August 28th Ups & Downs
A GOP congressional hopeful takes the stage for the RNC, three former elected GOP officials back Biden’s bid for the presidency, plus medical marijuana sales in the state are reaching new highs. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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PIAA Sports. There will be high school sports this fall. The board of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association voted to move forward with the fall season of sports, despite Gov. Tom Wolf’s recommendation that all youth athletics be postponed until 2021 to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the AP reports.
Sean Parnell. The GOP congressional hopeful for the 17th District took center stage at the Republican National Convention on Monday delivering a passionate plea to voters on behalf of President Donald Trump’s agenda, while accusing the Democratic Party of having “contempt for middle America.” Although several ratings outlets have the race in Rep. Conor Lamb’s favor, the exposure on the national scale might provide a boost to Parnell. Just last week Lamb was one of three elected officials from the state that participated in the “Rising Stars” Keynote Address that featured 17 Democrats at the convention.
Mariner East Pipeline. Sunoco Pipeline LP was hit with a $355,636 fine from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection due to violations from the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in 8 counties in the state, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
NAACP. There will be new leadership at the Philadelphia NAACP. As a result of president of the Philadelphia NAACP, Rodney Muhammad, posting an anti-Semetic meme on Facebook, the NAACP will replace all leadership of its Philadelphia chapter, first reported by the Philadelphia Tribune. The national office will appoint a new leader of the Philly chapter next month. Muhammad received calls to resign from the Jewish Federation, Gov. Tom Wolf, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, several Democratic state lawmakers, and more in July over the anti-Semetic social media post.
Christian Leinbach. The Berks County Commissioner announced on Monday that he would self-quarantine after he attended an event alongside Congressman Dan Meuser, who announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. However, Leinbach still participated in a “Back the Blue” event on Sunday, one day after he learned of Meuser’s positive test, where organizers estimate that 400 people turned out for, according to the Reading Eagle. Leinbach received some pushback for attending the event after knowing he was exposed to someone who had a positive test, although he believes he didn’t put anyone in danger due to him wearing a mask the day he was with Meuser and stood six feet away from him.
GOP Biden Endorsements. If the Biden campaign believes courting moderate Republicans in the suburbs is crucial to a victory in Pennsylvania, then it was a good week for the campaign. Three former GOP Reps. Bill Clinger, Charlie Dent, and Jim Greenwood endorsed Biden’s presidential bid over President Donald Trump this week and were a part of Biden’s formal “Republicans for Biden” rollout. Perhaps these endorsements weren’t a shock due to how outspoken these members have been towards Trump during his presidency, but signals that some Republicans can be won over by the campaign.
Medical Marijuana Sales. “High Times,” writes the Delaware County Daily Times. The paper reports that the medical marijuana industry “appears to be booming, with the overall market doubling in size since February.” The press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Health said that the market is now $1.3 billion, with sales from growers/processors to dispensaries more than $528 million and sales from dispensaries to patients close to $800 million. This is a significant jump from Feb. 10 when the total sales were just under $700 million, with $282 million from growers/processors to dispensaries and sales from dispensaries to patients at approximately $415 million.
Harrisburg’s Newest Monument. A new monument honoring voting rights was unveiled this week in the state’s capital. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star covered the unveiling this past Wednesday, on the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment and the centennial of the 19th Amendment. The bronze monument shows four influential Harrisburg residents from the 1800s.
Mark Ciavarella Jr. The disgraced Luzerne County judge associated with the “kids-for-cash” scandal won’t be released from prison anytime soon. The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that Ciavarella’s 28-year sentence stands and won’t be shortened.
Matt Fogal. The Franklin County District Attorney took a stand for what he believes in, but was punished by his party. The GOP District Attorney who has served since 2009 made headlines earlier this summer after he wrote a letter expressing his support of Black Lives Matter and called on fellow Republicans to vote against President Donald Trump. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that as a result of Fogal’s statements, the chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party said that it was formally censuring Fogal and would not support him for reelection in 2023 or for any public office.
Mark Tranquilli. The Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge was suspended without pay and will face trial on ethics charges after he allegedly referred to a Black juror as “Aunt Jemima” and made other “demeaning comments,” according to the AP.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Doing yard sign deliveries and this just happened. I am so flattered. Also, slightly confused. pic.twitter.com/QWUSj0HG2D
— Mike Schlossberg (@MikeSchlossberg) August 21, 2020