week against Republican opponent D. Raja for lawsuits that his company, CEI of America, filed against former employees. The 30-second spot lays it on thick, citing a report by the Pittsburgh City Paper.

“Raja sued 84 of his own workers, even one tyring to care for his cancer-stricken mother.”

“It’s not enough for Raja to make millions outsourcing jobs overseas or to deny people the minimum wage, but he also seeks to punish workers who decide they want to work elsewhere,” said Fitzgerald campaign manager Mike Mikus.  “Most employers would show empathy when they learn a new hire’s mother had to have cancer surgery, but Raja decided he could make $5,600 off this poor guy’s unfortunate circumstance.  It is truly appalling.”

Raja’s campaign has dismissed these allegations as lies.

Calling these alleged allegations “desperate claims from a desperate politician,” the Raja campaign says that Fitzgerald has sunk to a new low in politics by launching untrue attacks on Raja’s company.

“This race isn’t about Rich Fitzgerald’s deceptive claims about Raja’s company. It is about Fitzgerald’s utter failure as leader of our county,” said Raja campaign manager James Genovese.  “Since he can’t run on his record, he needs to lie about Raja.”

“These types of personal attacks are why many good people don’t run for office,” Genovese continued. “Fitzgerald’s poll numbers are sinking and he had to use this type of ad. It’s shameful.”

10/26 Morning Buzz

Township Supervisor In Doylestown Considering Run Against Fitzpatrick: According to Roll Call, Doylestown Supervisor Cynthia Philo, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully against state Senator Chuck McIlhinney in 2010, is considering a run for Congress in Pennsylvania’s Eighth Congressional District.Redistricting Watch: Specific Names And Districts Emerge For Pa. Legislative Chopping Block
Specific names and districts have emerged as targets for the chopping block, as the deadline for Pa. legislative redistricting draws nearer.

Allegheny Exec: The Allegheny County Executive race continues to boil with election right around the corner. Here is what’s been going on over the past few days, including Rich Fitzgerald’s latest attack ad.

The Gloves Are Off In Montco Commissioner Race: With the November election just weeks away, the Montgomery County Commissioner Race is living up to the hype as a race to watch. Democratic and Republican candidates are pulling out all the stops to garner enough votes in time for this heated election.

Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission Makes Recommendations: Encouraging the state lawmakers to take a second look at the recommendations made by Gov. Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission yesterday released a report calling for a drilling tax, stricter regulations on the permitting process, and a drilling moratorium on state forest lands.


Pennsylvania Ave.: Ahead of Next Public Meeting, Sen. Toomey Provides Supercommittee Glimpse
Roll Call: Fitzpatrick Targeted In Pennsylvania
The Hill: Rep. Glenn Thompson: ‘We Can’t Wait’ Is An Odd Slogan For The President
Chicago Examiner: Rep. Meehan To Chair Hearing On Iranian Terror Plot
National Journal: Rep. Schwartz Helps Bring DCCC Candidates To DC
CBS: Will Santorum’s long Iowa slog pay off?ll
Times-Leader: Sen. Casey Advocates Replacing Aging Iron Pipes
The Hill: Rep. Shuster Speaks Out About European Aircraft Emissions Rules
Wall Street Journal: Pennsylvania Increases Its Hold Over Harrisburg
Real Clear Politics: State finishing case in Pa. corruption trial
MSNBC: Santorum hits Romney on same-sex marriage, Perry on football
C-SPAN: Rick Santorum Visits Red Arrow Diner, Manchester, NH
Daily Caller: Santorum: US ‘lost the war in Iraq’
Early Returns: Daily Santorum: A fan’s notes


PA Independent: Modified Corbett education reform bill scheduled for Tuesday vote
State Impact: Wednesday vote for impact fee
Patriot News: Political graffiti finds governor’s mansion
Lexology: Auto theft prevention legislation clears Senate committee
Legal News Line: ATRA: Pass Pa. forum-shopping reform
Reading Eagle: Sunday Hunting Controversy
WFMZ: AFC Calls On PA Senate to Pass Comprehensive School Choice Plan
Daily Pennsylvanian: A race that shouldn’t go unnoticed
AP, Tribune Review: Pa. Senate could vote tomorrow on education plan
AP, Tribune Review: State wrapping up case in legislative corruption
Post Gazette: Metcalfe feuds with Democratic legislator at committee meeting
Centre Daily: Corbett signs bill restricting teen drivers
Centre Daily: Local groups join statewide effort, push for tighter gas regulations
Post Gazette: Corbett study: Selling liquor stores could raise $1.6 billion
Post Gazette: State Senate committee approves school voucher program
Tribune Democrat: Auditor general calls for action on Pa. bridges
Beaver County Times: Is Pippy pondering retirement?
AP: Spanier: State Funds Should Stabilize
WHYY NewsWorks: Pa. moves to restrict teens’ use of tanning facilities
PhillyBurbs: Auditor general calls for action on Pa. bridges


Inquirer: Control of casino funds key issue in Montgomery County
Inquirer: GOP seeking comeback in Lower Merion Township
Intelligencer: Montco campaign hitting stride
Inquirer: Grammer as complex ‘Boss’
Temple News: In return for going green, free SEPTA tokens to be offered Wednesday
Inquirer: McColgan says Oops!
Inquirer: Philadelphia takes steps to end business-unfriendly taxes, fees
Daily News: Heated debate in competitive in race for city’s 10th city council District
Philly Clout: Drive my car
Daily News: Changes in tax laws advance
PhillyNow: Sen. Casey ‘secretly’ bundling for Obama?
PhillyNow: More Philly taxpayer automobile smears
Fox Philly: Occupy Philly’s price tag rises to $430,000
WHYY NewsWorks: Pa. Educational panel backs limited voucher program

Philly Burbs

Courier Times: Corbett signs Bucks Rep. Kathy Watson’s teen drivers bill
Glenside News and Globe: Curry co-sponsers disaster aid legislation
PottstownMercury: Voters with housing woes giving up on politicians
DelcoTimes: Democratic D.A. candidate’s law license remains inactive
DelcoTimes: Corbett says Pa. liquor privatization bill ‘the place to start’


WTAE: County Exec. Debate
Post-Gazette: Judicial verdict: Wecht and Boockvar for the appellate courts
Tribune Review: Pittsburgh councilman wants public input on new boundaries
Tribune Review: Pittsburgh councilman wants to increase tax abatements
Tribune Review: Occupy Pittsburgh rallies outside PNC headquarters
Post Gazette: Councilman wants public involved in Pittsburgh reapportionment
Post Gazette: Mayor, council spar over funds for community groups
Early Returns: New Raja plan due Wednesday
Early Returns: Liquor privatization study released
Early Returns: Report: Ferlo seat could be moved
Early Returns: Null space: why GOP exec win is tough
KDKA: With two weeks left, county executive race heats up


Times Leader: Panel makes drilling proposals
Times Tribune: Court Ruling Could Cost Scranton $10 Million, Stoking Fires of Budget Battle
Citizens Voice: County Refunds Brulo’s $96k Pension
Citizens Voice: State AG to Look Into Complaint About W-B City-funded Security Systems Standard Speaker: Lawmakers Come Together In Support Of Flood Bills

South Central

Patriot News: Susquehanna School District may see $11 million grant balance
Patriot News: Plans to expand Carlisle Airport
Patriot News: Five items jockey for spot on Pennsylvania Legislature’s agenda
Patriot-News: Steel companies, unions form a group to lobby for policies to help the industry in Pennsylvania
Lancaster Era: Citizen’s arrest leads to charges
Patch: House Approves Quigley Crack Down on Retail Theft
Patch: Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission Issues Findings
Carlisle Sentinel: Corbett launches state takeover of Harrisburg
South Central: Jonestoown solar firm diversifies, expands

North by Northwest

Courier Express: Manager looks at whole picture
Sun Gazette: Local frack water recycling facility toured by officials
Sun Gazette: Legislators to explore gas drilling policies at hearing

Lehigh Valley

Reading Eagle: Sunday hunting controversy
Morning Call: Partisan politics rules in Bethlehem school board race
Express Times: Tatamy Council Race Has Five Candidates, Four Seats


Observer-Reporter: Peters Township Urges No Vote On Gas Question
Tribune-Review: Mineral Rights Issue Could Delay Sale Of Amphitheatre Property
Tribune-Democrat: 911 System To Improve Sharing Of Information


Altoona Mirror: Ag Vote Just The Start
Intelligencer: Lovely rhetoric but no substance
Patriot News: Fewer rules, not vouchers, needed to improve schools
Patch: More should be done to keep Americans working
Inquirer: State Senate needs to act on SRC nominations
Inquirer: Where GOP, Occupy agree
Daily News: New Neighborhood Improvement District gets hearing
DelcoTimes: Biden plays fast and loose with with the facts
Tribune Review: Tuesday takes
Post Gazette: Immoderate attack: A state group wants no-compromise Republicans


Huffington Post: Would Rep. Pitts Abortion Proposals Violate Human Rights?
Commonwealth Foundation: Rep: Pa. Ed needs 1st class not third world results
Commonwealth Foundation: Highlights from Governor’s Liquor privatization summary
Lehigh Valley Ramblings: Meet LC Commissioner candidate Geoff Brace
Lehigh Valley Ramblings: Meet all LC Commissioner candidates here
Lehigh Valley Independent: Who should eat the losses?
NEPArtisn: A brief look at the Scranton City Council race
2 political junkies: Occupy Pittsburgh update
Above Average Jane: Linda Hee for Montco recorder of deeds
Keystone Politics: No decline in voter support for alcohol reform

Roll Call Report: Democratic Doylestown Supervisor Exploring Run for Congress in PA-8

Doylestown Supervisor Cynthia Philo, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully against state Senator Chuck McIlhinney in 2010, is considering a run for Congress in Pennsylvania’s Eighth Congressional District, according to a report published by Roll Call on Tuesday.

Philo planned to attend a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee candidates orientation event in Washington DC, the article notes.  Her political experience in Bucks County and background in economic development – Philo is the former executive director of the Old City District, a civic association based in the historic and bustling neighborhood near Center City in Philadelphia – appeal to local Democratic politicos.

Philo joins Democratic Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia in the Eighth District’s congressional rumor mill.  Incumbent Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, a Republican who reclaimed the seat in 2010, will be a likely target for the DCCC and other progressive campaign organizations in 2012.

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