Gubernatorial headaches, state party rumors and 2016 news. See who made this week’s list!
Tom Wolf. It would be difficult to find a worse week for the Governor since his political career began. First, he was humiliated on Monday when he had to withdraw the nomination of Marcus Brown for Police Commissioner. That situation was exacerbated when the State Senate soon afterward voted to reject him anyway. Then, Wolf was forced to concede that his budget is projecting a revenue shortfall. Finally, the Commonwealth Court ruled that the Gov exceeded his authority when he fired Erik Arneson. The Administration is nevertheless still committed to battling Arneson’s appointment. So far, it has been a cruel summer for Governor Tom Wolf.
Rachel Levine. One silver lining for Wolf was the approval of some of his cabinet members, none more prominent than Rachel Levine. Levine won unanimously confirmation from the State Senate to become the commonwealth’s Physician General. Her appointment, and the lack of any controversy surrounding it, is not only a victory for her but also an historic achievement for all LGBT Pennsylvanians.
Jim Burn. This week we learned that State Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn is considering stepping down. Burn’s tenure has been controversial and in many ways he’s been the odd man out ever since his conflict with Gov. Wolf last year. Party leaders are especially keen on getting rid of Burn before the 2016 Democratic National Convention, although judging by our reader poll he still has some defenders. Still, admitting weakness is too often the first step down the road to resignation.
Joe Sestak. The former Congressman and 2010 Senate nominee was experiencing quite the drought until this week. For the first time, a new poll showed Sestak with a lead over incumbent Senator Pat Toomey. It’s entirely possible this survey was just an outlier but for now, it’s some much needed good news for Sestak. The ex-Admiral also caught a break that same day when Toomey was the only Northeast GOP Senator to oppose extending veteran healthcare benefits to same-sex couples. The famous hiker finally got to walk downhill this week.
Todd Stephens & John Rafferty. Next year’s race for Attorney General may very well be the most underrated 2016 election. First, there is Kathleen Kane and all the controversy and furor that surrounds her. Then, there’s the possibility of a Democratic primary. At last there is the GOP field, which is just starting to take shape. We revealed on Wednesday that State Rep. Todd Stephens is seriously considering a run for AG. Finally, just this morning we reported that State Sen. John Rafferty is also jumping into the contest. With all the 2016 attention on Hillary, Jeb, Toomey and Sestak this contest could ultimately be the funnest race of them all.
The tweet of the week goes to the (at least temporary) victor, Erik Arneson. Although we do feel comfortable predicting that no matter what the final outcome, there won’t be anything “positive” about an Arneson-Wolf relationship.
I very much look forward to establishing a positive working relationship with Governor Wolf and his administration.
— Erik Arneson (@ErikOpenRecords) June 10, 2015