Rothfus: Schwartz Is “Most Pro-Abortion Member of Congress”

Republican Keith Rothfus amped up his attack on incumbent Rep. Mark Critz (D-Cambria) today by accusing him of supporting a pro-choice agenda – a pertinent issue in the relatively socially conservative 12th district.

Rothfus’s attack comes a day after Critz held a fundraiser with Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Montgomery) at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh.

“Why would someone who claims to be pro-life use to raise money a Congresswoman who receives a 0% rating from national right to life, who’s number one contributor is an organization ‘dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women,’ who voted against a ban of sex-selection abortions, and who co-founded and acted as Executive Director of an abortion clinic in Philadelphia for 13 years,” asked Rothfus’s campaign in a press release.

In addition, Rothfus said Critz’s 55 percent rating from National Right to Life indicates a checkered past on the rights of the unborn. Specifically, Rothfus’s campaign pointed out Critz and Schwartz’s vote against the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and a resolution defunding Planned Parenthood.

Mike Mikus, Critz’s spokesperson, said in an email that Critz has proven he’s strongly pro-life during his tenure in Congress.

“Everybody knows that Mark Critz is pro-life, and he’s proven it time and again, even taking heat from members of his own party for his position,” Mikus said.

“Keith Rothfus is making patently false attacks because he supports outsourcing our jobs overseas and the plan to make seniors pay $6400 more a year for Medicare.   His positions have as much of a chance in Western Pennsylvania as a popsicle laying on the Turnpike.”

The House has held two high-profile votes to defund Planned Parenthood; Critz voted initially against the measure, but later voted in favor of it. Indeed, the Congressman came under fire during his primary contest against Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Allegheny) on the subject; Altmire even used the issue in a television ad against Critz.

But for Rothfus, the attack on Schwartz could potentially come back to bite him in the future. It’s rather unusual for a candidate to throw a punch at non-opponents in the delegation, and Schwartz isn’t someone with whom a candidate should pick a fight. She’s a very successful fundraiser and, as a top leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has a loud voice regarding its spending decisions.

PoliticsPA was unable to reach Schwartz’s campaign for comment.

Ad Race Heating Up During Olympics (Watch Video)

Restore Our Future is doing everything it can to help Romney bring home the gold in November.

The conservative super PAC launched a new Pro-Romney ad Tuesday to air during the Olympic Games. The spot, airing in Pennsylvania, as well as in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin, is part of a $7.2 million ad campaign.

This campaign is the first major GOP super PAC activity since super PACs significantly reduced their Pennsylvanian presence, preferring the Great Lake regions. Restore Our Future, along with Crossroads GPS, were are off the air altogether.

Not surprisingly, the ad focuses on the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and features Olympic athletes Kristi Yamaguchi, Fraser Bullock, Jimmy Shea and Derek Parra.

The thirty second spot compliments Romney’s leadership during the Games.

“He [Romney] faced a $400 million budget deficit and turned that around to a $100 million surplus,” said Bullock.

“Mitt gets things done; he changed my life,” said Parra.

The spot will run through August 9.

Romney isn’t the only candidate using Olympics air time. Team Obama launched their own positive ad for the opening ceremony.

That same day, pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action showcased an attack video, criticizing Romney for his business record.

Restore Our Future’s ad will run through August 9.

Lou Barletta: STOCK Act Test Case

Lou Barletta the stockholder may be benefiting from Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) the politician, the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reported Sunday.

The new STOCK Act, which compels disclosure of investment information from members of Congress, offered a window into Barletta’s finances.

He says that his finances are managed by an adviser with whom he has little to no input.

The law was passed earlier in 2012, after a report on ‘60 Minutes’ by CBS News highlighted several instances of lawmakers whose personal finances benefited specifically and directly as a result of congressional votes.

The Times Leader pointed out that Barletta’s portfolio includes a significant amount of stock in energy companies that may benefit from his votes to reduce pollution regulations – if the bills ever get through the Senate, that is.

One of the several instances the report found is that in May 2011, Barletta voted for three bills that would increase offshore drilling, only two months after adding to his portfolio stock in offshore drilling company Seadrill Limited.

This all comes after the January 2012 STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) that prohibits Congress members and other governmental staff from using exclusive information garnered from their governmental positions to guide their stock trading.

Barletta spoke in support of the Act and insisted he is completely unaware of the contents of his portfolio: “[The Act] makes everything very, very transparent, and I’m comfortable that I don’t even know what stocks I have,” he told the Times Leader.

According to that report, no votes were timed so exactly with his stock trades to suggest the votes were made with the trades in mind. Barletta asserts this is because there really is no conscious connection.

“My financial adviser has total discretion,” Barletta told the Times Leader. “I’m not even notified until after the transaction. I have no knowledge of what he buys and sells.”

Barletta says his portfolio is so varied, he might also be supporting bills that would damage his investments. Indeed, despite owning stocks in pharmaceutical companies like Bristol Myers Squibb Co., Bareltta has several times voted to overturn the healthcare law, which benefits them.

He also offered to show the still-sealed envelopes of notices mailed to him by his financial adviser to prove he truly had no idea what his portfolio contained.

Politically Uncorrected: If Romney Wins, Does Corbett Lose?

Madonna and Young speculate that a win for Mitt Romney might be bad news for Gov. Corbett, who would be hurt if the economy continued to struggle under a GOP president.

Ironies abound in politics. Some are amusing; others are just bizarre. But few top the one now brewing in the Keystone State. Paradoxically enough, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett  seeking to banish Barack Obama from the White House, may instead be sowing the seeds for his own re-election defeat two years later.

In short, if Romney wins in 2012, Corbett could lose in 2014.

Understanding this peculiar electoral enigma requires familiarity with Pennsylvania’s famous (or infamous) “eight-year cycle.” This is the sixty-year pattern in gubernatorial elections that witnesses the Republican and Democratic parties switching control of the governor’s office every eight years. From 1954 through (at least) 2010, Republican governors have followed Democratic governors like clockwork, two terms apiece, eight years apart.

Statistics indicate persuasively that the eight-year cycle is not a fluke. The probability that this string of fifteen gubernatorial elections is just a random occurrence is less than 0.000141 percent. That’s about equivalent to shooting a hole-in-one, being struck by lightning or earth being in a catastrophic collision with an asteroid in the next century. It could happen, but it won’t.

So something “causal” is responsible for this remarkable cycle continuing election after election. But what?

Over the years a legion of scholars, journalists, pundits, and even politicians has provided a copious supply of explanatory theories ranging from the mildly absurd to the reasonably plausible.

Three theories are most popular:

  • The incumbency effect observes that the party switches occur only when Pennsylvania’s term-limited governors can’t run again, concluding that the powerful presence of an incumbent on the ballot creates the eight-year cycle.
  • The anti-Washington effect emphasizes that state voters are long-term ticket splitters who tend to vote for a gubernatorial candidate who is not a member of the president’s party. Put another way, a Republican president in Washington almost always produces a Democratic governor in Harrisburg, and vice versa.
  • Normal two-party competition attributes the cycle to rivalry between the Republican and Democratic parties. One party holds power until gradually losing favor with voters, allowing the opposition party to win until losing favor themselves, perpetuating an endless in-and-out cycle.

It seems likely that multiple factors cause the cycle, including the economy and the power of incumbency. But the evidence is strong for some sort of anti-Washington effect in state elections.

The incumbent president’s party has actually lost the last 15 state gubernatorial elections, excepting one cliffhanger in 1982. Moreover, Pennsylvania voters are notorious ticket splitters and have been for some 50 years. It is incontrovertible that state voters like divided government when they can get it.

So if Romney does win in 2012, the Pennsylvania electorate in 2014 will confront an incumbent governor of the president’s party for only the second time in sixty years. The other time it happened was Republican Dick Thornburgh’s re-election race in 1982. That election was the closest contest involving an incumbent governor in modern times. It was such a nail-biter that a major network first called it for Thornburgh’s opponent, only reversing its call late on election night.

Could there be an encore in 2014?

Certainly conditions in the economy will matter greatly. Full or partial recovery by 2014 and a Republican in the White House getting credit for it should help Corbett immensely.

Conversely, a still-struggling economy by 2014 and a Republican in Washington might threaten a second Corbett term. It was, in fact, a dismal economy under Reagan in 1982 that hurt Thornburgh most.

The economy, however, is not Corbett’s only problem. Currently, his crucial approval rating registers an anemic 32% (Public Policy Polling), making him one of the least popular governors in the nation. He still has time to turn this around; indeed, there are signs he is doing so. But he has his work cut out for him.

Some of his political wounds are self-inflicted, hence remediable. But the draconian spending cuts he has made will continue to squeeze his support unless he breaks his pledge against raising taxes or the economy rebounds, increasing state revenues. His options are few with regard to taxing and spending.

Finally, there is the question of who might challenge him in 2014. No Pennsylvania incumbent governor has drawn major opposition in modern times, largely because possible rivals have perceived incumbents as unbeatable. Already, however, Harrisburg insiders are speculating on a possible heavyweight Democratic challenge in 2014.

So a Romney win in 2012 might set up a classic gubernatorial confrontation in 2014. It’s an irony many will find bizarre but not all will find amusing.

Update: Obama Campaign Releases New App


Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign announced the release of a new app this morning that will announce the former Massachusetts governor’s vice president choice to subscribers.

The new app, simply titled “Mitt’s VP,” allows users to learn of Romney’s choice through a push notification on their mobile device. Zac Moffatt, Romney’s digital director said in a campaign press release that the new software allows first access to the biggest political announcement of the year.

““The first official way to learn the name of the Republican Vice Presidential candidate is by using our new ‘Mitt’s VP’ app,” Moffatt said.

- – -

“Users of the app will be the first to get the news on the biggest political decision of the year through an instantaneous alert on the one device most people carry around the clock – their phone.”

Already well-known for their digital prowess, President Obama’s campaign released a new online application this morning that consolidates many digital tools already used by the campaign into one program.

With a goal of repeating their grassroots success from Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, the latest announcement reflects a new effort by the campaign to mobilize volunteers across the country. Campaign officials said the new development will create a more stable and efficient national organization.

Jennifer Austin, the Obama campaign’s Pennsylvania press secretary, said in an email that the new app provides volunteering opportunities by listing local phone banks and canvassing events – a tool she said improved organization in areas without campaign field offices.

In addition to its organizational capabilities, Austin said the app provides Obama’s plans for localized issues.

“And the heart of the app is its local impact: there is state-by-state, issue-by-issue localized information on how President Obama is moving us forward – from middle class tax relief to healthcare to energy and beyond,” Austin said.

The app also shares campaign news with users, and can sync with Facebook, Twitter and email for cross-platform use.

An additional feature of the app for Pennsylvania residents and other states with newly enacted voter ID laws is a hotline where users can report voting issues and abuse as the November elections approach.

7/31 Morning Buzz

Scranton City Hall

Good morning politicos, here’s the buzz. Portman rallies for Romney in Lancaster, as a new poll shows Obama’s lead may be slipping in the state. Medicare celebrates its birthday – but the issue is no party for the Dems and GOP. And ICYMI, take a look at our district-by-district analysis of Voter ID’s impact across the state.

Voter ID Data: Full District Spreadsheets: Data geeks, rejoice. Here are the full lists of congressional, state Senate and state House districts as they are potentially impacted by the new voter ID law.

In the Hunt for VP Nod, Portman Joins Rally in Lancaster: Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, considered a top contender for VP on Romney’s ticket, visited Lancaster County on Monday to speak at a GOP Victory Rally.

Sierra Club Pressures Shuster on Wind Jobs (Watch Video): The Sierra Club continued their pressure on lawmakers Monday with the launch of television, radio and online ads. This time they are targeting Rep. Bill Shuster, calling on him to act and renew the Production Tax Credit for wind energy.

It’s Medicare’s Birthday and We’ll Campaign If We Want To: It’s Medicare’s 47th birthday, and Democratic candidates and committees are bringing out the cake…and the knives.

Exclusive: Scollo Internal Poll: Rep. Marino’s Soft Support: [Updated with head-to-heads] An internal poll from Phil Scollo, the Dem challenging Rep. Tom Marino suggests that the freshman Republican incumbent has soft support in his newly drawn district. But the memo, obtained exclusively by PoliticsPA, omits initial head-to-head numbers.

Dems Step Up Millionaire Messaging (Watch Video): As the House readies a vote on the Bush tax cuts, the DCCC has launched a new online advertising offensive against GOP Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick and Tim Murphy. Dems say the GOP rewards the wealthy but punishes the middle class; the GOP says tax cuts only for the few will mean economic woes for all.

Susquehanna Poll: Obama’s PA Lead Shrinks to 3 Points: A poll released Friday by Susquehanna Polling & Research shows that Pennsylvania may be slipping from the President’s grip. The poll shows a slim 3-point lead for Obama over Romney, 46-43 percent.

A District-by-District Look at Voter ID Numbers: It’s tough to tell how many people will be impacted by PA’s new voter ID law. But based on the numbers we have, here are the congressional, PA House and Senate districts that will be most (and least) affected.

Legislative Election Updates

SD-15: It’s that time in the campaign season: anonymous blogs! A post by the blog “Pennsylvania Swamp Fox” dings GOP candidate John McNally in relation to the morass that is the City of Harrisburg’s finances. McNally is running against Dem Rob Teplitz for the seat of retiring Sen. Jeff Piccola (R-Dauphin)

SD-17: GOP candidate Charles Gehret announced today the first members of his campaign’s steering a committee – a group of community leaders who will help support his efforts to unseat incumbent Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montco).  “When we earned the Republican nomination, our campaign realized we will succeed if we bring local leaders aboard and draw on their knowledge and expertise,” Gehret said. “We will work closely with the community leaders who have shown us such humbling confidence through the Gehret Campaign Steering Committee and we expect to add more leaders in the days ahead.”

HD-131: The Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania’s PAC has endorsed Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh) for reelection. He was the first candidate the PAC supported in 2010, and they said his commitments to government accountability and school choice have led them to support him again. He is running against Dem Kevin Deely Jr.

HD-151: Dem candidate Will Sylianteng responded today to a court decision striking down portions of Act 13, a law he called “unjust and critically flawed.” He said the decision “upheld the autonomy of local municipalities, and preserved the rights of the constituents.” He said his opponent, Rep. Stephens (R-Montco) failed the people he represents by voting in favor of laws like Act 13, placing other interests first.

HD-177: Dem candidate William Dunbar said his campaign is working hard to get his name out there with fewer than 100 days until the election. He said he is helping with tasks as small as calls for trash pickup to as large as addressing issues like abandoned properties and applications for the Philadelphia Homestead Exemption. Voter ID is another key issue to the campaign. “The voter ID bill has created a new obstruction to thousands of voters within the  district” he said.  “I want to make sure that anyone who wants to vote will not be hindered by the obstacles in the bill.” He is running against Rep. John Taylor (R-Phila).

Philadelphia Magazine: Pat Toomey is surprisingly moderate
The Hill: ‘Personhood’ group takes petition case to the Supreme Court
The Hill: Dems propose to ban online ammo sales
The Hill: Romney unsure if he paid under 13.9 percent tax rate in prior years
Roll Call: John Boehner Names Violence Against Women Act Conferees
Roll Call: Mitt Romney’s Fundraising Boost Stems From Unique Tactic
Politico:Gay marriage headed to DNC platform
Politico:John McCain hits back at Dick Cheney
Politico: Romney: I’ve been audited in the past
The Caucus: Democrats Move to Include Gay Marriage in Party Platform
The Caucus: Romney Comments on Palestinians Draw Criticism
Slate: “I Wouldn’t Even be Adverse to a Tax Increase Across the Board”
Slate: Obama Biography Showdown: Ed Klein Outsells David Maraniss by a 7-1 Margin
USA Today: Poll: Jobs are voters’ top priority
National Journal: Romney’s Rules of Diplomacy: Some Slipped Out of the Briefing Book
National Journal: Democrats to Officially Back Gay Marriage
National Journal: House Dems to Introduce Senate Passed Tax Bill
National Journal: Bank Shots
Washington Post: Romney faces Palestinian criticism for Jerusalem remarks as he heads to Poland

Capitol Ideas: Monday Morning Coffee: It’s been 10 years since Quecreek accident
StateImpactPA: Doctors sue over ground rule
StateImpactPA: DEP orders shut down of country’s largest coal ash pond
StateImpactPA: Drill Bits: Methane migration’s impact; putting numbers on drilling’s westward shift
Capitolwire: Christiana, Vereb’s key roles in passage of EITC 2.0
Capitolwire: Corbett administration appeals Act 13 ruling to Supreme Court
Capitolwire: Voting on expiring tax cuts shows difference between Sen. Casey and GOP challenger Tom Smith
Capitolwire: Until lists are cleaned up, we are unsure of scope of Voter ID problem

Philly Daily News: Does Corbett have something against women?
Philly Daily News: Corbett’s cabinet a regular boys club
Heard in the Hall: Council Wades Into Voter ID Daily Grinder: Right Wing Media Mock Council, Jim Kenney, Over Chick-fil-A Controversy Green Party Will Hand in Pennsylvania Signatures a Day Early
Philly Tribune: State Law to Aid ‘Distressed’ School Districts
KYW Newsradio: Philadelphia Officials Promise to Help Voters Overcome ID Law Difficulties
WHYY Newsworks: Some City Council campaign funds earmarked for use in Voter ID effort

Delco Daily Times: Casey eyes increase in natural gas usage
Delco Daily Times: 4th day of Pa. voter ID hearing features videos
Bucks Local News: Pennsylvania Attorney General announces distribution of $11.5M to municipalities, non-profits in national bid-rigging settlement

Tribune Review: 2 former employees say they did 2003 campaign work for Melvin
Post-Gazette: Former clerks testify at Orie Melvin preliminary hearing
Post-Gazette: Air Force veteran testifies Pa. voter ID law could prevent him from casting ballot
KDKA: Orie Melvin In Court For Preliminary Hearing
Early Returns: Prelim beings for Orie Melvin
Early Returns: More on voter ID

AP: General Assistance program ends this week
Observer-Reporter: Court rules part of Act 13 unconstitutional
AP: Pa. voter ID hearing enters 4th day

Lehigh Valley
The Morning Call: PA budget extends support to youth aging out of foster care
WFMZ: Casey urges US Justice Department to convene crime summit in Reading
WFMZ: Pa. General Assistance program to end this week
WFMZ: Allentown School District signs decree to address and prevent future sexual assaults of students
Reading Eagle: New Reading superintendent ready to lead
South Whitehall Patch: Who Wins and Loses in Pa. Property Tax Debate?
Express Times: Donegan Elementary School Bethlehem’s newest community school
Express Times: Mansfield Township Mayor Ted Tomaszewski flashes honorary police badge too much, former official says
Express Times: Forks Township ‘cottage in the woods’ would cost thousands to preserve

Times Leader: Area jobless rate back above 9 percent
Times Leader: State officials listen to concerns on Arc’s future
Times-Tribune: Poor lose safety net this week
Times-Tribune: Few details exist with scholarship program for students in low-performing schools
Times-Tribune: Hearing continued for State Rep. Kevin Murphy’s alleged domestic assault case
Citizens Voice: Barletta sponsors postage stamp for coal miners
Daily Item: New fiscal office examines property tax bill
Standard Speaker: Study gives Pa. low marks for vote audit

South Central
Chambersburg Public Opinion: Face the Facts USA: how fast is the federal deficit rising?
Chambersburg Public Opinion: Sierra Club targets Rep. Shuster on wind energy
York Daily Record: Former York Mayor responds to Stetler trial, testimony about his campaign
York Daily Record: With deadline looming, members of local Green and Libertarian parties make push for signatures
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: VP hopeful stumps for Obama: Portman tells party faithful that PA could go “red”

North by Northwest
Erie Times-News Campaign ‘12 Blog: U.S. Rep. Kelly’s speech gets plenty of attention on House floor – and elsewhere
Erie Times-News: Roll call: how Erie area members of Congress voted
Erie Times-News: Erie Chamber awarded $385,000 in state money

Harrisburg Patriot-News: Column: still waiting for real Barack Obama, Mitt Romney election news
The New York Times: Romney’s Charm Offensive
The Morning Call: A private water company could benefit Allentown
Politico: Some questionable State Dept. actions
Citizens Voice Editorial: Examine all sides before eliminating property taxes
Standard Speaker Editorial: Interstate tolling a job for Congress
Daily Review Editorial: Conditions on ground aren’t uniform

CasablancaPA: Doublethink
Keystone State Education Coalition: Update on the status of PSSA cheating investigations
Commonwealth Foundation: Calling shenanigans on liquor union bosses
Commonwealth Foundation: How low can Frackaphobes go?
Jon Geeting: Judge Simpson bucked PA GOP on ACORN in 2008
NEPArtisan: Of note: PA-10 and AG polling, voter ID disenfranchisement by numbers
NEPArtisan: PA Senate candidate Tom Smith likes Tea-bag teacher Hitler reference
2 Political Junkies: Jack Kelly…Friday?
Pennsylvania Progressive: Farmers get exemption from estate tax
Pennsylvania Progressive: Skeptics come around on climate change
Keystone Progress: Report: Supreme Court ruling on ACA equals Pennsylvanians’ peace of mind
Keystone Progress: 10,000 sign petition calling for investigation of Corbett
Keystone Politics: Reducing healthcare spending will free up more money for big government
Keystone Politics: PA government basically a total sausage party
Keystone Politics: How not to report on #VoterID
Keystone Politics: Supply glut pushing natural gas driller to Ohio
Keystone Politics: Judge Simpson bucked PA GOP on ACORN in 2008
Lehigh Valley Ramblings: State GOP to hold local hearing on job creation

In the Hunt for VP Nod, Portman Joins Rally in Lancaster

Lancaster — Rob Portman, a U.S. Senator from Ohio and possible VP choice for Mitt Romney, spoke at the GOP Victory Rally Monday in Lancaster County about why he believes America should vote the former Massachusetts Governor into the White House.

“Pennsylvanians are common-sense voters…Pennsylvania is going to come through,” Portman said during the low-key rally attended by about 200 people, amongst whom were loyal Republican voters and GOP elected officials from the area.

Though Portman may get the nod to be Romney’s running mate in November, the Senator spoke very little about himself. Indeed he sidestepped questions regarding his personal qualifications by saying, “I’m here representing Mitt Romney…not talking about myself,” he said.

“We vote for the President, not the Vice President.”

Instead he focused on what he sees as the most pressing issues facing America – namely the economy; how he believes that the current administration has exacerbated these issues; and why he feels Romney can lead America out of the current crisis.

Portman rattled off of a grocery list of disheartening statistics: rising unemployment, climbing poverty rates and declining manufacturing rates, among others. “Ten times as many people have left work during this administration than have entered it.”

He also claimed that over the duration of Obama’s term, “More people have gone on Social Security and Disability then have joined the workforce — nearly twice as many.”

He argued that as a businessman with private sector roots, Romney is more than qualified to rebuild the American economy.

“The unpredictability; the uncertainty in the economy today; the regulations; the higher taxes; the President out there saying he wants to raise them even higher. This is not how we turn things around.”

“But let me tell you why I’m ultimately optimistic: we’ve been here before…We’ve been through tough times as a country, but we always come out on top,” Portman said.

The event kicked off with comments from PA Rep. Scott Boyd (R-Lancaster), who emphasized the importance of “deliver[ing] a victory to Tom Smith, Mitt Romney and the rest of Republicans in Lancaster this year.”

Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan, running for PA Treasurer, and Lancaster Commissioner Scott Martin both spoke. Vaughan, whose husband recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, compared the battle for the White House to a military battle for the life of the nation.

“The American way of life is under attack. Our very soul is under attack,” she said.

Focus then shifted to the Senate race between incumbent Bob Casey and GOP hopeful Tom Smith. Boyd threw a few darts at Casey, comparing the Senator to his father when he said, “Bobby is not Robert. That nut fell far from the tree.”

In introducing Smith, Rep. Boyd called the coal-industry businessman “Lancaster County’s next favorite son in Congress.”

Smith stepped up to say, “The most important part of the upcoming election is standing right in front of me. It’s you. The grassroots.”

After strongly endorsing Romney, Smith said “I promise that every Republican on this ticket here in PA will work their hearts out, because we know the stakes…This is the most important election in my lifetime.”

Sierra Club Pressures Shuster on Wind Jobs (Watch Video)

The Sierra Club continued their pressure on lawmakers Monday with the launch of television, radio and online ads. This time they are targeting Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Blair), calling on him to act and renew the Production Tax Credit for wind energy.

“Rep. Shuster has the chance to be a job creator, but instead he is sitting by as family supporting jobs are being lost due to his inaction,” said Jeff Schmidt, Pennsylvania chapter director of the Sierra Club in a press release. “As the TV ads say, ‘Maybe he doesn’t care.’ It’s time for Rep. Shuster to stand up for Pennsylvania jobs and renew the (credit) this summer.”

The ads, part of the Sierra Club’s Wind Works campaign to renew the credit, also hope to protect the 75,000 jobs in the American wind industry, including more than 3,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone. They said if the tax credit is not renewed, up to half of these jobs could be lost.

The Sierra Club ad says half of the wind industry's 75,000 jobs are at stake if the credit is not renewed.

The spots will run in Harrisburg, Altoona and Pittsburgh for three weeks and duplicate an earlier ad from the club, which targetted Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne).

“Both Rep. Shuster and Rep. Barletta have wind projects in their district and constituents whose jobs are on the line if the (credit) is not renewed,” said Sierra Club Associate Press Secretary Kim Teplitzky.

“Already Rep. Shuster has seen wind projects canceled and furloughs announced in his district due to uncertainty around the PTC. Instead of sitting idly by, indifferent to the loss of jobs in their districts, Reps. Shuster and Barletta should join the bipartisan effort to renew the PTC now.”

The attacks come at the same time as an Obama for America press call, which hit a similar note. The call featured Former Secretary of Energy Frederico Pena, Former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, former Head of the Air Quality Development Authority Mark Shannahan and Pennsylvania Wind Developer Brent Aldefer – who is also CEO and co-founder of Community Energy, Inc.

The group discussed their recent memo, criticizing Romney’s wind energy record and praising President Obama’s.

Aldefer explained what happened the last time Congress delayed renewing the credit:

“We saw what happened in the year 2000, and again in 2004, when Congress delayed renewing the  Protection Tax Credit – ultimately they passed it,” he said.

Aldefer added that in that U.S. wind project development dropped to under 1,000 megawatts a year – less than a tenth of what it is now.

“And if the Republicans let the (credit) expire this time we risk falling back to those levels, and we will – next year, 2013 – which means more layoffs, the elimination of Pennsylvanian jobs and the elimination of the expansion of the industry, including small industries like ours.”

According to the American Wind Energy Association, Pennsylvania is one the largest wind energy manufacturing areas in the nation, with 15 wind energy facilities.

Voter ID Data: Full District Spreadsheets

Staffers of Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, voter ID's chief House sponsor, celebrate the law's passage with cake.

Here are the full lists of congressional, state Senate and state House districts as they are potentially impacted by the new voter ID law.

Make sure to read PoliticsPA’s earlier story for an explanation of the data, including its limitations, as well as lists of the top district affected. These numbers are based on the ~1.6 million figure: voters who have never had a PennDOT ID, and those whose IDs expired before the November 2011 cutoff.

These numbers come courtesy of the AFL-CIO’s data team.

Clarification: these data are based on the district that will be on the ballot in November. In the case of Congress, they use the new 2011 lines. The state Senate & House data are based on 2001 lines.

Congressional Districts

State Senate Districts

State House Districts

It’s Medicare’s Birthday and We’ll Campaign If We Want To

Medicare is likely to be the Dems' biggest issue this cycle. Photo: Express-Times.

It’s Medicare’s 47th birthday, and Democratic candidates and committees are bringing out the cake…and the knives.

Democratic candidates and committees smacked their Republican counterparts across Pennsylvania Monday for their votes in favor of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget. The controversial plan would make Medicare more like a voucher system.

This is likely to be the Dems’ single biggest issue in House and Senate races nationwide. In PA, a state with a large number of senior citizens, the issue has been a contentious point among House candidates – including PA-12, where Rep. Mark Critz (D-Cambria) and Republican Keith Rothfus have both campaigned on the issue.

“If Keith Rothfus gets his way, Medicare’s 47th anniversary would be its last because his plan would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, costing seniors more than $6,000 per year in additional out of pocket health care costs,” Critz’s Spokesman Mike Mikus said in a press release.

Since the primary, Rothfus has attacked Critz for supporting President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act, a law his campaign says removes funding for Medicare to fund the universal healthcare plan (though the Ryan plan maintains those cuts).

Further, Ryan and supporters of his plan note that Medicare as it’s structured now is headed straight for bankruptcy in the coming decades. By and large, Democrats have not avoided putting pen to paper on a comprehensive plan to pay for the program in the long term. It’s unlikely that a person turning 47 today could count on the program at current funding levels.

Taking a more creative path, Credo SuperPAC, an organization opposing Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), announced plans to deliver a cake to his district office in Langhorne this afternoon along with a card that read, “Cut Cake, Not Medicare. Love, Seniors Against Fitzpatrick”.

Democrat George Badey joined the theme by accusing his opponent, Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Delaware) of breaking a 2010 campaign promise of not voting to end Medicare by supporting Ryan’s budget.

Earlier this morning, he hosted a press conference with historian Alice Hoffman, whose father, Nelson Cruikshank, helped craft the original Medicare system, at the Courthouse in Media.

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