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December 18th Ups and Downs

A lawsuit backed by 7 PA Republican Congressmembers to overturn the results in the state was unsuccessful, New York Times Magazine profiles Philly City Commissioner Al Schmidt, plus college enrollment declines in the state. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.

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Jim Brewster. It appears that we have a winner, according to the Department of State. Six weeks after Election Day 2020, the state certified state Sen. Jim Brewster as the winner in the race for the 45th state Senate District over Republican Nicole Ziccarelli. The Allegheny County incumbent Democrat bested the GOP challenger by 69 votes. However, Brewster’s GOP colleagues remain adamant that the race isn’t over yet. Ziccarelli and other GOP leaders in the state Senate point to a federal court case that aims to toss out roughly 310 undated mail-in ballots from Allegheny County that arrived before 8 PM on Election Day. This isn’t the last we will hear of this race. 

Joyce, Keller, Kelly, Meuser, Perry, Reschenthaler, and Thompson. The electoral college congregated this week to make President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory official in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States. Despite this all-but-certain outcome, several notable Republicans in the state have attempted to stop the inevitable in various court cases. The latest effort, in which seven members of the state’s GOP delegation backed a suit by Texas’ state attorney general to throw out results in four battleground states, was shot down by the U.S. Supreme Court

Bucks County Battleground Status. While suburbs across the country have seemingly continued to trend towards the Democratic Party, at least one Philly suburb can maintain it’s battleground status. The Philadelphia Inquirer took a deep dive into the ticket splitting in Bucks County, which showed that although voters sided with Biden at the top of the ticket, down ballot Republicans still performed well in the county.  

Al Schmidt. The GOP Philadelphia City Commissioner took heat from President Donald Trump on social media and had very little back-up as Republicans in the state largely remained silent as the president attacked his character over the election in Philly. The New York Times Magazine profiled Schmidt this week and detailed his efforts of maintaining integrity in the election, while members of his own party cast doubt on the election he oversaw and attempted painted him in a negative light.  

Eddie Moran. Although the Reading Mayor didn’t break any laws, he is facing pushback for his recent travel. According to the Reading Eagle, Moran traveled to Puerto Rico to visit his 86 year-old mother during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some in Reading have criticized him for the decision, considering the restrictions in place. 

Jeff Stuby. The Carlisle Borough Councilman led the effort to decriminalize marijuana. The Carlisle Sentinel reports that the ordinance, which is a one-year pilot program, makes possession of a small amount of marijuana, possession of marijuana paraphernalia and smoking marijuana in public summary offenses under the borough code. Stuby said that the ordinance isn’t a “perfect solution” but described it as a “step in the right direction.”

George Brown. The Wilkes-Barre Mayor has seemingly lost his push for budget recommendations. According to the Citizens Voice, Wilkes-Barre council gave initial approval to the mayor’s 2021 budget, although several amendments were made to reduce fee increases proposed by Brown. He described the amended budget as “unrealistic” and said it isn’t a balanced budget. A special meeting for the Council must be scheduled by Dec. 31 to give the final approval to the budget. 

Robert Costa. The National Political reporter for the Washington Post, moderator of Washington Week, Bucks County native (and PoliticsPA alum), is officially on book leave. Costa and Bob Woodward are teaming up to write a book on the last days of the Trump presidency and the beginning of the Biden administration

PA College Enrollment. The trend continues. According to the PLSReporter, postsecondary enrollment declined by 3.1% in the state over the past year, which is higher than last year’s 2.1% decline. 


2 Responses

  1. Declining student enrollment in higher ed is not good. Whether someone gets a two year degree or a 4 year degree or graduate education or a certificates after high school seeing decline is not good news in terms of higher ed attendance. Probably the soaring student loan debt that has been highlighted in the media which says student loan debt has eclipsed credit card debt (as reported in the Wall Street Journal) could be turning people off. Whatever drop in higher ed attendance in Pa is bad news. Senator Brewster victory is a situation where a case that has been litigated up the Pa State Court line and is now seeking a remedy in federal court is highly unlikely to yield any different results. Federal courts don’t like to uncount votes and intervene in State Court matters.

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