4/17 Morning Buzz

PA-state-flag6Leach leads the PA-13 pack in fundraising, Readshaw releases his first ad and Costello leads big over Trivedi in PA-6 money race. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz.

PA-13: Arkoosh Buys Up Critical Ad Space: Her campaign unloaded serious cash to grab big ad space in the days before the primary.

PA-6: Costello Outshines Trivedi in Q1: Republican Ryan Costello nearly tripled Trivedi’s fundraising efforts in the PA-6 race.

Politically Uncorrected: A Good Start: Still more than a month away, the hotly contested Democratic primary is finally moving into high gear.

PA-10: Incumbent Marino Leads in Funds for Q1: Tom Marino has both the money and the voter base to take PA-10 with ease.

PA-13: Leach Leads Q1 With Large Margin: State Senator Daylin Leach came out in front of the widest congressional primary pack in the state.

PA-7: Meehan Easily Leads Challenger in Q1: Incumbent Pat Meehan has a plentiful amount of cash on hand to outspend challenger Mary Ellen Balchunis.

PA-16: Pitts Out-Raises Challengers, Keeps Major COH Lead: The 16th district acts as another classic case of the incumbent ruling the fundraising numbers.

PA-12: McClelland Picks Up Steam, Rothfus Still Leads: The incumbent stays ahead while just one of his potential opponent posts a serious number.

HD-36: Readshaw Joins Molchany on TV (Watch): Both incumbent Democrats are now on the airwaves in their primary battle.

PA-8: Naughton Outraises Strouse, Fitzpatrick Surpasses Both in Q1: A look into the financial numbers of the three PA-8 candidates.

Legislative Elections Update:

HD-12: Working America, an organization that represents more than half a million working-class Pennsylvanians, including 5,000 in Butler County, is supporting local leader Gordon Marburger for state representative of District 12 in the Republican primary election on May 20 against Rep. Daryl Metcalfe.

HD-36: The PSEA, a union that represents 180,000 teachers and staff, announced they are supporting State Rep. Harry Readshaw in his race against State Rep. Erin Molchany for the Democratic nomination in District 36.

PEG PAC Endorsements: Pennsylvania Business Council’s PAC endorsed candidates in each of these races. GOP incumbents Mike Fleck (81st) of Huntingdon County, Seth Grove (196th) of York County and Karen Boback(117th) of Luzerne County; and,  Democratic incumbents Margo Davidson (164th) of Delaware County, Patty Kim (103rd) of Dauphin County, Jake Wheatley (19th) of Allegheny County and Jim Roebuck (188th) of Philadelphia.

PEG PAC also endorsed these non-incumbents: Republican Jason Ortitay, a small business owner and member of the Burgettstown Area Community Development Corporation, from the 46th District in Washington and Allegheny counties who is vying to take on incumbent Rep. Jessie White; East Marlborough Township Supervisor and former Chairman of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, Republican Cuyler Walker, business owner and Partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP, running in the open 158th District in southern Chester County; and, Former Rep. Tom Quigley, running to reclaim his seat in the 146th District in Montgomery County.

Statewide
PA Independent: State rep searching for answers about gas drilling plan
PA Independent: Conservative challenger to Corbett remains on ballot after legal challenge
PA Independent: Legal conflict over teacher seniority in Philly heats up
StateImpactPA: DCNR releases first Marcellus monitoring report

Philadelphia
The Big Tent: Schwartz ad pledges to ‘break through’ boys club
The Big Tent: McGinty out with two new ads in Pa. gov
PhillyClout: Local NAACP names new president, officers
PhillyClout: Nutter signs order limiting city cooperation with ICE
Inquirer: Nutter signs ‘historic’ order limiting immigrant detentions
WHYY Newsworks: Asian American voters not getting language help at Philly polls, complaint says
WHYY Newsworks: ‘Election season’ in North Philly: parents hear pitches on charter conversion
WHYY Newsworks: McCord wants to nearly triple Pa. spending on early education
Phillynow: WATCH: N.A. Poe interviews N.A. Poe on City Council run

SEPA
The Intelligencer: 2 Democrats top $1M in fundraising for 13th seat
Delco Daily Times: Sen. Casey defends Affordable Care Act, challenges foes to help the uninsured
AP: GOP will challenge petitions of Corbett foe
Buck Local News: Democratic Congressional candidates Naughton, Strouse debate issues at forum in Bristol

Pittsburgh
Business Journal: Obama pledges $600M for job training programs in Oakdale stop (Video)
Business Journal: SEC Commissioner Piwowar deciphers regulators, how they work for CMU students (Video)
Post-Gazette: UPMC: Court is not the place to settle tax-exemption issue
Post-Gazette: Murrysville council delays vote on gas drilling ordinance
Tribune-Review: Legislative sting’s scope in Pennsylvania broad, diverse
Tribune-Review: State reaps $582M windfall on gas drilling in state forests
UrbanMediaToday: Fitzgerald Announces Allegheny County to Stay with Highmark Through 2015

Southwest
Altoona Mirror: Blair County to research property tax relief options
Altoona Mirror: Penn Cambria school board approves security upgrades
Beaver County Times: Obama announces funding for job training, stresses importance of middle class
Beaver County Times: Rothfus roundtable to address human trafficking
Observer-Reporter: District attorney to withdraw citation in wiretapping case
Observer-Reporter: 200 at meeting on Shell cracker plant plans

NEPA
Times Leader: Schwartz talks education in class visit
Times Leader: Casey backs bill to aid families of disabled
Times Leader: Barletta unveils redesigned website
Times-Tribune: Dem state House candidates refrain from rips at debate
Times-Tribune: Former Lackawanna guardian ad litem sentenced to a year in prison

South Central
Patriot News: Corbett – I never made a call on sting case: Wednesday Morning Coffee
Patriot News: Brad Koplinski signs anti-fracking pledge, first candidate for statewide office to do so
Patriot News: Average gas price in Harrisburg area is 18 cents higher than last year
Patriot News: State Department of Health offers shingles vaccine to uninsured, underinsured
York Daily Record: Proposed cell tower for Cousler Park drawing mixed reactions
AP: Obama, Biden to announce $600M for job grants
York Dispatch: Grocery bills on the rise in York County
Lancaster Intelligencer: GOP outraising Democrats in county’s congressional races

Lehigh Valley
Morning Call: Easton Area School District looking at 29 to 100 staff reductions
Morning Call: Another win for Sands Casino
Morning Call: Allentown residents make appeal to avoid building costly sidewalks
Reading Eagle: Corbett visits RACC, touts workforce development
Reading Eagle: Exeter School Board rejects merger with Antietam School District
WFMZ: Customers Bank invests $2 million in fund for loans to small businesses
WFMZ: UGI unveils plans for $85 million infrastructure investment in 2014

North by Northwest
Erie Times News: Neuman says Erie endorsements help separate himself from the field
Erie Times News: LaVallee now unopposed for Dem nomination for Congress
Centre Daily Times: Penn State panel: Consent, respect keys to curbing sex crimes
AP: Corbett signs 4 more child-abuse prevention bills
Sun Gazette: Overcrowding at prison is a county concern

Opinion
Patriot News: The 2014 guv election could be Pa’s political tipping point
York Dispatch: Editorial: Parents know a thing about raising kids, too
The Intelligencer: Partisan news media allow ‘big lies’
Delco Daily Times: Editorial: Inaction on gun laws allows carnage to continue
Post-Gazette: Reverse course: Yellow Cab seeks to join the ride-share business
Tribune-Review: The case of Beaver County Sheriff George David: He should be jailed pending trial

Blogs
Citizens’ Call: Arkoosh’s First Paid Web Spot in PA-13 Race Focuses on Health Care Law
Keystone Politics: Guzzardi Will Garner a Significant Chunk of Votes, and Tom Corbett Knows It
Keystone Politics: #PA13: Liberal Lion is King of the Jungle in Quarter 1
Keystone Politics: Republicans Respond to Emergency Responder Shortage by Cutting Emergency Responder Benefits
Keystone Progress: Help us re-elect Rep. Erin Molchany- a true progressive champion

PA-13: Arkoosh Buys Up Critical Ad Space

Screnshot from Arkoosh's web ad

Screnshot from Arkoosh’s web ad

Physician, activist and first-time candidate Valerie Arkoosh just bought up serious ad space for the days before the primary.

Arkoosh is leading the Democratic pack for PA-13 in cash on hand, and clearly intends to use this advantage to tackle her very small name recognition in the district. Her campaign spent $400,000 to run ads during high-traffic time slots between May 12 and May 19.

“After another strong and consistent fundraising quarter, we placed the most significant ad buy in the race so far,” Arkoosh’s Communications Director Bryan Lesswing told PoliticsPA.

This quarter, she bringing in $220,474. She spent reasonably ($176,875), maintaining her lead in cash on hand at $687,530.

She’s the only new candidate in the race; she faces State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery), State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia) and former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies in the primary.

Her web ad, “Sarah,” is running now on Facebook and YouTube, but this won’t be the ad used on television next month.

 

PA-6: Costello Outshines Trivedi in Q1

Costello

Costello

After Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-Chester) decided to step down from his position as the Representative of Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, the 2014 race for that seat became highly contested, with promise of national attention and whispers of big name candidates.

Democrats have seen the district as an opportunity to pick up a seat in the House, while Republicans have mobilized in an effort to retain it. And now the 1st quarter financial numbers are in, and they show a less exciting, less close race than we all had hoped.

Manan Trivedi

This is Trivedi’s third time campaigning as a Democrat in PA-6, having lost to Gerlach in the general by large margins in both 2010 and 2012. But this time around he does not have to worry about the popular Gerlach and he even won the support of his only primary challenger, Mike Parish, last month following Parrish’s withdrawal.

Trivedi raised $132,416.50, but has yet to spend much — only $19,387.89. He sports $111,831.52 cash on hand and is not held down by any debts.

A great deal of his funding in this quarter also came from personal and familial contributions. One would have expected a stronger base of support for a candidate who had previously run in the district, especially since he believed he would have a primary challenger for most of the period.

However, Trivedi’s results pale in comparison to his Republican adversary.

Ryan Costello

As PoliticsPA wrote earlier this week, Republican Ryan Costello has done a fantastic job fundraising in this year’s 1st quarter.

He raised $344,450.00, and like Trivedi has not spent much on his campaign — only $39,141.34. That will most certainly change as the general approaches, and Costello has $305,308.66 of cash on hand to work with.

“These fundraising numbers are a reflection of local residents desire to get our country back on the right track by finding bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing the nation, implementing policies that will stimulate the economy and grow jobs, and restoring fiscal responsibility in Washington,” Costello said.  “Voters are tired of the partisan bickering and want to know that their voices are really being heard by their representatives in Congress.”

Costello, the Chairman of the Chester County Board of Commissioners, has received a ton of financial support, which is most likely due to the strong desire of the Republican Party to retain the PA-6 seat. Many members of the Pennsylvania Republican Congressional delegation wrote checks in support of their hopeful colleague. In addition, many of Costello’s donors may have been weary of Trivedi’s fundraising experience, considering this is his third attempt at the seat.

Whatever the reason, Costello out collected Trivedi nearly 3 to 1 and is suddenly positioned to run a very strong campaign.

Both candidates are running unopposed in their respective primaries.

Politically Uncorrected: A Good Start

PA-Governor-Mansion2Still more than a month away, the hotly contested Democratic primary is finally moving into high gear. Over the next several weeks, Pennsylvania voters will be treated (if that’s the word) to a veritable barrage of political ads, press releases, debates and other assorted arcana of political campaigns heading for the wire.

So far, it’s been a set piece campaign. Although it has turned a bit negative, the four surviving candidates have mostly agreed on the big issues. They all advocate ambitious agendas in education and economic development as well as protection of the environment and job creation. As challengers, they’ve mostly avoided dealing with the precarious fiscal situation faced by the state. None favor, for example, increases to the currently structured sales tax or the income tax or in fact any broad based revenue measures, except for a severance tax on the natural gas industry.

Abundantly clear is that whichever Democrat wins the nomination he or she is going to wage a vigorous and energetic campaign in the fall. The Democrats intend to win in 2014, and they intend to govern aggressively, if they do win.

Let’s say this happens. Indeed it is no secret that it could happen. Gov. Tom Corbett, long considered the nation’s most endangered incumbent governor, could still pull it out. Few are betting that he will.

For the moment, then, let’s hypothetically assume that one of the hard-charging Democrats wins in November. Then what happens?

Maybe nothing! Make that a lot of nothing.

We don’t have to look any further then down the road to an imploding Washington D.C. to understand why “nothing” may be the bitter postscript to the Pennsylvania 2014 gubernatorial race. In Washington, an isolated, increasingly frustrated Democrat Barack Obama is struggling desperately to pursue an agenda blocked almost completely by the opposition party’s veto in the Congress. By any measure, Washington is trapped in a stunning gridlock.

Is this Pennsylvania’s near future? Sadly, it could be.

Currently, state Republicans control both houses of the state legislature. While some believe Democrats might capture the state Senate in November, Democratic control remains a long shot. More likely, Republicans will continue their Senate dominance, perhaps becoming even more conservative than now. A conservative oriented Republican-controlled Senate represents a major roadblock to the agenda of any would be Democratic governor.

This bad news might actually turn out to be the good news for any new Democratic governor. Much worse is the situation in the state House. There, already about 30 tea party types make the state House a junior version of the federal House. Moreover, no knowledgeable analyst expects the state house to change hands. The current 111 to 92 edge Republicans presently hold will remain largely intact, partially the result of two decades of favorable gerrymandering and the collaboration of both parties in pursuit of legislative protection.

But numbers alone tell only half the story. As in Washington, far more problematic is the rampant polarization and hyper partisanship that exists. For example, not a single Democratic House vote was obtained on Corbett’s 2013-14 budget, nor did a single Democratic lawmaker vote for the liquor privatization bill passed in the House. The Pennsylvania General Assembly is an ideological battlefield, and any new Democratic governor’s ambitious agenda would be an early casuality.

So, if a Democrat is elected in 2014 a not so quiet policy paralysis is likely to descend over Harrisburg, much as has already happened in Washington.

Are we then making a not so subtle argument that, flawed as he is, re-electing Tom Corbett may be preferable to creating a mini Washington D.C. on the Susquehanna. Is the devil we know better than the devil we don’t? Is Corbett the best of the worst and should we keep him?

No, we don’t make that argument one way or the other. That is clearly for the voters to decide. What we do believe, however, is the vital importance of understanding what decades of paralyzing polarization perpetuated by both parties have done to our politics – and threatens to do to our government.

Pennsylvania’s 2014 gubernatorial election will not end these battles. They will go on. They might even get worse.

But this neither makes the election irrelevant or unimportant. Things will not change in Pennsylvania or nationally until the electorate decides to change them. The 2014 gubernatorial could be the catalyst that sparks that change – the moment where voters collectively say “enough!”

2014 could be Pennsylvania’s “tipping point.”

As Winston Churchill said of another fight long ago, we might come to remember 2014 as “… not the end… not even the beginning of the end. But …perhaps the end of the beginning.”

That’s a good start.

PA-10: Incumbent Marino Leads in Funds for Q1

Tom-MarinoIn Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District, incumbent Tom Marino (R-Lycoming) looks well-positioned at the moment to win re-election with relative ease.

PA-10 strongly leans Republican, it is rated a R+12 by the highly-regarded Cook Political Report, and Marino has done a fine job fundraising according to this year’s 1st quarter financial reports.

Tom Marino

Marino raised $128,510.00 and has a sizeable $381,015.07 on hand; he has only spent $28,134.18. This is a good quarter for Marino and a strong showing for an incumbent.

The most sizeable donation that Marino received was from Lockheed Martin, an aerospace and defense technology company, which gifted $3,000 to his campaign.

Scott Brion

Marino’s Democratic challenger, businessman Scott Brion, did not measure up to Marino’s high fundraising totals. According to his financial report, Brion only raised $18,985.00 and has only $13,388.16 left in cash on hand. The Democratic challenger hasn’t spent much either, only $5,571.23, and he also currently has $1,445.71in debt.

Brion certainly has an uphill battle ahead of him, considering the sizeable gap in campaign funds between himself and Marino, and the largely Republican-voting population in PA-10.

Brion is the only candidate running in the Democratic primary in May.

Nick Troiano

A wild card in this race is Independent Nick Troiano, whose financial reports are unavailable. Troiano jumped into the race just this month and plans to make a run at Marino’s seat.

He made the following statement about Marino’s finances:

“In his never-ending quest to reelection, Congressman Tom Marino continues to take tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash from special interest political action committees.Nearly sixty cents of every dollar the Congressman has raised in the last three months has come from a political action committee (PAC), rather than an individual.

“The Congressman’s fundraising raises serious and troubling questions about whom he is truly representing in Washington. Congressman Marino is supposed to be representing his constituents from counties including Lycoming, Pike, Bradford, Susquehanna and Mifflin –– not his campaign contributors from companies including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Gruman, Raytheon, Cigna, Merck and Praxair.

“Big money has too much influence in our politics, as corporations, unions, lobbyists and PACs drown out the voice of ordinary voters and corrupt our policy-making process. Recent Supreme Court cases, from Citizens United to McCutcheon, have only exacerbated this problem. That is why I support comprehensive campaign finance reform that would limit big money in politics and empower small donors, and that is why my campaign will not accept a single dollar from any special interest.

“If Congressman Marino wants to truly represent the people, then he should return the quarter million dollars he has raised so far this election cycle from special interests and join me in only accepting his campaign funds from the people.”

PA-13: Leach Leads Q1 With Large Margin

Daylin-Leach-portrait-2013-loresState Senator Daylin Leach came out in front of the widest congressional primary pack in the state.

Leach raised $335,660; physician Valerie Arkoosh came in second with $220,474; former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies in third with $211,178 raised; and State Rep. Brendan Boyle in a distant fourth with just $114,246.

Two Republicans are also battling to represent one of the most D-leaning districts in the state, Dee Adcock and Bev Bowser. Adcock raised $63,600 after a $50,000 loan from himself. Bowser raised $15,780.

There were drastic changes in the leaderboard of the Democratic contenders in terms of fundraising, but one thing remains the same – Margolies’ negative burn rate.

Margolies

Her spending was more under control than the fourth quarter, but she spent $225,255 after raising $211,178 (106% burn rate). Her expenses were about the same as last year, high end consultants: Linda August $14,000, Erickson & Company Inc. $9,000, Info Voter Technologies Inc. $25,000, Joe Trippi & Associates Inc. $10,880, $24,000 Katz Watson Group Inc., $40,000 for Ken Smuckler.

The major fundraiser with Bill Clinton was held during the 2nd Quarter, but will be drastically needed to boost her cash on hand number, which sits at a dangerously low $159,789, not all of which can even be used in the primary after double max-out contributions.

This quarter did see some other high-profile contributors, including Bill Richardson $1,000, Governor Ed Rendell $500, Ezekiel Emanuel $500.

Leach

Leach is the big winner in this quarter. He outraised his competitors by a fundraising-mile and held onto a lot of it to bring his cash on hand number much closer to Arkoosh’s.

He spent $162,655, leaving him with $654,202, certainly enough to purchase serious amounts of air time closer to the primary.

His more than $300,000 in contributions came from maximum checks from 13 of his 22 Democratic colleagues in the Senate, and $16,000 from himself.

This is a major improvement over Q4 when Leach placed 3rd in the cash raised totals with $170K, and $481,197 on hand after spending $65,994 in the last quarter of the year.

Arkoosh

The first-time candidate impressed again this quarter, bringing in $220,474.

She spent reasonably ($176,875), maintaining her lead in cash on hand at $687,530. About 80% of that is money that can be used for the primary, so she and Leach are neck and neck moving into the last month of the campaign.

Boyle

One of the biggest surprises in the Q1 reports for this race was Boyle’s total raised. He brought in just $114,246, which would be an impressive amount were he not competing in a four-way primary for a safely Democratic seat.

This is even a decrease from Q4, where he raised $140,000. The last quarter of the year is typically slow, given that several major holidays fall in the period, making fundraisers more difficult to schedule.

He didn’t spend much, $97,111, but his cash on hand, $398,237, will not buy him the sort of exposure that Arkoosh and Leach will be able to afford.

Adcock

This Republican has been a good sport in the race, attending debates where the audience was clearly biased against him but his fundraising does not indicate a candidacy that is able to overthrow such a heavily Democratic seat.

He loaned himself $50,000, leading to a total raised of $63,600. He spent $16,441 and finished the period with $47,188 on hand.

Bowser

Adcock’s opponent for the uphill battle to the general election posted smaller numbers and has run an even lower-profile campaign.

She raised $15,780, spent $12,347.39 and has just $2,432.61 on hand moving into the second quarter. If you subtract Adcock’s loan, though, she did slightly outraise him in total contributions.

PA-7: Meehan Easily Leads Challenger in Q1

Rep. Meehan

Rep. Meehan

To say that incumbent Congressman Pat Meehan (R-Delaware) has a monetary advantage over his Democratic challenger Mary Ellen Balchunis (D-Delaware) would be an understatement.

According to the latest campaign finance reports covering the 1st quarter of 2014, Meehan raised approximately $149,014 while Balchunis was only able to accrue $10,119 — a difference of nearly 14 to 1. And while Meehan has spent $130,772 on his re-election campaign, Balchunis spent a measly $506.

As the incumbent in Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District, Meehan also sports much more cash on hand. The congressman has $1,609,143 worth of spending money while his challenger only has $9,612 to her name.

Neither candidate has a challenger for the primary in May, so Balchunis has plenty of time to up her fundraising game. Money doesn’t necessarily lead to campaign success, but the odds of Balchunis defeating Meehan at her current pace of fundraising looks extremely unlikely.

Balchunis’s largest campaign contribution came from former PA-7 Democratic candidate George Badey. Badey ran in 2012 but lost to Meehan in the general.

PA-7 only leans slightly Republican with a Cook Political Report partisan voting index of just R+2, which is why the lack of fundraising efforts by Balchunis seems rather odd. That being said, Meehan is a popular incumbent who easily won the seat in 2012.

PA-16: Pitts Out-Raises Challengers, Keeps Major COH Lead

Rep. Pitts

Rep. Pitts

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Chester), of PA’s 16th district, has proven he’s serious about keeping his seat with his latest campaign finance report numbers.

The two Democrats running in the primary, Raj Kittappa and Tom Houghton, both leave a little more to be desired.

Pitts raised the most by far in the first three months of 2014, coming in with $172,111.12. He spent $63,778.41 and has $420,206.30 cash on hand.

Kittappa only managed to bring in $7,253. In an eyebrow-raising move, he didn’t spend any money during the first quarter. His amount raised also acts as his amount of cash on hand. Houghton’s numbers were better, with $29,587 raised, $12,616 spent and $16,970 cash on hand.

Pitts

Pitts proved his power as an incumbent in the receipt of contributions. He picked up a good deal of cash from medical groups. The American Health Care Association gave $5,000, the American Academy of Neurology’s BrainPAC donated $2,500, the American Osteopathic Information Association gave $3,500, and the American College of Cardiology PAC donated $5,000, among several others.

His expenses weren’t too out of the ordinary. Fundraising, tickets and catering make frequent appearances on the list. Pitts also donated to the Republican Committee of Chester, a generous $5,000. The Congressman is listed as having no debts after running for this seat every two years since 1996.

Kittappa

Kittappa’s report fails to mirror the activities of a candidate running a campaign against a primary challenger who hopes to face a powerful incumbent. Of the contributions totaling just over $7K, Kittappa’s family members make up $5,200 of donations.

It’s puzzling as to why the Democratic candidate hasn’t spent any money, but it remains to be seen how that will affect him in the upcoming May primary against Houghton.

The stem cell researcher originally announced his intent to run in the Democratic primary for PA-16 back in March.

Houghton

Similar to his Democratic opponent, Houghton’s contributions all came almost entirely from individuals. Many of his contributions are in the form of in-kind donations toward fundraising events.

Just over $8K of Houghton’s money spent went toward consulting, namely Joseph Bachman and Don Gabor. Other expenses listed on his report included fundraising, advertising and $226.41 in postage stamps.

Houghton announced his candidacy back in January with the support of MoveOn.org.

The Cook PVI rates the 16th district R+4, meaning the rightward leaning isn’t necessarily the strongest, but it will be difficult to topple a Republican incumbent. Pitts has been in office since 1997. He won the 2012 election by a considerable amount, getting 54.8% of the votes in comparison to Democratic opponent Aryanna Strader’s 39%. Two Independent candidates ran in the election as well, John Murphy (4.3%) and James Bednarski (1.8%).

PA-12: McClelland Picks Up Steam, Rothfus Still Leads

McClelland

McClelland

Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny) brought his fourth quarter fundraising lead over into the first three months of 2014, placing him comfortably ahead of his Democratic opponents. Between the two Dems, businesswoman Erin McClelland has the lead while Col. John Hugya remains in a distant last place.

Rothfus raised $241,253 and spent $93,793. Adding insult to injury for his opponents, the Republican has $1,019,907 cash on hand. McClelland doesn’t quite manage to come close to Rothfus. She has $58,117 raised, $47,145.54 spent and $31,619.29 cash on hand. Hugya brings up the rear with $19,730 raised, $24,285 spent and $20,441.45 cash on hand.

Rothfus

Rothfus’ enthusiastically capitalized donor list from his report detailed his hold over the 12th district as an incumbent, clear through the long list of individual donors and organizations. The Citizens for Prosperity in American PAC gave $5,000, as did the FirstEnergy Corp. PAC. The Highmark Health PAC gave Rothfus $1,500, while the Jim Gerlach For Congress Committee donated $2,000 to Rothfus’ campaign. He also had plenty of individual donors to help keep him afloat, with totals ranging from $15 to $2,500 contributed.

Over half of Rothfus’ expenses went to some type of consulting: $57,146.01 to be exact. There were also the usual event tickets, postage fees and political contributions. Rothfus even gave himself $5,729.22 for “mileage, meeting expenses, travel.” He’s listed as owing zero debts to the committee.

In comparison to his fourth quarter numbers, Rothfus has remained quite steady. No doubt that this is what has helped him keep his lead in the 12th district.

McClelland

McClelland’s report posted better numbers than her fourth quarter filing. While she only raised around $29K then, the first three months of 2014 brought in just about twice that.

She too had her share of individual donors, ranging from $100 to $2,600. The Engineers Political Education Committee and Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association contributed $5,000 each. United Food and Commercial Workers International decided to throw in $500.

The Dem also spent the better part of her total expenses on consulting. She also listed social media marketing, postage and office rental. A return of contribution is also listed, $500, to Tom Ayoob Jr. Inc., the reason placed on the donor list being “impermissible funds.” McClelland is listed as having $5,400 in debt.

Hugya

The Colonel’s first quarter report was a drop off from his previous. Nearly all of his donors were individuals, with the only organization of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 354 PAC donating $1,000. Just a handful of individuals maxed out.

This quarter, Hugya spent $4,555.14 more than he raised. The expenses include a variety of things, from campaign supplies to travel to invitations. There were $1,699.04 in campaign office furnishings listed, as well as a $500 refund to Ed Sheehan Jr.

Hugya is listed as having $2,500 in debt.

In comparison to the fourth quarter, while Rothfus has kept his lead, McClelland and Hugya seem to have switched spots. Though it is fair to point out that McClelland outraised Hugya by a great deal more than he outraised her in the fourth quarter. In a Cook PVI-rated R+9 district, with slow starts for the Democrats, Rothfus is likely feeling comfortable.

HD-36: Readshaw Joins Molchany on TV (Watch)


Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny) joined his primary opponent Rep. Erin Molchany (D-Allegheny) on the airwaves with a biographical ad that launched this morning.

The bright, 30-second spot details some of the highlights from Readshaw’s nearly-twenty year career.

readshaw ad“He’s a dad, husband, grandfather and a leader who has earned our trust: Harry Readshaw,” a narrator reads. “He refuses a taxpayer funded car and led the fight to repeal the midnight pay raise because he’s fed up with the old Harrisburg politics.

“Readshaw fought Governor Corbett’s massive gas tax that funds Philadelphia’s mass transit and Harry led the fight to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.”

According to a press release accompanying the ad, “What the television ad does not highlight, due to time, is Harry’s massive list of endorsements: the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, the overwhelming majority of the Allegheny County Labor Council, the Realtors Association, IBEW 5, the Plumbers 27, and a number of leaders in the 36th district have all expressed support for Rep Readshaw.”

Molchany and Readshaw, both incumbent representatives, were merged into the same district after Molchany’s seat moved to Lehigh County. The new seat contains mostly Readshaw’s old district, a little of Molchany’s and some neutral turf. 72% of voters in the new district are already his, while just 21% live in Molchany’s district.

Molchany launched her first ad last Thursday.

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