State Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny) is an incumbent who is touting that he voted against increasing taxes to expand Philadelphia mass transit. The thing is, that same bill will benefit Pittsburgh as well.
“Readshaw fought Governor Corbett’s massive gas tax that funds Philadelphia’s mass transit,” the incumbent’s most recent ad proclaims.
Some have accused Readshaw of “distorting the transit law” for his political advantage. As quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Chris Borick, a professor of political science and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion in Allentown, said: “While [the ad is] factually correct, it lacks any meaningful context.”
The context that Borick is alluding to is not just that the bill is primed to benefit transit in parts of his own district, but it also leaves out the mass bipartisan support that the bill garnered and its benefits to other parts of the state.
Former Governor Ed Rendell was a strong backer of the bill and so was Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. Another strong backer of the bill was fellow state Rep. Erin Molchany (D-Allegheny), who is running against Readshaw in HD-36.
Molchany is a first-term representative who lost her current district, HD-22, due to recent redistricting and bumped her into the seat that Readshaw has held since 1994. But that hasn’t slowed her determination to beat out long time incumbent Readshaw; she recently released a charming ad that features her father.
Her campaign declined to comment on Readshaw’s ad.
But Molchany does have a tough battle ahead of her. Readshaw has been a state Rep. since 1995 and the redistricting heavily favors the former boundaries of his district — with 72% of his voting base remaining in HD-36. Molchany will carry over 21% of the voters of her old district, leaving the rest of the area new territory for both candidates.
This latest ad may have Readshaw in hot water going forward, however. He states that his opposition to the transportation bill was due to the tax increases that the bill proposed, which falls directly in line with the conservative sentiment of the Republican House.
“What we did was place the entire burden [of the bill's revenue source] on the citizens of the commonwealth,” Readshaw said. “We cannot just tax, tax, tax.”