Sen. Pat Toomey aims for a background checks compromise and becomes a target for gun rights advocates. Here are this week’s Ups & Downs.
Pat Toomey. The first-term Senator stepped out onto the national stage this week when he proposed a background check bill with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of WV. He earned praise from many Democrats, Republicans and non-partisans for his plan, which gives Democrats about 10% of what they originally sought post-Newtown. But the statesman plaudits came with loud criticism from conservatives and gun rights advocates, who said Toomey was turning into Arlen Specter. Overall, this week made him more likely to be re-elected than less, but those are the folks he’ll need as donors and volunteers in 2016.
Valerie Arkoosh. The physician and activist turned congressional candidate in PA-13 had a strong debut quarter, raising $218K in her first run for office. As the only candidate in the running with no elected office background, it was an important first step in showing her viability.
Kim Velez. Could there be a new face in Allentown politics? A few months ago Velez, 28, the marketing manager for Lehigh Valley Health Network and political neophyte thought she’d run for City Council. But faced with the possibility of a challenge to her petition signatures, she withdrew from the ballot. She says she did so under the impression she was being threatened with legal action. This week a judge ruled that because she was confronted by an attorney working for a political consultant who works for Mayor Ed Pawlowski and other members of Council, Velez’s impression was founded and she was to be returned to the ballot. Now she’s a candidate with great buzz and above average name ID running in an increasingly Latino city. And to make her victory sweeter, odds are she wouldn’t have made the ballot if she’d been challenged by normal means!
Carl Prine. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter was awarded this week by Investigative Reporters and Editors for his stellar work telling the 2007 story of how U.S. soldiers shot three unarmed deaf Iraqi boys. The full piece, “Rules of Engagement,” is here. And here’s an interview with Prine about the piece in Poynter.
Mark Smith. It’s tough for any Lieutenant Governor hopeful to get press this early in the cycle, let alone in the Philadelphia Inquirer, let alone a story as useful as this one. Smith, a Bradford County Commissioner, was kicked out of his Christian rock band for refusing to renounce his support for gay marriage. It’s useful for him because now some party activists know he’s willing to stand up for gay rights, as opposed to before when they knew… practically nothing about him. Also, cc Hank Hill.
Karen Langley. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter has covered Gov. Corbett’s itinerary excellently all week. Now, try and look at this dateline without getting jealous.
Tweet of the week: Sam Youngman.
Reuters reporter (and PoliticsPA alum) Sam Youngman had this to say when news emerged that Toomey boxed out liberal Dem Chuck Schumer from his guns presser:
Is Toomey the first person to ever successfully stop Schumer from getting in front of a camera?
— Sam Youngman (@samyoungman) April 10, 2013
Facebook post of the week: State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe.
The conservative state Rep. slammed Toomey’s gun proposal shortly after one supporter created this.