February 22nd Ups & Downs
A number of endorsements from county parties in the state have made headlines, while a former Lt. Governor is inching closer to seeking elected office again. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Toomey and Trump Unity. Not that the two have been closely aligned much, but the Republican Senator from Pennsylvania stood out from a number of GOP representatives in the state when he stated his dissatisfaction over the President’s national emergency declaration last Friday. Toomey called the declaration “unfortunate” while various GOP congressman including Reps. Scott Perry (R-York), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny), and Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), among others support the President’s national emergency declaraion over border wall funding.
Seth Grove. The York County Republican gets to hold a new title as the first ever chair of the newly formed House Oversight Committee. There are nine members on this committee, five Republicans and four Democrats.
Mike Stack’s Time Off. 2018 was not kind to the previous Lieutenant Governor of PA, as he finished fourth in the Democratic primary as an incumbent, but it appears his time off seeking public office is over. Rumors have swirled for months about Stack’s political future and according to today’s Philly Clout, it appears a run for Philadelphia’s 10th district in City Council is happening. The story reports that Stack is collecting signatures for the district in Northeast Philadelphia according to the city’s Board of Elections. In the Philly Clout story, Stack does not say himself that he is seeking this seat for certain, but if he does and is successful in the Democratic primary, he’d have to face the longest tenured Philadelphia City Councilman, Brian O’Neill, who is in his 10th term.
Jim Kenney. Philadelphia’s incumbent mayor could claim a victory in the courts this week, while receiving some bad press that has resulted in the Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board referring to him as “more “old fool” than “old school.”” The third circuit court of appeals upheld a lower court ruling that Philadelphia’s “sanctuary city” policy is legal. Kenney has been an advocate for the city’s “sanctuary city” policy. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported last Friday that Kenney has deleted all of his text messages on his personal phone. The issue? Kenney used his personal phone, not a city-issued phone, to “conduct city business.” Kenney’s office claimed that three years of texts on his phone deleted were to keep enough memory on his phone and dubbed him “old school.” The Inquirer Editorial Board wrote yesterday that Kenney may have violated the state’s Right-to-Know Law, “that allows anyone to request any communication of public officials that pertains to city business.” The Editorial board also stated that “Best case, that becomes problematic. Worst case, it becomes criminal.” Kenney already has one confirmed primary challenger in former Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz, while state Sen. Anthony Williams is “creeping closer” to challenging Kenney as well according to today’s Philly Clout.
Daphne Goggins. It was a roller-coaster of a week for one of the Republican candidates for Philadelphia Mayor. She was awarded the party’s endorsement last week, but the Philadelphia GOP reconvened on Monday to possibly reconsider their endorsement. The end result? Goggins still remains the endorsed candidate in the GOP primary. Her opponent in May’s primary, Billy Ciancaglini, questioned whether she “could handle the rigors of being mayor” since she has been on federal disability payments since 2010, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. After the controversy revolving around the endorsement ended, Goggins went to the White House yesterday to attend a Black History Month reception.
York County GOP Tradition. For at least the past decade and a half, the York County Republican Party did not endorse primary candidates. This at least 15 year tradition ended this year when the party endorsed a candidate for clerk of courts, prothonotary, register of wills/clerk of orphans’ court, commissioner, treasurer, and sheriff the York Dispatch reports. York GOP Chairman Jeff Piccola told the York Dispatch that, “If you have incumbents or people who are clearly qualified Republicans who are supportive of the party, they should be given the benefit of party endorsement.”
Union Membership. While union membership has been on a steady decline nationwide, Pennsylvania saw an increase in 2018. According to the Patch, 13.4% of employees in Pennsylvania were represented by a union last year, which is a slight increase from 13% in 2017. Pennsylvania ranks 17th highest in the nation last year for share of employees represented by unions.
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This post was updated to correct the spelling of “formed.”