February 14th Playbook

Happy Valentine’s Day. No love for McSwain. Can an African immigrant become governor? Leg injury sidelines Martin. Nordenberg speaks out on maps. And the Rams capture the Super Bowl. Here is the Playbook.

News

Georgia PAC Sets Sights on McSwain: A political action committee from Georgia has set its sights on Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain. And not in a nice way.

Union Membership Falling; What Does That Mean to Democrats?: If it’s not inflation, it’s presidential approval numbers. And now, the Democrats can add waning union numbers to their list of woes.

Ups and Downs: The week that was in PoliticsPA finds some winners, those that straddled the line, and one who found trouble with a social media giant.

Podcast: Can An African Immigrant Be the GOP Nominee for Governor?: In the latest episode of the PoliticsPA Podcast: A conversation with GOP gubernatorial candidate Dr. Nche Zama.

‘Citing leg injury, Scott Martin suspends gubernatorial campaign’: City & State PA reports that “Republican state Sen. Scott Martin is bowing out of the state’s 2022 race for governor, citing a recent leg injury that has impacted his ability to campaign.”

‘Bhavini Patel Enters Race To Succeed Congressman Mike Doyle’: KDKA reports that “Patel says it’s her experience and expertise in the new economy that will help her lead Pittsburgh into the future.”

‘Conor Lamb and John Fetterman are running like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “three months before Democratic voters pick their nominee in one of the country’s most competitive Senate races, Fetterman and Lamb are running very different campaigns.”

‘Oz gets Walk of Fame star as rival says he’s too ‘Hollywood’’: The Associated Press reports that “Mehmet Oz, the celebrity heart surgeon who recently ended his daytime TV “Dr. Oz Show” to run for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, got a star Friday on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — just as he was being attacked 2,000 miles away in a rival’s TV ad saying he’s too “Hollywood.””

‘Pennsylvania Senate race: Dave McCormick to air ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ ad during Super Bowl’: Fox News reports that “Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania Dave McCormick is running a “Let’s go Brandon” Super Bowl ad Sunday, highlighting the “self-inflicted” problems facing President Biden and his administration.”

‘Budget report on Pa. education agency provokes spat between lawmakers, watchdogs’: Spotlight PA reports that “with a single sentence tucked 15 pages into an otherwise dry budget report on the state Department of Education, an independent fiscal watchdog waded into a roiling and deeply politicized debate about the links between school funding and student performance.”

‘Mark Nordenberg discusses yearlong effort to ensure fairness in Pa.’s new legislative map’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “in a detailed interview with the Post-Gazette last week, Mr. Nordenberg said he knew when he was chosen by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to chair the redrawing commission after the four caucus leaders couldn’t agree on a neutral chair, it would be a difficult political environment and he’d be unlikely to emerge unscathed. But what he did emerge with, too, he said, were a pair of maps — boundaries for 50 state Senate and 203 state House seats — that better reflected the reality of Pennsylvania’s changing population and intricate political landscape.”

‘Lamb touts experience in crowded Senate primary field’: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that “if Democratic voters want a candidate who has dealt with the crucial issues a senator will grapple with next year, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb told a group of Norwin Democrats he is the only one in the crowded primary field who has the track record for voting for what they want.”

‘Bartos says grassroots campaign favors him over ‘two political tourists’’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “Jeff Bartos said his grassroots campaign has taken him to all 67 counties in Pennsylvania, allowing him to meet voters and hear their concerns, which he said gives him a big advantage over the two “political tourists” he faces in the race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.”

‘Lancaster Democrats don’t endorse in U.S. Senate race; no clear candidate chosen in GOP straw poll to replace Hickernell’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Lancaster County Democratic and Republican party leaders met Saturday to consider which, if any, candidates they would back in the upcoming primaries for local and statewide elections later this year. Results were mixed.”  

‘GOP Rep. Seth Grove wants to cut the ‘political BS’ on elections, maps; Dems call BS on him’: USA Today reports that “state Rep. Seth Grove, the York County Republican lawmaker who has been leading the party’s charge on congressional redistricting and election changes, chalks up his newfound notoriety to “dumb luck.””

‘‘Our kids deserve it’: Wolf’s $1.55B K-12 school plan aims to address inequitable funding’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “with a $1.55 billion investment in K-12 public education included in Wolf’s proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal years, school officials think there is an opportunity to address inequitable funding across the state’s 500 districts.”

‘‘Abortion rights are always on the ballot.’ Advocates issue a call to action ahead of 2022 election’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “with Gov. Tom Wolf leaving office, Republicans sense an opportunity to move to restrict access to abortion.”

‘Wolf visits Upper Darby High School to urge investment in education’: The Delaware County Daily Times reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf paid a visit to Upper Darby High School Friday to urge the state to invest in education spending and he used his business experience to tout that investment.” 

‘Pa. one of three states piloting a mental health helpline for farmers, agriculture producers’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “speaking to reporters Friday, Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and state Sen. Elder Vogel, R-Beaver, who chairs the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, announced the availability of a new, pilot mental health helpline, known as the AgriStress HelpLine for Pennsylvania, for those in the commonwealth’s agriculture industry.”

‘As Pennsylvania invests in electric vehicles, PennDOT vows to make driving them more accessible’: WESA reports that “with Pennsylvania set to invest millions of federal and state dollars in electric vehicles over the next few years, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has vowed to make sure no one is left out.”

‘Four takeaways from Pa.’s landmark school-funding trial, two weeks into Republican witnesses’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “a school finance expert called by GOP lawmakers disputed allegations in the lawsuit challenging how Pennsylvania pays for public schools.”

‘Pa. medical marijuana patients, advocates frustrated and blindsided by recent recall’: The Express-Times reports that “that decision sparked some frustration among Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana users and advocacy groups, with many of them noting that this makes acquiring the needed therapeutic substance much more difficult for patients in the state’s medical marijuana program.”

Legislative Election Updates

‘Former Kennett Square mayor to announce candidacy for 158th District seat’: The Daily Local News reports that Leon Spencer, a Republican, “will officially announce his intention to run for a seat on the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.” The seat is currently held by state Rep. Christina Sappey (D-Chester).

Regional Spotlight: Southeast and Lehigh Valley

Express Times: Wandalyn Enix writes her own history, becoming Bethlehem’s first Black city council member
Inquirer: Low-income Philadelphians to receive no-strings-attached cash in antipoverty experiments 
Inquirer: Philly’s vaccine mandate for city workers has taken effect, despite opposition from the firefighters union
Billy Penn: Details about Philly’s cryptocurrency play are circulating on Discord, including the mayor’s concerns about equity
WHYY Newsworks: Emails about PGW’s role in ‘energy choice’ bill pit Councilmember Gym against utility’s CEO
KYW Newsradio: AG: Philly Fighting COVID must destroy data collected from its vaccine clinics
KYW Newsradio: Philadelphia debuts new affordable solar energy program
Philly Voice: Lawmakers urge Gov. Wolf to declare disaster declaration in wake of Kingsessing water main break
Montgomery Media: Montgomery County experiencing lack of affordable housing options, officials say
Pottstown Mercury: Mayors are stepping up to help couples tie the knot

Opinion  
Albert Eisenberg: Partisan Redistricting Won’t Fix Dems’ Pennsylvania Disadvantage
Ray E. Landis: Wolf won’t get all he wants in his budget, but he’s still moved Pa. forward 
Mark S. Singel: If you participate in an insurrection, you can’t hold public office
Scott L. Bohn: Legalizing marijuana could compromise public health and safety
Ethan Deitrich: Why former Allentown mayor’s 15-year sentence was not cruel or unusual
Paul Muschick: Thank you, Mayor Tuerk, for ticketing lazy bums who don’t shovel their Allentown sidewalks
Troy Stevenson: It’s time for Pa. lawmakers to ban LGBTQ conversion ‘therapy’ 
Amanda Muzi and Adia Hagans-Paige: We need new ways to bring teachers into classrooms, and help keep them there
Ruth Ann Dailey: Student masks should be optional
Bill Turner: Sen. Doug Mastriano needs remedial education 
John L. Micek: Philly’s gun violence is ‘symptom’ of bigger problems, official says | Friday Morning Coffee
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: We’re optimistic lawmakers can find common ground on Pennsylvania’s crucial 2022-23 budget
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: White supremacists are recruiting in Lancaster County. Their fascist beliefs are not welcome.
Inquirer Editorial Board: Hope for systemic change in how Philadelphia addresses poverty
PennLive Editorial Board: Here’s why the whole nation should rejoice when Biden puts a Black woman on the Supreme Court 
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Sadly, bipartisan incivility won’t disappear 
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: City must release bridge inspection reports — now 
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Protecting low-income seniors 
Daniel Pearson: Debate over Washington Avenue safety changes delivers harsh lessons in equity, civic influence
Will Bunch: ‘Freedom Convoys’ aren’t supposed to make sense. The world can’t ignore them 
John Cole: Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Pa. budget sweet and sour hearts | Editorial Cartoon 
David Shribman: The curious incident of the co-endorsement in the Capitol
Colin McCrossan: Slavery is a part of the history of Philadelphia’s suburbs

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