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February 1: The Numbers Game

😀 Hellooo, February. One down, a few to go.

PA Weather
☁️ Irwin | Mostly Cloudy, 47
☁️ Indiana | Mostly Cloudy, 46
🌤️ Intercourse | Mostly Sunny, 48

PA Sports
🏀 Sixers (29-17) | Thu vs. Utah
🏒 Flyers (25-19-6) | All-Star Break
🏒 Penguins (22-17-7) | All-Star Break

What We’re Hearing
Campaign finance records filed Wednesday show the main super PAC supporting Donald Trump’s campaign, MAGA Inc., spent more than it raised in the last six months of 2023 — primarily by transferring back $30 million to Save America, the main vehicle for paying the former president’s prodigious legal fees.

Political News? Yes, Please
The PoliticsPA Playbook gives you all today’s PA political headlines in an easy-to-read email format. All by 8 AM. And it’s free. Subscribe now.


Top Story

1. F&M Poll: Casey Expands Lead Over McCormick; Biden-Trump A Toss-Up

Poll shows tight Pa. presidential race, but Casey way up in Senate race | News |

A day before Punxsutawney Phil peers out of his hole on Gobblers’ Knob, the latest survey of over 1,000 registered voters in the Keystone State shows a clear preference at the moment for Sen. Bob Casey Jr. in his quest for another six-year term in Washington.

The Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College unveiled its winter 2024 poll today and Casey holds a 47-35 lead over presumptive Republican challenger Dave McCormick.

The 12-point margin is five points greater than the seven-point edge that Casey held over the former Bridgewater Associates CEO in F&M’s last survey in October. (PoliticsPA)


Pennsylvania Automatic Voter Registration Boosts Sign-Ups, But Not A Political Party, Data Shows. “New data from automatic voter registration at Pennsylvania driver’s license centers shows that sign-ups have grown, remain almost evenly divided between the political parties and do not significantly favor one party over another in the presidential battleground state.” (AP)

Some Young PA Voters Can’t Bring Themselves To Vote For Biden This Year Over The War In Gaza. “We talked to 24 young Pennsylvania voters. All but one can’t support Joe Biden’s stance on Israel. But will they vote for him over Donald Trump?” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

How Fringe Anti-Science Views Infiltrated Mainstream Politics — And What It Means In 2024. “With presidential candidates lending airtime to anti-vaccine messages and members of Congress maligning scientists and pandemic-era public health policies, the partisan rift will likely widen in the run-up to November’s elections.” (Allentown Morning Call)



2. PA-10: Perry Leads Crowded Fundraising Race While Also Spending More Than Other Candidates

Scott Perry

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry outraised the crowded field of Democrats seeking to unseat him in the final quarter of 2023, but the York County Republican appears to have spent more than any incumbent in Pennsylvania.

Perry’s campaign raised just over $400,000 from the beginning of October to the end of December, but spent a little more than $395,000, campaign finance records show. He entered January with $547,000 cash on hand, which is less than this point in the previous cycle. In January 2022, his campaign had $755,000 on hand.

As it did in the previous quarter, Perry’s campaign spent $75,000 on legal counsel the past three months.” (Penn Capital-Star)


Mehalchick Confirmed as U.S. Middle District Justice. “The U.S. Senate has confirmed Judge Karoline Mehalchick to serve on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.” (PoliticsPA)

Meet The Trio Leading Biden’s 2024 Campaign To Win Pennsylvania. “Pennsylvania is shaping up to be the center of President Joe Biden’s presidential reelection campaign — and now three Pennsylvania political operatives are in charge of winning it for him again.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Senate Republican Leaders Announce Resolution Supporting Efforts to Fight Illegal Immigration. “Pennsylvania Senate Republican leaders announced a resolution that calls on President Biden and other federal officials to take meaningful action to protect American citizens against the negative impacts of illegal immigration.” (PoliticsPA)

Rozzi Leaves Auditor General Race, Politics, To Focus On Mental Health. “Rep. Mark Rozzi got into politics for the right reasons – to help people right a wrong. He leaves for the right reasons as well with his initial goals still in his sight.” (PoliticsPA)

PA Rep. Mark Rozzi Drops Out Of Race For Auditor General. “The Muhlenberg Township Democrat made the announcement Wednesday morning during an event in front of Reading High School where he threw his support in the race for auditor general — the office he had been seeking — behind state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta of Philadelphia.” (Reading Eagle)


Around The Commonwealth

3. State Needs More Election Volunteers As Senior Officials Leave

“As Pennsylvania has lost experienced election workers, state leaders are calling on the public to serve in April and November.

On Tuesday, Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt visited the East Shore Library in Harrisburg to encourage more civic engagement.

“On election day, the most important people are not the secretary of state, it is not your county commission, it’s not even your county election director,” Schmidt said. “It’s the men and women who volunteer for essentially a 14-hour day to make sure you can cast your vote and have your vote counted.”” (The Center Square)


‘We Work For Phil’: The Iconic Groundhog Is The Boss In Punxsutawney. “In Punxsutawney, Phil is always the boss, but even more so this time of year.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

PA Lawmakers Told Aliquippa Incident Shows Cyber Risks To Public Infrastructure. “A pair of recent cyberattacks on Pennsylvania’s digital infrastructure — including one on the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa — set off alarm bells in the state Legislature and were cited repeatedly in a hearing at the Capitol on Wednesday.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

PA Manufacturers’ Association Endorses Republican Cabanas in HD-140 Race. “The trade association represents more than a half million employees on “our shop floors and millions of additional jobs throughout our supply chain and distribution networks,” said Executive Director Carl Marrara.” (DV Journal)

Candidate Announcements

  • SD-15: Another Republican Enters Race For Harrisburg-Area State Senate Seat. (PennLive)



4. What’s On Your Mind

  • A Gruesome Execution In Alabama Is Yet Another Reminder Of The Need To Eliminate The Death Penalty. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Aliquippa Promotion Reveals a Broken PIAA Classification System. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • It’s Bob Casey’s Toughest Senate Race Yet, And He Appears To Know It. (John Baer)
  • With Wars Raging And Thousands Of People On The Move, Nobody Can Predict What The 2024 Elections Will Bring. (Joyce Davis)
  • Opportunity in ‘Jock Tax’ Demise. (Colin McNickle)
  • How Convenient For Westmoreland Commissioners To Fund Their Own Raises But Not Retirees’. (Tribune-Review)


1 Thing

5. Amid The Media Chaos, Games Help NYT Thrive

The Crossword - The New York Times

“The New York Times’ puzzles and games were played more than 8 billion times in 2023, Axios’ Alex Fitzpatrick reports.

  • Wordle led the way with a whopping 4.8 billion plays.
    The NYT Games app had 10 million downloads.


Why It Matters: Offerings beyond news — such as cooking and product recommendations — are increasingly central to the Times’ ability to grow amid a bloodbath in the broader journalism industry.”


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  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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