A pair of potential statewide candidates win a straw poll for Governor and U.S. Senate at a conservative conference, a congressman votes against a bill that lauds law enforcement for defending the Capitol on January 6, plus a Philadelphia native wins his second Pulitzer prize. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Doug Mastriano and Sean Parnell. We’re still a year away from the 2022 statewide primary’s but politicos were given a glimpse at early favorites among conservative activists last week. State Sen. Doug Mastriano won the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference straw poll for governor, while Sean Parnell won the straw poll for U.S. Senate. Even though the campaign is still in it’s early stages, PLC’s straw poll serves as an indicator of where the conservative wing of the party is leaning at this point in time.
Scott Perry. The York County Republican has prided himself as being an ardent supporter of law enforcement, but a vote he took this week is certainly turning heads. The York Dispatch reports that Perry “joined 20 GOP colleagues to oppose awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to all police officers who defended the Capitol during the violent Jan. 6 riots.”
Jake Corman and Bryan Cutler. It’s not often that elected leaders return campaign contributions, but that’s exactly what these two GOP leaders have done. The York Daily Record and LNP | LancasterOnline report that Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman and House Speaker Bryan Cutler both returned donations made to their campaigns by the makers of controversial “skills games” in Pennsylvania. With these leaders returning the campaign donations, it would be expected that rank-and-file members will also follow suit.
Natural Gas Revenue. Another industry impacted by the pandemic. The Associated Press reports that “Pennsylvania’s counties and municipal governments will see the lowest level of annual fee revenue they get from Marcellus Shale gas wells, as drilling slowed and prices sank during the pandemic, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said.” Impact fee revenue from Marcellus Shale dropped from $146 million “from drilling activity in 2020” down to $54 million from the year before.
Philly Vaccination Rates. Higher than other cities, but still trailing it’s neighbors. Billy Penn reports that Philadelphia is about to hit 70% of adults partially vaccinated, which is ahead of President Joe Biden’s “nationwide July 4 target date by several weeks.” Philadelphia’s rate “appears higher than several other big U.S. cities, but still trails slightly behind statewide and suburban collar counties.”
Ronald Knapp. Request denied. The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that Ronald Knapp, a Luzerne County council candidate, “lost his quest for a hand recount of all May 18 primary election Republicans ballots cast in that race.” He lost the GOP nomination by 57 votes.
Cherelle Parker. As talks about the budget in Philadelphia were taking place this week, a plan proposed by Philadelphia’s City Council Majority Leader will not go forward. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Parker “abandoned her controversial proposal to cut Philadelphia’s parking tax Tuesday after fierce criticism from progressives and urban development advocates.”
Gene Yaw and Lisa Baker. The effort led by these two Senate Republicans was tossed by a federal judge. The Associated Press reports that a federal judge “threw out a lawsuit” led by Yaw and Baker that “claimed the Delaware River Basin Commission overstepped its authority and usurped the Legislature with its moratorium on natural gas development near the river and its tributaries.”
Anna Verna’s Legacy. Philadelphia is mourning the loss of “a trailblazer. A fair and well-respected leader,” in the city’s political scene, WHYY reports. Anna Verna, who was the first and only woman to serve as president of Philadelphia City Council, died at the age of 90.
Wesley Morris. This Philadelphia native has now won two Pulitzer prizes. Morris, a critic at large for The New York Times, is a 2021 Pulitizer Prize winner in criticism, for his “unrelentingly relevant and deeply engaged criticism on the intersection of race and culture in America, written in a singular style, alternately playful and profound.” In 2012, Morris, when he was with the Boston Globe, also won the Pulitizer Prize in criticism for his “smart, inventive film criticism, distinguished by pinpoint prose and an easy traverse between the art house and the big-screen box office.”
Russell Rinaldi. There’s a new president on Old Forge council. FOX56 reports that former Vice President Rinaldi was appointed president after former Old Forge Council President Robert Semenza “plead guilty for federal bribery charges.”
Charlotte Valyo. There’s a new party chair in this blue trending county in the commonwealth. Charlotte Valyo, a retired educator who most recently served as the Northern Chester County Democratic Caucus Chairperson, was unanimously elected to serve as the Chester County Democratic Committee Chair. Democrats have found a lot of success here in recent years as it is a long ways away from it was in 2012 when the county voted for then-Gov. Mitt Romney. Valyo will be tasked with keeping up the momentum in the county for her party.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
PA Senate Race really doesn’t start until we get official word from who all of western PA is waiting to hear from … Joe Vodvarka pic.twitter.com/s4BiT4jkhW
— Ryan Deto (@RyanDeto) June 15, 2021