July 3rd Ups & Downs
Gov. Tom Wolf receives a win in the courts, but a hit in the polls over the coronavirus, a Lancaster County Republican joins the GOP House leadership, plus a ratings outlet shows a tightening race in PA1. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Tom Wolf. His polling on the coronavirus issue has returned to earth. A FOX43/SP&R survey found his net approval rating on COVID response dropped 43 points from April (though still net positive, 49-to-42). The good news for Wolf was courtesy of the state Supreme Court. The state Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday against the GOP effort to end Wolf’s pandemic shutdown orders.
Lloyd Smucker. The Lancaster County Republican was elected this week by his colleagues to serve as the Sophomore Representative to the GOP House Leadership.
Brian Fitzpatrick. The Bucks County Republican still has the upper hand in his reelection bid, but recent Democratic polling shows a tight race in the 1st Congressional District. As a result of an internal poll from challenger Christina Finello’s campaign, a poll backed by a Dem PAC, coupled with Biden’s strong numbers in the Philadelphia suburbs, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball moved the race in the 1st District from Likely Republican to Leans Republican. That said, Dems are still in a position of having to justify targeting what, on paper, should be among their top pickup opportunities in the country. That’s due to Fitz’s individual strength as a candidate.
PA Revenue. The shoe has begun to drop. The state government collected $32.3 billion in the most recent fiscal year, which is about $3.2 billion less than projected at the beginning of the fiscal year.
Safe Injection Sites. The plans for a supervised injection site in Philadelphia is on hold indefinitely. Billy Penn reports that U.S. District Judge Gerald McHugh’s new order said that “now is not the right time for something new, positing that the “nerves of citizens are frayed by fear and uncertainty.”
Fireworks. They keep going up into the air, even as neighbors across the state complain. The state Senate overwhelmingly voted for legislation that would give officials in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Bensalem Township the option of banning the use of consumer fireworks within their borders, PennLive reports.
George Lazarus. Delaware County Council appointed Lazarus as its new executive director, succeeding Marianne Grace, the Delco Daily Times reports. Lazarus served as city administrator for Ann Arbor since 2016 and prior to that worked for eight years as the public works director in Austin, TX.
Andrew Dash. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto named Dash the new director of the Department of City Planning. Dash, who has been the acting director since June 2019, will take the role pending approval from city council, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The department
Scranton Pension Fund. Although the city’s pension fund hasn’t fully recovered, it has “rebounded” according to the Scranton Times-Tribune. The fund’s value rose from $92.8 million on March 31 to $100.6 million as of May 30. Although the fund is now described as in “pretty good shape,” by the plans’ financial adviser, it still is not as high as the $109.3 million value on Feb. 14.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
“Bucks” the trend.
For House races, at least since I started last year, I don’t think so. So you could say it bucks the trend there.
— J. Miles Coleman (@JMilesColeman) July 2, 2020