12/5 Ups & Downs
Budget gaps, vanishing Democrats and federal investigations. See who made this week’s list!
Tom Wolf. It was a week full of sobering news for Governor-Elect Tom Wolf. Gov. Corbett’s Budget Secretary said “we’ve hit the wall” in terms of budget cuts while simultaneously revealing the state is facing close to a $2 billion shortfall. Wolf called PA’s current situation unacceptable and has to a considerable extent attempted to illustrate that the problems should be laid at the feet of Governor Corbett and should not hang over the start of his Administration. The Gov-Elect even held a conference call with the press yesterday to emphasize these points. It will be extremely intriguing to watch in the next few months whether the new Governor will be able to control events or if he will be controlled by them.
Southwest PA Republicans. It’s rare for us to give an arrow to a whole group of officials but this circumstance warrants it. This week we featured an excellent piece from Louis Jacobson that delved into the crumbling Democratic hegemony in Southwestern PA. The more conservative Democrats native to that area feel the national party has left them on cultural and even economic issues, leading to a Republican takeover. Considering these facts, Sen. Corman’s victory over Sen. Pileggi for Majority Leader may just a seminal moment in the shift of geographic power in the PA GOP.
Chaka Fattah. 2014 has to have been one of the worst years of Congressman Fattah’s career, if not his life. First, his son was indicted for tax fraud. Then, his ex-Chief of Staff pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud. A few months later, the Daily News found $5.8 million in government funds had been funneled by Fattah to various associates. Now, the FBI is investigating a nonprofit Rep. Fattah earmarked $3.3 million for. It’s been such a terrible year that we’re asking our readers whether the Congressman will make it through another one in office.
Kathleen Kane. Speaking of terrible years, there is the Attorney General. Given all the retrospectives that have been written about Kathleen Kane and her trajectory from PA’s newest star to the commonwealth’s most polarizing figure; we decided to ask our readers if they approve of her job performance. We found 62% of respondents disapprove of how she’s doing. While our survey is by no means scientific, it’s still not good news for the AG. 2015 could prove to be a make or break year for her.
Joe Torsella. Torsella got a jump on the 2016 election cycle when it was revealed he is preparing a bid for State Treasurer. A number of PA power brokers are already behind him, as a recent invitation to a fundraiser revealed. Chief among them is former Chief of Staff to Governor Rendell and current Executive Vice President of Comcast David Cohen. With that kind of support, the former UN Representative is poised to move up in the world of politics.
The tweet of the week goes to Republican consultant Christopher Nicholas for commemorating the most shocking moment of the week: the Philadelphia 76ers picking up their first victory. Great job all, but remember to keep your eyes on the prize.
So as I said would earlier, now that the @Sixers finally notched their 1st win: Our long national nightmare is over
— Christopher Nicholas (@Eagle63) December 4, 2014