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1-13 Morning Buzz

Good morning politicos, happy Friday the 13th, and welcome to the buzz. As Republican candidates prepare to court committee members in NEPA and the Lehigh Valley, Democrats set their eyes on State College and state committee.

Democratic State Committee Preview – Winter 2012
Here are the events to attend and the story lines to watch as Democrats from across Pa. gather in State College to wine, dine, and select the party’s nominees for two statewide offices.

Smith Unveils New TV Ad: Tom Smith’s Senate campaign unveiled its second television ad this morning, a 30 second spot that focuses on the national debt.

New Welch Web Video: Steve Welch is talking straight to conservatives in his latest web video. The Chester County entrepreneur leads off by saying that the Obama administration has governed in a way very different from the founding fathers’ intent.

Rohrer Wins York 9-12er Straw Poll: Former State Rep. Sam Rohrer must have been in his element last night at a U.S. Senate forum hosted by the York 9-12 Patriots, a Tea Party organization. He finished head and shoulders above his opponents in a straw poll of the U.S. Senate race.

Boockvar to Challenge Fitzpatrick: Bucks County attorney Kathryn Boockvar, who last year sought a judgeship on the Pa. Commonwealth Court, has officially announced her bid for Congress against Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick.

Knox 2014? The Philadelphia businessman and 2010 Democratic candidate for Governor teased on his facebook page that he may give it another go. “Considering a run for Pennsylvania Governor in 2014…Democrats need to take back this office for the hard working people of PA,” he wrote.

Murphy Internal Poll: Patrick Murphy’s campaign has released the results of an internal poll showing the former Congressman with a double-digit advantage over his opponents in the Democratic primary for state Attorney General.

Redistricting Maps in Court: As was expected, challenges to Pennsylvania’s new legislative maps were filed Wednesday, the deadline for filing appeals with the State Supreme Court. In total, 11 appeals have been filed to the state House and state Senate boundaries passed by the legislature.

Santorum a Good #2 for the GOP Ticket? After a shocking near-victory in Iowa last week, Rick Santorum fell back to earth this week. But as his presidential hopes dwindle, the debate around whether or not Santorum would be a good vice presidential candidate on the GOP ticket is heating up.

Barletta Endorses Santorum: Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum has received the endorsement of Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne).

Santorum’s ’06 Meeting With Pa. Conservatives: Rick Santorum is pitching himself in South Carolina as the principled, limited-government conservative that other conservatives should rally around in order to stop Mitt Romney and offer a sharp contrast to President Obama in November. But his quest is complicated by a fiscal record in Congress that once alienated the same types of conservatives he’s trying to attract now—and they’re talking about what they view as his transgressions.

And don’t forget to check back later for this week’s Ups & Downs!

Legislative Election Updates

SD-23: Dave Huffman will primary incumbent state Senator Gene Yaw in the Republican primary in April. Dave Huffman ran for the state House the last two cycles, losing both times to state Rep. Rick Mirabito in the general election.

HD-47: Democrat Shane Richardson, 27, of Hellam Township announced Thursday he plans to run for the 47th House District in northeastern York County. Richardson said he’s a substitute teacher in the Dallastown and Eastern York school districts, unable to find long-term work because of the education cuts “approved by [incumbent Rep. Keith] Gillespie” and others in Harrisburg.

HD-64: As incumbent Scott Hutchinson reportedly readies to seek the seat of retiring Sen. Mary Jo White, a name has surfaced for a possible successor. R. James Lee, is being talked about. The financial consultant from Oil City is being talked about.

HD-115: Democratic candidate Suzanne McCool says redistricting has improved the chances of property tax reform moving through the legislature. McCool says changes to the property tax system will be a priority of hers if elected.

HD-155: Two of his former legislative aides will duke it out in the GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. Curt Schroder: Becky Corbin and John Muller.

HD-176: Businessman and former Monroe County Commissioner Candidate Jim Becker (Republican) is running for the seat being vacated by Republican state Rep. Mario Scavello.

Have a tip on a state Senate or House race? Email it to

Pennsylvania Ave.: GOP Senate Candidates Defend Mitt Romney
Pennsylvania Ave.: Biden Back To Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Ave.: Representative Lou Barletta Endorses Rick Santorum
Huffington Post: Elections 2012: Democrats See Chance of Taking Back the House
Philly Now: Ron Paul Trying to Prevent Potential Santorum Surge with ‘Serial Hypocrite’ Ad
Early Returns: Commie Cousins
Early Returns: Daily Santorum: Come On, Sweater Vest
USA Today: Pro-Santorum Groups Increases Television Presence In S.C.
The Caucus: Santorum Cites A Local Legend
The Hill: Santorum Keeps Hammering Perry
The Hill: Santorum: “I’m More Vetted Than Cain”
The Hill: Santorum Blasts “Jihad” Against Himself
Washington Post: Rick Santorum’s Best Leadership Trait
The Washington Times: Specter: Dump Obama for Hillary
The Washington Times: The GOP v. Planned Parenthood
Politico: Rick Santorum Criticizes Attacks on Mitt Romney
MSNBC: Santorum Tries to Stick “Earmarker” Label Back on Perry
The Hill: Pennsylvania Rep. Barletta is Second Lawmaker to Endorse Santorum
CNN: Santorum to Get Bigger Boost
Jewish Exponent: Can Rick Santorum Win Jewish Backing ?
Washington Post:  Shuster: Putting Infrastructure Before Politics
Injury Board: Rep. Murphy Leads Effort to Fix Medicare Secondary Payer System

Capitolwire (Paywall): House Panel Hears Arguments On Solar Renewable Energy Credit Market
Philly Clout: Dems Trade Barbs While GOP Consolidates In AG Race
Citizens Voice: 9 NEPA Lawmakers Refunding COLAs
Pocono Record: Valley Forge Casino Operators Want Table Games
Daily Review: Briggs Appeals Expected To Continue Delaying Execution
Inquirer: Corbett says takeover of Chester Upland district possible
Inquirer: State sen. Rafferty ends attorney general bid after Corbett backs foe State Rep Raps Congressional Boundaries
ABC: PA to Begin Food Stamp Asset Test in May
Bloomberg Businessweek: PA Liquor Board Votes to Jump Prices on 313 Items
Landline Magazine: Auditor General Says PA Turnpike “Drowning in Debt”
Wall Street Journal: Casey Lobbies Shell to Build Chemical Plant in PA
WHYY Newsworks: Rafferty Exits PA Attorney General Race After Missing Corbett’s Endorsement
AP: AG Hopeful Hasn’t Taken PA Bar Test
WHYY Newsworks: Pa, attorney general candidate’s connections questioned
WRTF: Shale Gas Monitoring Advances
90.5 Essential Public Radio: PennDOT Chief: Transportation Funding Plan Forthcoming Newest Council Members Eager to Serve Borough Residents
Bloomberg: Fracking Political Support Unshaken by Doctors’ Call for Ban

Inquirer: Nutter expletive for shooters gets on TV
Inquirer: Montco commissioners review process to award contracts, let employees join in political activity
Heard in the Hall: Featherman to take on Brady
Philly Clout: Failed mayoral candidate John Featherman runs for Congress

Philly Burbs
Pottstown Mercury: Two Republicans announce for the 155th state House seat
The Intelligencer: A Democrat decides to challenge Fitzpatrick
Delco Daily Times: Meehan testifies against former assistant attorney
WFMZ: Preservation of Land Celebrated with Toast

Boston Herald: Pittsburgh Mayor Selling Tim Tebow Jersey for Charity
Tribune-Review: Judge orders delay in implementing Allegheny County reassessments
Tribune-Review: Pay Raises for Allegheny County Controller, Treasurer Draw Attention
Tribune-Review: West Mifflin Council Fails to Override Mayor’s Veto of Tax Ordinance

Altoona Mirror: USDA Could Close Building in Hollidaysburg
Tribune-Democrat: Richland Searching for its Next Police Chief
Observer-Reporter: South Fayette Appeals Zoning Board Ruling on Gas Ordinance

Times-Leader: Luzerne County Council Wants To Re-Negotiate Some Union Contracts

Lehigh Valley
The Morning Call: Jackson Eaton Fundraising Against Charlie Dent
The Morning Call: Lehigh County Commissioners Move Forward with Property Reassessment
Reading Eagle: Berks Judge Named to State Child-Abuse Panel
WFMZ: Bethlehem Potential Tax Increases for Schools
Express Times: Hackettstown Gov’t Makes Several Changes

North By Northwest
Erie Times-News: Gado, the Political Cartoonist
Erie Times-News: LECOM Shows Support for Veteran’s Care
Erie Times-News: Erie Art Museum Unveils “Double Exposure & Politics of Snow” Exhibit

Citizens Voice Editorial: State Official Should Get Own Agency ‘Up To Speed’
Pocono Record Editorial: Raise Bond Requirements For Gas Drilling
York Dispatch: OP-ED: What Would “the Gipper” Do?
Baxter Bulletin: Jan Ting: Santorum Deserves Break for His Loss of US Senate Seat
Catholic Online: Rick Santorum Faces the ADL Hypocrisy Machine
News-Leader: Henemyre: New Birth Control Benefit to be at Risk
Philadelphia Weekly: Daily Grinder: Nutter Asks, “Can We be Nonviolent for Just One Day in this City?
The Morning Call: Thursday Morning Coffee: Rafferty Out of Attorney General’s Race
The Washington Post: Rick Santorum and Welfare Reform (Fact Checker Biography)
The Washington Post: Santorum’s Good but Hated Education Idea

NEPArtisan: Sen. Casey, Rep. Marino support SOPA, not freedom
The Pennsylvania Progressive: Penn environment touting clean cars
PennPatriot: Harrisburgs lucrative lobbying industry

  • Reader Poll: Should President Joe Biden Step Aside?

    • Yes. He should step aside because of his age, declining ability to do the job. (45%)
    • No. He should not step aside. (39%)
    • Yes. He should step aside because he can't beat Donald Trump. (15%)

    Total Voters: 231

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