Biden’s campaign hires two political operatives to lead his PA campaign, Erie County gets the greenlight for a community college, plus a study shows widespread issues within the Philadelphia courts. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
Every week PoliticsPA sends an exclusive extra Up or Down to Playbook subscribers. See who gets the extra up or down next week: sign up here.
Brendan McPhillips and Sinceré Harris. This duo is set to lead former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign in Pennsylvania. The Biden campaign announced that McPhillips will serve as the State Director and Harris will be the campaign’s Senior Advisor in Pennsylvania. Both political operatives have history in the Keystone State.
Philly Courts. A study conducted by the Washington-based Center for Urban and Racial Equality (CURE) found that the Philadelphia court system is “mired in an internal “culture of nepotism, mistrust and racial tension,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson is quoted in the story saying that he is considering holding Council hearings in the fall on the issues raised in the study.
Danilo Burgos. The Philadelphia state rep will serve on a committee for former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign. Burgos, a first term lawmaker representing the 197th District in the state House, was named as a member of the Biden campaign’s Latino Leadership Committee. In late June, Burgos and Rep. Brendan Boyle hosted an event for the Biden campaign that discussed the Democrats and Biden’s vision for Latinos. Burgos is a first generation Hispanic American and is the first Dominican elected to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Pat Toomey. Wearing a mask in public has become a wedge issue between the right and left in Pennsylvania politics. However, the highest ranking Republican in the state has socially distanced himself from the conservative wing of the party. He consistently wears a mask in public appearances, and even joined a statement with Gov. Tom Wolf urging Pennsylvanians to wear a mask while in public. It’s reminiscent of his position on background checks. It may rile the base, but it makes perfect sense if you want to win statewide elections (like Governor in 2022).
Erie Community College. It’s now official. In a 10-5 vote, the state Board of Education approved Erie County’s community college application. State Sen. President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati opposed the plans and a spokesperson told the PA Post that he is “considering his options” on whether or not to appeal the board’s decision. The Erie County community college will be the first new community college approved in the state in nearly 27 years.
Pete Dardas. The Berks County constable is under investigation and has been suspended indefinitely for racist messages posted on his Facebook page, according to the Reading Eagle. Dardas, who was first elected as the constable from Bechtelsville in 2009, had public posts “encouraging a race war, a reference to putting black people “back in chains” and support for burning down a black history museum and removing a statute of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.,” the Reading Eagle reports. Dardas’s Facebook account is no longer viewable.
Michael Smerconish. The longtime talk radio host and CNN host talked to the Philadelphia Inquirer this week about his upcoming show, “Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking.” The Doylestown native told the Inquirer that the show talks about a wide variety of things in his career that include “pro wrestling and political polarization” all the way to his first appearance on talk-radio in 1990. Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking will air 10 pm on Saturday on CNN.
Jim Sheppard. Progress was made this week with the Delta Foundation in Pittsburgh. Sheppard, the interim president of Pittsburgh’s largest LGBTQ group, met with protesters in a step towards unifying the community to make the organization more inclusive, the Pittsburgh City Paper reports. Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations have been split for years, but this move by Sheppard shows real progress in the community.
TWEET(S) OF THE WEEK
Billy Joel’s song is not about my hometown
— Peter Schweyer (@peter_schweyer) July 7, 2020
— Pennsylvania Treasury (@PATreasury) July 9, 2020