Sierra Club Bashes Corbett’s DEP Plan

Tom-Corbett-upsetOn Saturday Governor Tom Corbett’s Department of Environmental Protection will release a tentative plan to reduce the amount of smog pollution produced by large coal plants. However, the Sierra Club is not impressed with the Governor’s efforts.

“Governor Corbett is clearly unconcerned with protecting the health of millions of Pennsylvanians breathing unhealthy air,” said Tom Schuster, Senior Pennsylvania Campaign Representative of the Sierra Club. “There’s an easy and affordable solution to cut dangerous pollution, but Governor Corbett has ignored it, choosing instead to give the largest polluters a free pass to poison the air we breathe.”

The Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy organization, claims that Corbett’s proposal is “weak” and will inevitably fall short of producing any legitimate cuts to the amount of dangerous smog produced by the coal burning process.

“The proposed pollution limits are actually higher than the current rates of pollution at many plants – as much as four times higher in some cases,” said Kim Teplitzky, Deputy Press Secretary for the Sierra Club. “Failing to require coal plants to use the pollution controls they already have, puts a significantly more expensive burden on other industries that will have to install and operate new controls.”

As Governor, the Sierra Club claims that Corbett is responsible for curbing smog emissions in the state, most pressingly in areas designated as nonattainment under the Clean Air Act — meaning that pollution has caused the air quality to dip below national standards. Seventeen counties in Pennsylvania fall under that category, with most of them located in the southwestern and southeastern portions of the state.

“It’s commonsense to make coal plants use the pollution-cutting technology they already have, yet Governor Corbett’s plan fails to do so,” said Joanne Kilgour, Pennsylvania Chapter Director of the Sierra Club. “Cutting pollution from coal plants is an easy fix that will protect our kids’ lungs, prevent frightening and expensive hospital visits and save lives.”

According to the Sierra Club’s research, the portions of Pennsylvania most affected by the coal industry also suffer from the highest rate of asthma related hospitalizations.

“Asthma is the most common chronic health condition among children and the third most common reason for hospitalization,” said Dr. Esther K. Chung, Professor of Pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and Nemours. “I see many children with asthma who are unable to play sports or participate in physical activity, and some suffer so severely that they cannot speak and require intensive care at a hospital. Smog contributes to and exacerbates these problems.”

Going forward, this could very well be an issue that one of the four Democratic candidates running for governor will use against Governor Corbett to help their campaigns — especially former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty. Her latest ad touts her experience as a “job-creating environmentalist,” and she has been adamant in her campaign about highlighting the Governor’s shortcomings.

Larry Kane’s Political Notebook: What would you do if you were…?

PA-Governor-Mansion2What would you do if you were?

Allyson Schwartz

Going for the gold, the Schwartz campaign went all in this week on a familiar slogan, with high risk and high reward. Her latest effort to break the Tom Wolf bandwagon is her effort to break through what she calls the “old boys club” in Harrisburg. The high reward is the possibility that she can regain momentum with her base. The risk is that while she appears to aim at a base that is critical in Democratic primaries, she is in endangered territory with more moderate voters. If she believes that appealing to gender will make a difference, how will that play to the other gender? This reporter sees it as a gutsy move, but “old boys club” cab be interpreted in several ways. First and foremost it is all about male dominance in Harrisburg. But “old” also refers to age. I think I would have stuck with the “boys.”

The Congresswoman should have a natural ally in the Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, but Kane is living under an ongoing cloud of controversy concerning the aspects of her decision to pass on charges against alleged gift taking by state lawmakers. Kane used the “old boys” defense in her unusual reaction to the press reports on The Sting.

But Kane’s embrace of Schwartz at this point would not be helpful. What would be helpful are other women who were elected to office.

One thing is certain: When the experts write about this campaign, the “old boys” campaign will be viewed as a real turning point, or the beginning of the end.

What would you do if you were ?

Katie McGinty

Would you talk more about education as well as your environmental credentials? If this were California, Katie McGinty could be a frontrunner. She has run a consistent campaign that is well funded, but short of the real big cash.

Why is education so important?

For the first time since 1947, education has shown up in most opinion polls, including Terry Madonna’s F&M Poll as the number one issue in Pennsylvania. Rob McCord now owns the issue, although all the candidates talk about the quality of education in their stump speeches.

McGinty has run a positive campaign, and could surge at the end, depending on the final debates.

What would you do if you were?

Rob McCord

Keep pounding on education. This is a suburban lightning rod. The suburbs surrounding Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will decide this election. Money aside, education may determine the outcome.

McCord is currently waging a campaign to tax the gas drilling industry higher than Tom Wolf would. This may not fly. Education rules, unless of course he can tie education to increased taxes.

McCord might also reinforce his role as Treasurer. He is, after all, the only statewide office holder in this race.

What would you do if you were?

Tom Wolf

Stay the course, and avoid negativity. For the first time in a long time, we see a candidate who appears to be quite natural, and avoids the negative vibes of most campaigns. This is unusual. People want mellow not mean in this campaign. Schwartz has avoided the negativity and that could serve her well on May 20.

The bank loan issue is a decent issue, but Wolf has studiously avoided countering Allyson Schwartz’s attacks loan. As she launched her “old boy’s network” campaign, he has refused to point out the fact that some of his opponent’s funds come from big banks and pharmaceuticals, who are definitely part of the “old boys networks.”

So far, Wolf has caused a positive stir among voters. If he changes that tone, there could be challenges ahead.

PA-Gov: Wolf Releases Seniors-Focused Ad (Watch)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf recently released another campaign ad, entitled “Luck;” this one detailing his policies for helping Pennsylvania’s senior citizens.

“Seniors need a governor who will fight for them in Harrisburg,” said Wolf. “As Governor, I’ll create a registry so families can check backgrounds of care providers and I’ll increase access to home health care so seniors have the option of staying in their own homes.”

In the ad, Wolf introduces the viewer to his parents as he helps them around their home. “We look after each other,” Wolf says contentedly.

“But too many seniors have no one,” he continues, “and Harrisburg politicians don’t seem to care.”

The former Secretary of Revenue mentions his plan to create a criminal background registry for families looking for caretakers to use. He also wants to increase access to home health care.

tom wolf ad lucky“After all,” Wolf says in closing, “seniors have earned that right.”

Along with the policies mentioned in the ad, Wolf plans to:

Increase income eligibility requirements for those who already have home-based care. In order to do so, he will create a new eligibility category for residents who have an income up to 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. He also wants to adopt a Medicaid State Plan amendment in order to add a “spend down” option for those who prefer home-based care over nursing homes.

Expand health eligibility requirements for those with home-based care. Through Medicare, the state allows seniors who haven’t been diagnosed as needing nursing care to have access to home-based care. Through the implementation of the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services State Plan Option and Personal Care Services Medicaid Option, Wolf wants to put the focus on prevention and the improvement of seniors’ lives.

Wolf believes that expanding these various eligibility requirements and improving the state system will simultaneously address the needs of Pennsylvania’s ever-growing senior population and maintain current costs in the Commonwealth.Alongside advocating for seniors, Wolf claims he will work just as hard for the rights of homecare workers.

His policy is predicated upon the prioritization of home-based care; that Pennsylvania can create sustainable middle-class jobs while family caregivers are able to focus on their careers, knowing that their loved ones are getting the care that they need.

Wolf is running against former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty, Rep. Allyson Schwartz and State Treasurer Rob McCord.

PA-13: Exclusive Interview with Marjorie Margolies

DSC01441Marjorie Margolies is the highest-profile candidate in the race to replace Allyson Schwartz in Pennsylvania’s 13th district.

Famous for her one-term stint from 1993 to 1995 when she cast the deciding vote in favor of the 1993 omnibus budget bill, Margolies is once again seeking the 13th seat. I had the opportunity to talk to the candidate at her headquarters, a house that her campaign transformed into an office.

We talked literally at her kitchen table about the issues and dynamics of the Democratic primary. One interesting tidbit, the campaign produced massive blow-ups of photos of President Clinton and the Congresswoman together for their fundraiser and afterwards hung them up around the house. So it was that this interview took place under a giant photo of Bill and Marjorie from the 1992 campaign.

Motivations to run for Congress

I started with the question every candidate hears the most, why do want to run for Congress?

“In 1991, I was asked to run for Congress,” Margolies began. “Honestly, I think they just didn’t want nobody on the ballot. I think they just wanted a candidate on the ballot. I got into the race and at no time did I think I would win. I mean honestly when I went into election night I only had a concession speech.”

She says that she was as shocked as everyone else when she won and had displayed a healthy attitude towards her 1994 defeat. “So, I went in and was asked to leave. Bye-bye,” she summarized. Then after fifteen years of enjoyable work with her group Women’s Campaign International, another opportunity arose.

“Then when Allyson decided to run for Governor I got, it was probably a truckload, I got quite a few calls from people saying ‘Why don’t you look into this’ and that is how it started,” she explained. “I’m running because I never stopped dealing with the issues I thought were important.”

After I suggested that she seemed over the exhausting nature of Congress in some recent interviews she maintained that she loved the job and her memories of her service factored into her decision to “seize the moment.”

“I remember with great fondness what we were able to get done,” she explained. “I loved the constituent work, I mean I was shocked by how much we could get done on a 1-on-1 human interaction, how many people we could help.”

The Opposition

Next, we moved on to the subject of her three primary opponents and I noted that in every forum where she has been absent, they have taken the opportunity to hit her for ignoring the voters by not attending these events. Margolies clearly expected this question and was so enthusiastic she actually physically raised her hand to jump in.

“I would like to tell you the following, let me stop you in the middle of this. Do you how many times I debated John Fox [in 1992]?,” she asked. “Thirteen times, I set the bar for debates. We basically said when I got in this race that as soon as we knew who was gonna be on the ballot, when all the signatures were in, I would debate three times. That was it. I’m certainly not afraid of debating.”

When I mentioned my surprise that she attacked all her opponents in her closing statement at the Abington debate she attended she defended the legitimacy of her charges.

“Well, I really feel that way, I think they’re the issues we all agree on…but I can tell you Brendan Boyle and I, Planned Parenthood says he’s not 100% pro-choice and I do not think that you can replace somebody in this race in this district with somebody who is not 100% pro-choice. I think that’s very important and he does, he calls us millionaires. I’m not. I think that some of the most progressive members of the Senate and the House have been millionaires so I don’t think that’s an argument that holds a lot of water.”

We then moved on to her somewhat lackluster financial report and Margolies insisted that their campaign is right on track.

“We have run the race exactly the way we thought we should, exactly,” she asserted. “We knew what we had to do where, we knew what we wanted to do at this point. We are at this point where we want to be. We also knew that a load of our money, getting us onto television and everything like that, was gonna come in this fourth quarter. When Clinton came in. We knew that, it’s pretty simple.”

“The other thing is if you look at the polls and I’m sure you have, name recognition is very important. What does happen, if you have painted a target on your chest, they’re gonna come at ya, and if the question is was I ready for it, sure.”

Foreign Policy

Given her experience in WCI, Margolies has far more foreign policy expertise than the typical congressional candidate, so we tackled the most pressing foreign policy issue of the moment, Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.

“I actually went with a congressional delegation to Kiev and I was in Maindan Square,” she revealed. “It was right before the Orange Revolution. I talked to a lot of people and I can tell the people with whom we had conversations, the people in Maindan Square, wanted independence. There’s no question about that fact.”

“Now I think they are different places in the country where that changes,” Margolies continued. “It’s almost a ripple, as you move around the country and hear more people speaking only Russian. I think this is extremely confusing for the average citizen, people don’t know ‘Who are those people demonstrating outside, who are the people inside’ it’s a very hard [situation].”


Of course, there was the obligatory question on the Affordable Care Act and whether Democrats can turn it into an advantage in the midterms.

“I think this is the same type of thing as Social Security, when Republicans were initially against it. This is gonna need time, I think we’ve turned the corner with regards to expectations and numbers and things like that, it looks like we’re moving in the right direction.”

“We have to see how many young people sign up. Young people want healthcare,” she asserted citing her experience as a Professor at UPenn. “Anybody who says young people don’t care, that they think they’re invulnerable, that’s baloney.”

Social Security

I also asked about her positions on Social Security, her 1994 bills to change the program and her opponents attacks that she will support changes to Social Security if she is elevated once more to office.

“I don’t wanna increase the age, I don’t wanna cut benefits…That is so intellectually dishonest,” she definitively responded. “When we were dealing with it when we had the entitlement conference 20 years ago, we had to put everything on the table. I don’t feel that way anymore. I think that Social Security is of the three [Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid], the least that we have to worry about. It’s the target on the chest, it’s just not true.”

I also inquired whether her 1994 bills were simply a political ploy, part of the well-worn tradition of members of Congress introducing bills that have no realistic chance of passage in order to grandstand or make a point. While Margolies agreed many members of Congress do this, she stated that her efforts in 1994 were not motivated by politics.

“It was a very different time, the numbers were very different. It was responsible,” she said. “Have I changed since then? I have. Maybe because what was put into place was put into place and it did have significant effect.”

The made clear that the change she was referring to was the increase of the age of eligibility from 65 to 67. She also stated that she supports lifting the FICA tax cap on those making more than $500,000 a year.

“No, I do not think the age should be raised anymore, I am against that and I don’t think there should be anymore deductions,” Margolies said while comparing her opponents tactics to Newt Gingrich’s “Mediscare” methods. “These folks are trying to scare seniors into thinking that I want to cut their benefits. I do not and I don’t think we should raise the age anymore. It’s intellectually dishonest.”

“My position has evolved,” she concluded.


Finally, when asked to choose jobs or the deficit as our economic priority, Margolies insisted the two are intertwined.

“It’s all about growth,” she explained. “You grow the economy and the rest follows, it’s not about trickle-down. It is about growing the economy and once we do that and put more money in the hands of the middle class, they’ll spend it and it all kinda works its way into the middle.”


When asked what member of Congress would serve as a role model, Margolies talked about her admiration for Senator Elizabeth Warren and her efforts to bring a 21st century Glass-Steagall Act. She also praised Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer.

Concerning potential committees, she commented that “I had the best committees when I was there last time. And I would love to go back to those committees.” Margolies stated that she served on the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Telecommunications Sub-committee, the Small Business Committee and the Government Operations Committee.

Of course, we also talked about her famous 1993 budget vote and though she’s told the story countless times, one section stood out as an example of the former Congresswoman’s philosophy.

“When I went down there, in a million years I never thought I’d be the vote. When you walk into your office people, do not call in when they’re happy, they call when they’re, how you say, pissed. They call in when they’re angry, they call in when they’re annoyed.” Despite all the repercussions of that vote, she remains confident she did the right thing by putting the welfare of the nation over her own political career.

“I did know one thing,” she said and one point “and that is that it had to pass.”


4/18 Morning Buzz

pa flagMcCord hits Wolf in his latest ad, the President visits Pittsburgh and we follow Allyson Schwartz on the campaign trail. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz.

On the PA-Gov Trail: Allyson Schwartz: Schwartz attempts to shore up Philadelphia for Democratic primary.

PA-Gov: McCord Hits Wolf in Latest Ad (VIDEO): The Democratic candidate contrasts his position on taxing natural gas drilling with the race’s front-runner.

PA-12: AFL-CIO Endorses McClelland: The union magnate made their selection in the Democratic primary.

PA-6: National Orgs Step Up: The national parties are getting involved in the race for Pennsylvania’s open 6th congressional district.

PA-9: Shuster Obliterates Primary Opposition in Q1: Rep. Shuster leads Halvorson and Schooley with a huge amount of money raised.

PA-17: Cartwright Has Commanding Financial Lead: According to this year’s first quarter financial reports, incumbent Matt Cartwright has a strong lead over his competitors.

PA-13: Candidates Face Off in Open Forum: Democratic and Republican candidates for the soon to be vacant 13th district seat took questions from voters last night.

Obama Discusses Job-Training in Pittsburgh: The President flew to the West Hills CCAC branch campus to laud the school for its tremendous job-training programs.

API Poll: Pennsylvanians Want Energy Investment: According to a poll from the American Petroleum Institute, residents of the Keystone State want to see increased funding for energy infrastructure.

Legislative Elections Update:

HD-36: State Representative Harry Readshaw, running for re-election for the 36th Legislative District, today received the endorsement of the Pennsylvania School Education Association. He is campaigning against fellow incumbent Democrat Rep. Erin Molchany (D-Allegheny) after their districts were merged.

MSNBC: Stack and Leach featured in minimum wage interview
State House Sound Bites: Slap the SLAPPs: legislation would deter frivolous lawsuits
State House Sound Bites: In PA schools, movement to keep school librarians on the books
State House Sound Bites: Wolf says loan for millions backed by personal money, not company’s
Capitolwire: Environmentalists blast DCNR monitoring report
StateImpactPA: Pa. drill rig manufacturer taking the ‘rough’ out of roughnecking

The Big Tent: McCord airs contrast ad on fracking tax
PhillyClout: Philly GOP fights ballot question pushed by Council Republican
Daily News: Nutter limits cooperation with feds on immigration
Inquirer: Elevator woes shut city government building
AP: Democrat Tom Wolf reports $2.2M in 2012 income
Axis Philly: Open Data: City releases contract info
Phillynow: Philly legislator Mike Stack talks minimum wage on MSNBC
WHYY Newsworks: Schwartz presses Wolf for details on $4.5 million campaign loan
WHYY Newsworks: Chestnut Hill health care workers rally for better wages, benefits
WHYY Newsworks: Half of Pa. public schools fail to meet state’s expectations, new study says

The Intelligencer: Montco rallies in support of same-sex marriage
Delco Daily Times: Brady increases war chest to $695,640
Delco Daily Times: Money talks in 7th District
Montgomery Times: State Sen. Bob Mensch discusses social, economic issues facing Pennsylvania
Daily Local News: Downingtown council adds new member

Business Journal: Bakery Square 2.0 rises from original’s Google-bred success
Business Journal: Big day for PPG Industries — record financials, annual meeting and stock price zooms
Post-Gazette: UPMC data breach may affect as many as 27,000 employees
Post-Gazette: Local developer offers $9.5M for August Wilson Center
Tribune-Review: Meetings on proposed Shell ‘cracker’ plant in Beaver County lure 1,000
Tribune-Review: Obama hopes to replicate CCAC job training efforts across United States
UrbanMediaToday: African-American Leaders to Host Candidate Forum to Address Community Issues

Altoona Mirror: USVEI evicted from office building
Altoona Mirror: Airport to receive new fueling station
Altoona Mirror: Kopriva: Parents entitled to hearing
Beaver County Times: State recognizes Allegheny County officials
Beaver County Times: Ousted airport authority executive receives severance package
Beaver County Times: GOP lawmakers pitch tax reforms to help small businesses

Times Leader: HUD: Investigators were at Sherman Hills
Times Leader: Leniency plea for Mericle runs 357 pages
Times-Tribune: Airport director to retire after 43 years
Times-Tribune: Dunmore School Board will combine middle and high school
Times-Tribune: Scranton council backs hiring of engineer, financial adviser

South Central
Lebanon Daily News: Gov. Tom Corbett speaks at Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce breakfast
Carlisle Sentinel: Residents file appeal of Dickinson Township zoning decision
AP: SU, 8 other Pa. colleges target of gender complaint
AP: UPMC wants city to bill subsidiaries for taxes
Patriot News: Pa. governor candidate McGinty basks in Kennedy glow during Scranton visit
Patriot News: Sources say scope of aborted sting went beyond the few Pa. lawmakers caught allegedly taking cash gifts
Patriot News: Brazilian manufacturer to build plant in Franklin County, create 73 jobs

Lehigh Valley
Reading Eagle: Officials tout success of Crime Alert Berks County
Reading Eagle: Reading’s outside consultants stepping away from talks of leasing water system
WFMZ: No work done on housing project years after awarding grant
WFMZ: Best way to save jobs at EASD? Neither side knows
WFMZ: $5.5 million tax credit to help fund residential, commercial development in Reading
Morning Call: Allentown-suburbs sewer fee settlement nearly finalized
Morning Call: Allentown unveils 911 texting service; officials call it next-generation technology

North by Northwest
Sun Gazette: Projects to be paid for with $724K in gas impact fees
Sun Gazette: No increase in mental health spending for Lycoming, Clinton counties
Sun Gazette: City sued for not paying cleaning bill
Erie Times-News: Analysts: Dem governor could lead to gridlock
Erie Times-News: Koplinski campaigns for lieutenant governor in Erie
Centre Daily Times: Paterno family lawyers: NCAA has Penn State ‘under their thumb’

Patriot News: Questions about a case come north with Penn State’s new president: Editorial
York Daily Record: Editorial: Property tax reform must be done right
Post-Gazette: DEP access: The state should not be barred from drill sites
Tribune-Review: Liquor privatization: Now’s the time
WHYY Newsworks: Why Democrats have a thing for single women
The Intelligencer: A missing voice in the 13th District

Media Trackers: Union Organizes Largest Pennsylvania Charter School
Keystone Politics: Pennsylvania AFL-CIO endorses Erin McClelland over John Hugya in PA-12
Keystone State Education Coalition: PA Ed Policy Roundup April 17: SB76: Protests could doom action on property tax reform legislation
Commonwealth Foundation: SAT Scores Slip While Spending Soars
Above Average Jane: Notes from Willow Grove NAACP 13th Congressional Debate (3/17)

PA-12: AFL-CIO Endorses McClelland



Labor magnate AFL-CIO endorsed Erin McClelland over John Hugya in the Democratic primary for PA-12.

“The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO is proud to support Erin McCelland to be the next representative of Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional district,” said President Rick Bloomingdale. “Ms. McClelland has the vision and the drive to get things done in Congress that will bring jobs back to Pennsylvania and improve the lives of workers and their families.”

“I could not be more honored to have the support of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO for my campaign to bring real family values back to Congress,” said McClelland after receiving the endorsement. “My great-grandfather organized for CIO in response to poor working conditions at Pittsburgh Plate & Glass, and it’s an unbelievable honor to carry on the family tradition of fighting for working families.”

McClelland’s campaign has scored a host of endorsements in her first run for public office, including Women’s Campaign Fund, IBEW Local 5, IBEW Local 29, USW Local 1196, the Allegheny County Labor Council, the Beaver County Labor Council, and the Allegheny, Beaver, Cambria, and Westmoreland County Democratic Committees and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

Her opponent, John Hugya, was a former Chief of Staff to Congressman John Murtha, who represented the district before Mark Critz. Critz was defeated by Rep. Keith Rothfus, following a redistricting that was highly advantageous to Republicans.

A Democrat winning the seat is an uphill battle, particularly given the state of the money race after the first quarter of the year. 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.

API Poll: Pennsylvanians Want Energy Investment

gas drillingAccording to a poll from the American Petroleum Institute, residents of the Keystone State want to see increased funding for energy infrastructure.

The results of the survey showed that 94% of registered Pennsylvania voters agree that increased development of the country’s energy infrastructure would help create jobs in the U.S.; again, 94% say that increased production of domestic oil and natural gas resources could lead to more jobs in the U.S. 86% say increased development of the country’s energy infrastructure is good for American consumers and 90% say increased production of domestic oil and natural gas resources could help stimulate the economy.

As always, take the results of polls commissioned by interest groups with a grain of salt and in this case, API has serious financial stake in American and Pennsylvania-based energy. API-PA is a division of API, which represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry The petroleum industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8% of the U.S. economy.

“Today’s poll shows strong majorities of Pennsylvania voters support more domestic oil and natural gas development, regardless of party affiliation,” said Stephanie Catarino Wissman, executive director of API-PA, “Forward-looking policies that allow the United States to capitalize on its bright energy future are imperative for this nation to realize its job creation and economic potential.

“The people of Pennsylvania get it; America’s economic future, the availability of affordable and reliable energy, depends on the policies created today.”

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and API-PA are running with these results in a new marketing campaign, using social media and traditional advertising

The study was conducted April 3-9, 2014 by telephone by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute among 603 registered voters in Pennsylvania, with a sampling error of +/- 4%.

PA-6: National Orgs Step Up




Primary season may be heating up in other races, but in PA-6 the general election contest is already starting.

With Ryan Costello and Manan Trivedi each appearing to be the eventual Republican and Democratic nominees respectively, their national parties are beginning to lend a hand of support.

For Costello, this support comes in the form of being promoted to a “Contender” in the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program. The Young Guns were formed in 2007 by the powerful triumvirate of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Budget Chairman and 2012 Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

“Voters believe strongly that the country is on the wrong track because of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi’s failed legislation, like ObamaCare. Ryan Costello has reached the ‘Contender’ status because he is exemplary of the new leadership needed in Washington D.C. to turn our country around and provide a check and balance in Washington,” said NRCC Chairman Rep. Greg Walden. “I am confident that Ryan will continue to work hard for his district and bring sound, conservative principles to Congress.”

Trivedi, meanwhile, is getting help from DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. They will be joined by Zainab Javed, a student from Erie who received Pell Grants to attend college,  on a conference call aimed to showcase the harms that would be caused by the Ryan budget.

“[They will] discuss how the House Republican budget, authored by Paul Ryan and supported by Rep. Jim Gerlach, gives tax breaks to the wealthiest while raising taxes on middle-class families in Pennsylvania by at least $2,000,” according to the DNC’s press release.

Costello and Trivedi are competing for the state’s 6th congressional district, a seat occupied by GOP Rep. Jim Gerlach, who announced his impending retirement back in January.


On the PA-Gov Trail: Allyson Schwartz

photo 2 (2)(Philadelphia, Pa. ) — Representative Allyson Schwartz made four gubernatorial campaign stops this morning in her congressional district.

Beloved would be an understatement of the regard with which Schwartz’s constituents greeted her. At one point, she walked into the bingo hall of an adult recreation center to actual applause.

“Most politicians, they don’t care – but not Allyson,” one constituent at the adult center said. “She’s always on track and always helps people. I think so much of her; she’s a fine woman.”

Philadelphia City Councilman for the northeast region of the city, Bobby Henon escorted Schwartz through two diners, where she frequently did not require introduction. Several diners thanked her for work done from her constituent office and several more assured her of their support in the Democratic primary for governor.

Schwartz’s style in these retail-type appearances can best be described as the elegant stateswoman; she’s cool, commanding and knowledgeable but doesn’t quite dive into the small talk or friendly joking (a la Rob McCord or Katie McGinty).

Her composure was duly tested in one interaction with a man in one of the diners. The individual spewed a racially tainted diatribe about the social fabric of Philadelphia and the nature of entitlement programs. Schwartz didn’t flinch, and coaxed the man out of the rage that almost overtook him. When he began to condemn reproductive rights, Schwartz stopped him in his tracks, saying that was an issue on which they simply would not agree. By the end of the conversation, he begrudgingly promised his vote.

“I’m gonna vote for you because I like the other sleazeballs less,” he finished, but not without a shot a Councilman Henon, who he said he still opposes.

photo 3 (1)Her other interactions with voters were shorter, and far more pleasant. She told nearly every group that she talked to that she intended to go to Harrisburg and break up the “old boys club,” the theme of her latest television ad.

Moving from table to table, Councilman Henon explained that she was the only gubernatorial candidate from Philadelphia.

Schwartz, the early frontrunner in this race, has now fallen to second in nearly every poll and her strategy to reclaim the lead clearly depends on her winning big in Philadelphia. Between her terms in the State Senate and her tenure in Congress, she has represented almost two-thirds of the City of Philadelphia and her late-start to television focuses solely on buying up space in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia markets. But those ads are reaching Philadelphians; one woman in a diner told Schwartz that she had seen and liked the ad.

“I’m glad somebody saw them,” Schwartz responded, “They’re expensive!”

She said that her team plans to expand into other markets, but that 40% of the primary electorate lives in the 5-county area in the Philadelphia media market.

PA-9: Shuster Obliterates Primary Opposition in Q1

Rep. Shuster

Rep. Shuster

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Blair) is quite serious about keeping his seat in the 9th district. So much so, in fact, that he outraised his opponents several times over during the first quarter.

Shuster brought in a whopping $737,379 for the first three months of 2014. He spent even more than he raised with a strong media campaign: $844,093, and is left with a comfortable $1,252,482 cash on hand.

Tea Party opponent Art Halvorson only managed to raise $8,821.21 while spending $24,727.33. Halvorson has $56,492.52 in cash on hand. Travis Schooley gained a total of $9,602.49, spent $4,581.02 and has $5,692.13 cash on hand.


The incumbent used his recognition throughout the 9th district to his advantage, gaining many contributions from individual donors. Shuster also had quite a few generous organization and PAC donations. The Airports Council International – North America donated $5,000 for the first quarter, the American Gas Association PAC gave $2,000 and the Exxon Mobil Corporation PAC gave $4,000.

For the most part, Shuster’s expenses were quite typical for an incumbent campaign. Worth noting, though, is the fact that over $500K, or about 60%, of his money spent went to Red Maverick Media for ads and mail. So far, he has zero in debts owed.


Compared to Shuster’s $700K raised, Halvorson’s grassroots campaign has some work to do in the weeks before the May primary. Fellow Halvorsons James and Carolyn donated a combined $1,500. In fact, all of his donors were individuals, leaving him with no PAC money.

Of his expenses, Halvorson paid $6,500 to Rockwood Strategies in Harrisburg for advertising, commercials and radio spots. Most of his money spent, though, went to paying campaign employees Ron Robertson, Brian Livingston and David Show.

Regarding debts, Halvorson is listed as having $100,000 in debt. Upon closer inspection, it appears that the $100K loan is from Halvorson’s own personal funds. It is quite possible that he will give himself more loans in the near future, independently wealthy as he is.


Bringing up the rear is Shuster’s much less talked about but still present Republican opponent, Travis Schooley. For the first quarter, he didn’t even manage to break $10K in money raised. All of his donors were individuals, with family member Gary Schooley gifting $150. His largest donation was counted as an in-kind contribution from himself: $2,075.48.

Where did that $2K go to? Schooley spent it on signs for his campaign. Another $1,000 went toward door hangers to further help spread the word. He’s listed as having zero dollars in debt.

Shuster’s district has been rated the most conservative in Pennsylvania, ringing in at R+14 from Cook PVI. In 2012, the incumbent won the race to keep his seat against Democrat Karen Ramsburg, 61.7% of the vote to 38.3%. Schooley attempted to run against Shuster for the Republican primary nomination in 2012, but had to withdraw because of challenges to his petition signatures.

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