Reader Poll: Republicans Will Hold State Senate

Harrisburg-Capitol-steps2The Republican Party will maintain their longstanding majority in the Pennsylvania State Senate.

That is the belief, at least, of our readers after we laid out the plan for Democrats to flip the chamber. The current partisan breakdown is 27 Republicans to 23 Democrats.

558 readers believe that the GOP will stay in the majority.

Meanwhile, just 356 respondents chose the Democrats to take the two or three seats (depending on whether Wolf-Stack wins and breaks a tie) necessary to control the Senate.

The full results are included below:

Which Party Will Control the State Senate After the November Elections?


  • Republicans (61%)
  • Democrats (39%)

Total Voters: 914

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9/2 Morning Buzz

PA-state-flag6President Obama will be campaigning in PA, the DEP releases documents showing water well contamination and we give our weekly round-up of news in the gubernatorial contest. Plus, last week’s Ups & Downs! Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz!

8/29 Ups & Downs: Wolf maintains his lead, Adolph gets a new opponent and things are looking grim for Chaka Fattah. See who made this week’s list.

White House Suggests President Obama Will Campaign in PA This Fall: President Obama may be visiting the Keystone State in the run-up to the midterm elections.

DEP: Water Wells Were Contaminated by Drilling 243 Times: Department of Environmental Protection documents show that there have been 243 cases of water wells being harmed in the last six years.

PA-Gov Round-Up: Wine, Six-Packs and Gender Gaffes: We take a look at the events of the last week in the state’s gubernatorial race.

Delaware Valley Dems Gather to Push for Infrastructure: Boyle, Trivedi and Kane joined together to call for more investment in rail.

Statewide
PA Independent:PA’s debt would cost taxpayers $14,500 each to pay off today
State House Sound Bites: Feds approve Corbett’s Medicaid expansion
Capitolwire: Amid calls for more education spending, report criticizes district spending on low-performing charter schools
StateImpactPA: DEP publishes details on 248 cases of water damage from gas development

Philadelphia
AP: 5 differences between Gov. Corbett, opponent Wolf
PhillyClout: Corbett campaign slams Daily News- F&M college “junk poll”
WHYY Newsworks: After splintering over convention center terms, Philly unions divided over picket lines
City Paper: Bank documents show hundreds of thousands in re-routed NAACP checks
Philly.com: For union stagehands, Labor Day is a day of labor

SEPA
Pottstown Mercury: Pensions, construction drive rise in reserves
Pottstown Mercury: University bets $10 million on poor city’s kids
Delco Daily Times: Eyes on the Prize: McGarrigle and Kane set to square off for Pa. Senate 26th District Seat
Delco Daily Times: Rose Valley councilwoman resigns
Montgomery Media: Hilltown Official: Bridge replacement took longer, cost more because of federal and state money
Bucks Local News: ShopRite brings tax revenue, jobs to Lower Makefield; officials cut the ribbon on area’s newest grocery store

Pittsburgh
Tribune-Review: Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett’s Medicaid change expected to have little impact with voters
Tribune-Review: Democratic gubernatorial nominee in spotlight at Labor Day Parade
Post-Gazette: Wolf says he would consider a traditional Medicaid expansion
Post-Gazette: Shrinking organized labor to show political clout in Pittsburgh parade
Post-Gazette: Shale drillers’ landfill records don’t match those of Pennsylvania DEP

Southwest
Observer-Reporter: Coal supporters see reign lasting, despite challenges
Times Online: Bad poll for Corbett fuels Twitter attack
Times Online: Families, advocates react to low wages for people with disabilities

NEPA
The Times-Tribune: New effort to decriminalize liquor buys
The Times-Tribune: $90 billion left in Marcellus Shale, analyst says
The Times-Tribune: Court fee hike supports legal services
Times Leader: Luzerne County juggling union negotiations
Times Leader: ‘Labor’ has different meaning now

South Central
Today’s the Day Harrisburg: John Campbell resigns in light of theft charges and felony trial
Patriot News: Disillusion electorate places congressional incumbents on the “glide path” to reelection
Patriot News: Dauphin County judge sides with trust company; orders the City of Harrisburg to condemn local property
Patriot News: Court bars release of sexually-explicit emails shared among staffers during Sandusky probe
Patriot News: Labor Day no longer official start of campaign season in PA governor’s race
Patriot News: Finalized Pennsylvania 2014 general election ballots shows several contested races for midstate voters.
York Dispatch: Despite negative ads, Wolf maintains double-digit lead over Corbett in latest polls
York Daily Record: Five key policy differences between Gov. Corbett and opponent, Wolf
Carlisle Sentinel: GOP chairman credits party with economic increases in Cumberland

Lehigh Valley
Express News: Northampton drug court could ease systemic pressures and keep nonviolent offenders out of jail
Reading Eagle: Under new redistricting, GOP hopes to maintain presence in PA legislature
WFMZ: Sen. Casey unveils “Caregiver” bill to connect volunteers with Easton human services agencies
WFMZ: Sen. Toomey seeks to keep internet affordable
Morning Call: Gov. Corbett gives Persian Gulf veterans one more year to apply for benefits
Morning Call: Corbett campaign “shoots the messenger” with F&M pollsters Twitter-blast

North by Northwest
Erie Times-News: Montgomery County man mounts write-in campaign for governor
Onward State: State of State Committee member applications live online

Opinion
Express News: Editorial: Corbett administration and federal government agree on a type of privatized Medicaid expansion for low-income Pennsylvanians.
Express News: Editorial: PA Senate candidate, Mark Aurand, pushes for economic change in Harrisburg
Lancaster Intelligencer: Editorial: “Endorsing Schreckengost” Can Gary Schreckengost, democrat in state Senate District 36 make it to office without “playing politics?”
The Times-Tribune: Turf war toll rising

Blogs
Pittston Politics: Bolin gets sworn in, Bonin feathers were ruffled
Citizens’ Call: Research Center Report on PA Economy Gives State C-Grade
Lehigh Valley Ramblings: Brown Denies Change in Accrual Rate Planned, But Watch Those Medical Benefits

Delaware Valley Dems Gather to Push for Infrastructure

Trivedi-BoyleA group of Delaware Valley Democrats held a joint press conference last week in Reading to advocate for improving the region’s infrastructure and expanding its rail system.

Among those gathered were PA-13 Democratic nominee Brendan Boyle, PA-6 Democratic nominee Manan Trivedi and the Democratic candidate in the State Senate’s 26th district, John Kane. New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone was also present.

“We can create new American jobs that benefit American businesses already located in the Philadelphia region. You can’t outsource this work to another country and you can’t underestimate the value this work will provide to the safety and prosperity to the community,” Manan Trivedi said.

“For years we have heard all kinds of promises about extending rail out to the suburbs to places like Reading, and it seems it was just more political lip service,” Trivedi continued. “All you need to do is look at the parking lot of traffic during rush hours to know we need to alleviate congestion and provide quality access to our businesses to improve the economy.”

The appearance of so many local officials and candidates was meant to convey how important this issue is for the entire region.

“We know that solutions to these problems exist in the form of highway improvements and extending mass transit between economic hubs such as Center City and King of Prussia to take cars off our roads,” stated Brendan Boyle. “All we need now is the political leadership in Washington to make these plans a reality. Our future economic growth as a region depends on federal funding for our infrastructure, and I’m proud to stand with like-minded advocates on this issue such as Congressman Pallone and Manan Trivedi.”

Boyle is widely expected to prevail in his contest for the open seat left by Rep. Allyson Schwartz. Meanwhile, Trivedi is running in one of the DCCC’s target districts. Finally, John Kane is competing in perhaps the premier State Senate contest.

Clearly, these Democratic candidates believe infrastructure is a big political winner for them so expect to see more about it this coming fall.

White House Suggests President Obama Will Campaign in PA This Fall

Barack+Obama+President+Obama+CampaignsWith Labor Day around the corner, you should expect campaigning to ramp up and one of the chief signs of that particular phenomenon is the arrival of surrogates.

Certainly no surrogate draws more attention (positive or negative) than the President of the United States.

Given President Obama’s current approval ratings and the historical record of the President’s party suffering midterm losses, how much time the Commander-in-Chief planned to spend on the stump this fall has been a major question.

A report in Politico, however, suggests that the President will be visiting a number of blue states this fall, including Pennsylvania.

“The White House is putting the finishing touches on a post-Labor Day schedule that will send the president to states where he’s still popular, such as: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California, Obama officials and Democratic operatives said this week,” according to Politico.

“The better, more effective use of his time is to assist in states with key House races, such as Illinois, Pennsylvania and California, a senior administration official said,” the report explains. “Obama still retains strong support in the Democratic base, and he can motivate African-Americans and Latinos like few others can.”

Two key questions remain: Who will appear with the President on the campaign trail and will his support help them?

The most obvious candidate is gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf.

It remains to be seen whether the President’s presence would benefit him. Pres. Obama’s approval in the latest F&M poll stands at just 34% yet he did win this state twice.

On top of this, the Corbett campaign recently made clear they intend to portray Wolf as a “third term” for Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, a spokesman from the DCCC told PoliticsPA that he is not aware of any scheduled events at this time.

“Republicans like Mike Fitzpatrick and Ryan Costello are desperate to make this election about anything but their out of touch priorities because they know Pennsylvania voters will reject their agenda that stacks the deck in favor of the ultra wealthy and special interests by shifting the burden onto hard working middle class families and seniors,” Marc Brumer of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said.

PA-Gov Round-Up: Wine, Six-Packs and Gender Gaffes

PA-Governor-Mansion2We’re on the verge of Labor Day weekend, which means we’ve nearly reached the traditional start of the fall campaign season.

Yesterday, the general dynamics of the gubernatorial race were confirmed by the latest Franklin and Marshall poll that showed Wolf with a 25-point lead.

This last week of summer, however, was very much like the rest of the season. By which I mean it focused disportionately on ads, attacks, and the always controversial and ill-defined term “gaffe.”

Wolf

The Wolf campaign has wisely left most of their negative campaign work to FreshStartPA, the PAC they created after their split with Democratic Party Chair Jim Burn. This week the PAC launched a very successful effort to embarrass Gov. Corbett by spotlighting some comments he made on The Sam Lesante Show last month.

In an attempt to illustrate how the issue of liquor privatization affects PA citizen’s everyday lives, the Governor offered up a hypothetical example.

“I think a lot of people want to be able to walk into the grocery store,” the Governor stated. “Particularly, a lot of the women want to be able to go and buy a bottle of wine for dinner. Go down and buy a six-pack or two six-packs, and go home. Rather than, what I just described, is at least three stops in Pennsylvania.”

Gov. Corbett’s comments received mainstream attention (particularly from more progressive news outlets) as another example of sexist comments coming from a Republican. It was portrayed as the latest chapter in the “war on women”, an effort that has allowed Democrats to be extremely successful at capitalizing on certain tone-deaf statements.

Yet the question remains, was it an actual gaffe? Republicans obviously don’t seem to think so and the nature of the Governor’s comments allow them to be interpreted either way.

The episode does highlight the self-fulfilling nature of politicians who are gaffe-prone. If you’ve committed verbal faux pas in the past, future statements are more likely to be seen in a critical light. This is why, regardless of partisan ideology, the words of some political figures (ex. George W. Bush and Joe Biden) are more highly scrutinized than others (ex. Barack Obama and Dick Cheney).

Unfortunately for the Governor, this generally isn’t a problem that goes away.

Corbett

Meanwhile, the Corbett camp tried to hit Tom Wolf over what they feel are his own misstatements and gaffes.

The Corbett-Cawley team criticized the Wolf campaign for constantly changing the amount of revenue they believe a 5% severance tax could bring to the state. As the incumbent’s campaign detailed, at various times Wolf or his campaign have said it would be $600 million, $650 million, or $700 million.

“Just as Secretary Tom Wolf’s positions on the issues change with the wind, apparently so do his revenue projections,” said Corbett-Cawley Communications Director Chris Pack. “That’s no surprise given Tom Wolf’s reputation as Revenue Secretary, where projections were so far off they contributed down the road to a $4.2 billion budget deficit and the creation of a non-partisan office to check projections by the governor.”

The incumbent’s campaign also sought to dig up an old perceived gaffe of Wolf’s from a Democratic primary debate, when he answered a question about why the Wolf Organization’s board had no female members by saying his company’s management has “women in spades.”

The Governor’s team sought to contrast the fact that only two of the nineteen managerial members of the Wolf Organization are women to their own candidate’s record of appointing women to governmental posts.

“Governor Corbett’s has the first-ever female chief of staff in the history of Pennsylvania and also has seven women serving at the head of state agencies. Combined, they are responsible for nearly 80 percent of the state budget,” stated Women For Corbett-Cawley Chairwoman Bernie Comfort. “It’s clear that Governor Corbett values the expertise of the many intelligent, hard-working women in his administration.”

If you feel like the accusations that we’ve dealt with this week are too trivial, have no fear. Labor Day is around the corner and the general election is set to begin, so there should be plenty more trivial issues to choose from.

DEP: Water Wells Were Contaminated by Drilling 243 Times

gas-drillingPennsylvania’s environmental groups have been pushing for a long time to have the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) release the number of drilling incidents that have resulted in water contamination. Yesterday, they finally got their wish.

According to the Associated Press, there have been 243 cases of water wells being contaminated as a result of oil and natural gas drilling since 2008.

In addition to the environmental groups, the AP and various other new agencies also filed several open-record requests and even lawsuits in order to view the documents.

According to the documents, the problems included methane gas contaminating the wells as well as wastewater spilling into the supply. In some instances, the water wells just went completely dry.

The AP found that problems occurred in twenty-two counties throughout the state with most of them occurring in the Northeast.

“I guess this is a step in the right direction,” Thomas Au of the Pennsylvania Sierra Club chapter said of the public release of documents on drinking well problems. “But this is something that should have been made public a long time ago.”

Meanwhile, the Marcellus Shale Coalition blamed the state’s geology for the issues.

“[Pennsylvania] has longstanding water well-related challenges, a function of our region’s unique geology — where stray methane gas is frequently present in and around shallow aquifers,” MSC President Dave Spigelmyer responded in a statement. “Our industry works closely and tirelessly with regulators and others to ensure that we protect our environment, striving for zero incidents.”

8/29 Morning Buzz

PA-state-flag6Wolf maintains wide lead over Corbett, we take a look at an internal Corbett campaign memo and profile Wolf’s campaign team. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz!

PA-Gov: F&M Poll: Wolf 49 Corbett 24: The latest Franklin and Marshall poll shows the Democratic candidate with a 25 point lead.

PA-Gov: Internal Memo: Corbett Down 7 Points: An internal memo shows the Governor’s re-election effort within striking distance.

Staff Profile: Tom Wolf’s Campaign Team: We take an in-depth look at the Democratic gubernatorial nominee’s staff.

F&M Poll: President Obama’s Approval Rating Steady at 34%: The latest Franklin and Marshall poll shows the President’s approval rating in PA unchanged from June.

PA-Gov: Corbett Ties Wolf to Rendell, Obama in New Ad (VIDEO): The Governor is unleashing his most negative commercial yet in response to bad polling news.

PA-Gov: HHS Accepts Corbett’s Medicaid Plan: The federal government announced today that it has given the green light to Corbett’s HealthyPA plan.

Statewide
State House Sound Bites: How layout of a community can affect our health
State House Sound Bites: Advocates praise Medicaid waiver decision, but with a caveat
State House Sound Bites & AP: Waiver to use Medicaid money for private insurance approved
PA Independent: With school budgets tight, prevailing wage again goes under microscope
PA Independent: No rest for the death industry as it awaits high court decision
PA Independent: Three things to know: New poll shows Corbett trailing Wolf by 25 points in PA gubernatorial race
StateImpactPA: New study shows gas workers could be exposed to dangerous levels of benzene
PLSReporter: Study gives Pennsylvania barely passing marks in economic performance and job growth
Capitolwire: AG Kane’s subpoenas seek location of leases on public lands, corporate information

Philadelphia
WHYY Newsworks: U.S. allows Corbett alternative to Medicaid expansion
KYW Newsradio: Camden police make public outreach a top priority
The Inquirer: After gaffe in Philly, VA head calls for review of training programs
The Inquirer: Former aide’s guilty plea raises questions for U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah
Philly.com: ‘Made in America’ street closures, SEPTA detours
Philly.com: Hearing in Bucks on opiate abuse is set for Thursday

SEPA
Daily Local News: Exelon seeks meeting over NRC security finding
Daily Local News: Collegeville man launches write-in campaign for Pa. governor
Montgomery Media: Upper Dublin Rite Aid robbery suspect admits robbing three other pharmacies
Delco Daily Times: Lower Chi man charged with bringing gun into fed building in Philly
Delco Daily Times: Chester woman convicted in straw purchase case

Pittsburgh
Tribune Review: Feds approve compromise on Corbett’s alternative Medicaid program
Tribune Review: Uber and Lyft say they’ll rely on PennDOT inspections for safety
Early Returns: New poll: Wolf edges ahead
Post-Gazette: DEP publishes official determinations of damaged water supplies related to oil and gas operations
Pittsburgh Business Times: PUC weighs changing regulations after Uber, Lyft cruise into market
Pittsburgh Business Times: Report: Pennsylvania receives D- for job growth

Southwest
Beaver County Times: County seeks permanent end to private security by deputies
Observer Reporter: W. Pa. township sued over gas drilling
Altoona Mirror: Water authority unveils alternative

NEPA
Times Leader: Officials defend use of public money for Schott
Citizens’ Voice: Glodzik often denied involvement in scandal
News Item: Shamokin receive DCED loan, prepares to pay vendors
News Item: Mount Carmel council meets with auditor
Standard Speaker: Technicality may save Hazelton mayor’s budget lawsuit

South Central
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: East Hempfield officials hope new guidelines protect rural area north of 283
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: State wins approval to expand Medicaid by using federal funds to buy private plans
Carlisle Sentinel: Former Harrisburg treasurer surrenders on theft charges
Harrisburg Patriot News: That’s human waste you’re smelling in Cumberland County field, but DEP says it’s OK
Harrisburg Patriot News: Corbett claims ‘historic’ achievement in Pa. plan to use Obamacare expansion funds
Harrisburg Patriot News: Medicaid expansion advocates react to federal approval of Corbett’s Healthy Pa. plan
Harrisburg Patriot News: With about two months to go, Tom Wolf’s lead in Pa. gubernatorial race grows slightly in new poll
Today’s the Day Harrisburg: Harrisburg City Treasurer John Campbell Makes A Statement, Resigns In Light of Charges Against Him
York Dispatch: Wolf maintains double-digit lead over Corbett in latest poll
York Daily Record: York eyes earned income tax hike
York Daily Record: Poll shows Wolf maintaining lead in Pa. gov race
Lebanon Daily News: Poll shows Tom Wolf maintaining lead in Pa. governor’s race
Lebanon Daily News: Lebanon 9-12 group protests Gingrich’s school property tax stand

Lehigh Valley
Morning Call: Federal OK means 500,000 working poor Pennsylvanians eligible for health coverage
Morning Call: Bob Casey says volunteer program could ease burden of caring for aging relatives
Express Times: ‘We’re not afraid of the chief,’ Nazareth councilman says, declines cupcake
Express Times: Allentown teachers union president condemns superintendent for environment of ‘disrespect and incompetence’
Express Times: Lehigh County budget has no tax hike, official vows not to sell Cedarbrook
Reading Eagle: No hacks reported at Berks County banks
Reading Eagle: Reading School District finalizes pact with superintendent
Reading Eagle: Wolf maintains big lead over Corbett in governor’s race, F&M poll finds
WFMZ: Poll shows Tom Wolf maintaining lead over Tom Corbett in race for Pennsylvania governor

North by Northwest
Erie Times-News Campaign ‘13 Blog: Corbett poll numbers low again
Centre Daily Times: State College Area School District fires back in College Heights lawsuit
Williamsport Sun Gazette: 220 Dilemma
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Mayor proposes baseball park enhancements
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Impact study release on hold

Opinion
Reading Eagle: Editorial: Could Ferguson happen here? Sessions make it less likely
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: Mandatory sentencing didn’t work as planned
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: Mandatory minimum sentence still a valuable tool
York Dispatch: EDITORIAL: NAACP takes the lead in community-police relations
Harrisburg Patriot News: Scranton’s pension fund will be broke in 3-5 years, report: Thursday Morning Coffee
Harrisburg Patriot News: The race for Guv is going to tighten up, right? Right?: John L. Micek
Pottstown Mercury: Chesco Democrats continue to fight among themselves
Daily News: The riots & other forces hurt North Philly, but it is working to jump back
Tribune Review: The IRS scandal: Do the Lois Lerner emails still exist?
Times Leader: Can the Fed solve unemployment?
Express Times: EDITORIAL: Parental irresponsibility, lax gun law add up to tragedy in Arizona
Morning Call: Margaret Carlson: Rick Perry’s comeback headed off at the pass
Erie Times-News: Our View: We can’t become numb to gun violence
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Ferguson: A tragic loss balloons into an unneeded confrontation

Blogs
Keystone Politics: #PAGov: Doing Medicaid the Corbett Way Imposes Hefty Corruption Tax on PA Taxpayers
Keystone Politics: PA Working Families Makes its First Endorsement
PA Budget and Policy Center: GIVING AWAY THE GOLDEN EGG: SHALE TAX REVENUE COULD TOP $1 BILLION BY 2015-16

PA-Gov: HHS Accepts Corbett’s Medicaid Plan

GovernorCorbettThe Department of Health and Human Services announced today their acceptance of Governor Corbett’s HealthyPA plan.

The HealthyPA plan was created by Gov. Corbett as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.

To put it succinctly, the ACA allowed for an expansion of Medicaid to families making 133% of the poverty line. The Supreme Court decision upholding the law, though, allowed for states to choose to opt-out of the expansion. As a result, many red states refused the money.

Gov. Corbett proposed his own HealthyPA plan, which would involve accepting the funds from the government but only allowing them to be spent on private insurance plans and not Medicaid. Similar proposals by Arkansas and Iowa have received federal approval.

There are still nonetheless several logistical barriers to implementation.

For one, Tom Wolf is likely to oppose any effort to adopt this private plan and will pledge to adopt the federal Medicaid expansion if he should be elected.

This development may scare off insurance companies, who would be hesitant to build up infrastructure for a plan that may not see the light of day. It’s possible that these companies will take a wait and see approach and allow the election to take place before making any major moves.

The Pennsylvania Health Action Network (PHAN) applauded the decision but called for a full Medicaid expansion.

“Today’s agreement begins to dig Pennsylvania out of the hole Governor Corbett and lawmakers created when they rejected funding to expand health care coverage to half-a-million low-income Pennsylvanians,” said PHAN Director Antoinette Kraus. “There never should have been a coverage gap in Pennsylvania, and we share the relief of hundreds of thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians in knowing it’s finally on track to close.”

Therefore, well this is a major development it very well may not be the last one.

Update: Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf released the following statement:

“It is unfortunate that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians lost a year of health care coverage, but I am gratified that they and their families will now have added health and economic security.”

“After standing in the way of Medicaid expansion for years, Tom Corbett has finally been forced by political reality to accept a Medicaid proposal.”

“Tom Corbett’s unconscionable delay has cost Pennsylvania hundreds of millions of dollars while making it more difficult for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians to get the health care they needed.”

“Tom Corbett should have expanded Medicaid on day one instead of wasting two years. Tom Corbett’s repeated mismanagement is completely unacceptable, and it underscores the importance of giving Pennsylvania a fresh start.”

Staff Profile: Tom Wolf’s Campaign Team

Meet the staffers who are working to elect Tom Wolf as Governor of the state of Pennsylvania.

Mary Isenhour, Senior Political Strategist

Isenhour joined the Wolf campaign in May 2013 as a senior advisor. She served as Executive Director of the PA Democratic Party under Chairman TJ Rooney during Gov. Ed Rendell’s administration. She was PA State Director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential Primary campaign and directed the PA Democratic Party’s successful 2006 Coordinated Campaign for Gov Rendell and Senator Casey. A native Kansan, Isenhour came to Pennsylvania in 1999 via Washington DC. She is a partner with Isenhour Rooney Strategies.

Obie Kernodle, Deputy Campaign Manager and Political Director

Obra “Obie” Kernodle worked this past fall to re-elect President Obama as Southeastern Political Director in Pennsylvania. He has also worked in the administration and campaign of Mayor Michael Nutter and the campaigns of District Attorney Seth Williams and Dan Onorato for Governor. Obie attended Florida A&M and graduated in 2001.

Reid Walsh, Director of Operations

A native of York, Reid attended the University of Delaware. She graduated with a degree in Communications. After college, she served a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps running a youth drop-in center in downtown Phoenix. Reid spent 13 plus years in the DC area where she worked at PBS, most recently as a Senior Director in the Business Affairs/Program Management Department. Reid moved back to Pennsylvania with her husband to raise her children (Sadie 2, James 1) and quickly began work on the Wolf campaign as Director of Operations.

Rachel Weiser, Finance Director

Rachel started out in Texas politics working on Ron Kirk’s bid for the U.S. senate in 2002. Most recently, Rachel worked as the Midwest Finance Director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and previously as the Northeast Deputy Finance Director with some time in between with Senator Franken of Minnesota.

Other political stints include National Political Outreach & Development for the American Association for Justice in DC spearheading numerous fundraising campaigns and time at Yost Gold Consulting working with various clients that included the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Motion Picture Association of America, Cablevision, South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, ActBlue and Share Our Strength.

Rachel is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Government, Minor in English and Bridging Discipline in Environment.

Sarah Galbally, Policy Director

A Pennsylvania native, Sarah has experience in both the government and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining Tom Wolf’s campaign for governor, Sarah was finishing up graduate school and working at the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. Sarah has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.P.A. from Villanova University.

Ryan Alexander, Digital Director

Originally from California, Ryan has been working on political campaigns for several years at the national and statewide level. Prior to joining Tom Wolf for Governor in July of 2013, Ryan worked for President Obama’s re-election campaign in Chicago as an email writer on the Digital team. He previously led the digital operations for Tom Barrett for Wisconsin, the Recall Scott Walker campaign, and served as the Deputy Communications Director for the Wisconsin Assembly Democrats. In addition to his political work, Ryan was previously a Senior Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton where he advised the Department of Defense and U.S. Army on social media and communications. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Marquette University.

Joe Shafer, Campaign Manager

Shafer comes from Bradford County and was named campaign manager of the Wolf campaign back in April 2013. He ran the successful 2011 special election and 2012 general election for West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Shafer has also worked for the DCCC and was Executive Director of the PA House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC) in 2008.

Mark Nicastre, Communications Director

Mark joined up with the Wolf campaign last year. He previously served as Communications Director for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party in 2010 and 2012. After the 2012 elections, he was promoted to Deputy Executive Director of the PA Dems.

Jeff Sheridan, Press Secretary

Jeff Sheridan joined the Wolf Campaign in January 2014 and has a comprehensive background in communications. Before joining the Wolf Campaign, Jeff worked in public relations at HealthNow New York. Jeff began his career in politics working nearly 6 years for Representative Louise Slaughter and then as a District Director for Representative Kathleen Hochul. Jeff is from Morrisville, New York and currently lives in Philadelphia.

PA-Gov: Corbett Ties Wolf to Rendell, Obama in New Ad (VIDEO)

This morning, we found out that the Corbett-Cawley campaign is 25 points behind their opponent. A few hours later, their toughest attack ad yet was released. This is probably not a coincidence.

The new commercial, titled “Threepeat”, seeks to associate Tom Wolf with former Governor Ed Rendell and President Obama.

“We already know that Tom Wolf was Ed Rendell’s tax-collecting hatchet man,” the man in the spot says. “Millionaire Wolf is also a maxed-out donor to Obama.”

The ad then proceeds to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Wolf, accusing him of wanting to take away patients rights to see their doctors, supporting a “radical” gun-control agenda and waging a “war” on coal.

“Tom Wolf,” the man concludes “voting for him is like voting to give Obama and Rendell a third term.”

It’s unclear how effective this ad will be because it depends in large part on scaring voters away by pointing out Wolf’s ties to Pres. Obama and former Gov. Rendell. No recent polls have been taken that indicate what Rendell’s approval in PA is, although the President’s stands at a low 34% (yet Gov. Corbett stands even lower at 24%).

Moreover, even if Obama and Rendell are less than universally beloved by PA voters, those voters still voted to give both candidates first and second terms. Therefore, the threat that Wolf would represent a “third term” may not have the resonance the Corbett campaign hopes it will.

Of course, it is also possible that this ad is meant to rally Republican voters behind the Governor. The recent F&M poll found Corbett is only supported by 48% of Republican voters. At this stage of the game, though, he should already have his base in the bag and be shifting his focus to independent voters. Whether this ad works on them will be the ultimate test of its effectiveness.

Update: Wolf campaign Press Secretary Jeffrey Sheridan issued the following response to PoliticsPA:

“The latest attack ad is just more desperation from Tom Corbett and more of the same discredited lies.

“Tom Wolf is a successful businessman from York County who supports the second amendment. Tom knows that coal is a vital part of Pennsylvania’s energy portfolio and a thriving energy sector future will lead to a stronger economy in Pennsylvania and create jobs. Tom’s plan for the state will also give middle-class families a tax cut for the first time in over 22 years and level the playing field for Pennsylvania families.”

“False ads cannot make up for four years of failed policies including $1 billion in education cuts, stagnant job growth, and a multitude of ethics scandals. It’s clear that Pennsylvania needs a fresh start.”

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