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June 20: An Unlikely Champion

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Top Story

1. The Fight For Abortion Rights Gets An Unlikely Messenger: Sen. Bob Casey

Sen. Bob Casey

“Abortion rights, suddenly a potent political force in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to leave such matters to the states, have found an unlikely champion in swing state Pennsylvania.

Sen. Bob Casey, who will appear on the November ballot beneath President Joe Biden as the Democrats both seek reelection, has begun doing something he’s never done before: attacking an opponent over abortion rights.

The senator, who once called himself a “pro-life Democrat,” accuses Republican challenger David McCormick in a new TV ad of wanting to “make abortion illegal even in cases of rape and incest” — a characterization McCormick says is wrong.” (AP)


Poll: Three-Point Shift In Biden-Trump Matchup Since May. “President Biden is the frontrunner in a hypothetical matchup against former President Trump for the first time since October, as positive views of the economy inch up – hitting their highest level thus far in the Biden presidency, according to a new Fox News national survey.” (Fox News)

Biden Is Stubbornly Underperforming Other Democrats. “Democrats are enthusiastic about trying to win the Senate and trying to win the House,” said Neil Oxman, a Pennsylvania-based Democratic strategist. And they’re “not enthusiastic about Biden’s reelection,” Oxman said. “Period.” (Politico)

Firestorm Erupts Over Requiring Women To Sign Up For Military Draft. “Senate Democrats have added language to the annual defense authorization bill to require women to register for the draft, prompting a backlash from Republicans and social conservatives and complicating the chances of moving the bill on the Senate floor before Election Day.” (The Hill)

Senate GOP Plans $100 Million Ad Blitz As It Fights To Retake Chamber. “The NRSC is making its first reservations for independent expenditures on Thursday in four key states, but not Pennsylvania.” (Politico)



2. Democrats Plan To Spend Big To Flip Scott Perry’s Race. The GOP Says They’re Wasting Their Money

Scott Perry, Janelle Stelson

“Influential Democratic campaign groups plan to spend big to defeat U.S. Rep. Scott Perry and lift the campaign of Democrat Janelle Stelson, a former broadcast journalist and ex-Republican, with the hopes that she can flip the red district. Republicans, however, aren’t too worried about the race.

The House Majority PAC, a Super PAC focused on electing Democrats to the U.S. House, announced in April that it would spend $2.4 million on ads for the Stelson-Perry Central Pennsylvania district as part of a $186 million buy across the country, signaling a serious push to concentrate efforts on the district.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)


Swing-State Legislatures Diverge On Election-Year Gun Measures. “In Pennsylvania, lawmakers are still debating measures that would ban sales of untraceable guns and gun parts, prohibit bump stocks and make some procedural changes related to gun purchases.” (Penn Capital-Star)

RNC and Lara Trump Recruit Poll Watchers In Pennsylvania: ‘We Want To Have An Army’. “Lara Trump, former President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, is touting the Republican National Committee’s effort to recruit poll watchers, poll workers, and legal experts in Pennsylvania, a swing state critical to the presidential election.” (Washington Examiner)

From the Legislature to Project HOME: Bullock To Bring ‘Fighting Spirit’ In New Role As CEO. “Pennsylvania state Rep. Donna Bullock has been appointed as the new CEO of Project HOME and will take over the day-to-day operations this summer.” (WHYY)


Around The Commonwealth

3. Rep. Kelly’s Wife Again Bought Stock In Company That Gained From His Legislative Efforts

Rep. Mike Kelly

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly’s wife made a nearly identical stock purchase in March to one that resulted in a 2021 ethics investigation into insider trading.

Victoria Kelly on March 28 purchased up to $100,000 in stock in steel manufacturer Cleveland-Cliffs. At the same time, the seven-term Republican congressman, along with other elected officials, were pushing the U.S. Department of Energy to reconsider a proposed rule that would have changed the type of steel used in production of electrical distribution transformers.” (Erie Times-News)


Casey Quiet On Fate of Norcross Donations. “U.S. Senator Bob Casey isn’t saying for now if he’ll do anything to distance himself from thousands in donations received from New Jersey real estate mogul George Norcross III, who was the target of a thirteen-count indictment from his state’s attorney general earlier this week that rocked politics across the tri-state region.” (Broad + Liberty)

Smucker Accuses Philly US Attorney of ‘Retaliation’ Against Prosecutor In Hunter Biden Case. “Lancaster County Congressman Lloyd Smucker has thrown the latest GOP-led jab at the U.S. Department of Justice. Smucker joined Sen. Tom Cotton, this week in accusing Philadelphia U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero of “misconduct and politically motivated retaliation” against a prosecutor working on the wide-ranging federal investigation into Hunter Biden.” (LNP)

New PA House Bill Seeks To Right The Wrongs Of Worker Misclassification. “Under Pennsylvania labor law, workers who perform services for an employer and are subject to their control and oversight are employees. By contrast, independent contractors are self-employed and do not perform services that can be controlled by an employer, such as when and how that work will be done, according to the Internal Revenue Service.” (WESA)

Northampton County Council’s Election Integrity Committee’s Name, Existence, Role Are Questioned. “Northampton County Council’s Election Committee is not needed, Council member Jeff Warren said Tuesday. The work could have been done by Council’s Governance Committee, Warren said, and he said the name itself is faulty.” (WFMZ)



4. What’s On Your Mind

  • Pardons For Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession Are A Vital Corrective To The Sham War On Drugs. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Lackluster Accountability Continues To Mar PA’s Opioid Settlement Spending. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • The City of Pittsburgh Needs To Make Its Budget Truly Public. (Jack Ochs)
  • Pre-Canvassing Will Provide Earlier Election Results. (John Sigle)
  • Juneteenth Represents What’s Best About Our Country. (Beth Ann Rosica)
  • Trump’s Political Theater Delights His Fans – And Motivates Democrats to Vote. (Jeff Robertson)


1 Lunar Thing

5. Man On The Moon

Apollo 11 astronauts: Moon landing mission sent Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins – 3 "amiable strangers" – into the history books - CBS News

Fifty-five years ago, the lunar module Eagle touched down in the Sea of Tranquility, the first manned spacecraft to land on the surface of the Moon. The Apollo 11 mission comprised a crew of three astronauts – Neil Armstrong, Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin and Michael Collins – all 39 years old.

The historic landing came just under seven years after what became known as the Moon speech by President John F. Kennedy, when he pledged: “We shall send to the Moon, 240,000 miles away, a giant rocket, more than 300 feet tall on an untried mission to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to Earth.

“But why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why 35 years ago fly the Atlantic? We choose to go to the Moon. We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”


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