Leap Day Morning Buzz

Good morning politicos, happy Leap Day! The next phase of the presidential campaign begins this morning.

Santorum Loses Michigan: The honeymoon is over. Mitt Romney won both the hotly-contested Michigan and Arizona primaries Tuesday, defeating Rick Santorum.

Rohrer Wins PoliticsPA Readers Poll: Former state Rep. Sam Rohrer of Berks County won the PoliticsPA readers poll of the U.S. Senate primary. He took 37 percent.

New Reader Poll: Six Pennsylvania members of Congress are facing primary challenges this April. Who do you think will have the toughest time?

Critz Locks Down Home Town Labor Support: Rep. Mark Critz has earned the bulk of labor support in his primary versus Jason Altmire, and this week he scored two home town wins.  The Johnstown-Somerset and Westmoreland County Labor Councils – both representing parts of his current district – endorsed his candidacy.

DePasquale, Maher Take Lumps for Double-Dipping: Eugene DePasquale and John Maher have two things in common. Both are running for the office Pa. Auditor General, and both are running unopposed for re-election to their seats in the State House. One good government group is crying foul. In related Auditor news, Frank Pinto defended against a court challenge and will remain on the ballot.

Rand Paul Endorses Feinberg: Kentucky Senator and Tea Party icon Rand Paul has thrown his support behind congressional hopeful and former staffer Evan Feinberg. It’s the second Senate endorsement the conservative challenger has received this month.

Legislative Election Updates:

LGBT Candidates: The Patriot News took a look at the openly gay candidates running for office this year in Pa. All are Dems; a surprising 2 of 3 interviewed are from Dauphin County (Chris Deitz in HD-104, Kelly McEntee in HD-105; plus Brian Sims in HD-182 in Philly).

HD-33: Correction. Yesterday, we noted that the petitions of James Taylor (Rep) are being challenged, but listed it as HD-33 and ascribed it to the Frank Dermody campaign. Taylor is actually running for state Senate (SD-33) against Richard Alloway in Franklin County.

HD-44: Ron Steele has dropped out of the race, leaving friend Mark Mustio a clear path to the Republican nomination. Mustio is simultaneously seeking the seat of retiring Sen. John Pippy.

HD-51: Four Republicans using two attorney are pushing for the removal of Michael Cavanaugh from the ballot based on his past felony conviction. Gary Gearing is the other Republican on the ballot; the Uniontown district is currently represented by Tim Mahoney.

HD-115: Jerry Histed dropped out of the race to replace the retiring Rep. Ed Staback, leaving the Democratic primary a two-person affair between Frank Farina and Randy Castellani, The Republican long-shot is Theresa Kane.

HD-120: Phyllis Mundy’s primary challenger Frank McCabe left the race this week rather than spend the money to defend his petitions against a challenge. He collected just 325 signatures (300 are required) and was a long shot to stay on. Mundy now faces only Republican Aaron Kaufer in the Luzerne Co. district.

HD-121: Peter Mailloux, the Republican who had hoped to challenge Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, has withdrawn from the race. He lived in the district according to the lines drawn by the LRC in 2011, but not the 2001 lines. Pashinski is now unopposed in the Luzerne Co. district.

HD-182: Babette Josephs, who is facing a primary challenge from Brian Sims, named Lois Herr her campaign chair on Tuesday. Herr ran for Congress three times against Joe Pitts. “Babette is the progressive leader we need looking out for us in Harrisburg,” Herr said. “There are only 18 Democratic women in the General Assembly – about 7 percent. Is it any surprise that Republicans think they can run roughshod over our rights?” Said Josephs: “Lois knows what it’s like to go up against intransigence and regression the way I do every day in Harrisburg. I’ve been pleased to call her a friend over the years and today I’m proud to have her wisdom and her support.”

National:
AP: Closing Pa. Refinery Could Spike Gas Prices
AP: Santorum defends robo-call use in Michigan primary
Wall Street Journal: Ohio poll sees Santorum up by 11 points
U.S. Newswire: Rep. Fattah’s action week: He will honor ex-Rep. Bill Gray, take testimony from cabinet officials, meet with Bill Gates
The Hill: Fundamental shift needed to tackle deficit, health care
Politico: GOP frets over 2012 knife fight
News Observer: Pre-Kindergarten is the next political battle
Washington Post: Santorum takes heat for ‘snob’ comment against President Obama
Fox News: Romney blasts Santorum for ‘dirty trick’ calls to Michigan Dems encouraging vote in GOP primary
Morning Call: Mitt Romney wins Arizona primary, captures 29 delegates
Morning Call: As Michigan votes, Obama celebrates revitalized auto industry
Morning Call: Romney dismisses talk of brokered convention
Politico: Huckabee to host third GOP forum
Politico: Reid blasts Romney on Senate floor
Politico: Gov’t execs need to get mobile
Roll Call: Snowe shocks colleagues with retirement
Roll Call: Obama set to meet with Congressional leaders on Wednesday
Washington Post: Why Mitt Romney’s Arizona win matters
Washington Post: In Ohio, fierce primary fight may hurt GOP’s chances for the fall
Real Clear Politics: Obamacare’s stepchildren: The food police
Real Clear Politics: Odds of a brokered convention are increasing
The Hill: Panetta to Congress: Don’t balance budget with added cuts to defense
The Hill: House GOp leaders announce vote on jobs package as early as next week
The Hill: Worried Dems pressing Obama on gas prices
NY Times: Romney wins close primary in Michigan
NY Times: Supreme Court debates rights case aimed at corporations
NY Times: Violence in Afghanistan causes ripples on campaign trail
USA Today: Pro-Gingrich ad makes contrasts with Romney
USA Today: Government’s role in marketplace on trial in Michigan

Statewide:
AP: Corbett’s Welfare Cuts Draw Anger From Democrats
AP: Democrats balk at cuts in Pennsylvania welfare spending
AP: Challenge to PA auditor general candidate spiked
Peters Patch: Candidates prepare for 2012 primary election
PA Independent: Corman to Corbett: Colleges already paid their “fair share” In budget cuts
Capitol Ideas: State system schools make their budget case
Capitol Ideas: Public welfare secretary goes under the budget microscope
Capitol Ideas: Changing how we pay for prisons
State House Sound Bites: Senate democrats grill DPW secretary
State House Sound Bites: Pleas to end cuts from above and below, the liquor app, & a welfare tweak
PA Independent: Gloves come off in battle for PA higher ed funds
PA Independent: DPW Secretary: PA needs new direction on welfare spending
Capitolwire: Corbett administration has no ‘imminent plans’ for leasing state forestland for natural gas drilling
Capitolwire: Concerns voiced by lawmakers about DPW’s county block grant proposal
Capitolwire: 14 state-owned universities ask for restoration of state funding
Capitolwire: Senate Democrats claim DPW buget ‘mean-spirited,’ say cuts will hurt ‘poorest of the poor.’
Capitolwire: Corrections Sec. Wetzel says his agency is committed to reducing prison population, supports passage of SB100

Philadelphia:
Daily News: Nutter administration: no new taxes
Daily News: City still needs state’s help to fix property-tax system
Daily News: FOP endorses Murphy for AG, slams his rival
Daily News: Poll: Citizens feel overtaxed, still willing to pay more
Daily News: Life in America under President Santorum
Delaware County Daily Times: It was fundraisers, not politics, that saved the Catholic schools
Inquirer: Latino activists rally against Pennsylvania’s legislative map
Inquirer: Should Democrats dump Obama? Specter says yes, maybe no
Philly Now: Where was Santorum when Bush apologized?
Philly Now: Pennsylvania may pass most extreme ultrasound bill in country
WHYY Newsworks: Poll finds most Philadelphians want ads over taxes

SEPA:
Pottstown Mercury: Crowd expected for Pottsgrove redistricting vote
Courier Times: Neshaminy school board president to participate in online town hall
phillyBurbs.com: School board member proposes cutting 55 teachers
phillyBurbs.com: PECO representatives to attend Doylestown meeting
phillyBurbs.com: Palisades making changes to its elementary schools
Delco Daily Times: Sonoco: Hook councilman asked for $1M
Delco Daily Times: Report: Gas prices will rise after closing of refineries
Delco Daily Times: Chester Upland to make next payroll date
Montgomery News: Ambler signs on for floodplain study
Bucks Local News: Santarsiero votes against bill creating public-private partnerships for state roads and bridges

Pittsburgh:
Tribune-Review: Seven post offices in Western Pa. spared closure
Tribune-Review: 5 men, 7 women selected as jurors for Orie retrial
Tribune-Review: Deadline nears on Allegheny County tax exemption
Tribune-Review: Veon defense on deck
Post-Gazette: Mayor, council move to fill vacant board seats
Post-Gazette: Port Authority fined for refusing bus-trolley ads
Post-Gazette: Reassessment disparities found in the county’s southern suburbs
Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh in running to share millions in IBM support
Post-Gazette: Prosecution in Veon case seeks dismissal of 4 charges
Early Returns: Another labor pickup for Critz
Early Returns: Mano a mano in 12th
Early Returns: Rand Paul endorses Feinberg in 18th
KDKA: Cyril Wecht will not become Allegheny County medical examiner
Valley News Dispatch: Primary leaves Valley voters with little choice

Southwest:
WJAC: Somerset County coroner surprised by Pentagon report on Flight 93
Tribune-Democrat: Creany offers look at realignment plan
Daily Courier: Mt. Pleasant Area School Board, teachers reach accord
Daily Courier: 4 challenge Uniontown man’s petition to run for 51st district
Beaver County Times: Rex has permits for Perry Twp. wells
Observer-Reporter: DEP: Robinson spill larger than first thought
Valley News Dispatch: Lawmakers question military leaders on 911th plans
Daily American: Hottle tossed from ballot for party chair

Lehigh Valley:
Morning Call: Mayors tout jobs growth in Lehigh Valley
Morning Call: Pennsylvania welfare spending cuts questioned by lawmakers
Morning Call: Rep. Dent foes, Daugherty & Eaton, to debate at least twice
Reading Eagle: State’s funding woes take bite out of Pa.’s dog laws
WFMZ: Property reassessment leaves some scratching heads
WFMZ: Pa. senator returns to work following cancer diagnosis
WFMZ: Bill aims to reign in local gun control laws

NEPA:
Times Leader: Finding ex-senator to their taste
Times Leader: Set to get going as county’s manager
Times-Tribune: Lackawanna County HR director resigns after academic record questioned
Times-Tribune: Lackawanna County pulls down $769,000 from judicial sale
Times-Tribune: Blake seeks support for county sales tax
Times-Tribune: Lackawanna County solicitor resigns
Wayne Independent: Mayor encourages residents to check Treasury Department’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property
Pocono Record: Pocono municipalities may lose shares of PA state police fee
Pocono Record: $9.5M grant will rebuild flood-damaged roads in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

South Central:
Chambersburg Public Opinion: The Franklin County GOP held it’s Reagan Dinner
Chambersburg Public Opinion: Shuster supporters challenge nominating signatures for GOP challenger
Carlisle Sentinel: Challenge to Pa. auditor general candidate spiked
Carlisle Sentinel: State auditor general finds sharp increase in families needing urgent home heating repairs
Carlisle Sentinel: New website details Corbett’s proposed $338.1m funding increase for school districts
Associated Press: Gov. Tom Corbett’s welfare cuts draw anger from Democrats
Harrisburg Patriot-News: Pa. Sen. Mike Folmer is back to work after cancer diagnosis and initial treatment
York Daily Record: City district employees to keep jobs

North by Northwest:
Times-News: City Returns Property to Occupy Erie Protesters
Centre Daily Times: Centre County Commissioners To Hold Marcellus Shale Hearing

Opinions:
Patriot News: Op-Ed: Politicians who make and keep promises are often rare breed
Centre Daily Times Syndicated Column: Santorum Surge Brings Cheers From The Obama Camp
Pottstown Mercury: The pope, Obama and religious freedom
Pottstown Mercury: Elected officials continue to kill  US jobs
Delco Daily Times: Editorial: Don’t blame refinery closings for rising gas prices
Daily Local: It was fundraisers, not politics that saved the Catholic schools
Times-Tribune: Update voter registration
Wayne Independent: Setting the record straight about council
Daily News: Archdiocese, district welcome new investments
Los Angeles Times: A race fueled by billionaires
Morning Call: Bill Clinton was able to reduce national debt
Morning Call: Republican presidential candidates should discuss issues
Morning Call: Church won’t change view on contraception
Tribune-Review: Not all tax cuts are created equal
Tribune-Review Santorum’s throw-up: Clean up in aisle Rick
Post-Gazette: Insulting consent: PA also has an anti-abortion law ready
Post-Gazette: Stop the school cuts
Altoona Mirror: Eliminate business welfare
Observer-Reporter: Rick condemns rock, 40 years too late
Morning Call: Pa. arts help the economy
Politico: Splintered GOP looks a lot like Democrats in 1972
Roll Call: Republicans set stage to become all-time hypocrites
Washington Post: Santorum’s warfare against elites
Bloomberg: China-Taiwan tensions could loom over U.S. ‘pivot’ to Asia
The Hill: The bond between Camp and Baucus
NY Times: Women’s health care at risk
USA Today: Santorum distorts Kennedy’s words on religion

Blogs:
Commonwealth Foundation: Got freedom? PLBC has no app for that!
Lehigh Valley Ramblings: Does Easton or any municipality  need its own ethics committee?
Lehigh Valley Independent: PA GOP’s  ultrasound bill  is now the most insane
Lehigh Valley Independent: John Sharpe on the Allentown bike lane plan
Keystone Politics: The emerging Critz labor and trade primary strategy
Keystone Politics: Thank the stimulus  for Weyerback expansion
Keystone Politics: Mass laziness  is not driving  SNAP enrollment
Keystone Politics: To reduce prison costs,  scrap mandatory  minimum sentencing for drug crimes
Keystone Politics: No apology!
Keystone Politics: Corbett administration open to school district  consolidation
Keystone Politics: Politico names Pennsylvania  12th district  to “the 5 ugliest member vs. member battles” list
NEPArtisan: HD-115: Histed out
NEPArtisan: Liz Randol takes job with Costanzo, mayor candidacy likelihood diminished
NEPArtisan: Lackawanna County picks a winner, I mean a loser, but not his fault
2 Political Junkies: PA’s forced ultrasound “Women’s Right To Know Act” (Women’s Right To No Rights Act)
2 Political Junkies: Nice to see we agree on something!
Pennsylvania Progressive: Lehigh Valley officials endorse Patrick Murphy
Pennsylvania Progressive: News and notes

February 29th, 2012 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Playbook, Top Stories | No Comments