12/11 Ups & Downs
Mutinies, coups and a call for resignation. See who made this week’s list!
Budget Hopes. At this point last week it appeared that a budget agreement was just around the corner. Over the weekend, however, Republicans in the State House rebelled and threw everything up in the air. Governor Wolf attempted to rally but the prospects still remain very much uncertain. So much so that the Governor is choosing to avoid PA Society because of fear that it would look bad to be partying in New York while the stalemate in Harrisburg continues to drag on.
Stephen Zappala. The Allegheny County District Attorney made a splash on Wednesday when we reported that he’ll be running for Attorney General next year. With Kathleen Kane embroiled in controversy, the Democratic primary in 2016 has become wide open. In fact, an internal poll released by Josh Shapiro shows that a majority of voters are undecided and that name ID is relatively low for all the possible candidates. This creates a major opportunity for Zappala, who is the only western PA candidate in the race so far.
Mike Turzai. If the Speaker of the Pennsylvania was just dealing with an uprising among his caucus, this week would be bad enough. To make matters worse, however, it appears his colleagues may not want to stop at the budget. They’re rumors that they also want to topple him. Given what we’ve heard about the relationship between the Speaker and the Majority Leader this possibility has to be seriously considered. This could quickly turn into the biggest story of the season.
Todd Stephens. Speaking of the 2016 race for Attorney General, there was also a development in the GOP primary between State Sen. John Rafferty and State Rep. Todd Stephens. Stephens won a straw poll held by the Republican’s Central Caucus which covers much of the commonwealth. This victory is particularly impressive given that Stephens hasn’t been in office as long as Rafferty, though the State Senator remains confident that he’ll eventually win the party’s endorsement.
Michael Eakin. It’s increasingly looking like the walls are closing in on State Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin. On Monday, Governor Wolf called on the Justice to resign after it was revealed that he and his allies on the Court had concocted a plan to appoint someone favorable to his cause to the Court of Judicial Discipline. That same body is currently deciding his fate. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Judicial Conduct Board filed three misconduct charges against Eakin in a 52-page ruling. It is incredibly difficult to see how the Judge escapes this ever evolving email scandal.
The tweet of the week goes to Philadelphia Magazine’s Patrick Kerkstra for pointing out this masterful opening from the Daily News’ William Bender.
— Patrick Kerkstra (@pkerkstra) December 7, 2015