Dispatch from the GOP Fall State Committee Meeting

Fall GOP CommitteeThe Pennsylvania Republican Party’s leadership met in Harrisburg this weekend to prepare for the 2015 judicial elections and with an eye on the 2016 elections.

It was a morning of unity, both real and purported.

All Republican members of the legislature were honored with large banners on both sides of the lectern. The 13 GOP Congressmen each had their portrait displayed on the along the room’s corridor, a physical manifestation of the party’s dominance in the U.S. House.

Conversely, the sixteen portraits along the hallway outside represented the chaotic presidential 2016 primary contest. In fact there wasn’t even enough room, so Rick Santorum’s photo had to be set up on the left side of the hallway (an act he likely would disapprove of). Additionally, John Kasich’s portrait had a campaign sticker on it, suggesting that someone was worried that without it no one would recognize who he was.

The party officially endorsed Sen. Pat Toomey’s re-election by unanimous voice vote. The Senator was in attendance and gave a short acceptance speech that touched on his announcement address last week.

“We are together, we are united and we’re going to do our part to make sure this century is another American century,” Sen. Toomey concluded.

The event built to the showcase of the party’s five judicial candidates for the fall, three for State Supreme Court, one for Superior Court and another for Commonwealth Court.

All five spoke but Supreme Court candidate Judy Olson gave the most passionate speech, calling this November “the single most critical election of the last 20 years in Pennsylvania.” She described the fall’s effort as a “Drive for Five”.

Rafferty and Stephens

There is only one schism in the party at the moment but you might not have noticed it if you weren’t aware (although the crowd of party insiders was undoubtedly aware).

That is the race for the Republican nomination in next year’s Attorney General race between State Sen. John Rafferty and State Rep. Todd Stephens. As luck would have it, both were chosen to given the official reports on their respective caucuses (they also both recently won the support of their body’s leaders).

As a result, the two men spoke back-to-back just seven months removed from their primary contest. Due to the setting, however, neither one could take a shot at the other or even really refer to the competition.

Rafferty took the podium first, portraying Governor Tom Wolf as the dam holding up the budget process. He also critiqued the Governor’s new plan to privatize the liquor industry, mentioning how opposed Democrats were to privatizing the state’s lottery system.

The State Senator criticized Wolf for the mailers that were sent out by the Governor, saying that Wolf “threw hand-grenades in my district”. Despite that effort, Rafferty said he had received a clear message from his constituents.

“Stay the course,” they told him. “Don’t give in to this guy.”

He also stated that the “Governor has taken a page out of Barack Obama’s playbook” by imposing a death penalty moratorium and bypassing the other branches of government.

Stephens denounced the Governor as well as on his budget proposals and tax plans. He noted that the state’s unemployment rate had dropped from 8.2% to 5.4% since the GOP took over the State House. Nevertheless, he asserted, “to this Governor, the facts don’t get in the way of a good story.”

The State Rep. went on to criticize Wolf for opposing the stopgap funding measures currently being pushed by the party. He particularly pointed to the rape and domestic violence crisis centers that will be closed as a result of the shutdown (this point echoes a recent video from his campaign that recalled Stephens’ work for a victim of domestic violence).

Overall, both candidates praised the judicial nominees and steered clear of next year’s contest. The closest either came to any campaign statement was when Stephens noted that he “spent a career in the courtroom before coming to the State House.”

They both name-dropped the other several times in their speeches, with Rafferty mentioning “Todd” and Stephens “Sen. Rafferty”.

On the surface, they were both on the same page. It’s unclear how long that will last.

15 Responses

  1. I agree about Covey. She has no business in this race. She is just a sacrificial lamb. I cannot for the life of me believe the party endorsed her. She was not recommended by the bar for integrity issues, she was accused of sexual harassment, and she has more skeletons in her closet than a haunted house. Please do not vote for her. Just do your homework if you don’t believe me.

  2. Stephens denounced the Governor as well as on his budget proposals and tax plans. He noted that the state’s unemployment rate had dropped from 8.2% to 5.4% since the GOP took over the State House.

    I’ve never heard of giving credit to the State House for a drop in unemployment numbers. It’s more than a bit of a reach…and I like Todd Stevens. But he should drop that line. It doesn’t make sense (as if the House did things on it’s own to get to 5.4%)

  3. In this case, the Democrats’ added cost to coal grossly overcalculates the externalities. But, that’s the point: to put coal out of business based on their own publicly funded climate “research.” The end game is more money and power to their friends and less in the pockets of regular people…many of which continually vote against their economic best interests. Your sanctimony should be directed to the Democrats who won’t acknowledge their greed while keeping the poor poor because it’s politically expedient.

    Consider these 2 facts:

  4. Coal becomes less price competitive when they aren’t allowed a free ride any more. If I dumped toxic sludge in my neighbor’s yard, I would be fined out of business. If I dumped trash in a field instead of paying the tipping fees for it to be disposed of properly in a landfill, I’d similarly be penalized. Why should a coal company be able to pump toxic emissions known to cause cancer, asthma, emphysema, and a host of other health issues into their neighbors’ air and not have to pay for the costs that creates? They’ve enjoyed years of profits at their neighbors’ expense without investing in R&D to reduce their impact on their neighbors – the technology exists to scrub their emissions and it would be cheaper if they would’ve been responsible and worked on this years ago.

    If a business’s model relies on being able to pollute for free, it has no right to complain of its demise when it’s asked to pay the costs it creates (in this case, just a fraction of those costs). This is a basic economic concept of internalizing externalities – or, as it’s commonly known, ending the freerider problem.

    As they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

  5. You just sent an article that describes in detail what Obama and Democrats are doing (“…the flurry of EPA rules ratcheting up the price of coal…”) to accomplish BO’s campaign promise to bankrupt the coal industry.

    We don’t discount death and illness from coal soot, we just recognize it is a tenth of the death and illness brought on by the POVERTY created from Democrats’ artificially high energy prices.

    But, I am heartened to know the tree-hugging class is willing to sacrifice all our endangered bird species on the altar of wind mills (grinders) and solar (fryers). Perhaps the individuals who advocate this known (by 100% of scientists) holocaust of endangered birds will be prosecuted much like the left wants those who point out the failure of UN climate models to predict the future (our present)?

  6. Unsanctioned R-

    A lot of homes use oil and gas, not coal or electricity for heat, but last year was a particularly brutal winter on the east coast due to the arctic air.

    The death of the coal plants comes down to the economics of the plants paying for upgrades or switches to renewables themselves rather than through rate hikes to customers. It turns out that in court case after court case when the internal financial documents were revealed that the power companies were willing to stick with coal when they didn’t have to pay for it (rate hikes), but when forces to absorb the costs themselves/stockholders, they went with renewables.

    You can read all about it here:

    Also, the coal plants lead to more deaths and illness due to their pollution. That’s a cost you always fail to take into account.

  7. I remember when the state Republicans where a sedate core,with a down home edge on the periphery.
    A sense of industry, and noblise oblige among them.

    It was fun too.

    Will these out of touch extremists in the Neoconservative FOX News Bubble ever get over Rick Santorum ?
    The nut obsessed by peoples sex lives- the poor getting meal- war for AIPAC, and singing to deceased children ?

    Hey Tea Partners ,and TV preacher fans . He lost in a landslide back in 2006 !
    And to think they mix all of this sanctimony with athiest Ann Rand !

  8. “Coal is coming offline because renewables are cost competitive and don’t pollute.”

    That is not true, and you’re smart enough to know that it is not true.

    In addition, it is without question that the high prices poor people paid is for energy last winter was because coal was off line. Now Democrats want to make natural gas more expensive for everyone too.

    Nobody should be surprised by Democrats’ motives:

    “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” -Our President

    Everything requires energy, and everything would be cheaper if Democrats stopped voting against their economic interests.

  9. Unsanctioned R-

    Coal is coming offline because renewables are cost competitive and don’t pollute.

  10. Liberals love expensive energy, like when they took coal off line and had a gas supply pinch a winter ago. Democrats vote against their economic interests every election.

  11. Note the epic number of people in that photo who vote against their own economic interests.

  12. “He noted that the state’s unemployment rate had dropped from 8.2% to 5.4% ” … but forgot to thank Obama, since the national unemployment rate has dropped to 5.1%

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