Eight GOP members of the state’s congressional delegation objected to counting PA’s Electoral College votes, the state Senate session led off to a chaotic start, plus a mother and son make history in the state House. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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PA GOP Congressional Delegation. When it was time for the electoral college award the state’s electors for Joe Biden, who won the state by over 80,000 votes, Reps. John Joyce, Fred Keller, Mike Kelly, Dan Meuser, Scott Perry, Guy Reschenthaler, G.T. Thompson, and Lloyd Smucker objected. The lone Republicans willing to acknowledge the will of the voters in the state were Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. Their effort to object to the electors was, as expected, unsuccessful. This move was made after months of legal defeats in various courts challenging the election laws in the state to overturn Biden’s victory.
Doug Mastriano. The conservative Republican and rumored 2022 gubernatorial candidate faced calls from Senate Democrats to resign after his attendance of President Donald Trump’s rally in Washington D.C., prior to the riots. Mastriano took to social media that evening explaining that did not participate in the riots and condemned them. Senate Republicans went to bat saying that Mastriano should not be removed from office due to his attendance, but his attendance in D.C. on this day has caused avoidable backlash.
Senate Civility. As Spotlight PA describes it, the Pennsylvania state Senate got off to a “chaotic start” this week. Senate Republicans decided to not seat state Sen. Jim Brewster, who defeated GOP challenger Nicole Ziccarelli by 69 votes according to the Department of State, citing an ongoing court battle over mail-in ballots that they believe would change the outcome of the race. The incident led to shouting in the chamber and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman being removed from presiding the session.
John Fetterman. The Lt. Governor was in the middle of the Senate fiasco that resulted in not seating state Sen. Jim Brewster. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he acknowledged that he broke Senate rules when he refused to take up the Republican’s motion to block seating Brewster, but he defended his decision by saying that his GOP colleagues were “breaking the law.” Republicans have been outspoken in their opposition to Fetterman’s actions that day, while Democrats have lauded his attempt to have Brewster sworn-in. It generated a flurry of state and national news coverage on the eve of his announcement that he is exploring a 2022 bid for U.S. Senate.
NRCC. In the weeks leading up to the birth of his first child, Rep. Conor Lamb was voting by proxy. One day after Lamb announced the birth of his son, Matthew Ignatius, the National Republican Congressional Committee criticized the lawmaker for voting by proxy. Lamb’s campaign manager teed off on the NRCC as a result, calling them a “constant embarrassment” and saying that they “make Russian troll farms and QAnon message boards look like reasonable actors in American politics.”
Rick Saccone. The former GOP state Rep and 2018 congressional hopeful resigned from his position as an adjunct professor at Saint Vincent College after he posted a video from Washington D.C. where he seemingly is supporting those storming the Capitol.
The Mackenzie’s. State Reps. Milou and Ryan Mackenzie made history in Pennsylvania this week. For the first time in the history of the PA state House, a mother and son have been elected to serve at the same time.
Dick Thornburgh’s Legacy. The state is mourning the loss of the former two-term GOP Governor and U.S. Attorney General. Thornburgh died at the age of 88.
Mike Reese’s Legacy. The state legislature is also mourning a loss of a current member. State Rep. Mike Reese died at the age of 42 on Saturday, after suffering an apparent brain aneurysm. Members on both sides of the aisle have lauded the Westmoreland County Republican’s service to his district and the commonwealth.
New City Council Leadership. There’s a bevy of new leadership in City Councils across the state. In Allentown, Julio Guridy was voted President by a 6-0 vote, despite his intentions to run for mayor, according to the Allentown Morning Call. Tony Brooks and Beth Gilbert McBride were voted as the Chairman and Vice Chair of the Wilkes-Barre City Council, the Times Leader reports. In Erie, Ed Brzezinski was voted City Council President, according to YourErie.com.
Block Communications. One day after the riots in Washington D.C. took place after President Donald Trump’s rally, journalists at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are calling out the ownership group for a social media post from a member of the Block family. Pittsburgh City Paper reports that Susan Allan Block, the wife of Allan Bock, who owns Block Communications Inc., posted on social media in support of the riots from Trump supporters and also called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a “whore.”
TWEET OF THE WEEK
The manufacture of Costas remains a principal industry in a region that has lost so many. As Bruce Springsteen once said:
“These mills they made the tanks and bombs
That won this country’s wars
But we can handle all of that trouble
As long as we got a Costa to be votin’ for” https://t.co/4YxINH1xI6
— Chris Potter (@CPotterPgh) January 8, 2021