Pa. Supreme Court Orders Smith to Call Special Elections

Another court decision, another redistricting victory for Democrats. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Wednesday ordered Speaker Sam Smith to issue writs of election to fill six vacant State House Seats using 2001 lines.

In a 4 to 3 ruling, the court rejected Smith’s argument that the special elections must wait for newly drawn district maps. It came in a response to a lawsuit by citizens saying that the extended vacancies diminished their constitution right to representation.

“The Honorable Samuel H. Smith, Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, is hereby ordered to issue forthwith writs of election for special elections to fill the vacancies in the House of Representatives, Legislative Districts 22, 134, 153, 169, 186, and 197.”

Minority leadership did not participate in the suit, but there was no shortage of support for the litigation by Democrats this month.

It’s another legal setback for Republicans, and could make their math in Harrisburg slightly tougher. Currently, the House GOP needs 99 votes to pass legislation. When all 6 vacancies are filled, they will need 102. And if 4 or more seats are filled by Democrats – as is likely – they will require slightly stricter discipline within their own caucus. Given the tough time the GOP has had this session with vouchers and prevailing wage changes, that’s nothing to take for granted.

However, Republicans holding out hope for a delayed primary using new, 2012 lines, take heart. The Court ordered the special elections be held with the, “with the next ensuing primary election.” The ruling did not seek to mandate that the primary be held on April 24.

Smith had declined to call for the elections on the grounds that the map is in flux due to redistricting. He cited a 2001 change to the election code, written in response to past redistricting problems, which states that, “the presiding officer of the house shall have the authority, notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary, to delay the issuance of a writ of election until ten days after the date the final plan attains the force of law.”

Noting the Court has yet to review that particular statute, the ruling explained that the constitutional requirement for representation required speedy special elections and the Speaker does not have the broad, discretionary power to delay them indefinitely.

“In short, there is no apparent reason why the constitutionally mandated, ministerial duty to issue writs of election to fill vacant House seats can or should be deferred pending the outcome of the reapportionment process.”

The three dissenting justices sided with Smith and his interpretation of the statute.

PA Scorecard: Club for Growth

Today marked the release of Club for Growth’s 2011 congressional scorecard, a rating system that ranks members of congress on their record of voting for legislation that increases economic growth and limits government.

Club for Growth is a national organization that advocates a deregulated economy – limited government spending and expanded trade freedoms.

“The Club for Growth’s 2011 Scorecard is intended to help our members and the general public differentiate between those who talk a good game about economic growth, and those who actually vote for pro-growth policy,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola in a statement.

Pennsylvania’s Senators found themselves on opposite sides of the spectrum. Democrat Bob Casey received a score of zero, while Republican Pat Toomey’s score of 97 percent and lifetime pro-growth score of over 90 percent meant that he qualified for the Club’s Defender of Economic Freedom Award.

Casey along with Sherrod Brown of Ohio were the only two Senators in the nation to receive a zero for their votes against the Club’s issues, spanning from the repeal of ‘ObamaCare,’ to the passing of a trade agreement with South Korea.

PA’s Democratic House representatives did not fair much differently than Casey. Tim Holden, representing the 17th district, posting the caucus’s highest score at 15 percent. His fellow representatives scores steadily declined from there with Mark Critz (PA-12) and Mike Doyle (PA-14) scoring 12 percent, Jason Altimire (PA-4) at 11 percent, Allyson Schwartz (PA-13) scoring a 6 percent, while Chaka Fattah (PA-2) at 2 percent and Bob Brady (PA-1) 1 percent score were the lowest scores recorded.

On the Republican side of the House, Rep. Joe Pitts (PA-16) led the pack from Pennsylvania with a score of 76 percent. The rest scored as follows: Tim Murphy (PA-18) 69 percent, Tom Marino (PA-10) 60 percent, Mike Kelly (PA-3) 54 percent, Bill Shuster (PA-9) 54 percent, Todd Platts (PA-19), GT Thompson (PA-5), and Jim Gerlach (PA-6) all at 48 percent, Lou Barletta (PA-11) 47 percent, Charlie Dent (Pa-15) 46 percent, Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) 43 percent, and Pat Meehan (PA-7) posting a score of 42 percent.

Murphy Opens Wide Lead in Endorsement Race

Attorney General hopeful Patrick Murphy this week picked up the support of a number of Lehigh Valley Democrats and the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, adding to his significant list of endorsements.

“As the son of a Philadelphia Police officer, Patrick is an experienced leader who understands law enforcement, and has always fought for us,” said FOP 5 President John McNesby. “Patrick has always done whatever it takes to keep our families safe, and Lodge 5 is proud to endorse him for Attorney General.”

FOP 5 represents 14,600 active and retired officers of the Philadelphia police and sheriff’s departments. Murphy’s father was a member, and Murphy named McNesby his campaign chairman at Tuesday’s event.

“It is critical that the next Attorney General understand the challenges faced by local law enforcement and an advocate for the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our families. As Attorney General, I will be the partner that local police need to fight crime and keep our streets safe,” Murphy said.

Former Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane is also running in the Democratic primary, as is Former Pa. Auditor General and former Congressman Don Bailey. The Republican candidate is Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed.

A representative from Kane’s campaign was on hand at Tuesday’s FOP event, according to the Philly Daily News. He handed copies out the following statement from Kane:

“I am fine with the head of FOP Lodge #5 looking after the son of a member. I have worked with police officers for most of my career and know that they are very loyal. Some of my best friends are officers and state troopers and became so on the job. They know I have been on the front line with them and always will be. Rank and file officers know what I am talking about.”

Murphy, a former Congressman from Bucks County, also picked up over a dozen endorsements from Lehigh Valley Democrats on Monday:

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski
Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan
Easton Mayor Sal Panto
Whitehall Mayor Ed Hozza
State representative Joe Brennan
State representative Bob freeman
State representative Jennifer Mann
Lehigh County Sheriff Ron Rossi
Northampton County Controller Steve Barron, Jr.
Allentown Controller Maryellen Koval
Allentown Council Members: Council President Julio Guridy, Ray O’Connell, Mike Schlossberg & Pete Schweyer
Bethlehem Treasurer Kiaja Farber
Easton Council Members: Ken Brown & Sandra Vulcano
Northampton County Democratic Committee Chair Walt Garvin

State of the Race

Murphy’s campaign strategy is to be the Democratic party warrior in the race, and it has paid off in his numerous endorsements. But it also carries liabilities, like this headline from the PA Independent: “Attorney general candidate’s email raises concerns of political agenda.”

The story details a fundraising email from Murphy’s campaign in which he says that Republicans, “are more dangerous than ever,” and he is “running for attorney general to defend our state from the GOP’s extreme agenda.”

“The attorney general has to be very careful not to be overly partisan, and not to get caught up in partisan politics,” Franklin and Marshall political scientist Terry Madonna told the PA Independent. “I don’t remember a time when you had these kinds of issues in an election for that office.”

Kane, on the other hand, has campaigned under the tagline “A prosecutor, not a politician” – emphasizing her work in the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s office. She’s pulled in only a handful of endorsements, including the Beaver and Westmoreland County Democratic committees.

“Our campaign has and will continue to focus on communicating our message directly to the voters of Pennsylvania,” said Kane communications director Josh Morrow. “We greatly appreciate the many important endorsements we’ve received to date and look forward to earning many more.”

It’s too soon to discern Bailey’s long term strategy, given his recent entry into the race.

This is Murphy’s full endorsement list, minus the Lehigh Valley Dems:

Elected Officials

Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania Governor
Jason Altmire, U.S. Rep.
Bob Brady, U.S. Rep.
Mark Critz, U.S. Rep
Mike Doyle, U.S. Rep.
Chaka Fattah, U.S. Rep.
Tim Holden, U.S. Rep.
Allyson Schwartz, U.S. Rep
Ron Klink, Former U.S. Rep.
Kathy Dahlkemper, Former U.S. Rep.
Paul Kanjorski, Former U.S. Rep.
Harris Wofford, Former U.S. Senator
Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive
Dan Onorato, Former Allegheny County Executive
Seth Williams, Philadelphia District Attorney
bJohn Hanger, Former Secretary of PA Department of Environmental Protection
Joe Kohn, Former Democratic Candidate for PA AG
Michael Nutter, Philadelphia Mayor
C. Kim Bracey, York Mayor
Tom Leighton, Wilkes-Barre Mayor
J. Richard Gray, Lancaster Mayor
Rick Vilello, Lock Haven Mayor
Rick Lowe, Mayor of Swarthmore
Chelsa Wagner, Allegheny County Controller
Mike Lamb, Pittsburgh City Controller
Edward Cernic, Jr., Cambria County Controller
Diane Marseglia, Bucks County Commissioner
Josh Shapiro, Montgomery County Commissioner
Leslie Richards, Montgomery County Commissioner
Ted Kopas, Westmoreland County Commissioner
Mark McCracken, Clearfield County Commissioner
Connie Kough Pittenger, Huntingdon County Commissioner
Wayne Fontana, State Senator
Daylin Leach, State Senator
Mike Gerber, State Rep.
Dan Frankel, State Rep.
Matt Smith, State Rep.
Dan Deasy, State Rep.
Larry Curry, State Rep.
John Galloway, State Rep.
Tina Davis, State Rep.
Steve Santarsiero, State Rep.
Margo Davidson, State Rep.
Thaddeus Kirkland, State Rep.
Michael O’Brien, State Rep.
Dwight Evans, State Rep.
Ron Waters, State Rep.
Michael McGeehan, State Rep.
Tony Payton, State Rep.
Mike Carroll, State. Rep.
Phillys Mundy, State Rep.
Eddie Day Pashinski, State Rep.
Steve Samuelson, State Rep.
Bud George, State Rep.
Pat Harkins, State Rep.
Florindo “Flo” Fabrizio, State Rep.
Rick Taylor, Former State Rep.
Maria Quinones Sanchez, Philadelphia City Council
Bill Greenlee, Philadelphia City Council
Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh City Council
Brad Koplinski, Harrisburg City Council
Patty Kim, Harrisburg City Council

Democratic Party Leaders

TJ Rooney, Former Chair, PA Dems
John Cordisco, Chair, Bucks County
Marcel Groen, Chair, Montgomery County
David Landau, Chair, Delaware County
Greg Stewart, Chair, Centre County
Chris Tarsa, Chair, Lebanon County
Susan Hartman, Chair, Huntingdon County
Roger Lund, Chair, Adams County and State Committee South Central Caucus Chair
Frank Rosenhoover, Chair, Blair County and State Committee North Central Caucus Chair
Kathy Kane, Luzerne County
Don Hilliard, Chair, Jefferson County
Rick Thomas, Chair, Union County
Jessie Bloom, Chair, Lycoming County
Larry Kriess, Former Chair, Butler County
Richard Christofer, Chair, Lawrence County
Bar Johnston, Chair, Lehigh County
Rick Daugherty, Former Chair, Lehigh County
Sally Lyall, Chair, Lancaster County
William O’Gurek, Chair, Carbon County
Gail McDermott, Former Chair, Cumberland County
Thomas Spangler, Chair, Snyder County
Dennis Noble, Chair, Mifflin County
Bill Cramer, former Chair, Juniata County
Rheon Gelvin, Chair, Fulton County
Bob Borzok, Chair, Tioga County
Emmett Harrity, Vice-Chair, Delaware County

Labor Leaders

PA Conference of Teamsters
United Steelworkers
Laborers’ District Council of the Metropolitan Area of Philadelphia and Vicinity
Laborers’ District Council of Western Pennsylvania
Laborers’ District Council of Eastern Pennsylvania
Service Employees International Union
PA State Council of Sheet Metal Workers
American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of
America
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 126
Sprinkler Fitters Local 692
Plumbers Union Local 690
Ironworkers Local 401
Boilermakers Local 13
Boilermakers Local 19
American Postal Workers Union Local 7048
Communications Workers of America Local 13000
Steamfitters’ Local Union 420
Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers’ and Grain Millers Local 6
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 3
Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association
International Union of Elevator Constructors Local Union 5

Organizations

Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5
VoteVets
Human Rights Campaign
Pennsylvania Young Democrats
Bucks County Democratic Committee
Chester County Democratic Committee
Delaware County Democratic Committee
Lancaster County Democratic Committee
Luzerne County Democratic Committee
Montgomery County Democratic Committee
Philadelphia Democratic City Committee

FBI Raids Home of Rep. Fattah’s Son

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, federal agents early this morning raided the home of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah’s son and the law office of an attorney who has received millions in contracts from the Philadelphia school district.

Agents for the FBI and U.S. Treasury Department carried out boxes and a computer from David T. Shulick’s law office on Logan Circle. They also sought records at the home of Chaka Fattah Jr. in the Residences at the Ritz Carlton in Center City.

Shulick is president of Delaware Valley High School, a for-profit company that contracts with school districts to educate students with discipline problems, and those at risk of dropping out.

Read more here.

Super PAC Targets Incumbents

National Journal reported this morning that a Super PAC, “The Campaign for Primary Accountability” is targeting 11 incumbent congressman. Among the 11 are Holden and Murphy. According to the paper, the PAC has raised $1.8 million so far.

It is not known how much the PAC will invest in these races.

PoliticsPA previously reported that the PAC would be targeting Congressman Tim Murphy. Congressman Murphy faces Evan Feinberg, former staffer to Senator Rand Paul. It has been an interesting primary thus far and The Campaign for Primary Accountability may be able to influence the race.

Evan Feinberg was just endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul and Tom Coburn, two conservative leaders in the Senate. On the other hand, Feinberg has not been a prolific fundraiser, he trails Tim Murphy in cash on hand.

It was the news that Holden would be targeted that came as a surprise.

National Journal indicated that Bob Brady primary opponent would receive money from the super PAC but was written before it was reported that Brady’s democratic opponent Jimmie Moore had withdrew from the race.

Rep. Holden’s district has been drawn in a way that is more Democratic. He faces Matt Cartwright, a prominent local attorney. Though Cartwright does not have any political experience, he is well known in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.

Which intra-party battle do you think will be the toughest? Vote in our poll.

PA-7 Race Off to Slow Start

Badey (right) talks Mummers with Mayor Michael Nutter and Rep. Bob Brady (Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer)

The race for Congress in the 7th district should be one of the top in the state. Freshman Republican Pat Meehan must defend a record with no shortage of tough votes in a suburban Philadelphia seat in a presidential campaign year. But so far, things are off to a slow start.

The Democratic candidate, attorney George Badey, is still assembling a campaign.

“Earlier this week we filed well over 3,000 signatures from all five counties in the district,” he told PoliticsPA on Valentine’s Day. “We plan on making a formal announcement within the next couple of weeks.  At that time, the clear differences between Pat Meehan and I will be very apparent.”

He has yet to be an announcement about the official kickoff. Meanwhile, Meehan turned in 4,750 petition signatures.

Compare that to the efforts of Kathy Boockvar, who is challenging Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) in the neighboring 8th congressional district. She has a campaign staff, a website, she’s pulled in big endorsements, and sends out press releases.

Badey is partner at Badey, Sloan & DiGenova in Philadelphia with a concentration in personal injury litigation. He is currently the chairman of the Radnor Township Democratic Party and also serves as the Chairman of the Board of SaveTheMummers.com Fund.

“We have a terrific candidate in George, and the citizens of the 7th district will be impressed with his knowledge of the issues,” said David Landau, chairman of the Delaware County Democratic Party.

He says that the GOP-drawn map of the 7th district – which cut out strong Democratic areas like Swathmore and Nether Providence – won’t kill his party’s chances.

“Of the new district composition, 52 percent went to the polls for Obama in 2008,” Landau said. “Less democrats does not mean a poor performance. It will be a close election.”

“Meehan is out of step with the district. He tried to portray himself as a moderate. This district is a moderate place being liberal on social policies and fiscally conservative. Meehan is with the Tea Party and has not made one moderate vote on labor or the environment.”

The Meehan campaign did not respond to a request for comment. But as they say, money talks. Meehan has $970,000 on hand, while Badey is just getting started.

Andrew Blum was a campaign staffer to Bryan Lentz, Meehan’s 2010 opponent. He founded the group Accountability PA and even cut a television spot about Medicare as an effort to dog Meehan and keep his favorables down. He says he isn’t impressed with Democrats’ progress so far.

“I have really heard very little,” about the race, Blum said. “We’ll see after the primary if he has a chance, but there won’t be much to talk about if Meehan continues his frenetic fundraising pace. He’s outraised all other house freshmen in PAC money and shows no signs of slowing down.”

“Badey needs infrastructure, or at least the appearance of infrastructure to fight back against the PAC money, but being without a website just a few months before the primary doesn’t bode well.”

Moore Drops Primary Challenge to Brady

Jimmie Moore, an attorney and former Philadelphia judge, his withdrawn his primary challenge to Rep. Bob Brady.

Moore announced his decision in this joint statement with the Congressman:

Today, I, Judge Jimmie Moore, after giving full consideration in an effort to unify the Philadelphia Democratic Party, have decided to withdraw my candidacy for the United States House of Representatives for the First Congressional District, Pennsylvania.

Congressman Robert A. Brady praised Judge Moore for his noble and selfless decision to withdraw his candidacy. He praised him for being a tireless jurist on the Philadelphia Municipal Court and commended his efforts with the second chance community and as a strong community advocate. The Congressman looks forward to working with him to improve the quality of life for citizens of the First Congressional District and the Greater Philadelphia area. Stating, “I will support Judge Moore in the future toward improving the quality of life for our fellow Philadelphians and Greater Philadelphia area.”

Brady and Moore have pledged to work together for the good of the Democratic Party to focus on creating jobs, reducing hunger, tackling crime, and ensuring that the federal government works effectively and efficiently.

Today is the last day for candidates to withdraw from races and not have their names on the ballot (except state House and Senate; their deadline is March 2).

Moore was a long shot from the start. Brady is one of the most powerful political figures in Philadelphia – Chairman of the city Democratic Committee. Even if Brady wasn’t popular in the sizable African American communities he represents (he is, very), the newly-drawn version of his district is much whiter than the current one.

On that subject, Moore scored some PR points earlier this year when he zinged Brady for his support of the GOP-drawn map. Brady reportedly lobbied Philly-area Democrats to support the plan. Moore also had a strong showing with petition signatures – over 3,000.

On the fundraising front – key in the expensive Philadelphia media market – Moore brought in $130,000 over the course of his campaign (including $25,000 in candidate loans). But the $4,000 he had remaining on hand is a drop in the bucket compared to Brady’s $758,000 –  or indeed the $147,000 in campaign debts Moore currently carries.

2011 Republican mayoral candidate John Featherman will oppose Brady in the general election.

Romney Wins Michigan & Arizona

Headline from Romney's website

The honeymoon is over. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won both the hotly-contested Michigan and Arizona primaries Tuesday, defeating former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

Romney’s double victory helped solidify his standings in the GOP race by allowing him to – at least for the moment – overcome the threat posed by Santorum.

“A week ago…the pundits and the pollsters, they were ready to count us out,” Romney said to supporters, referring to earlier polls that had showed Santorum in the lead. ” … We didn’t win by a lot, but we won by enough and that’s all that counts.”

As of 11:30 PM Tuesday night with 86 percent of unofficial returns counted, Romney was ahead of Santorum in Michigan by a small margin of 41 percent to Santorum’s 38 percent.  Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former House speaker Newt Gingrich lagged significantly behind, amassing 12 percent and 7 percent of the vote respectively.

Romney held a much more significant lead over Santorum in Arizona, amassing 48 percent of the vote compared to Santorum’s 26 percent as of 11:30 PM.  As was the case in Michigan, Gingrich and Paul failed to make a strong showing in the Grand Canyon State.  Gingrich amassed 16 percent of the vote, while Paul only carried 8 percent.

Santorum remained optimistic despite his narrow loss in Michigan, stating that the the contest between Romney and himself is now a “two-person race.”

“The people of Michigan looked into the hearts of the candidates, and all I have to say is ‘I love you back,” he added.  Santorum pledged to continue his campaign against Romney in Ohio and the other states that will be holding primaries on Super Tuesday, March 6.

As for Paul and Gingrich, neither is throwing in the towel just yet.  Speaking from Virginia, Paul announced his intentions to keep campaigning against his more accomplished rivals.  As for Gingrich, he is planning to revive his campaign in Georgia and Tennessee next week by airing several aggressive anti-Romney television advertisements.

Early polls had given Romney the lead in Arizona, but his victory in Michigan is crucial to his campaign.  After he trailed Santorum in the past few weeks, many were skeptical of Romney’s chances to carry the state which he had once called home and where his father, George, had once been elected governor.  However, Romney’s strong financial advantage translated into superiority in the ad war, and kept his campaign on track.

“I stand ready to lead our party to victory and our nation back to prosperity,” he said.

Leap Day Morning Buzz

Good morning politicos, happy Leap Day! The next phase of the presidential campaign begins this morning.

Santorum Loses Michigan: The honeymoon is over. Mitt Romney won both the hotly-contested Michigan and Arizona primaries Tuesday, defeating Rick Santorum.

Rohrer Wins PoliticsPA Readers Poll: Former state Rep. Sam Rohrer of Berks County won the PoliticsPA readers poll of the U.S. Senate primary. He took 37 percent.

New Reader Poll: Six Pennsylvania members of Congress are facing primary challenges this April. Who do you think will have the toughest time?

Critz Locks Down Home Town Labor Support: Rep. Mark Critz has earned the bulk of labor support in his primary versus Jason Altmire, and this week he scored two home town wins.  The Johnstown-Somerset and Westmoreland County Labor Councils – both representing parts of his current district – endorsed his candidacy.

DePasquale, Maher Take Lumps for Double-Dipping: Eugene DePasquale and John Maher have two things in common. Both are running for the office Pa. Auditor General, and both are running unopposed for re-election to their seats in the State House. One good government group is crying foul. In related Auditor news, Frank Pinto defended against a court challenge and will remain on the ballot.

Rand Paul Endorses Feinberg: Kentucky Senator and Tea Party icon Rand Paul has thrown his support behind congressional hopeful and former staffer Evan Feinberg. It’s the second Senate endorsement the conservative challenger has received this month.

Legislative Election Updates:

LGBT Candidates: The Patriot News took a look at the openly gay candidates running for office this year in Pa. All are Dems; a surprising 2 of 3 interviewed are from Dauphin County (Chris Deitz in HD-104, Kelly McEntee in HD-105; plus Brian Sims in HD-182 in Philly).

HD-33: Correction. Yesterday, we noted that the petitions of James Taylor (Rep) are being challenged, but listed it as HD-33 and ascribed it to the Frank Dermody campaign. Taylor is actually running for state Senate (SD-33) against Richard Alloway in Franklin County.

HD-44: Ron Steele has dropped out of the race, leaving friend Mark Mustio a clear path to the Republican nomination. Mustio is simultaneously seeking the seat of retiring Sen. John Pippy.

HD-51: Four Republicans using two attorney are pushing for the removal of Michael Cavanaugh from the ballot based on his past felony conviction. Gary Gearing is the other Republican on the ballot; the Uniontown district is currently represented by Tim Mahoney.

HD-115: Jerry Histed dropped out of the race to replace the retiring Rep. Ed Staback, leaving the Democratic primary a two-person affair between Frank Farina and Randy Castellani, The Republican long-shot is Theresa Kane.

HD-120: Phyllis Mundy’s primary challenger Frank McCabe left the race this week rather than spend the money to defend his petitions against a challenge. He collected just 325 signatures (300 are required) and was a long shot to stay on. Mundy now faces only Republican Aaron Kaufer in the Luzerne Co. district.

HD-121: Peter Mailloux, the Republican who had hoped to challenge Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, has withdrawn from the race. He lived in the district according to the lines drawn by the LRC in 2011, but not the 2001 lines. Pashinski is now unopposed in the Luzerne Co. district.

HD-182: Babette Josephs, who is facing a primary challenge from Brian Sims, named Lois Herr her campaign chair on Tuesday. Herr ran for Congress three times against Joe Pitts. “Babette is the progressive leader we need looking out for us in Harrisburg,” Herr said. “There are only 18 Democratic women in the General Assembly – about 7 percent. Is it any surprise that Republicans think they can run roughshod over our rights?” Said Josephs: “Lois knows what it’s like to go up against intransigence and regression the way I do every day in Harrisburg. I’ve been pleased to call her a friend over the years and today I’m proud to have her wisdom and her support.”

National:
AP: Closing Pa. Refinery Could Spike Gas Prices
AP: Santorum defends robo-call use in Michigan primary
Wall Street Journal: Ohio poll sees Santorum up by 11 points
U.S. Newswire: Rep. Fattah’s action week: He will honor ex-Rep. Bill Gray, take testimony from cabinet officials, meet with Bill Gates
The Hill: Fundamental shift needed to tackle deficit, health care
Politico: GOP frets over 2012 knife fight
News Observer: Pre-Kindergarten is the next political battle
Washington Post: Santorum takes heat for ‘snob’ comment against President Obama
Fox News: Romney blasts Santorum for ‘dirty trick’ calls to Michigan Dems encouraging vote in GOP primary
Morning Call: Mitt Romney wins Arizona primary, captures 29 delegates
Morning Call: As Michigan votes, Obama celebrates revitalized auto industry
Morning Call: Romney dismisses talk of brokered convention
Politico: Huckabee to host third GOP forum
Politico: Reid blasts Romney on Senate floor
Politico: Gov’t execs need to get mobile
Roll Call: Snowe shocks colleagues with retirement
Roll Call: Obama set to meet with Congressional leaders on Wednesday
Washington Post: Why Mitt Romney’s Arizona win matters
Washington Post: In Ohio, fierce primary fight may hurt GOP’s chances for the fall
Real Clear Politics: Obamacare’s stepchildren: The food police
Real Clear Politics: Odds of a brokered convention are increasing
The Hill: Panetta to Congress: Don’t balance budget with added cuts to defense
The Hill: House GOp leaders announce vote on jobs package as early as next week
The Hill: Worried Dems pressing Obama on gas prices
NY Times: Romney wins close primary in Michigan
NY Times: Supreme Court debates rights case aimed at corporations
NY Times: Violence in Afghanistan causes ripples on campaign trail
USA Today: Pro-Gingrich ad makes contrasts with Romney
USA Today: Government’s role in marketplace on trial in Michigan

Statewide:
AP: Corbett’s Welfare Cuts Draw Anger From Democrats
AP: Democrats balk at cuts in Pennsylvania welfare spending
AP: Challenge to PA auditor general candidate spiked
Peters Patch: Candidates prepare for 2012 primary election
PA Independent: Corman to Corbett: Colleges already paid their “fair share” In budget cuts
Capitol Ideas: State system schools make their budget case
Capitol Ideas: Public welfare secretary goes under the budget microscope
Capitol Ideas: Changing how we pay for prisons
State House Sound Bites: Senate democrats grill DPW secretary
State House Sound Bites: Pleas to end cuts from above and below, the liquor app, & a welfare tweak
PA Independent: Gloves come off in battle for PA higher ed funds
PA Independent: DPW Secretary: PA needs new direction on welfare spending
Capitolwire: Corbett administration has no ‘imminent plans’ for leasing state forestland for natural gas drilling
Capitolwire: Concerns voiced by lawmakers about DPW’s county block grant proposal
Capitolwire: 14 state-owned universities ask for restoration of state funding
Capitolwire: Senate Democrats claim DPW buget ‘mean-spirited,’ say cuts will hurt ‘poorest of the poor.’
Capitolwire: Corrections Sec. Wetzel says his agency is committed to reducing prison population, supports passage of SB100

Philadelphia:
Daily News: Nutter administration: no new taxes
Daily News: City still needs state’s help to fix property-tax system
Daily News: FOP endorses Murphy for AG, slams his rival
Daily News: Poll: Citizens feel overtaxed, still willing to pay more
Daily News: Life in America under President Santorum
Delaware County Daily Times: It was fundraisers, not politics, that saved the Catholic schools
Inquirer: Latino activists rally against Pennsylvania’s legislative map
Inquirer: Should Democrats dump Obama? Specter says yes, maybe no
Philly Now: Where was Santorum when Bush apologized?
Philly Now: Pennsylvania may pass most extreme ultrasound bill in country
WHYY Newsworks: Poll finds most Philadelphians want ads over taxes

SEPA:
Pottstown Mercury: Crowd expected for Pottsgrove redistricting vote
Courier Times: Neshaminy school board president to participate in online town hall
phillyBurbs.com: School board member proposes cutting 55 teachers
phillyBurbs.com: PECO representatives to attend Doylestown meeting
phillyBurbs.com: Palisades making changes to its elementary schools
Delco Daily Times: Sonoco: Hook councilman asked for $1M
Delco Daily Times: Report: Gas prices will rise after closing of refineries
Delco Daily Times: Chester Upland to make next payroll date
Montgomery News: Ambler signs on for floodplain study
Bucks Local News: Santarsiero votes against bill creating public-private partnerships for state roads and bridges

Pittsburgh:
Tribune-Review: Seven post offices in Western Pa. spared closure
Tribune-Review: 5 men, 7 women selected as jurors for Orie retrial
Tribune-Review: Deadline nears on Allegheny County tax exemption
Tribune-Review: Veon defense on deck
Post-Gazette: Mayor, council move to fill vacant board seats
Post-Gazette: Port Authority fined for refusing bus-trolley ads
Post-Gazette: Reassessment disparities found in the county’s southern suburbs
Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh in running to share millions in IBM support
Post-Gazette: Prosecution in Veon case seeks dismissal of 4 charges
Early Returns: Another labor pickup for Critz
Early Returns: Mano a mano in 12th
Early Returns: Rand Paul endorses Feinberg in 18th
KDKA: Cyril Wecht will not become Allegheny County medical examiner
Valley News Dispatch: Primary leaves Valley voters with little choice

Southwest:
WJAC: Somerset County coroner surprised by Pentagon report on Flight 93
Tribune-Democrat: Creany offers look at realignment plan
Daily Courier: Mt. Pleasant Area School Board, teachers reach accord
Daily Courier: 4 challenge Uniontown man’s petition to run for 51st district
Beaver County Times: Rex has permits for Perry Twp. wells
Observer-Reporter: DEP: Robinson spill larger than first thought
Valley News Dispatch: Lawmakers question military leaders on 911th plans
Daily American: Hottle tossed from ballot for party chair

Lehigh Valley:
Morning Call: Mayors tout jobs growth in Lehigh Valley
Morning Call: Pennsylvania welfare spending cuts questioned by lawmakers
Morning Call: Rep. Dent foes, Daugherty & Eaton, to debate at least twice
Reading Eagle: State’s funding woes take bite out of Pa.’s dog laws
WFMZ: Property reassessment leaves some scratching heads
WFMZ: Pa. senator returns to work following cancer diagnosis
WFMZ: Bill aims to reign in local gun control laws

NEPA:
Times Leader: Finding ex-senator to their taste
Times Leader: Set to get going as county’s manager
Times-Tribune: Lackawanna County HR director resigns after academic record questioned
Times-Tribune: Lackawanna County pulls down $769,000 from judicial sale
Times-Tribune: Blake seeks support for county sales tax
Times-Tribune: Lackawanna County solicitor resigns
Wayne Independent: Mayor encourages residents to check Treasury Department’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property
Pocono Record: Pocono municipalities may lose shares of PA state police fee
Pocono Record: $9.5M grant will rebuild flood-damaged roads in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

South Central:
Chambersburg Public Opinion: The Franklin County GOP held it’s Reagan Dinner
Chambersburg Public Opinion: Shuster supporters challenge nominating signatures for GOP challenger
Carlisle Sentinel: Challenge to Pa. auditor general candidate spiked
Carlisle Sentinel: State auditor general finds sharp increase in families needing urgent home heating repairs
Carlisle Sentinel: New website details Corbett’s proposed $338.1m funding increase for school districts
Associated Press: Gov. Tom Corbett’s welfare cuts draw anger from Democrats
Harrisburg Patriot-News: Pa. Sen. Mike Folmer is back to work after cancer diagnosis and initial treatment
York Daily Record: City district employees to keep jobs

North by Northwest:
Times-News: City Returns Property to Occupy Erie Protesters
Centre Daily Times: Centre County Commissioners To Hold Marcellus Shale Hearing

Opinions:
Patriot News: Op-Ed: Politicians who make and keep promises are often rare breed
Centre Daily Times Syndicated Column: Santorum Surge Brings Cheers From The Obama Camp
Pottstown Mercury: The pope, Obama and religious freedom
Pottstown Mercury: Elected officials continue to kill  US jobs
Delco Daily Times: Editorial: Don’t blame refinery closings for rising gas prices
Daily Local: It was fundraisers, not politics that saved the Catholic schools
Times-Tribune: Update voter registration
Wayne Independent: Setting the record straight about council
Daily News: Archdiocese, district welcome new investments
Los Angeles Times: A race fueled by billionaires
Morning Call: Bill Clinton was able to reduce national debt
Morning Call: Republican presidential candidates should discuss issues
Morning Call: Church won’t change view on contraception
Tribune-Review: Not all tax cuts are created equal
Tribune-Review Santorum’s throw-up: Clean up in aisle Rick
Post-Gazette: Insulting consent: PA also has an anti-abortion law ready
Post-Gazette: Stop the school cuts
Altoona Mirror: Eliminate business welfare
Observer-Reporter: Rick condemns rock, 40 years too late
Morning Call: Pa. arts help the economy
Politico: Splintered GOP looks a lot like Democrats in 1972
Roll Call: Republicans set stage to become all-time hypocrites
Washington Post: Santorum’s warfare against elites
Bloomberg: China-Taiwan tensions could loom over U.S. ‘pivot’ to Asia
The Hill: The bond between Camp and Baucus
NY Times: Women’s health care at risk
USA Today: Santorum distorts Kennedy’s words on religion

Blogs:
Commonwealth Foundation: Got freedom? PLBC has no app for that!
Lehigh Valley Ramblings: Does Easton or any municipality  need its own ethics committee?
Lehigh Valley Independent: PA GOP’s  ultrasound bill  is now the most insane
Lehigh Valley Independent: John Sharpe on the Allentown bike lane plan
Keystone Politics: The emerging Critz labor and trade primary strategy
Keystone Politics: Thank the stimulus  for Weyerback expansion
Keystone Politics: Mass laziness  is not driving  SNAP enrollment
Keystone Politics: To reduce prison costs,  scrap mandatory  minimum sentencing for drug crimes
Keystone Politics: No apology!
Keystone Politics: Corbett administration open to school district  consolidation
Keystone Politics: Politico names Pennsylvania  12th district  to “the 5 ugliest member vs. member battles” list
NEPArtisan: HD-115: Histed out
NEPArtisan: Liz Randol takes job with Costanzo, mayor candidacy likelihood diminished
NEPArtisan: Lackawanna County picks a winner, I mean a loser, but not his fault
2 Political Junkies: PA’s forced ultrasound “Women’s Right To Know Act” (Women’s Right To No Rights Act)
2 Political Junkies: Nice to see we agree on something!
Pennsylvania Progressive: Lehigh Valley officials endorse Patrick Murphy
Pennsylvania Progressive: News and notes

Poll: Which Member of Congress has the Toughest Primary?

Five Pennsylvania members of Congress are facing primary challenges this April. Who do you think will have the toughest time?

Note: we’ve excluded the Altmire/Critz primary because, c’mon. Too obvious.

Which Member of Congress has the Toughest Primary?


  • PA-17: Tim Holden (D-Schuylkill) challenged by Matt Cartwright (44%)
  • PA-18: Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny) challenged by Evan Feinberg (37%)
  • PA-13. Allyson Schwartz (D-Montco) challenged by Nate Kleinman (11%)
  • PA-9. Bill Shuster (R-Blair) challenged by Travis Schooley (3%)
  • PA-14. Mike Doyle (D-Allegheny) challenged by Janis Brooks (5%)

Total Voters: 1,062

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Update: Jimmie Moore dropped his primary challenge to Rep. Bob Brady Wednesday. The race has been removed from the poll.

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