7/17 Morning Buzz

Good morning politicos, here’s the buzz. Romney rallies today in western PA, and Dems roll out the welcome. Q2 numbers continue to pour in, and a Dem poll says Critz’s lead against Rothfus is slipping.

Obama Campaign Preempts Romney Visit With Ad (Watch Video): With Mitt Romney planning a trip to Westmoreland County today, the Obama camp has released a new ad called “Makes You Wonder.” The ad discusses the GOP candidate’s refusal to release more tax information, and highlights his use of offshore bank accounts.

Dem Poll: Critz 44, Rothfus 38: A new Democratic poll shows Rep. Mark Critz’s lead shrinking from double to single digits. The GOP is targeting the PA-12 seat as a possible pickup for the fall.

An Open Letter to Tom Corbett About Jerry Sandusky: Conservative columnist Chris Freind penned an open letter to the Guv with what he says are the top 4 unanswered (or insufficiently answered) about his handling of the Sandusky affair. “Tom Corbett has a choice, perhaps the biggest of his career. He can either answer now – or in 2014.”

Update: Maggi Numbers Show Best-Funded Murphy Opponent Ever: Fortunes appear to be looking up for Larry Maggi in the race for PA-18. Although he was bested by Rep. Tim Murphy $1M to $400K, it is still the largest amount ever for a Murphy challenger, and likely has the attention of national stakeholders.

Scollo Inches Closer to Marino in Fundraising: Phil Scollo has gained a bit of ground in fundraising against Rep. Tom Marino, but still faces a huge deficit in the GOP-friendly 10th district. The Democratic businessman raked in over $60,000 in the second quarter; Marino pulled in just under $100,000.

Close Q2 Fundraising Totals for PA-8 Candidates: Q2 fundraising totals from PA-8 candidates Kathy Boockvar and incumbent Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick weren’t far apart. While Fitzpatrick raised more than his opponent, $395,501 to $329,802, both candidates had an impressive quarter.

Legislative Election Updates
HD-55: GOP candidate John Palaika has withdrawn his candidacy. Local party leaders would normally select his replacement, but because the district is made up of more than one county, the PA GOP must confer to preside over a meeting to select a replacement. Party members will meet tomorrow to debate and vote on potential nominees.

HD-71: Republican candidate Sherry Stalley announced via Twitter Monday that Governor Corbett will be making a trip to Johnstown to help bolster her campaign efforts. She is a first-time candidate running against incumbent Democratic Rep. Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria).

HD-177: William Dunbar’s campaign said yesterday that the Democratic candidate has knocked on over 6,000 doors in the 177th district since June 1. “I personally plan to knock through the district multiple times,” Dunbar said. “I want to make sure that not only does the community have the opportunity to meet me, but that I also have the pleasure of meeting and speaking with as many voters as possible.” The campaign said Dunbar ranks No. 1 in doors knocked among state House candidates. He is one of the Dems’ top challengers in 2012, running against Rep. John Taylor (R-Phila), who has held the seat since 1985.

SD-47: With KDKA reporting that PA’s legislature has one of the longest summer vacations in the country (this year it’s 12 weeks), both candidates took time to respond. Incumbent Rep. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) attributed the lengthy hiatus to the election year, saying that “everybody’s out campaigning.”

His opponent, Baden Borough councilwoman Kim Villella, said that while Vogel’s honesty is appreciated, she doesn’t think voters like it when public servants take a three-month paid vacation to try and win back their jobs. “While our communities still lack quality jobs, their bridges and roads need to be repaired, their schools shed teachers and programs and when trust in government is at an historic low, I think Senator Vogel and his colleagues should focus less on trying to keep their jobs and more on actually doing the jobs that voters elected them and taxpayers pay them to do.”

National
Politico: Disclose Act fails again in Senate
Politico: Reid: ‘Angry old white men’ trying to buy elections
Politico: On campaign trail, Obama highlights health care law
Politico: Obama jabs Mitt Romney on taxes
Politico: Mitt Romney rips Obama camp’s ‘dishonesty’
Politico: Romney’s Olympics uniforms made in Burma
Politico: Romney Victory fund pulls in $140M
Politico: Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Mitt Romney needs ‘big boy pants’
Roll Call: Milking the Olympics Spat
Roll Call: Democrats Prolong DISCLOSE Debate Despite Loss
Pennsylvania Ave: Romney returns to Pennsylvania Tuesday
National Journal: Conservatives to Governors: Don’t Implement ‘Obamacare’
National Journal: Treasury Department Takes a Jab At House Republicans
National Journal: Sen. GOP Unanimously Votes to Block DISCLOSE Act
National Journal: Romney: Obama Campaign Based on ‘Falsehood and Dishonesty’
Washington Post: President Obama attacks Mitt Romney’s jobs plan
Washington Post: Dems to play hardball in tax fight?
The Hill: Bain ads hit home in swing states
The Hill: Obama ramps up attacks against Romney as outsourcer of jobs
The Hill: Republicans have the votes to sink sea treaty
The Caucus: Republican ‘Super PACs’ Donate Millions for General Election
The Caucus: New Romney Video Features Singing Obama
USA Today: Romney aide: No decision on VP pick
USA Today: Few will pay more under health care law
Slate: Mitt Romney’s Double Life
The Wall Street Journal: President’s Populist Pitch Divides Suburban Voters
The Wall Street Journal: GOP Scuttles Law-of-Sea Treaty

Statewide
Capitolwire: Quietly, portions of transportation funding report enacted
Capitolwire: OFF THE FLOOR: Turzai statement on Voter ID an article of faith for GOP for years
PA Independent: Attorney general probing turnpike commission for abuse
PA Independent: Scranton faces $90 million unfunded pension debt; state law blocks potential reforms
Capitol Ideas: Report: Ratings agency Moody’s downgrades PA’s bond rating
State House Sound Bites: Links: Considering campaign slings & arrows, and transportation funding recs finding traction

Philadelphia
Philly Clout: Romney pals slam Obama, stumble on fair pay for women
Philadelphia Weekly:  Why Refusing Medicaid Expansion Could Kill Pennsylvania’s Hospitals
Philadelphia Weekly: Green Party’s Inclusion on PA Ballot Remains Uncertain
Philadelphia Weekly: Alicia Keys in Philly for Obama Camp Women’s Summit
WHYY Newsorks: With 1,700 cases of child sex abuse in 2011, Pa. struggles to find funding to help
WHYY Newsworks: Cutting tariffs for political donors: pork or constituent service?
KYW Newsradio: Some Concerned About New Pa. Teacher Evaluations
Philly Tribune: Stars come to town for Obama
City Paper: Why Corbett might embrace Obamacare: Governor cagey on allegations of illegally kicking thousands off Medicaid

SEPA
Philly Burbs: Council adopts resolution to support legal challenge of Act 13
Daily Local News: Some house incumbents raise $1 million plus

Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette: In Bellevue, alcohol rules are frustrating
Post-Gazette: Obama says Washington “still broken” after 4 years
Post-Gazette: Pew study: more are watching, creating news via YouTube
Early Returns: Playing with House money
KDKA: Governor discusses response to reporters’ Sandusky questions
KDKA: Gov. Corbett tours US Steel’s Clairton coke works
KDKA: Mitt Romney to campaign in Westmoreland County

Southwest
Tribune-Democrat: Ticket funding changes just fine: New policy for revenue from PSP citations has little effect in region
WTAE: Mitt Romney coming to North Huntingdon, Downtown Pittsburgh
Daily Courier: Uniontown woman lobbies Congress for cancer bill

Lehigh Valley
WFMZ: County Exec: County employees will pay $300,000 to Easton

NEPA
Citizens Voice: Voter ID law sparks disenfranchisement debate
The Times-Tribune: Districts fear bankruptcy as pension costs to triple
Standard Speaker: Debate rages over voter ID law as court challenge looms
Pocono Record: Pension hike could bankrupt northeast Pa. school districts

South Central
AP: Casey reports more cash in race for U.S. Senate
AP: Some U.S. House incumbents from Pa. raise $1 million-plus
AP: Romney to return to Pa. for Pittsburgh-area stop
AP: Pa. dropped a notch by credit-rating agency
Chambersburg Public Opinion: Efforts under way to get IDs to Franklin County voters
Harrisburg Patriot News: Pa. Department of Labor & Industry consolidates divisions, causing 24 layoffs
Harrisburg Patriot-News: Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord calls for more female corporate leaders
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: Toomey: Romney is right to only release 2010-2011 tax returns

North by Northwest
Erie Times-News: Ag Secretary Vilsack campaigns for Obama
Erie Times-News: How Pennsylvania members of Congress voted

Opinions
Indiana Gazette: Op-ed by state Rep. Sam Smith: tax credit will mean jobs for PA
Erie Times-News Editorial: Pa. waits for answers on college costs
Erie Times-News Op-ed: Pa. budget earns gold medals, mostly
Erie Times-News Op-ed: State budget compromises our kids
Courier Express Editorial: State legislators still not keeping their promises; lack of integrity along with efficiency
Morning Call: Class warfare has been important part of U.S. history
Reading Eagle: Right call made for wrong reason

Blogs
Above Average Jane: Splitting Hairs on Hospital Merger
PennPatriot: Paterno Family Issues Statement Criticizing Freeh Report
Keystone State Education Coalition: Millions flow to Beaver County-based PA Cyber School’s spinoffs
NEPArtisan: StorySlam Video is Up!
2 Political Junkies: What Race-Baiting?
John Hanger: Key Facts: Plant Retirements Are A Trickle In 2012 & New Plants Outpace 2 to 1 Retirements
John Hanger: Walmart & IKEA Become Power Companies: How The Grid Is Radically Decentralizing
Keystone Politics: PA-12: Critz Leads Rothfus 44-38
Keystone Politics: Ridicule Gets the Goods
Keystone Politics: What Progressive Activists Should Learn From the Republican Base
Keystone Politics: Bob Casey Walking a Big Fat 14-Point Political Tightrope

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