8/8 Morning Buzz

Good morning, politicos. Here’s the buzz. State Rep. Randy Vulakovich is now a state Senator; Sen. Toomey is heading to Bedford today and in case you missed it, check out our latest installment of congressional vulnerability rankings.

Vulakovich Wins Big in PA-40: Republican state Rep. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) easily won Tuesday’s special election in PA-40 by a 3 to 1 margin, thanks to better GOTV efforts, better endorsements and strong financial backing from the state party in the conservative-leaning district.

GOP Congressmen Taking Flak on Defense Vote: U.S. Representatives Tom Marino (R-Lycoming) and Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) have come under scrutiny from their opponents after their vote for the 2013 Defense Appropriations Bill that would cut nearly $2 billion from one of the area’s largest employers, Tobyhanna Army Depot.

Pro-Obama Ad Brings Back Bain Attacks (Watch Video): Priorities USA Action released a new ad Tuesday in which former GST Steel worker Joe Soptic said Bain Capital’s actions cost him and his family their health care and, ultimately, cost his wife her life.

Romney Blasts Obama Over Welfare (Watch Video): Seeking to revive a channel of attack on President Obama, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign launched a new ad Tuesday attacking the President for ending “welfare to work” provisions enacted under former President Bill Clinton.

Santorum Nabs Headliner Spot at RNC: Ever since he dropped out of the race in April, Santorum has slowly turned up the enthusiasm dial and it has paid off. His support of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has earned him a headliner spot at this year’s Republican National Convention in Florida.

Congressional Vulnerability Rankings, August Edition: Call it a summer slump, but since our last PoliticsPA congressional-seat vulnerability ranking in April, the broad outlines haven’t changed much. However, a few contests have risen or fallen slightly.

Update: Tom Knox For Governor?: With Corbett’s poll numbers in the tank, even a generic Democratic opponent to him in 2014 would lead 45 percent to 39. Given that kind of climate, former Guv candidate Tom Knox said he plans to enter the race.

Legislative Election Updates
SD-29:  Another installment from PA Swamp Fox is going after state Sen. Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill) for a possible criminal investigation surrounding activities dealing with his non-profit. The blog reported that while a federal jury looks into the mess, Argall’s Democrat opponent Tim Seip “will likely make political hay over this, and why not?” The primary was a brutal one, and Seip may be looking to capitalize on it.

National
USA Today:Santorum, Rand Paul to speak at GOP convention
USA Today: Fact check: Obama not trying to curb military early voting
USA Today:Obama super PAC ad targets Romney’s Bain record
USA Today: Obama coins new nickname: ‘Romney Hood’
National Journal: Romney Accuses Obama of ‘Taking Work Requirement Out of Welfare’
AP: Pa. high court moves quickly to respond to US Supreme Court decision on juvenile lifers
AP: AdWatch: Democratic super PAC ad revives attack on Romney’s Bain Capital role in layoffs
New York Times: In Weak Economy, an Opening to Court Votes of Single Women
New York Times: Obama is an Avid Reader, and Critic, of the News
New York Times: Romney Presses Obama on Work in Welfare Law
Real Clear Politics: No End in Sight for Campaigns’ Negative Focus
The Caucus: A new Republican charge on welfare change
The Caucus: Americans for Prosperity begins $25 million anti-Obama ad campaign
The Caucus: New Romney ad attacks Obama on welfare waivers
Slate:Election Night in America (Minus 46 States)
Slate:Government Accountability Office Asks FCC To Re-Examine Cell Phone Radiation Standards. Is That Really Necessary?
Slate:How the Government Could Limit Guns Immediately
Wall Street Journal: Romney Attacks Obama Over Welfare Reform

Statewide
Capitol Ideas: Tuesday Morning Coffee: Supreme Court to hear redistricting challenges
Capitolwire: Some say state should have taken alternate routes in defending Voter ID law
StateImpactPA: Krancer Says No Worries Over Deep Injection Wells
StateImpactPA: Chesapeake’s Earnings Are On The Rise
StateImpactPA: “Extreme Heat Is Covering More of the Earth, a Study Says”
PA Independent: Report: Red light cameras likely not worth the cost in Philly suburbs
PA Independent: Unemployment debt cleared as PA refinances with Citibank

Philadelphia
Philly Clout: A brief history of Rick Santorum thoughts on Mitt Romney
Philly Tribune: Education tax credit means easy money
Philly Tribune: Medicaid dental coverage cut under new budget
WHYY Newsworks: Independent fights to get on ballot in congressional race
WHYY Newsworks: The egg man gets a tax break – how the Pa. legislature works
The Inquirer: Opinions mixed on Phila.’s proposed $4 parking-ticket surcharge
The Inquirer: Money trail reveals the eight key swing states
The Inquirer: First Lady to make 3 area campaign stops Thursday

SEPA
phillyburbs.com: How can Obama cut funds to the military?
Montgomery Media: Abington commissioner Madeleine Dean steps down

Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette: Voters to replace Sen. Jane Orie today
Post-Gazette: Romney offers Santorum speaking slot at Republican National Convention
Early Returns: Orie era over soon
Early Returns: Today in Voter ID
Early Returns: Toomey: “He’s going to carry PA.”
Early Returns: AFP spot in Pa hits Obama on deficit
Early Returns: Toomey: Balance the budget
Tribune Review: Toomey backs Romney during business tour
Tribune Review: Pennsylvanians add $4.3M to Romney’s fundraising total

Southwest
AP: Pa. high court fast-tracks juvenile lifer appeals
AP: Two vying to replace Orie in state senate
Somerset Daily American: Gloves come off in 12th district race
Daily Courier: Toomey visits future business park

Lehigh Valley
Pennsylvania Avenue: Santorum to speak at RNC convention
Morning Call: Toomey pushes to exclude large and premium cigars from FDA regulation
South Whitehall Patch: First Lady to Campaign in Bethlehem Thursday

NEPA
Daily Item:Officials: Legion basement has potential as youth center
Daily Item: Coal Township recycling center has too much brush, yard on site
Standard Speaker: Luzerne County Children and Youth sued
The Daily Review:Ulster supervisors hold road bonds
The Daily Review: Planning commission recommends hotel approval

South Central
Harrisburg Patriot News: Faculty talks at the 14 Pa. state universities bump as the start of the fall semester nears
Harrisburg Patriot News: Commonwealth Court judge gives Harrisburg City Council $7,500 to defend itself against Receiver William Lynch
AP: 2 vie for ex-Sen. Jane Orie’s seat after her corruption conviction
AP: GOP lawmaker beats Democrat for Orie Senate seat
AP: Corbett announces Delaware River dredging contract
York Daily Dispatch: Pennsylvania high court fast-tracks juvenile lifer appeals
York Daily Dispatch: York Republicans name executive director

North by Northwest
Erie Times-News: Residents seek apology from Congressman Kelly

Opinion
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial: License to watch: Vehicle-tracking cameras must not be abused-
National Journal: The Riskiest Running Mate for Romney
The Washington Post: Four Pinocchios for Harry Reid’s claim about Mitt Romney’s taxes
Lancaster New Era: Reckless use of tax dollars
The Lewistown Sentinel: Debt control needs a little less conversation and a little more action
Daily News: Councilman ChatterBlast plays chicken
Daily News: Pa. could become a shale of its former self

Blogs
Keystone Politics: Rising Rents Driving Development in Philly
Keystone Politics: The Jobs aren’t there
Keystone Progress: Just For Fun: Remember Obama Girl? Meet Romney Girl
The Pennsylvania Progressive: As People Die From Gun Violence We Aren’t to Speak About Gun Violence
The Pennsylvania Progressive: Marino, Barletta Vote to Cut Tobyhanna
2 Political Junkies: The adventures of Romney Hood
Lehigh Valley Independent: Everybody Who’s Overcome the Parochial Politics Likes Police Regionalization
Lehigh Valley Independent: Who Cares if Red Light Cameras “Pay for Themselves?”
Casablanca PA: Doublethink
John Hanger: South Africa’s Fracking Moratorium Leads To New Coal Plants & Rising Carbon Emissions
John Hanger: The Marcellus Becomes Top Gas Producing Field & Unleashes Creative Destruction
Citizens’ Call: Search Committee Named for Hiring Cheltenham Township Manager
Keystone State Education Coalition: More details emerging on PA’s new EITC 2.0 program funding private and religious schools with diverted tax dollars

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