PA-13: Arkoosh Named a ‘Game Changer’

Val-Arkoosh-portrait1Val Arkoosh is the only one of the four Democratic candidates in PA-13 without any political experience, which would seem to make her the perfect candidate to be a game changer.

That is just what she’s been labeled by the Women’s Campaign Fund. The WCF is a non-partisan group that seeks to elect pro-choice women into office regardless of party.

Their Game Changer initiative was set up to highlight 40 different women throughout the country. “It’s a vision of the future we want to see for our government,” they write. “And a roadmap of how we’re going to get there.”

“Dr. Valerie Arkoosh isn’t a career politician,” the WCF says in explanation of her designation as a game changer. “She is a physician, parent of three, and a community leader. As a practicing obstetric anesthesiologist, she has helped thousands of women of all ages, incomes, and backgrounds. In Congress, she would be a credible, vocal advocate for women’s healthcare and reproductive rights.”

“Women’s Campaign Fund is exceptionally proud to endorse Val Arkoosh in her race for Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District,” said Clare Bresnahan, Political & Programs Director for WCF. “It would be fitting if the seat currently held by the only woman in the Pennsylvania delegation were to be represented by another strong, highly qualified woman leader like Val.”

“Women’s Campaign Fund has been with me since the beginning of my campaign last year, and I’m honored to be selected for their “Game Changer” initiative,” Arkoosh responded. “WCF believes that we change the political game by changing the players. That’s how we’re going to challenge the status quo and stand up for the most critical issues facing women and families in our communities.”

Other Democratic candidates in the race for PA-13 include State Rep. Brendan Boyle, State Sen. Daylin Leach and former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies.

PA-13: Leach Debuts New Childhood Ad (Watch)

Democratic State Senator and PA-13 candidate Daylin Leach released a new ad today briefly detailing his experience in foster care as a child and how he plans to help those who need it most in office.

The ad begins with grainy shots of a young boy, going through the motions in a presumably difficult childhood. “I remember the day my mom said she could no longer afford to keep me,” Leach narrates. “I grew up in foster homes across northeast Philly.”

Present-day Leach then appears, and talks about how he wants to use his rough and tumble experiences as a child to help others who may also be in a tough situation. “I’ve never been afraid to take on bullies like Governor Corbett and the NRA,” he says. Leach’s mention of the National Rifle Association refers to the “F” rating that the interest group bestowed upon him for his support of gun control.

“In Congress, I’ll protect social security,” Leach continues, “and a woman’s right to choose. I’ll fight for good schools and great jobs, and to put Wall Street crooks in jail.”

The ad ends with a shot, perhaps meant to tug at the heartstrings, of Leach surrounded by happy-looking children. The rowdy bunch gives an excited cheer as Leach wraps up his ad with the promise to help those who need it because he was also once in a situation where he needed help.

This is Leach’s first television ad, to be run on broadcast and cable television, as well as over the Internet. The ad comes on the heels of a successful first quarter for the candidate, where his fundraising efforts landed him on the list of PoliticsPA’s Q1 winners. Leach is the first candidate in the PA-13 race to air a commercial on broadcast television.

Also running in Pennsylvania’s 13th district are physician Val Arkoosh, former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies, and State Rep. Brendan Boyle.

Reader Poll: Wolf Has Best TV Ads

wolf adToday marks four weeks from primary election day.

With all four Democratic candidates and Governor Corbett all now on the air, we decided to ask you the readers which candidate you personally felt has made the best TV ads so far.

Even though there were five options, Democratic front-runner Tom Wolf still won with a majority of votes, totaling 146 in all.

Rob McCord followed behind in second with 43 readers while Governor Corbett took third place with 35 votes.

Allyson Schwartz came in fourth with 30 while Katie McGinty brought up the rear with 25 readers feeling she had the best ads.

The results, though, don’t answer the question of whether this is perception or reality. Do people find Tom Wolf’s ads the best because they elevated him to the top of the polls or did the belief among voters that his ads were the best put him atop those polls? Chicken, egg, etc.

Which Lt. Gov. candidate will air the first TV ad?

View Results

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PA-13: Boyle Begins TV Ad Campaign

State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia) released his first television ad today in his campaign for the Democratic nomination in PA-13.

“[My wife and I are] not millionaires like every one of my opponents,” Boyle says in the ad. “Right now half of Congress are millionaires but they pay lower taxes than firefighters and teachers. I think their priorities are screwed up. Congress refuses to raise the minimum wage and then cuts programs for the middle class.”

boyle ad 1“Over 20 different labor unions endorsed me because defending working class families is my priority,” Boyle concludes.

The thirty second spot will run on a hundred thousand dollar buy on twenty cable networks over the next two weeks.

This will put a big dent in Boyle’s cash on hand, which at the end of the first quarter was just $398,237, compared to the over $600,000 that State Senator Daylin Leach and physician/activist Valerie Arkoosh have.

Leach also launched his media buy today.

Also running for the Democratic nomination to succeed retiring Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz is former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies.

PA-Gov: Schwartz Appears on MSNBC With New ACA Ad

Gubernatorial candidate Allyson Schwartz led “The Last Word” on MSNBC on Monday night to promote her latest ad, a pro-ACA spot.

“I worked with President Obama on the Affordable Care Act and getting health care coverage to all Americans. It was my legislation that said insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions,” Schwartz narrates in the ad.

“Tom Corbett has decided not to take the Medicaid money, as governor, I will take the Medicaid expansion because 500,000 Pennsylvanians need health coverage,” she continues. “That’s exactly the kind of leadership I will bring as your next Governor.”

Throughout the spot, the Congresswoman highlights her connection with the President, including showing signed photographs of the two of them together and footage of Rep. Schwartz and President Obama descending the stairs of Air Force One.

schwartz aca adThe ad will begin running in Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning.

Ari Melber filled in for Lawrence O’Donnell on the show and interviewed Schwartz after the preview of the ad.

“It’s simply wrong to have a governor who’s refusing to use this tool to give Pennsylvania the health care that they need,” Schwartz said in the interview.

59% of Pennsylvanians support Medicaid expansion according to Public Policy Polling on a map shown during the spot.

Schwartz shared anecdotes of ACA success stories, including a woman she met on the campaign trail named Christine who was just diagnosed with breast cancer but can no longer lose her coverage thanks to the law.

At the end of the interview, Melber also asked if Schwartz would welcome the President to campaign for her. Schwartz answered that she would love to have the President appear with her, both before the primary and ahead of the general election.

The candidate’s embrace of the President is a calculated risk as she trails former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf with a month to go. President Obama’s approval in the commonwealth has been dropping steadily the last few months yet he’s still popular with Democrats.

Also in the primary, she faces State Treasurer Rob McCord and former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty.

After the major unveiling of the ad, Corbett reelection campaign manager Mike Barley released the following statement.

“Despite cancelled policies, skyrocketing premiums, lost doctors and jobs, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz has turned her back on Pennsylvania for good,” said Barley. “Congresswoman Schwartz has embraced an extreme liberal agenda in Washington, DC and the disastrous healthcare takeover she helped to write and force upon hardworking Pennsylvanians. Now Congresswoman Schwartz hopes to bring those failed budget-busting Obama policies to Harrisburg, proving just how out of touch she is with the people of Pennsylvania.”

4/22 Morning Buzz

pa flagWe name the winners and losers of the first fiscal quarter, the March jobs report comes out and Toomey maintains a solid lead over Sestak in the 2016 money race. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz.

PoliticsPA Internship Opening: Summer 2014: The governor’s race, congressional contests and battles in Harrisburg and D.C. are going to keep PoliticsPA very busy this Summer. Want in?

Q1: Winners & Losers: The finance reports have been filed, posted and picked apart. See who made the list.

2016: Toomey Maintains Wide Lead over Sestak: The incumbent Republican Senator has a significant advantage in the early money race.

March Jobs Report: Unemployment Falls To 6%: The incumbent Republican Senator has a significant advantage in the early money race.

Democratic PAC Ignores PA Races: The House Majority PAC is spending most of its efforts defending blue seats in other states.

Sierra Club Bashes Corbett’s DEP Plan (Updated): Governor Corbett’s plan to cut smog emissions in the state is viewed as lackluster by the Sierra Club.

Legislative Elections Update:

HD-20: State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, D-Allegheny, received the endorsement of both the Pennsylvania State Education Association and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers today in his bid for re-election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Ravenstahl’s primary opponent, Tom Michalow, received endorsements from the Steel City Stonewall Democrats, Gertrude Stein Political Club of Greater Pittsburgh, Clean Water Action, and Progress Pittsburgh PAC.

Capitolwire: POINT OF ORDER: How the Democratic gubernatorial candidates would pay for PA’s pension obligations
PA Independent: Advocacy group: PA colleges discriminate against women’s athletics
PA Independent: PA cyber charter schools could be funded by state, not districts
StateImpactPA: Court denies driller’s request for more information in spill case
StateImpactPA: Union groups supporting boom in gas-related jobs

Daily News: Will Obama finally end the war….on drugs?
Daily News: Quiz time: What do pols mean when they say what they say?
Inquirer: A new face for Philadelphia Republicans
Inquirer: Cameras to nab speeders urged for Roosevelt Blvd.
Inquirer: More Montco farm land is preserved
Inquirer: Ethical questions in trips revealed in corruption sting Saturday is drug drop-off day in Bucks Pot hole patrols to hit the streets in Delco

Courier-Times: Warminster supervisors to meet with residents
Courier-Times: 5 residents appointed to new Upper Makefield finance committee
Pottstown Mercury: EARTH DAY 2014: MCCC dedicates wind turbines at Pottstown campus
Pottstown Mercury: OSHA cites Universal Concrete in Stowe for 2nd straight year
Pottstown Mercury: Western Center in Limerick sees record high scores on competency exams

Post-Gazette: Pennsylvania texting ban proves tough to enforce
Post-Gazette: New district pits two Democratic legislators
Early Returns: Lamb, Firefighters for McCord
WTAE: 3 tanker trucks crash in Canton Township, spilling fracking water, diesel fuel
Tribune Review: Landslides put Baldwin firefighters in financial peril
Tribune Review: Foundations drop bid for August Wilson Center
Tribune Review: Gov. Corbett’s re-election campaign ‘unflappable’ amid challenges, criticism
Tribune Review: Mailings from Pa. incumbents to potential new constituents under fire

Observer-Reporter: Local career center wins grant, plans study cafe
Observer-Reporter: Peters resident enrolls Washington County in Groundwater Guardian program
Observer-Reporter: Former congressman now vying to be lieutenant governor
Altoona Mirror: Hearing to weigh constitutionality of mandatory minimums
Altoona Mirror: Unions back drilling boom as fracking foes cringe
Beaver County Times: Money, technology concerns at 911

Times Tribune: Counties aim to encourage carpooling, public transport
Times Tribune: Monday Update: ‘Trouble with Cali’ earns nothing for Lackawanna County
Times Leader: Hard economic lesson: Education majors decline
Times Leader: County union rejects proposed contract
Times Leader: Pa. judges can keep relatives on their payrolls
AP: Gas drilling tax turns GOP’s heads

South Central
Harrisburg Patriot News: Today is the deadline to register to vote in the May primary
Harrisburg Patriot News: When’s a $1b cut a $1b cut? When it’s an issue in the Guv’s race, that’s when: Monday Morning Coffee
AP: McCord reports $333K in 2012 income
York Dispatch: York County lawmaker’s ‘bodily fluids’ bill passes House
Lebanon Daily News: Lebanon County Planning Department Director Kris Troup resigns
Lebanon Daily News: Wanda Bechtold announces write-in campaign for 102nd House District
Roxbury News: Dauphin County — State of the County Address

Lehigh Valley
Morning Call: Donchez marks 100 days as Bethlehem mayor
Morning Call: Voter registration deadline is today
Express Times: Democratic Senate candidates will debate for chance at 40th district seat
Express Times: Bangor council president nominated as Northampton County director of administration

North by Northwest
Campaign ‘14 Blog: Voter registration deadline today
AP: Fracking foes cringe as unions back drilling boom
AP: Pennsylvania gay-marriage-ban critics seek ruling
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Employment discrimination, sewage plant in week’s votes

Post-Gazette: Bet on Pittsburgh: More development here looks like a sure thing
Observer-Reporter: A promising merger
Harrisburg Patriot News: Immigration reform makes dollars and sense for Pa. Latinos: Carlos Graupera
Harrisburg Patriot News: Pleased to meet me? Taxpayers in new House and Senate districts shouldn’t foot the bill for pols’ election year mailers: Editorial
Inquirer: Inquirer Editorial: Progress at PATCO
Daily News: DN Editorial: SO UNAPPEALING: Tax deadbeats, non-collections & a government starving its own city

Commonwealth Foundation: Happy Tax Freedom Day, Pennsylvania!
Keystone Politics: This week on #TheStump – Josh Maxwell and Josh Young
Keystone Politics: These Are Pennsylvania’s Emptiest Areas
Keystone Politics: #PAGov: This is Tom Corbett’s Idea of Waste, Fraud and Abuse
Lehigh Valley Ramblings: Ethical Questions Over Brown’s Proposed Director of Administration
Lehigh Valley Ramblings: Can Parsons Do It Again?

Lt. Gov.: Koplinski Financially Behind Competitors



Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski is the last Democratic Lt. Gov. candidate to have his financial report scrutinized by PoliticsPA — and things are not looking too good for him.

Koplinski finds himself at the bottom of every major financial category when compared to his competitors. He only was able to raise $24,685, he has spent only $12,628, and as far as cash on hand, Koplinski has a mere $28,474. He carried over just $16,418 from last quarter.

To put all this into perspective, State Senator Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) has $700,000 in spending money left, Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith has $144,319, and State Rep. Brandon Neuman is running two campaigns and was still able to accrue $45,000 for his lt. gov. bid. Former Democratic congressman Mike Critz only has $37,676.13 on hand, but he has also spent much more than Koplinski — $89,602.57 to be exact.


Koplinski took in mostly smaller donations, in the $100 to $250 range, but he was also able to reel in some more sizable contributions. In total, $11,800 worth of his fundraising efforts came from donations larger than $250.

One of those larger contributions came from a relative, Charles Koplinski, who donated $500.


Koplinski hasn’t spent much, but what he has spent money on has been printing, office space rent, events, and travel expenses. He is also spending a little on staffers and help.

In addition, the Harrisburg City Councilman took out a loan to the tune of $15,000 to help give his campaign a boost but this was in 2013.

Although financially Koplinski is not measuring up to his fellow candidates, he still has garnered strong support during his campaign. He received the endorsement of the PA Young Democrats and he also received more than 50 percent of the vote from the Democratic state committee. Unfortunately, he was unable to garner an endorsement because he did not reach the needed two-thirds majority.

It is worthwhile to note that in 2010, Scott Conklin was massively outraised by his primary opponents and came out on top.

Democratic PAC Ignores PA Races

uscapitol-washingtondc-picture1A Democratic super PAC, the House Majority PAC, reserved ad time in the fall in twenty-four congressional districts. At the moment, no PA district is included on their list.

The goal of House Majority PAC, of course, is to make sure the Democrats become the majority party in the House. Unfortunately for Democrats, given the organization’s target list, it doesn’t appear they believe they can accomplish this in 2014.

Only six of the twenty-four districts in which they’ve bought ads are seats currently held by Republicans and all six are in states that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. All the other districts contain Democrats trying to hold onto their seats.

Although no PA districts have been selected by the group as of yet, that doesn’t mean that will remain the case. Pennsylvania’s 8th District, for example, is seen by many prognosticators as perhaps the party’s best chance in the state but there is currently a competitive Democratic primary between businesswoman Shaughnessy Naughton and Afghan and Iraq War vet Kevin Strouse.

There is one person being left out in the cold, though, and that’s PA-6 Democratic candidate Manan Trivedi. With Gerlach’s retirement, PA-6 should be the most competitive it has been in years. Yet the open seat is not seen by this Democratic group as a prime pick-up opportunity even though (or perhaps because) this will be Trivedi’s third straight time on the ballot.

According to PoliticoPro, the group has indexed $6.5 million for its campaign so far. The districts on their list are included below:

—  Arizona’s 1st District. Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is the incumbent. Total reservation: $420,785

— Arizona’s 2nd District. Democratic Rep. Ron Barber is the incumbent. Total reservation: $138,693

— Arizona’s 9th District. Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is the incumbent. Total reservation: $420,785

— California’s 7th District. Democratic Rep. Ami Bera is the incumbent. Total reservation: $189,610

— California’s 36th District. Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz is the incumbent. Total reservation: $112,219

— California’s 52nd District. Democratic Rep. Scott Peters is the incumbent. Total reservation: $512,190

— Colorado’s 6th District. GOP Rep. Mike Coffman is the incumbent. Total reservation: $425,330

— Florida’s 2nd District. GOP Rep. Steve Southerland is the incumbent. Total reservation: $232,120

— Florida’s 18th District.  Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy is the incumbent. Total reservation: $561,423

— Florida’s 26th District. Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia is the incumbent. Total reservation: $175,894

— Iowa’s 3rd District. GOP Rep. Tom Latham is the incumbent, but he is retiring and the seat is vacant. Total reservation in the district is $125,127

— Illinois’s 10th District.  Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider is the incumbent. Total reservation: $229,354

— Illinois’s 13th District. GOP Rep. Rodney Davis is the incumbent. Total reservation is $143,878

— Illinois’s 17th District.  Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos is the incumbent. Total reservation is $128,898

— Massachusetts’s 6th District. Democratic Rep. John Tierney is the incumbent. Total reservation is $124,020

— Minnesota’s 2nd District. GOP Rep. John Kline is the incumbent. Total reservation: $329,371

— Minnesota’s 8th District. Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan is the incumbent. Total reservation: $354,265

— New Hampshire’s 1st District. Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is the incumbent. Total reservation: $162,253

— New Hampshire’s 2nd District. Democratic Rep. Ann Kuster is the incumbent. Total reservation: $162,253

— New York’s 1st District. Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop is the incumbent. Total reservation: $394,706

— New York’s 11th District. GOP Rep. Michael Grimm is the incumbent. Total reservation: $162,759

— New York’s 18th District. Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is the incumbent. Total reservation $565,900

— New York’s 24th District — supporting Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei. Total reservation: $166,254

— Texas’s 23rd District. Democratic Rep. Pete Gallego is the incumbent. Total reservation: $221,347

PoliticsPA Internship Opening: Summer 2014

This is not what PoliticsPA interns do

This is not what PoliticsPA interns do

The governor’s race, congressional contests and battles in Harrisburg and D.C. are going to keep PoliticsPA very busy this Summer.

Want in?

PoliticsPA is seeking talented individuals to contribute to our news coverage throughout the Commonwealth.

Interns will have the chance to gain journalism experience and a stronger understanding of Pennsylvania politics. Additionally, interns will have the opportunity to build a portfolio with published writing.

Internship openings are available for the Summer 2014 semester. The position is flexible and interns work remotely, so applicants are welcome from anywhere in Pa. as well as Washington, DC. The position is unpaid.

To request an application, please contact us via the PoliticsPA contact form. The deadline to apply is May 2, 2014.

March Jobs Report: Unemployment Falls To 6%

Unemployment-300x225March brought yet another consecutive month of job growth and a drop in the unemployment rate.

This month, the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania fell to 6%. The rate has fallen by .2% each month of 2014, starting the year with 6.4%.

The state job numbers will play a major role in the 2014 campaign and so this is an ongoing PoliticsPA feature.

The good news:

The rate speaks for itself this month. The national unemployment rate is still 6.7%, so Pennsylvania’s 6.0% looks even better.

As with each previous month of good jobs news, Corbett re-election campaign sought compliments for sitting Governor.

“Governor Corbett’s ‘more jobs and less taxes’ policies are putting Pennsylvanians back to work,” Gleason said. “When Governor Corbett took office, he was faced with a $4.2 billion budget deficit and an unemployment rate above 8 percent. Just three years after taking office, Governor Corbett has delivered three on-time and balanced budgets and lowered the unemployment rate to a five-year low. Tom Corbett policies are creating jobs and growing our economy,” PA GOP Chairman Rob Gleason said. “Today’s jobs announcement is great news for the Commonwealth and its citizens, and we have Governor Corbett and Lieutenant Governor Cawley to thank for that success.”

Former Governor and Attorney General DIck Thornburgh also lauded Corbett’s economic accomplishments.

“Pennsylvania continues to head in the right direction thanks to Governor Tom Corbett who has kept taxes low and helped the private sector put Pennsylvanians back to work,” stated Thornburgh. “Ginny and I have been proud to watch Tom lead our Commonwealth, and his effectiveness over these past three years was seen yet again today as unemployment continues to decline. We know he isn’t done with the job at hand, but our progress and bright future are certain under Governor Tom Corbett.”

There was consistent growth across sectors, and the biggest decrease in any job category was government, which fell 1.3%.

Mediocre news

For the second month in a row, Pennsylvania ranks 47th in a 12-month-moving-average of job growth as compared to the other states of the union.

We improved from 48th in January, and at this point last year, the Keystone State was 49th.

“These latest job numbers just further prove that Tom Corbett’s economic record has been nothing but a disappointment. Pennsylvania’s workforce is now 46,000 less than it was a year ago, we are ranked 47th in job creation, and we are lagging behind our neighboring states,” PA Dems spokesman Marc Eisenstein said. “Tom Corbett’s mishandling of Pennsylvania’s economy, $1 billion cut to education, and refusal to expand Medicaid will ensure Pennsylvania elects a Democratic governor in November.”

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