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May 10th Ups & Downs

A state rep goes viral after berating individuals outside of a Planned Parenthood, the Lebanon County GOP chair is feeling the heat to resign from fellow Republican lawmakers in the county over what they believe is a racist mailer, and top staffers for Gov. Tom Wolf received a significant pay bump. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.

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Ken Smukler. The well known political strategist was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for evading campaign-finance laws to give his clients an edge in their congressional bids. In the courtroom, he said he regretted gaming the FEC. His two clients who he committed crimes for, former Reps. Bob Brady and Marjorie Margolies, were not present at the hearing last Friday.

Casey Long. The Lebanon County GOP chair is feeling the heat to resign from three GOP lawmakers in his county. State Sen. Mike Folmer and state Reps. Russ Diamond and Frank Ryan wrote a letter calling for the resignation of Long after the GOP chair sent out a mailer they believe is racist and hurting the party’s reputation. The mailer attempts to link Lebanon County GOP Commissioner Bill Ames with a policy that limits cooperation with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to LebTown. The mailer includes an image of an undocumented man who raped a child after being released from a Philadelphia jail after ICE issued a civil request to detail him, Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports. Long is balking at the calls to step down from fellow GOP members in the county and said the accusation of racism is offensive.

Wolf’s Top Aides. It’s a good time to be a top staffer for the Governor. Nine of his mostly deputy-level staffer received double-digit raises, ranging from $25,000 to more than $33,000 after his successful bid for a second term.

Brian Sims. Two videos recorded by the Philly Democratic state rep caused pushback from conservatives around the country, while not receiving much back up from members of his own party. Sims recorded two videos berating protesters outside of a Planned Parenthood in his district, accusing them of being grotesque. Planned Parenthood issued a statement saying they didn’t condone Sims’ approach, but said nobody who wants to receive care from a Planned Parenthood should receive shame either. Sims released a video acknowledging he violated the spirit of PP’s non-engagement policy and said he will do better, but did not apologize.

Sue Kerr. Founder of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents won most “Outstanding Blog” at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, that recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community.

Willie Singletary. The former Philadelphia Traffic Court judge who went to federal prison for lying to the FBI in a corruption probe wanted to make a comeback in public office, but he won’t have the chance this year. The state Supreme Court ruled he will not be eligible to be on the Democratic ballot for Philadelphia City Council at-large. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the state Constitution rules that people “convicted of embezzlement of public moneys, bribery, perjury, or other infamous crimes” cannot hold “any office of trust or profit” in the state.

David E. Schwager. The Luzerne County attorney was selected as the next president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association in 2020. He’s a partner in the Wilkes-Barre law firm of Chariton, Schwager & Malak and just the fourth person from Luzerne County to lead the PA Bar Association. He will become president-elect of the association after the group’s annual meeting on May 17.

Brendan McPhillips. The former campaign manager for John Fetterman during his bid for Senate in 2016, who has run a number of campaigns in Pennsylvania was tapped to be 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg’s Iowa state director. McPhillips most recently served as the campaign manager for Andrew Gillum in his race for Governor of Florida.


6 Responses

  1. Refresh my memory about the raises Corbit gave to his top aids, seems that it was similar.

  2. This resignation would be unsurprising. I am more curious to know why Mr. Long was forced to resign from the Senate Caucus. From wunderkind to pariah, what happened?

  3. Brian Sims story. If that was a conservative lawmaker making in similar statements about an LBGTQ person or organization, that would make nation headlines and calls for resignation would be endless! Don’t have a dog in this fight, but find the differences in how this is handled troubling.

  4. Scott Wagner should qualify for a pay raise as he was a great asset in the success of Gov Tom Wolf winning a second term. His campaign was completely out of tune and Wagner’s failure to understand that everyone films everything these days (the town hall where Wagner criticized a young questioner was recorded and posted on the net during the campaign going viral) were factors. The true factors of success in the last campaign are Wolf’s own personal style as a candidate and Wagner’s not understanding the impact of social media while overall not being a good candidate.

    1. People shouldn’t beat up on low-level campaign staffers or treat young voters condescendingly, regardless of whether the cameras are running. The benefit of the ubiquity of cameras is that Mr. Wagner’s abysmal judgement and poor temperament were on display for the world to see with an impact that written and verbal accounts cannot convey.

  5. So is Philly City Council an office of “profit” (not a surprise), because I’m pretty sure nobody has any “trust” for it.

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