Barletta avoids a strong opponent, Burns refuses his paycheck, Costello’s vulnerability rating tops the field, the PLCB raises prices, Wagner’s week has its ups and downs, and Pennsylvania ranks near the top in student debt. See who made this week’s Ups & Downs!
Lou Barletta. It was leaked this week that Congressman Lou Barletta will be running for the Senate next year. Within 24 hours of the leak, the other Congressman considering a run officially dropped out of the race, which helps keep the field of high-level competitors down.
Ryan Costello. Congressman Ryan Costello was listed as the most vulnerable incumbent in our initial 2018 rankings. Sabato’s Crystal Ball also changed the district’s rating to “lean Republican” from “likely Republican.”
Frank Burns. The ongoing budget impasse makes for a lot of losers. But State Rep. Frank Burns announced this week he will not be accepting a paycheck until the full budget is passed into law. Is it a little trite? Sure. But the optics are great. As a Democrat in Trump country, Burns is playing the outsider.
PLCB. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board voted this week to raise the prices on 422 kinds of wine and liquor in its stores. The move will likely add some liquid courage to those in favor of privatizing the liquor system.
Scott Wagner. State Senator and Gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner held a fundraiser with moderate Republican Governor Larry Hogan that raised $500,000 for his campaign and could help him with moderate Republicans in the southeastern part of the state. He got himself in some hot water over the weekend when he described Paul Mango’s attendance at West Point as a “free Education” which was used by the Mango campaign to generate press against Wagner.
Student Debt. Pennsylvania was ranked as having the third highest overall student debt in an analysis by WalletHub. The ranking comes thanks to Pennsylvanians having the second highest average student loan debt, and the third highest proportion of students with debt.
Robert Powelson. Former PUC Commissioner Robert Powelson was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to join the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Business-friendly Powelson joins the federal body that oversees interstate pipelines, including the PennEast project and others in PA. His approval came shortly before the Senate adjourned for the rest of the summer, ending an unproductive session for the Senate that saw few major issues passed.
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The tweet of the week goes to Scott Wagner’s campaign manager Jason High. Wagner v Mango is gonna be a fight, so High taking a shot at Dems over oppo that hurts Mango is the High road. High also worked in a zinger against Governor Tom Wolf as well.
— Jason High (@jasonehigh) August 1, 2017