2020 Primary Ups & Downs
The GOP primary in Northeast PA goes down to the wire, results continue to trickle in the commonwealth, plus a South Philly political feud makes headlines. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Election Night. Gone are the days of an all-exciting election night? The expansion of mail-in voting in Pennsylvania, coupled with Gov. Tom Wolf’s last-minute order that seven counties can count mail-in ballots that are received through next Tuesday, June 9 (as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday, June 2) resulted in a number of high profile races in the state not being called on June 2. As of early Friday afternoon, PoliticsPA is still tracking 20 plus races in the state that have yet to be called. Politicos may just have to wait a few days for important races to be called in the Keystone State moving forward.
Jim Bognet. The 6 candidate GOP primary for the 8th Congressional District was the most unpredictable race to judge in Pennsylvania, but the former Trump administration appointee earned the nod. Bognet, Teddy Daniels, a former police officer and wounded combat Army veteran, and Earl Granville, a decorated war veteran and Veterans’ advocate who was endorsed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy traded leads throughout the race, but the mail-in votes helped put Bognet over the top with the race being called on Wednesday afternoon. Bognet will take on Rep. Matt Cartwright for the seat in November.
Lisa Scheller. It was a close contest with fellow former Lehigh County Commissioner and businessperson, Dean Browning, but the Trump endorsed candidate came out on top in the closely watched GOP primary in the Lehigh Valley. Scheller captured 52% of the vote, while Browning tallied 48%, by the time the AP called the race on Wednesday afternoon. Scheller will go on to face Rep. Susan Wild for the seat in the fall.
Bernie Sanders. He’s 0 for 2 in presidential campaigns, but he’s on the verge of going 4 for 4 in Pennsylvania. He endorsed four candidates who won or currently lead their races: State Rep. Summer Lee coasted in her primary against Chris Rolland, while Nikil Saval, a Democratic socialist and co-founder of Reclaim Philly, took down incumbent state Sen. Larry Farnese in Philly’s 1st state Senate District. In addition to those two confirmed victories for Sanders backed candidates, Amanda Cappelletti, Vice-Chair of the East Norriton Board of Supervisors, holds a 24 point lead over embattled state Sen. Daylin Leach and Rick Krajewski 6% lead over state Rep. James Roebuck Jr. in the four candidate primary.
Summer Lee. This Pittsburgh progressive keeps building on her momentum since winning her state House seat in 2018. First and foremost, Lee coasted in her primary against Chris Rolland, but her UNITE PAC went three for three in endorsements in state House primaries. In addition to endorsing her own bid, her UNITE PAC backed Emily Kinkead, who defeated incumbent state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl (D-Allegheny) in the 20th House District, and supported Jessica Benham, who won the four candidate primary in the race to succeed state Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny) in the 36th District. Oh and in 2019, her PAC went three-for-three in primary endorsements as well.
Inquirer and Post-Gazette. Two big blunders from two of the biggest newspapers in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Inquirer released a headline in Tuesday’s print edition that read, “Buildings Matter, Too,” which resulted in journalists at the paper to refuse to work on Thursday, calling in “sick and tired,” while penning an open letter to newspaper leadership. Journalists also have united in Pennsylvania behind the Post-Gazette’s Alexis Johnson, a black reporter, who was removed from covering protests in honor of George Floyd due to her sending out a tweet comparing the recent property damages to those left in the aftermath of Kenny Chesney concerts. A number of journalists in the state have now sent out the same exact tweet that she sent on May 31, followed by the hashtag, #IStandWithAlexis.
Christina Finello. This wasn’t exactly the closest watched primary in Pennsylvania, but the Ivyland Borough Councilwoman cruised to victory in the Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District over Skylar Hurwitz, a technology entrepreneur and small business owner. The AP declared Finello the winner early Wednesday morning when she tallied 77% of the vote, while Hurwitz registered 23% with 193 of 347 precincts reporting. Finello will go head to head with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) for the seat in the Philadelphia suburbs in November.
Tom Brier. Although the first time progressive challenger lost the 10th Congressional District Democratic primary, he certainly gave the Democrats’ “dream candidate” a run for his money. On Friday afternoon, the AP called the race for Eugene DePasquale, the state’s Democratic Auditor General, over Brier, an attorney and author. DePasquale will go on to attempt to unseat Rep. Scott Perry in the general election in what is sure to be one of the most closely watched races in Pennsylvania. As for Brier, time will tell what he decides to do next, but he certainly showed he’s more than capable of running a serious campaign for office.
Allegheny County. This primary was certainly unprecedented in Pennsylvania, but this county certainly impressed a lot of politicos for how they conducted their primary. From the results at the voting booths to the time it took to tabulate the record amount of mail-in ballots, a round of applause is warranted for Allegheny County.
Kenney & Fumo Friendship. Do you like Philadelphia political drama? Well, we have just the story for you. Former state Sen. Vince Fumo aired out his grievances with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in a lengthy Facebook post, criticizing his former chief of staff (Kenney) for his decision to remove Frank Rizzo’s statue in Center City, this week. Fumo, who represented the South Philly district until he was convicted in 2009 for defrauding the state and multiple charities, had choice words for Kenney in the post, claiming that Kenney worked to have the statue put at the exact location from where it was removed on Wednesday, and claiming that he thought he “raised” Kenney “politically better than to be a liar and thief in the night.” There’s also some other words Fumo used in the post that aren’t exactly PG either. Safe to say that these two South Philly pols aren’t on good terms.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Horrifying scenes and aftermath from selfish LOOTERS who don’t care about this city!!!!!
…. oh wait sorry. No, these are pictures from a Kenny Chesney concert tailgate. Whoops. pic.twitter.com/lKRNrBsltU
— Alexis Johnson (@alexisjreports) May 31, 2020