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3/2 Ups & Downs

Bob Casey. So far in office, Senator Casey has tried to keep his head down and avoid controversy. The strategy works if Casey can maintain the support of the Democratic base along with credibility among pro-life voters. This week’s contraception vote threw a wrench in those plans. He got plaudits from conservatives, but according to Pa. liberals Casey failed the first test. While sticking to his philosophical beliefs, he upset the base by opposing the HHS mandate. And if anyone thinks the GOP won’t try and force more tough votes, they’re sorely mistaken.

Mike Turzai. Locally, Majority Leader Turzai is having a tough time getting the ultrasound mandate passed. Republican opponents of the bill are nervous about taking on a controversial issue so close to the election. On the other hand, with the 2001 lines in play for 2012, Republicans window of opportunity to pass issues important to the conservative base may be closing.

Sam Smith. Speaker Smith was forced to issue writs of election this week after the Pa. Supreme Court ruled that every citizen’s right to representation in the state House was being violated by waiting for new lines. The results are likely to bump up the threshold the GOP needs in the Pa. House, if only by three votes. But given the outcome on vouchers and prevailing wage, that’s nothing to take for granted.

Legislative Reapportionment Commission. Either pick a date to meet and pass lines or don’t schedule a meeting at all. In the last two weeks, the LRC has canceled three meetings. Why were they ever scheduled in the first place? There was no chance they were going to have lines ready. Call us when there are lines to see.

Tim Murphy. Rep. Murphy rolled out a list of 30 endorsements this week, including Tom Ridge, Melissa Hart, Tom Ridge and a number of local officials. That’s good, if not surprising. The first half of this dynamic is in place: the GOP establishment for Murphy. Now the question is, will conservative activists side significantly with primary challenger Evan Feinberg. Murphy also pulled in good ratings from conservative groups (2nd in Pa from Club for Growth & Heritage action, 100% from the Christian Coalition).

Evan Feinberg. Another good week of earned media from the challenger. He won the backing of Sen. Rand Paul, his former boss; it follows last week’s endorsement from Sen. Tom Coburn. Neither of those guys lives in Pa., but each has a national following that might yield a bit a fundraising boost. And national groups are still tuning in. This week, a super PAC added Murphy to its list of targets.

Bob Brady. It’s good to be the king. This week, Brady’s primary challenger Jimmie Moore dropped his congressional bid.

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