3/30 Ups & Downs
The campaign season is heating up, and some candidates have shone as others start to fall behind. Here’s who had a good week, and who didn’t.
Kathleen Kane. Seeing the words “President,” and “endorses,” in a subject heading certainly gets a reporter’s attention, like this week when former President Bill Clinton backed the Attorney General hopeful. Kane and the Clintons have long been close, so it wasn’t a shocker. But it certainly was a strong response to Patrick Murphy’s long list of endorsements. And Kane started to flex her financial muscle a bit too, with her introductory TV ad getting fairly strong play in most of the state.
Sam Rohrer. He’s had a huge week. At the Pa. Leadership Conference, he ran away with the straw poll of the U.S. Senate primary. He picked up the backing of two national figures, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann. But the flip side: two polls in a row (F&M, Wenzel/CU) have shown him losing ground to Tom Smith. Without a change in his financial situation, he faces a tough challenge reaching voters outside his devoted base of supporters and keeping up as paid media starts.
Jason Altmire. The Congressman is in the catbird seat. He can spend more of his cash defining Mark Critz than vice versa, since much of the new district is already his and Mark Critz needs to raise his name ID. In an effective if not intellectually honest ad this week, Almtire lands a strong hit on Critz. Regarding legitimate complains that the ad takes Critz’s vote out of context, Turnabout is fair play. Altmire has taken his share of lumps for deviating from the Democratic party line. In this case, Critz’s adherence to the party line has exposed him to criticism. And let’s face it: it’s politics, not a truth-telling contest. Also he can now say – for the first time – he’s been endorsed by labor unions, plural, because a second one backed him Thursday.
Equality PA & Liberty City Dems. Two of the preeminent LGBT rights groups in the state endorsed openly gay attorney and LGBT advocate Brian Sims for state House. In most cases, no big deal. But not in this race. Sims is challenging Rep. Babette Josephs, one of the most reliable and most vocal supporters that the LGBT community has in Harrisburg. One can fully appreciate the desire of these groups to see the first openly gay Pa. legislator, but voting records count, and so should loyalty.
Babette Josephs. Proponents of the controversial ultrasound mandate were on their heels and retreating. The vote had been cancelled, and co-sponsors were dropping like flies. But Josephs surrendered the rhetorical high ground this week with her suggestion that women who supported the bill – like chief sponsor Rep. Kathy Rapp – are “men with breasts.” It soured an otherwise sweet victory by women’s rights groups.
Arlen Specter. What can we say? The man knows how to make news. This week, the former Senator made a big splash with his remark that Mitt Romney, “has changed positions more often than a pornographic movie queen.” Classic Arlen. And so close to the day that his new book ‘Life Among the Cannibals’ hit stores. Coincidence?