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Dispatch from the 2016 GOP Winter Meeting

Rafferty-Winter MeetingThe Pennsylvania GOP gathered in Hershey this morning to prepare for a crowded election year.

“Our No.1 priority this year is to re-elect people,” Chairman Gleason declared. “Hillary Clinton can not win the presidency without Pennsylvania.”

While most of the talk was about local races, the presidential race was always looming.

Among the attendees some wore stickers for Marco Rubio and John Kasich while others carried signs for Donald Trump.

A number of GOP officials addressed the party members.

Congressman Tim Murphy began by speaking passionately about addressing the issue of mental illness in America.

State Senator Scott Wagner followed with a status update on the legislative elections.

“We’re up against the Democrat[ic] machine and all their union money,” Sen. Wagner stated. “So we’ll need to raise $5 million.”

Wagner cited low oil prices and a tough month for the Dow as signs that a recession is coming.

“We have the worst job creator enemy in this country who sits in the Oval Office,” Wagner asserted. “This is the do or die moment for America.”

The State Senator also denounced Governor Wolf and the recent budget actions.

“We had him down on the floor with our foot on his throat and we let him up. Next time, we won’t let him up.”

Wagner also called for re-electing Pat Toomey and blasted Joe Sestak and Katie McGinty (he neglected to mention John Fetterman).

House Speaker Mike Turzai earned a round of applause for his handling of the budget stalemate, specifically rejecting any tax increases. Pointing out former Lt. Gov Jim Cawley in the crowd, he praised former Gov. Corbett for overseeing four straight years of a budget on time with no tax increases.

“This Governor wants to create havoc and run a permanent campaign,” the Speaker contended.

He also stated that Wolf signed about 90% of the GOP’s budget and declared that the Governor doesn’t care about PA citizens who are struggling.

Afterwards, the regional chairs gave reports from their meetings, the highlight of which was when the Southwest Chair Mike Baker twirled a Terrible Towel for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are playing in the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs tomorrow.

Finally, the party members voted on whether to endorse any statewide candidates.

State Sen. John Rafferty unanimously won the endorsement in the Attorney General race by voice vote. The same honor was given to Auditor General candidate John Brown and State Treasurer hopeful Otto Voit.

“We’re going to once again return the office of Attorney General back to the bright star of our commonwealth,” Rafferty stated.

He also pledged to not seek higher office while Attorney General if he is elected.

Otto Voit also questioned Gov. Wolf’s business acumen, comparing him unfavorably to Scott Wagner.

“Governor Wolf is not a businessman, Senator Wagner is a businessman. There is a difference between being a businessman and being a man who has a business,” Voit said of Wolf.

17 Responses

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  3. These rats will pay at the polls. They wish to run eternal deficits and debts to benefit their buddies in the banking industry who all too willingly lend the state hundreds of millions scoring huge origination fees and compound interest. They could care less about sound fiscal policy. They claim they don’t want to raise taxes, but have no revenue models to address the fiscal nightmare that exists. They live in a dreamland of denial.

    They will pay at the polls. Just watch.

  4. Gerrymandering is their best and only friend in the state right now. As Ivan Drago in Rocky IV said “TOOMEY VIL LOSE!”

    Thing is the Democrats are too chicken shit to do anything about it and cave to conservative wishes especially in PA. See abortion rights, Iran deal and charter schools. GOP is at least united in being heartless, anti worker, anti woman pricks.

  5. Nick – thank you for correcting Sen. Wagner’s childish slur. It’s obnoxious but unfortunately has become so common that it often goes uncorrected by reporters.

    Also, I love this nonsense from Sen. Wagner: “We have the worst job creator enemy in this country who sits in the Oval Office.”

    What a bunch of malarkey – we’re in the longest period of sustained job growth since we started keeping records the better part of 100 years ago, and it’s been entirely in the private sector, which even had to make up for a loss in public sector jobs. Remember when they couldn’t stop repeating that George W. Bush saw 52 months of job growth (yet barely saw an addition of a million jobs to the economy after eight years)? We’re at 77 months and going with something like five million net jobs added. But anybody but Hillary (a delicious, tacit endorsement of Trump, Cruz, and the other nutters)!

  6. Wolf and his pack crying over a comment. But in the mean time people in need are going without. If your skin is this thin. Pack your bags. Return to the Mountain.

  7. Interesting by omission was where the GOP leaders stand vis-a-vis Trump. Most seem scared to announce their allegiance.

  8. How many statewide elections has the current R leadership won? Should the Presidential candidates depend on them? Or on the proven successful elected R’s in legislature and congress?

  9. Unfortunately, the Democrats in the House and Senate are in permanent-minority mode. The PA House Democratic Campaign Committee website lists “protecting incumbents” as its top priority. It is a true statement, but it’s also a sad one. Incumbent protection as the strategic priority for a minority party is a fast track to irrelevance.

  10. Diano: I agree with you about the appeasement thing. Obama tried that for years and look what he got in return: NOTHING. Dems need to man up and move on without the GOP, who are nothing but NO to anything progressive.

  11. “The State Senator also denounced Governor Wolf and the recent budget actions. “We had him down on the floor with our foot on his throat and we let him up. Next time, we won’t let him up.” ”

    Maybe Wolf will FINALLY take this as a sign that he should put all his 2016 election efforts into gaining as many Democratic seats as possible with the goal of flipping the state legislature.

    The 2014 “appeasement” strategy has been a complete failure.

  12. Centpadem. Although I don’t like Wagner because he will attempt to take down anyone that doesn’t agree with him, I don’t think your characterization is correct. He has a business and does well. If he cared that much about control alone he would just donate his way into relevancy. He is an anti-politician who only cares about his view and doesn’t care about negotiating or working with others. He will ruin the Republican party. It worries me that the eventually unsuccessful candidate for treasurer, Otto voight, seems to want to raise him to the level of Governor by his comparison. Better get an electable statewide republican candidate for governor before Wagner shuts everyone else out.

  13. Scott Wagner and his millions funneled into the Commonwealth Foundation are ruining this Commonwealth. He isn’t about jobs for the middle class, he is about control for the select few. These people are poison to our freedoms and ability to earn a decent living.

  14. GOP righton. Wolf has no ability to lead. He pretends, he reads his prewritten speeches, He huffs, and he puffs, but just cant blow the house down. He hides in his office. He appears at no events that aren’t under his control. His Chief doubles as his body guard. He talks to know one but his pack. I am the King, I am the king, just keep telling me that.

  15. Scott Wagner is a legitimate crazy person.

    I imagine this Obama-Wolf hate-fest was a joy to attend.

  • Who are you voting for in the PA Supreme Court race?

    • Dan McCaffery (61%)
    • Carolyn Carluccio (37%)
    • Still undecided (2%)

    Total Voters: 344

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