PA-Gov: Democratic PAC’s New Ad Blasts Corbett (VIDEO)

PA Families First, an independent PAC, shelled out nearly $2 million to air a new television advertisement that attacks Governor Corbett for his alleged cuts to education.

The 30 second ad will air in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Johnstown, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia.

Entitled “Paycheck,” the advertisement discusses Corbett’s first budget, which cut basic school funding by $1 billion. Local districts subsequently made cutbacks, and raised property taxes in some areas.

Corbett stated that he did not cut funding and has invested $1.5 billion in education over the last four decades. He believes that his challenger Tom Wolf will ignore the current pension crisis, an issue that the Governor states is the main cause for property tax increases.

The ad also places pressure on Corbett to back a production tax on Pennsylvania’s natural-gas drilling industry.

The natural gas industry “is not paying its fair share,” according to the advertisement.

The Corbett campaign countered that natural gas companies have paid over $2 billion in taxes over the last six years. The $630 million “local impact fee” also had statewide benefits.

Chris Pack, the Governor’s communications director stated that “Wolf has been bought and paid for by the public sector union bosses…to ignore the need for pension reform in Pennsylvania.”

According to Thomas Fitzgerald of the Inquirer, PA Families First is supported by the Democratic Governor’s Association, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal (AFSCME), the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.

So far this month, another outside PAC called NextGen and the Wolf-aligned FreshStartPA have also launched ads against Governor Corbett.

Wolf Airs New Ad After Corbett Budget Address (With Video)

Tom Wolf may have unveiled the nicest attack ad of 2014.

The businessman and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful responded to Governor Tom Corbett’s budget address with a new television spot that bemoans funding for schools and infrastructure.

Wolf ad still“It’s unacceptable that we aren’t providing sufficient funding for our public schools,” Wolf says to the camera.

He makes a general indictment of elected officials in lieu of calling out the Governor by name.

“I find it unacceptable that people are sitting in Harrisburg thinking about only about themselves and the special interests who helped get them elected,” Wolf continued..

In the press release announcing the ad, Wolf took a direct shot at Corbett. “Today, after three years of failed leadership, Tom Corbett tried a make-over, painting a very different picture of what his priorities have been as governor,” he said.

“An ad cut to respond to the budget speech before it was even given so he could oppose more funding for education and job training?” Corbett spokesman Billy Pitman asked. “Not surprising from a candidate whose claim to fame is as a member of an administration that failed to get comprehensive transportation funding, raided the education budget and used one-time stimulus funds to cover it up.  Interesting he calls for a fresh start when he already had his chance and left a $4.2 billion budget deficit, more taxes and high unemployment for Governor Corbett to clean up.  Pennsylvanians won’t be falling again for more that failed big government agenda.”

Overall funding for Pa. schools fell under Corbett due in large part to expiring federal stimulus funds. The Governor proposed boosting education funding during his speech Tuesday.

Wolf became the first candidate to go on broadcast television across the state last week when he kick off a $370,000 per week ad buy.

Toomey Delivers Weekly Republican Address

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) had the honor of delivering the weekly Republican address over the weekend.

Toomey used the platform to talk about how his wife, Chris, tried and failed repeatedly to enroll on the health care exchange website last week. The Senator spoke about how her frustrations are indicative of the larger inefficiencies with this system.

“Well, I tell you, I really wish this was the case of a member of Congress just out of touch,” Tomey said. “Unfortunately, it’s not. The fiasco my wife just faced with the health care website is being experienced by Americans across the country when they try to sign up for health insurance.”

Toomey further capitalized on the situation by arguing that issues with the websites are only part of a larger problem with the law.

“The problem with Obamacare isn’t just a glitch. It’s fundamental, and it’s taking away our freedom. I think Americans should be free to choose the insurance coverage that’s right for them. That choice should not be in the hands of the Obama administration, or at the mercy of malfunctioning government websites.

This is the fourth time in the last five weeks that the GOP address focuses on Obamacare. It is clear that the issues surrounding the rollout ensure that this hot button issue isn’t going away anytime soon.

Val Arkoosh Releases New Web Video

Val Arkoosh’s commitment to helping women across Pennsylvania is the subject of her new web video, entitled “What We Need.”

Arkoosh, a physician, is running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 13th district, the seat that Allyson Schwartz is vacating.

In the video, Arkoosh and four other women take turns discussing her credentials, and the importance of her campaign to women. Complementing the speakers is a straightforward montage of campaign footage depicting Arkoosh cooking with her children and highlighting her work as a doctor.

“I’m running for Congress because I believe that we have got to change the conversation that’s going on in Washington right now,” Arkoosh says in the video. “And I think the only way we’re going to change that conversation is to change the people that are sitting around the table.”

Val Arkoosh

Val Arkoosh

“Women need to have a voice, because they need a voice for children, they need a voice for families,” said Michele Weiner Lockman, who is featured in the video. “And they need a diverse voice that we don’t have right now because we don’t have many women in politics.”

With Rep. Schwartz giving up her seat in 2014, it is possible that all 18 of Pennsylvania’s representatives in Congress will be men. Arkoosh has one shot at preventing this, along with Marjorie Margolies, who is also running in the 13th. Other female contenders include Shaughnessy Naughton, running in PA-8 and Erin McClelland running in PA-12.

Arkoosh and Margolies are competing against state Rep. Brendan Boyle and state Senator Daylin Leach.

PA-13: Boyle Kicks Off 2014 Campaign With Bio Video

Election season is now in full swing for State Rep. Brendan Boyle and his congressional campaign. This morning the candidate for PA’s 13th district released a new biographical web video.

The two-minute ad emphasizes his Philadelphia roots, beginning at a SEPTA station where his father continues to work as a janitor. The State Rep. describes his early life as a classic tale of a son of an immigrant who hopes to improve his hometown community.

Brendan Boyle lores“Dad came to America from Ireland when he was nineteen, looking for a better life,” Boyle says over shots of old family photos. “I was the first in my family to ever graduate from college. Was able to go to grad school at Harvard, thanks to student loans, and then I came home.”

He proceeded to lay out his rationale for running for Congress.

“When millionaires are paying lower tax rates than cops and firefighters, and the largest corporations on earth are getting billions in handouts, while we cut proven anti-hunger programs and talk about privatizing Medicare, something is really out of whack with where we’re heading as a country,” Boyle says.

The video was produced by Chicago-based Snyder Pickerill Media Group.

He also mentions that he has been endorsed by over 20 local labor unions, likely due to help from Rep. Bob Brady, a backer of Boyle and notable ally of labor.

Additionally, his campaign premiered an upgraded website.

Boyle’s campaign is boosting the video debut with an online advertising buy, including on PoliticsPA.

Other candidates to replace Allyson Schwartz’s old congressional seat include physician and activist Valerie Arkoosh, State Sen. Daylin Leach, and former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies.

Leach unveiled his first web video of the fall in mid-October.

Stabile Goes Negative in Superior Court Ad (With Video)

Vic Stabile threw the first punch of the Superior Court race Monday, accusing Democrat Jack McVay of using his position as an Allegheny County family court judge to get jobs for his girlfriend and sister-in-law.

McVay’s camp said the ad violates a pledge both men signed with the Pa. Bar Association.

“After he became a judge, he got his girlfriend a job. Then his sister-in-law got a job. And now Jack McVay wants you to give him a promotion,” a narrator charges.

Stabile ad 2013The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2012 reported McVay’s sister-in-law’s position and editorialized against McVay’s fiancee’s hire.

The ad switches to positive, introducing Stabile and boasting of his endorsement by the Pa. Fraternal Order of Police.

“And I won’t put my family on the court payroll,” Stabile says into the camera, his only line in the ad.

McVay’s campaign fired back, calling the ad a move of desperation by Stabile.

“If he’s going negative and willing to violate his pledge, it must mean he sees himself behind,” McVay campaign manager, Marty Marks told PoliticsPA. “We’re running a positive effort and it’s going to stay that way.”

Stabile lost the 2011 Superior Court race thanks in large part to a strong western Pa. performance by opponent David Wecht, also a Pittsburgher.

Marks defended the hire of McVay’s sister-in-law, saying she brought years of professional child welfare experience to the job. He noted that the decision to hire McVay’s fiancee was made by another judge, and that both hires complied with court rules.

Stabile and McVay each signed a pledge by the Pa. Bar Association, agreeing to certain guidelines for campaigning.

It’s not clear whether Stabile violated the pledge, which is open to interpretation.

“Canon 7 does not specifically proscribe ‘negative advertising,’” the Ethics Committee of the Pa. Conference of State Trial Judges wrote in an advisory – one of the criteria for the pledge. But, they continue, “While in some limited circumstances negative advertising may be appropriate,given the nature of political ads; the committee strongly discourages negative ads.”

Additionally, the ad may have impugned the judiciary – another no-no according to the pledge – with its insinuation that McVay was doing something improper when he “lived off your tax dollars” while serving as a judge.

PoliticsPA is seeking a response from Stabile.

The ad was produced by Parknavy Advertising in western PA and is scheduled to run through election day. PoliticsPA is seeking details on the ad buy. As it is a split positive and negative ad, it is likely the only commercial that he will run during this race.

According to an FCC filing, Stabile is spending $38,000 to air the ad on WTAE. The Pittsburgh market appears to be the key battleground of the race; both candidates are on the air there. McVay also launched an ad – all positive – in the Pittsburgh market on Monday.

The Pa. Superior Court race is the only statewide contest in Pa. on November 5. The position mostly deals with appeals cases from county Courts of Common Pleas.

Stabile is an attorney from Carlisle. McVay is a Judge on the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas.

Leach Asks Congress to “Do Something” (With Video)

State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) released a snappy new campaign video in his quest for the Democratic nomination for Congress in PA-13.

The video shows Leach in Washington, D.C. where he chronicles the failures of Congress and its inability to pass substantive legislation.

daylin leach

“Our congress has never been less productive, and when they actually do something, it makes things worse like the recent government shut-down, or taking us over the fiscal cliff, or creating the debt-ceiling crisis, but even worse, Congress hasn’t passed any meaningful legislation in a very long time,” says Leach.

“We have real problems that Congress can fix, we need them to end the sequester and create jobs, pass background checks to reduce gun violence, end the discrimination LGBT folks face, and so much more.”

Rife with jokes about Rep. Paul Ryan, a lion and some self-deprecating humor, the video asks constituents of the 13th district and the country to sign a petition at which asks congress to do just about anything, including create jobs, pass mandatory background checks for gun permits and end sexual orientation discrimination.

Leach faces State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Phila), physician Valerie Arkoosh and former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies in the primary for Allyson Schwartz’s seat.

Meme courtesy of

Leach Do Something Congress

Video: Lawmaker Softball 2 Top Plays

Solobay Leach softball

Sen. Tim “Here comes the BOOM” Solobay stands over Sen. Daylin Leach

By now, hopefully you’ve had the chance to read our recap of Monday’s charity softball game between Eastern and Western Pa. lawmakers.

Our friends at PCN helpfully sent over this footage of PoliticsPA’s two favorite plays.

The game, which the Western team dominated 8-1, raised around $70,000 for Feeding Pa. and Hunger Free Pa.

Here’s the top offensive play of the game, when state Sen. Tim Solobay (D-Washington) bulldozed state Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montco) to make it safe to first.

Here’s the top defensive play, when state Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) sent Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) back to the dugout, preventing an Eastern team rally.

Rep. Perry fights Chris Matthews on Obamacare

Want to understand partisan rancor in Washington? This is a must-watch.

As debate continues on Capitol Hill over the continuing resolution passed by the House of Representatives to keep the government from shutting down, politicians from each side of the aisle are talking to media, trying to get their point across.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-York), who represents the fourth district, voiced his support for the defunding, or delaying, of the Affordable Care Act on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews during a Thursday interview. In addition to talking about the looming potential for a shutdown, Matthews briefly brought up Perry’s stance on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

MSNBC Perry“That reasonable set of demands [directed toward the President] includes getting rid of Obamacare for a year, it includes putting in the Keystone pipeline,” Matthews said. “When you look at that list of ten things, it looks like it was written by the oil industry.”

“I’m surprised that you read any of it, first of all,” Perry fired back.

After the response, Matthews abruptly ended the interview, saying that Perry had made a cheap shot toward him as a journalist.

“You know what you can do with that? You can be excused, because you just accused me of not doing my job,” Matthews said. “I wish you hadn’t made that last remark because it was a cheap shot. I was fair, you’re in bed with the oil industry.”

Prior to the abrupt end to the interview, Perry criticized Matthews’ use of the phrase “Congress holding the country hostage,” claiming that if the government shuts down, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama are to blame.

“Chris, those are your words that the country is being held hostage,” Perry said. “This is a negotiation by an attractable president who will negotiate with Syria, who will negotiate with Putin, who will negotiate with Iran, but won’t negotiate with 50 percent of his countrymen.”

Matthews also questioned Perry’s belief that the Affordable Care Act was failing, saying that the main part of the law has not yet gone into effect.

In response, Perry said that slavery and prohibition are examples of things that were once legal, but later repealed by the government.

The House of Representatives voted Friday to continue to fund the government, while delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, for a year. The Senate will debate and discuss the bill when they return to session Monday.

New Corbett Web Ad is Out of This World (With Video)

Governor Tom Corbett’s re-election campaign released a new web video Friday, and it’s not subtle. It focuses on the benefits that drilling in the Marcellus Shale has brought to the state …and Earth.

Corbett world web ad“There’s a place that is rapidly becoming one of the most critical energy suppliers on the entire planet,” intones the narrator of the ad in his best impression of movie trailer.

“A place that is now the third-largest generator of electricity in the entire U.S. And thanks to Tom Corbett this place, known as Pennsylvania, has also become America’s second-largest producer of natural gas and the benefits to Pennsylvanians has been remarkable.”

According to the video, Marcellus Shale supports over 200,000 jobs in the commonwealth and produced $400 million in funds for local projects. It goes on to state that the $1.7 billion in corporate tax revenue has led to lower energy bills for the residents of Pennsylvania.

“Tom Corbett, helping establish Pennsylvania as a leading energy supplier to America and the rest of the world,” the narrator concludes at the end of the sixty-second spot. It was produced by Corbett’s longtime ad firm Brabender-Cox.

Pa. Democratic Party spokesman Marc Eisenstein brushed off the ad.

“Since Tom Corbett became governor, Pennsylvania has gone from 7th in the nation in job creation to 43rd while giving tax breaks to his biggest donors,” he said. “Pennsylvanians deserves real leadership and Tom Corbett is incapable of being that leader.”

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