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February 21: To Tell The Truth

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PA Weather
🌥️ Venango | Increasing Clouds, 55
☀️ Virginville | Mostly Sunny, 42
☀️ Villanova | Mostly Sunny, 44

PA Sports
🏀 Sixers (32-22) | Thu vs. New York
🏒 Flyers (29-21-6) | New Jersey 3-6 | Wed vs. Chicago
🏒 Penguins (24-21-8) | NY Islanders 4-5 (OT) | Thu vs. Montreal

What’s Happening
Huge day in Harrisburg – it’s ballot position lottery day! Fun begins at 10 a.m.

What We’re Hearing
There are 24 candidates for the state House that have had objections made to their nomination petitions. There are also three candidates for state Senate, three for Congress, and one for U.S. Senator that have been notified by the Department of State.

Happy Birthday
Cake and candles for Rep. Christopher Rabb.

Pennsylvania Political News Sent Directly to You
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. Trump Is Still Lying About Winning PA in 2020. He’s Still Wrong

Donald Trump in Harrisburg at NRA Presidential Forum

“As former President Donald Trump seeks a return office, he continues to promote the many-times debunked lie that he won the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.

“I love Pennsylvania. We ran twice. We won Pennsylvania twice,” Trump told the crowd in Harrisburg earlier this month at his first Pennsylvania campaign stop of the year at a National Rifle Association conference.

Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016 and then lost the state by less than 1%, or 80,000 votes, to Biden in 2020.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)


Emerson Poll: Casey Still Favored by PA Voters. “Sen. Bob Casey Jr. is still the favorite to keep his U.S. Senate seat in the latest Emerson College/The Hill survey of 1,000 Keystone State registered voters.” (PoliticsPA)

President Joe Biden’s Campaign Makes Three Additions To Its PA Team. “President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign has expanded its Pennsylvania team three weeks after naming a state campaign manager and two senior advisers.” (PennLive)

Biden Administration To Forgive $1.2 Billion In Student Loan Debt, Impacting 153,000 Borrowers. “The announcement, which impacts those participating in the Saving on a Valuable Education plan, means the administration in all has forgiven $138 billion in student loan debt for 3.9 million borrowers.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Vice President Harris Visits Pittsburgh To Tout $5.8 Billion For Clean Water, Lead Pipe Removal. “The funding is part of a $50 billion investment in water infrastructure upgrades from President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. ” (Penn Capital-Star)

Is John Fetterman Really Arlen Specter 2.0? “Until recently, one of the more fascinating elected officials in Pennsylvania’s political history is former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter.” (Broad + Liberty)



2. U.S. Appeals Court Hears PA Mail Ballot ‘Missing Date’ Case

3rd Circuit Court of Appeals

“One of the biggest disqualifying errors on mail-in ballots in the Keystone State is ‘date.’

Some voters see the line asking ‘what is today’s date’? Some think that it wants the voters’ birthdate. Still others leave the line blank on that return envelope.

It’s now up to a federal appeals court to decide if Pennsylvania voters need to put accurate handwritten dates for the votes to count.” (PoliticsPA)


PA Budget Process Muddied By Clashing Revenue Estimates As Hearings Begin. “Lawmakers on Tuesday began their public scrutiny of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposed $48.3 billion budget for fiscal 2024-25 and immediately highlighted the wide gulf — about $8 billion over five years — between two different projections of state revenue.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

PA Fiscal Agency Projects Bigger Budget Gap, Prompting Diverging Views From Lawmakers. “Whether that discrepancy matters to you is most likely determined by your political affiliation and how you’ve viewed the economy since the COVID-19 pandemic.” (PennLive)

RGGI Rumble. “Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Virginia are fighting an increasingly intense battle over their states’ potential participation in a regional carbon trading market, putting the two swing states on the sidelines of a critical review that will shape the program’s future.” (POLITICO)

PA Mortgage Program, Closed For More Than A Year To Resolve Backlog, Will Reopen In March, Officials Say. “The program will have an estimated $46 million remaining for new applicants, said Scott Elliott, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which runs the effort. That’s enough to cover roughly 3,350 more homeowners.” (Spotlight PA)

Candidate Announcements

  • State Rep. Stender Announces Reelection Bid In 108th. (Daily Item)


Around The Commonwealth

3. Legal Challenge Seeks To Remove MacDonald From Ballot In Contentious PA-12 Race

From left: Summer Lee, Laurie MacDonald and Bhavini Patel at the Barbara Daly Dank Political Forum at Carnegie Mellon University on Jan. 28 (Photo by Maureen Kelly Busis)

“A legal effort is underway to remove Laurie MacDonald from the April 23 primary contest for the 12th Congressional District.

MacDonald’s candidacy should be rejected “as a result of the defects, other irregularities, and outright pattern of impropriety” contained in the petitions, alleges the complaint filed in Commonwealth Court by four Democratic voters who live in the district.

The race in District 12 has been shaping up as a contentious three-way contest, with first-term incumbent Summer Lee facing Democrats MacDonald and Bhavini Patel this spring. And although the legal challenge was filed by district voters, such matters are usually initiated by rival campaigns.” (WESA)


Loss Of Dozens Of Experienced Election Officials Could Mean Trouble For Pennsylvania’s 2024 Election. “Compared with experience levels during the 2019 election, the state has lost a combined 293 years of experience among the top county election officials as of this publishing date. The state currently has 21% fewer years of experience than it did for the November 2019 election.” (Votebeat)

Philly City Council Looks To Ban Some Businesses From Having Casino-Style Skill Games. “Top police brass testified in support of the legislation, saying the machines are a nuisance and attract crime. But business owners testified that banning the machines would impact their livelihoods.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Redding Says Pennsylvania Budget Proposal Boosts Farmers and Processors. “Ag Secretary Russell Redding is excited about several new farm-friendly initiatives proposed for the state budget — including one that wouldn’t even fall under his department.” (Lancaster Farming)

Allentown Official Signs Letter Criticizing Shapiro’s Economic Development Plan, Citing Environmental Justice. “Asked why she signed on to a letter criticizing Gov. Josh Shapiro’s 10-year, $600 million economic development plan, Allentown councilperson Cecilia “Ce-Ce” Gerlach said, “It’s a pretty simple issue of environmental justice.”” (

Barli Withdraws From 50th State House Race After Democrats Question His Candidacy. “Randy Barli has withdrawn his paperwork to run in the Democratic primary for the 50th state House District after his party planned to challenge his petitions over accusations that he forged numerous signatures, including the names of nine people who were dead.” (Washington Observer-Reporter)



4. What’s On Your Mind

  • To Improve SEPTA, Our Council Members Need To Ride The Bus. (Brendan J. Kelly)
  • Republicans Reject No-Brainer Aid To Ukraine, Because Donald Trump (Or Vladimir Putin) Says No. (Gene Collier)
  • Malcolm Was Right: Black Women Are Among The Most Disrespected People On The Planet. (Rogette Harris)
  • Governor’s Budget Risks Future Tax Hikes, Program Cuts. (Sen. Tracy Pennycuick)
  • Biden’s LNG pause Is A Win For PA Families, Our Health And Our Climate. (Tom Schuster)


1 Tennis Thing

5. A Dying Art: The One-Handed Backhand

Photo Federer Backhand 30x40 cm - Multicolore | Roland-Garros Store

For the first time in ATP rankings history (since 1973), the top 10 is made up entirely of male players who use two-handed backhands.

The New York Times writes that the one-handed backhand is “the shot that made Roger Federer famous, the signature stroke of Rod Laver, a favorite of John McEnroe, Pete Samprs and Martina Navratilova.

What Changed? Speed and power. In today’s game, balls are being hit so hard, and with so much topspin, that the more stable and compact two-handed backhand is all but required.


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One Response

  1. Also a lost art is GOP running rational candidates for office. MAGA blowhards have dominated the party (cult??).


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    Total Voters: 30

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