John Hanger, the former PA. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary who is seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, announced that his campaign has raised $200,000 since he announced his bid in November.
“I am gratified by the strong financial support that we are attracting even at this early stage.” said Hanger in a release. “Our fundraising success and our strong poll numbers give my campaign a great start. We will make Tom Corbett a one-term governor.”
The year end report that Hanger filed today will show that he raised $53,740 by December 31, he said.
Financial standing will be a key factor in what appears to be an increasingly crowded field of potential Democratic candidates, including state Treasurer Rob McCord and former Congressman Joe Sestak.
PoliticsPA is seeking clarification from Hanger’s campaign as to whether the $200K is money that has actually come in the door and gone into the campaign account, or whether the figure reflects money that has been pledged to the campaign – an important distinction in fundraising.
Unless they contribute to statewide judicial candidates in 2013, gubernatorial hopefuls will not need to file any fundraising reports again until Jan. 31, 2014 – meaning there is no way to verify Hanger’s or others’ fundraising claims for the next 12 months.
No matter what the case, Hanger and most of the prospective 2014 candidates have some catching up to do with Corbett. The Governor reported having $2.05 million on hand at the end of 2011. His 2012 year end report is not yet online.
The 2014 cycle is just a few weeks old, but a significant Democratic super PAC has already named Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) to its list of targets.
The House Majority PAC, which works to complement the efforts of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, chose Fitzpatrick as one of ten. He’s the only member from Pa.
“In 2012, House Majority PAC built a strong record of success and in 2013 we are ready to hit the ground running to hold these Republicans accountable and communicate with swing voters about their extreme records and backwards priorities,” said Alixandria Lapp, Executive Director of House Majority PAC.
The group is the unofficial super PAC of House Democratic candidates, and their targeting almost universally overlapped in 2012. That means they worked – without direct coordination – to boost the same candidates.
The PAC spent $36 million in 2012, including over ahalf a million to boost Rep. Mark Critz (D-Cambria) in PA-12.
Fitzpatrick was elected in 2004, defeated in 2006, and elected again in 2010. The most highly-targeted Republican incumbent in Pa. in 2012, he easily fended off challenger Kathy Boockvar.
“No amount of hyperbole from Nancy Pelosi’s henchmen will distort Congressman Fitzpatrick’s independent record of fighting for his constituents,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Nat Sillin.
The Congressman defeated Boockvar, an attorney, convincingly: 56.6 percent to 43.4 percent.
Even given his strong performance, his district in the swingy Philadelphia suburbs may be Dems’ best option for a Pa. pickup in 2014 – albeit a tough, uphill battle.
Interestingly, freshman Rep. Keith Rothfus is absent from the admittedly preliminary list of targets, despite that fact that his 3.4 point win was the narrowest in any Pa. congressional race in 2012.
(2 of the 10 names on the House Majority PAC list are Republican freshmen, so it’s not for lack of a voting record that he was omitted).
Though the 12th district had sent a Democrat to Congress for decades, Rothfus represents constituents who went for Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush – in each case by at least 9 points.
Conversely, Fitzpatrick’s 8th district went for Obama by 7.5 points in 2008, Kerry by 1 point in 2004, but flipped to Romney in 2012. The Republican narrowly carried the 8th district 49.4 percent to 49.3 for Obama, according to the website DailyKos.
Another factor counting against Democrats in PA-8: Fitzpatrick’s pledge. He pledged to serve at most through 2016, meaning 2014 will be his final congressional campaign. The major talent on the Democratic bench in the 8th knows they’d stand a better chance in 2016 when the seat is open and presidential year turnout is likely to boost their party.
Note: numbers above refer to vote totals for the current configuration of the congressional districts, post-redistricting.
Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Blair), thenewly mintedChairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on Wednesday traveled to Philadelphia International Airport to meet with Mayor Michael Nutter and Congressman Pat Meehan (R-Delaware) and tour the airport’s expanding facilities.
Rep. Shuster, who helped usher the GOP’s transportation spending bill through the House last spring, hailed PHL as a job generator and said he’s looking forward to working to ensure that future legislation serves to benefit the airport and Southeast Pennsylvania region.
The Blair County Republican, whose father Bud served as Transportation Chair from 1995 to 2001, said Rep. Meehan had doggedly insisted for weeks that the younger Shuster make the trip to Philadelphia to tour the airport and meet with local officials.
Emphasizing the airport’s role in maintaining Philadelphia’s global competitiveness, Nutter hailed recently approved $734 million in new investment at PHL as a “signal that we’re all dedicated to moving forward with projects crucial to the region.” The mayor predicted that the influx of money and projects would fuel the Delaware Valley’s economy throughout the next decade by creating engineering, construction, manufacturing and supplier jobs.
Rep. Meehan struck largely the same tone, saying that planned expansions at the airport would bring tens of thousands of jobs and would represent the biggest economic development project in the Philadelphia region over the next five to ten years.
Neighboring local officials – including Delaware County Councilman John McBlain, Tinicum Township Manager David Schreiber and Commissioner Pat Barr – were also in attendance.
Pittsburgh City Council: Dan Gilman isn’t messing around. The longtime aide to Councilman Bill Peduto is running for his boss’s seat, and has the cash to do it. He’ll show $85,000 on hand by the end of the month, he says. His district 8 opponent Sam Hens-Greco said he had a few thousand, and other opponent Jeanne Clark didn’t organize a committee until 2013 and so doesn’t have to report by the end of January.
Statewide AP: Governor Corbett promises liquor proceeds to schools AP: State Senate votes to keep Penn State’s NCAA fines in PA AP: Poll: More PA Democrats happy with party than Republicans AP: Poll shows strong PA support for new gun controls AP: PA Senate OKs task force on mass shootings Capitolwire: Corbett proposes using liquor privatization money to fund new education block grant Capitolwire: Corbett education proposal may cause battle with unions on prevailing wage, furloughs Capitolwire: L&I Secretary Hearthway hopes worst of unemployment call center problems over Capitolwire: Scarnati has questions about governor’s proposed pension reforms Capitolwire: Scarnati says House charter reform bill takes too much from charters, cyber-charters StateImpactPA: Pa. Poll: Concern About Fracking Ranks Low on a Long List of Troubles PA Independent: Pennsylvania grades high on national transparency report State House Sound Bites: Issue of arming teachers not high on list among state officials State House Sound Bites: Gov. Corbett says he’s taking lead on liquor store privatization State House Sound Bites: Recovery officers optimistic about Harrisburg, York schools’ future
Philadelphia AP: Aide to jailed Pa. Sen. says she worked for Melvin Inquirer: Corbett: $1 billion to schools from sale of state stores Inquirer: Aide to Reynolds Brown and Nutter fired after ethics report Daily News: Amid ethics charges, Nutter fires ex-Brown aide Philly.com: Reynolds Brown must step down Commonwealth Confidential: Poll: PA voters support assault weapons, high cap magazine ban, same-sex marriage PhillyClout: As Nutter’s ‘final offer’ deadline arrives, admin & D.C. 33 will negotiate PhillyClout: Wednesday’s DN: Mayor Nutter fires ex-Councilwoman campaign aide WHYY Newsworks: Task force to study violence in schools OK’d by Pa. lawmakers
Pittsburgh KDKA: New poll shows Corbett’s popularity shrinking WTAE: Gov. Tom Corbett’s liquor privatization plan includes wine, beer, state stores WTAE: Pa. Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin’s trial continues in Pittsburgh WPXI: Corbett promises liquor proceeds to schools City Paper: No Help Wanted: In filing to labor board, UPMC claims it has no employees City Paper: Broken Down: Passed in 2010, a city tow-truck licensing ordinance faces a long haul Early Returns: Q poll finds gun control support in Pa Early Returns: Liquor plan in neutral Early Returns: Ferlo blasts Corbett liquor plan Early Returns: Corbett: Liquor proceeds to schools Early Returns: Gilman’s healthy warchest Post-Gazette: Corbett proposes selling liquor stores to raise education funds Post-Gazette: Testimony: Pa. Senate worker spend half of 2003 working on Judge Orie Melvin’s Campaign Post-Gazette: Corbett to add $8.5 million to Children’s Health Insurance Program Post-Gazette: Poll shows Pa. voters want stricter gun-control measures Post-Gazette: Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett’s poll numbers fall again Post-Gazette: Pennsylvania Justice Melvin’s defense grills central witness Post-Gazette: Corbett getting resistance from Pennsylvania GOP leadership Tribune-Review: computer glitch halts state’s concealed weapons permit process Tribune-Review: Corbett lays out plan for liquor privatization Tribune-Review: Corbett: Shell tax breaks a way to expand manufacturing in state
Southwest AP: Corbett promises liquor proceeds to Pa. schools AP: Aide to jailed Pa. Sen. says she worked for Melvin Beaver County Times: Game commision OKs drilling underneath game lands near school Beaver County Times: Corbett: Budget proposes funds for state police cadets, training
Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania Ave: QPoll: Pennsylvanians support stricter gun control Pennsylvania Ave: Jury decides in multimillion-dollar dispute between Pektor and PPL Morning Call: Corbett offers liquor store privatization plan Morning Call: Easton attorney will run for Northampton County judge seat Reading Eagle: Pa. senator skeptical of Corbett pension strategy Reading Eagle: Reading restaurant owner in U.S. illegally encouraged by immigration reform talk Reading Eagle: Firearms permit system down for much of day Reading Eagle: Corbett promises liquor proceeds to schools WFMZ: Judge: No new trial for Jerry Sandusky WFMZ: Dean Browning announces candidacy for Lehigh County Executive Express Times: Pennsylvanians support assault weapons ban, universal background checks, poll finds
South Central Roxbury News: Legislative leaders detail goals York Dispatch: County commits $75K for Camp Security effort Patriot-News: Union remains opposed to unionization efforts Patriot-News: Lebanon Co. voter chief to become Annville Twp. administrator Patriot-News: Success of Corbett’s privatization push depends on fault lines in party lines Patriot-News: L. Dauphin S.D. taxes won’t go up more than 2%
Pittsburgh — Tom Corbett unveiled his plan Wednesday to privatize the state’s liquor stores, one of the most ambitious attempts by a Pa. Governor in decades.
“I am proposing that Pennsylvania join the ranks of 48 other states and once and for all get out of the business of selling wine and spirits,” he said. “I do not simply want to reduce it or to trim it a little here and a little there… we should not do it halfway.”
Flanked by Pa. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai – a longtime proponent of privatization – and a dozen other Republican state Reps., Corbett laid out the details.
Some of the main points:
As the Guv said, it’s not a halfway plan. It’s a full privatization effort – dissolving the 600 state stores and auctioning off 1,200 licenses for the sale of liquor and wine.
Other licenses, for beer and wine, won’t have a set number but will be granted based on whether the seller (including box stores, groceries, restaurants, bars, convenience stores, etc) met certain criteria.
Current beer distributors can keep their current license, apply to sell wine, or participate in auctions for liquor licenses.
Businesses that hire current Pa. liquor store employees would be eligible for a tax credit.
The new, private stores and wholesalers would continue to use the current tax system.
The entire program would phase in over 4 years.
Corbett appeared to be making a play mostly for Republican support – or at least to give his party political cover. The proposal almost certainly will define the rightmost option in the forthcoming debate.
He has his work cut out for him. Turzai notwithstanding, several legislative leaders in his party – including House Speaker Sam Smith and Senate Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati – have expressed reluctance about privatization in recent days.
Both Smith and Scarnati suggested the current system is working and said they’d support more restrained reforms – ones that better guaranteed rural places like their home County of Jefferson maintains retailers.
Corbett’s key olive branch to Democrats (and potentially vulnerable Republicans): $1 billion in new funding for K-12 education. The grants would be funded by revenue from the license sales and taxes, and directed to a limited range of functions (most notably not regular budgetary needs, such as salaries).
But he can expect stiff resistance. Democratic lawmakers and allied groups lambasted the plan immediately – including Corbett’s estimates of increased revenue.
Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) is the ranking Democrat on the Pa. Senate Law & Justice Committee where any legislation will originate.
“We do not need to tear down a system that works, provides good paying, middle-class jobs, and generates essential revenue for the State as the Governor is proposing. We need to improve that system to the benefit of consumers while continuing to take advantage of the important resources and public health protections the system provides today,” he said.
Ferlo praised Scarnati, who earlier this week similarly called for tweaks to the current system.
Corbett said it wasn’t time for half-measures.
“We’ve been nipping and tucking away at this. This is time to go and do it,” he said.
Numerous polls have shown solid public support for privatization, including a survey commissioned by the Philadelphia Inquirerin October (55% supported, 28% opposed).
In a recent poll released January 30th by Quinnipiac University regarding support for same-sex marriage among Pennsylvania voters, the results were closely divided but in favor 47% to 43%.
The poll surveyed a total of 1,221 registered Pennsylvania voters over a 5 day period by making calls to landlines and cellphones. The surveyed produced results for Pennsylvania voters overall as well as demographic groups such as particular age groups or religions.
Women in Pennsylvania support same-sex marriage by a margin of ten (50% to 40%) while men are slightly opposed (46% to 44%).
The survey outcomes were generally split along party lines; Democrats showed strong support (65% to 27%), Independents demonstrated moderate support (51% to 38%), and Republicans opposed same-sex marriage (67% to 23%).
Quinnipiac also surveyed white Catholics and white Protestants who support and oppose same-sex marriage respectively (50% to 40%, 60% to 31%).
In keeping with national trends, the poll found that support for same-sex marriage was strongest among the age group 18 to 34 (68% to 25%), close among those 35 to 54 (48% to 41%), and weak among those aged 55 and over, who oppose it (52% to 39%).
Voters surveyed were also asked an open-ended question about what they feel is the most important question facing the state. The economy was listed as the primary concern by 37% of those surveyed. Education and taxes followed claiming 10% and 8% respectively, and the state budget and politicians claimed 7% each.
The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts public opinion surveys in various states as well as nationwide and is directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D.
In the latest poll conducted by Quinnipiac, Pa. voters are uneasy over Gov. Tom Corbett’s new transportation tax plan.
The plan, which would remove the cap on the oil franchise tax and could generate up to $2 billion in needed revenue for transit, is largely divided amongst Pa. voters, with 45 percent supporting the measure and 47 percent opposing it.
However, voters are concerned that eliminating the cap could place a tax burden on them, with 82 percent showing concern as opposed to only 18 percent who are not concerned.
Corbett’s plan is aimed at obtaining the necessary $2.5 billion for fixing damaged roads, bridges, as well as public transportation. While removing a tax cap doesn’t necessarily mean a raise in taxes, it’s clear that voters are concerned that additional taxes are on the way.
The poll was conducted from January 22-27, and surveyed 1,221 registered voters. There was a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent.
Pa. voters give positive marks to President Barack Obama on the second week of his second term, according to the latest survey from Quinnipiac.
51% said they approve the job he’s doing while 46% disapprove – about the same as it was 2 weeks after his re-election in Q-pac’s November survey.
Democrats and Republicans fall mostly on partisan lines, with about 90 percent approving Obama and vice versa for the GOP. But he’s got problems in the center: independent voters disapprove 52% to 42%.
The President also has a wide gender gap among men. While women approve his job performance 57% to 40%, men disapprove 53% to 44% – a total gap of 26 points.
The Democratic label itself is in positive territory in Pa., albeit barely. 43% said they had a favorable impression of the Democratic party and 42% said unfavorable. Independents were unfavorable 47% to 33%.
Respondents said they had a negative impression of the Republican party by a starker margin: 55% to 29%. They did worse with independents, who went negative 57% to 24%. And interestingly, the Republican party did much worse with Republican voters than the Democrats did.
21% of Republicans have an unfavorable impression of their own party, compared to just 7% of Democrats who felt unfavorably about theirs.
These numbers are from the second release by Quinnipiac from the same poll, conducted from Jan. 22 to 27 using live interviewers calling landlines. The margin of error for the survey of 1,221 registered voters is plus or minus 2.8%. Pa. polls that use registration numbers rather than algorithms based on likely voters tend to favor Democrats by a few points and disadvantage Republicans compared to election results.
Statewide AP: PA denies three new midstate cyber charter schools AP: Court to weigh secrecy of PA turnpike lawyers AP: PA labor chief says police are probing hotline problems AP: Leading PA Senator skeptical of Governor Corbett’s pension strategy AP: Two state agencies in dispute over health of the Susquehanna State House Sound Bites: Poll: Corbett’s grim numbers get no bump from NCAA lawsuit StateImpactPA: Post-Gazette: DEP Pulls Wastewater Permit Capitolwire: Scarnati has questions about governor’s proposed pension reforms Capitolwire: At mid-term, 51-31 against Corbett re-election, new Quinnipiac poll shows Capitolwire: Pension reform, public education funding to be linked in Corbett budget
Philadelphia AP: Pa. senator skeptical of Corbett pension strategy Inquirer: Pa. voters disapprove of Gov. Corbett Inquirer: High-powered testimony in ex-PHA chief’s lawsuit Inquirer: Blondell’s ex-campaign chief loses city job Daily News: Corbett: Good Bet/Bad Bet PhillyClout: South Philly state Rep’s business partner indicted on tax charges PhillyClout: Tuesday’s DN: Councilwoman Reynolds Brown admits to Ethics violations PhillyClout: Councilwoman refuses to answer questions about campaign finance violations PhillyClout: Political watchdog urges law enforcement to examine Councilwoman’s campaign finance violations WHYY Newsworks: Gov. Corbett’s poll numbers are in a slump Phillynow.com: Pa. Lawmakers Fight to Reform Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse
SEPA Phillyburbs.com: Corbett administration blames drop in federal funding and old tech for unemployment busy signals Phillyburbs.com: Corbett plan said to include wine, liquor and beer Phillyburbs.com: State education secretary says Corbett’s budget has good news for schools Phillyburbs.com: Pennde faces financial squeeze; seeks loan Delco Daily Times: PA budget chief says pension reforms essential Montgomery Media: Local legislators speak at League of Women Voters group
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Corbett budgeting to train hundreds of new state troopers Tribune-Review: Poll finds Corbett’s approval rate plummeting Tribune-Review: Philadelphia group gets more time for Lawrence County casino plan Tribune-Review: Top Senate Republican objects to linking funding in state budget Tribune-Review: Pa. labor chief: Police probing jobless benefits hotline problems Tribune-Review: Former revenue secretary Wolf ‘likely’ to challenge Corbett Post-Gazette: Poll: Likely Pennsylvania voters disapprove of Corbett’s performance Post-Gazette: Corbett’s budget to affect state employee pensions Post-Gazette: Orie aide tells jury of work done for judicial sister Post-Gazette: DEP pulls permit, to allow comment Post-Gazette: Pennsylvania withholds OKs for 8 cyber charter schools Post-Gazette: Attorney for suspended Justice Orie Melvin highlights witness’ inconsistencies Post-Gazette: Scarnati urges quick approval of transportation plan Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh City Council unanimously approves Ravenstahl’s property tax plan Early Returns: Q poll: No strong Corbett support anywhere Early Returns: Toomey no on Sandy relief; Casey yes Early Returns: Corbett to unveil LCB plan KDKA: DEP investigating Fly Ash Hauling KDKA: Allegheny Co. homeowners have sticker shock over new property taxes KDKA: Locals react to proposed immigration reform
Southwest AP: Pa. Senate OKs task force on mass shootings AP: PSU on pace in implementing Freeh recommendations AP: Corbett plan said to include wine, liquor, and beer AP: Pa. state agencies arguing over Susquehanna river AP: Melvin defense targets authenticity of documents AP: Rendell supports ex-Philly housing czar at trial AP: Pennsylvania budget chief says pension reforms essential AP: State labor chief: Police probing hotline problems Beaver County Times: Rothfus unveils committee assignments
Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania Ave: Toomey votes no on Sandy relief Pennsylvania Ave: Lehigh Valley native, Capitol Hill staffer wins $100K on Who Wants to be a Millionaire Pennsylvania Ave: Pa. judges to challenge mandatory retirement in state and federal courts Pennsylvania Ave: Jammed up unemployment compensation hotline to improve, state official says Morning Call: Brennan gets work release, trying to save government job Morning Call: Joe Conti leaving the LCB, but not for long Reading Eagle: Pa. budget chief says pension reforms essential Reading Eagle: PennDOT efficiency drive could free up funds for roadwork WFMZ: Local immigration lawyers praise President’s plan WFMZ: Proposed immigration reform stirs local debate Express Times: Upper Nazareth Township officials’ approval of retirement community reversed by judge Express Times: Tony Bassil running for late Gay Elwell’s judge seat Express Times: Freemansburg Avenue in Wilson Borough reopened following water line break, utility says – UPDATE
Opinions Post-Gazette: No reform: The Senate botches a chance to fix the filibuster Post-Gazette: The U.S. in Mali: Creeping involvement must be debated in Congress Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Readers’ Forum 1-29 | It’s essential to retake our culture
Blogs Watchdog Wire: Penn State scandal, and broken promises could lead to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s 2013 defeat Jon Geeting: Two Questions for the Bethlehem Mayor Candidates Jon Geeting: Northampton County Democrats Primary Open Thread Jon Geeting: Dean Browning Will Challenge Scott Ott in the Republican Primary John Hanger: Key Fact: Gas Royalty Checks Total $1.2 Billion in PA John Hanger: An Economic Tale Of Two Shale Booms: Pennsylvania is Not North Dakota
If Pa. voters had their say today, three of President Obama’s top gun control priorities would become law.
According to the latest poll from Quinnipiac, Pa. has near-unanimous public support for universal background checks (95% to 5%) and healthy support for a ban on assault weapons (60% to 37%) and high capacity magazine clips (59% to 39%).
Respondents who identified as gun owners also supported universal background checks (95% to 4%) but opposed an assault weapons ban (51% to 45%) and magazine restrictions (57% to 41%).
All three are measures supported by Obama, who intensified his focus on gun violence in the wake of the December school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
As the number show however, universal background checks stand the strongest chance of success. Alengthy report this month by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Moriah Balingit detailed one example why: John Shick, the man who shot several people at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Oakland in March 2012, had navigated haphazard background check laws to obtain his guns.
57% of respondents said Pa. gun control laws should be stricter, 35% said they should remain as-is, and 4% said they should be less strict. 60% favored stricted federal gun control laws (and 32% the same, 5% less strict).
Asked, “Who do you trust more to make the right decisions about gun laws, the Republicans in Congress or President Obama?” respondents chose Obama 47% to 38%.
“Pennsylvanians join voters in Virginia and New Jersey, states where Quinnipiac University has found overwhelming support for background checks for every gun purchase,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Keystone State voters, especially voters in urban areas, seem to have had enough of gun violence. By large margins, voters don’t think assault weapons belong in the hands of any gun owner. Restrict the firepower of assault weapons or ban them entirely, Pennsylvanians say.”
The survey found 49 % of respondents believe gun ownership protects people from becoming victims of crime compared to 40% who said ownership puts people at risk. But that stops with semi-automatic assault rifles like that used in Newtown. 61% of respondents said those make the country more dangerous. Just 28% said they make the country safer.
The idea of having armed guards at schools would do more to reduce gun violence in schools than stricter 46% to 42%.
By a margin of 35% to 31%, respondents said they had an unfavorable impression of the National Rifle Association.
These numbers are the second release by Quinnipiac from the same survey, conducted from Jan. 22 to 27 using live interviewers calling landlines. The margin of error for the poll of 1,221 registered voters is plus or minus 2.8%. Pa. polls that use registration numbers rather than algorithms based on likely voters tend to favor Democrats by a few points and disadvantage Republicans compared to election results.
Yesterday’s releaseshowed Gov. Tom Corbett’s re-election numbers in trouble driven by a wide gender gap.