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May 12th Playbook

Getting interesting, isn’t it? Barnette Under New Scrutiny. Corman to Exit (Again). Love Him or Leave Him, Mastriano’s Got The Lead. What Do Rural Voters Think? Here is the Playbook.

PA Weather
Johnstown | Sunny, 74
Selinsgrove | Mostly Sunny, 77
Bryn Mawr | Mostly Cloudy, 70

PA Sports
76ers (trail 3-2) | THU vs. Miami
Penguins (lead 3-1) | THU at NY Rangers

Phillies (14-17) | won at Seattle, 4-2; THU-SUN at LA Dodgers
Pirates (13-17) | won vs. LA Dodgers, 5-3; THU-SUN vs. Cincinnati

Union (5-1-4) | SAT vs. NY Red Bulls


What Do Rural Voters Think? A Day in the “T”: A trip to my hometown – Huntingdon, Pa. – to hear what rural voters in the Pennsylvania “T” think about Trump, politics and the primary.

PA Governor Race: Corman to Exit Governor’s Race; Endorse Barletta: Lancaster Online is reporting that Jake Corman will end his run for the Republican nomination for governor on Thursday and throw his support behind Lou Barletta.

  • Love Him or Leave Him. Mastriano’s Got The Lead: He may be the most polarizing figure in PA politics today. Whether you love him or not, Doug Mastriano sits atop the polls for the GOP nomination for governor.
  • Inquirer: A last-ditch GOP effort to stop Doug Mastriano in the Pa. governor’s race appears to be too little, too late
  • PennLive: McSwain tops latest fundraising among Pa. GOP governor candidates with $5M from one group 
  • PennLive: Pa. GOP gubernatorial candidate Jake Corman to drop out of race, source says
  • PennLive: Take a look at the twists and turns so far in the primary race for Pa. governor
  • The Rich Zeoli Show: Bill McSwain: I’m the Contrast to Josh Shapiro for Governor of Pennsylvania
  • WJET: Lou Barletta makes stop in Erie
  • ABC27: Candidates campaign in Pa. ahead of primary election
  • ABC27: Jake Corman dropping out of Pennsylvania Governor race a second time; sources  
  • ABC27: Who’s running for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2022?
  • ABC27: Who’s running for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania?
  • City Paper: After Hours: Natalie Bencivenga interviews Austin Davis

PA Senate Race: ‘Kathy Barnette is the surprise Pa. Senate candidate who just might win. Now she’s getting new scrutiny.’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “Barnette’s rise in the final days of Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate primary has stunned operatives in both parties, who are scrambling to respond.”

  • AP: Conservative groups go against Trump, Oz in Pa. Senate race
  • Times-Tribune: Cognetti endorses Fetterman for U.S. Senate
  • MSNBC: Fetterman: After his first Senate loss, ‘we’re one of the most well-resourced campaigns’
  • MSNBC: Rep. Lamb: ‘Totally unproven’ Fetterman connects better with Pa. swing voters
  • MSNBC: Full Kenyatta: ‘Unlike [Fetterman], I am a progressive’
  • Post-Gazette: Democrat hopefuls swing into crucial Erie County days before primary
  • Post-Gazette: Kathy Barnette’s surge in GOP polls puts her in line with Oz, McCormick 6 days out from Pa.’s primary
  • Fox News: Kathy Barnette soars in PA election polls, grabs major outside support in GOP Senate primary 
  • Fox News: All Republican Pa. Senate candidates sign anti-critical race theory pledge Youngkin backed before Virginia win
  • Axios: GOP panics over ‘ultra-MAGA’ Pennsylvania Senate wild card
  • McClatchy: ‘A David and Goliath fight’: Is Kathy Barnette a sleeper Senate candidate or a spoiler? 
  • National Journal: Club for Growth goes on air to support Kathy Barnette in Pennsylvania 
  • The Hill: Club for Growth endorses Barnette in Pennsylvania GOP Senate race, drops $2M on ads
  • CNN: How Trump’s endorsement of Oz gave Kathy Barnette an unexpected opening in Pennsylvania
  • KDKA: Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate confront inflation with a variety of ideas
  • KDKA: Republican Senate candidates offer variety of solutions to inflation problem
  • WTAE: Commitment 2022: Malcolm Kenyatta, candidate for Senate
  • Bucks County Courier Times: On the PA campaign trail: Trump crowd gives Oz lukewarm reception; Barnette gaining traction
  • The Times Leader: GOP senate candidate McCormick talks issues over breakfast at D’s Diner
  • Delaware Valley Journal: Would Barnette’s Pro-Life Views Help or Hurt Her in November?
  • WFMZ: Candidate for U.S. Senate visits Birdsboro
  • ABC27: Who’s running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania?
  • City & State PA: New endorsements in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race

‘GOP Sen. Cris Dush calls on state to disavow ballot drop box use’: City & State PA reports that “a GOP lawmaker overseeing a Republican-led investigation of the state’s recent elections is calling on the Pennsylvania Department of State to direct counties to remove ballot drop boxes ahead of next week’s primary elections. In a letter sent to the department’s acting secretary on Tuesday, state Sen. Cris Dush urged the department to request that all counties in the state immediately stop using drop boxes as a means to collect mail-in ballots.”

‘Changes to Pa. Minimum Wage Act, modernizing rules for tipped workers, to take effect in August’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “regulatory changes to a decades-old law governing Pennsylvania’s minimum wage rules will take effect on Aug. 5, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry announced on Wednesday.”

‘New Pa. charter school leader vows to fend off funding cuts, promote this public school option’: PennLive reports that “Anne Clark, who started at the end of April as the CEO of Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, came to the Capitol on Wednesday to celebrate National Charter School Week.”

‘Groups demand Pa. lawmakers pull the plug on no-excuse mail-in voting’: PennLive reports that “representatives from more than 40 groups from across Pennsylvania came to the Capitol on Wednesday to sign in person a declaration of election integrity demanding an immediate end to mail-in voting.”

‘Lehigh County DA says detectives’ ballot drop box monitoring continues; Berks County has had uniformed deputies watching boxes since 2020’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said Wednesday at least some disagreements with the state’s top election official over detective monitoring of election ballot drop boxes have been resolved.”

‘Eligible Pa. families to see relief after COVID-19 disrupted school meal programs’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “families with children affected by COVID-19 closings should soon see relief with federal approval of a program that will cover the costs of school meals after the pandemic disrupted traditional operations.”

‘Pennsylvania residents cross the state border to spend less on gas’: WJET reports that they “caught up with several individuals from Pennsylvania who said that they drive out of state to get gas just to save money.”

‘Regina Mauro: Chester County Voters Should Send a Conservative Woman to Congress’: The Delaware Valley Journal reports that “Republican Regina Mauro is running in the May 17 primary against three men. But she says she believes she is the best person running and will go on to knock off Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan in November.”

‘Officials make case for syringe service programs to fight opioid epidemic, reduce harms’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “Pennsylvania’s acting health secretary joined other officials Wednesday to push for expanding syringe service programs to combat the opioid epidemic and reduce harms tied to drug use.”

‘Wolf meets the Wolfpack’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf may have come to Wilkes-Barre Area High School to promote his proposed increase in public school funding, but he was sidelined on the way to the auditorium and shuffled into the school’s Wolfpack Live radio booth where he clearly made the day for a lot of budding media stars.”

‘Medical marijuana is still a Schedule 1 substance in DUI cases, PA Superior Court rules’: The York Daily Record reports that “the Pennsylvania Superior Court has rejected an argument in a driving under the influence case that medical marijuana is not a Schedule 1 controlled substance, a drug that has holds no current medical use and poses a high potential for abuse.”

Legislative Election Updates
Philly Clout: Mailers targeting Philly progressives have curious links to Trump and the city’s Democratic Party
City & State PA: Mailer featuring gun to head of state rep causes upheaval at a Philadelphia PAC 
Tribune Review: 2 Republicans look to unseat state Rep. Dan Deasy
ABC27: Buell running in unique, newly drawn 103rd District race

Regional Spotlight: Northeast
The Times Leader: MSNBC interviewing Luzerne County voters, officials ahead of primary
The Times Leader: McCormick bringing Ted Cruz to WB
The Times Leader: Exeter man appointed to vacant Republican seat on Luzerne County Election Board
The Times Leader: Crocamo resigns as Luzerne County manager
The Times Leader: Luzerne County election director reports ballot drop box incident
The Times Leader: Luzerne County mail ballot delivery protocols discussed
The Times Leader: Crocamo gives Luzerne County her two weeks
The Times Leader: Mail ballot voting reminders issued for Luzerne County nursing and personal care homes
Times-Tribune: MSNBC host live in Wilkes-Barre: Luzerne County rightward shift represents political “seachange”
Times-Tribune: Local women call for supporting abortion rights
Times-Tribune: Election board member Fusaro says she will not campaign or volunteer for political candidates 
Times-Tribune: Most voting drop boxes go away at week’s end
Citizens Voice: County council appoints election board member, asks for applicants to fill vacant council seat 
Citizens Voice: Spiked drugs lead to record number of overdoses in Luzerne County 
Citizens Voice: Wilkes-Barre councilman: Remove streetside basketball hoops

Salena Zito: Who is Kathy Barnette?
Tina Clymer: Pa. lawmakers must support mental health safety net 
Jamie Gauthier: Black and brown homeowners unfairly targeted by Philly’s new property assessments
Jim Cawley: Don’t overhaul the U.S. bankruptcy system
John L. Micek: Proposed grant program would help classroom aides to become teachers | Wednesday Morning Coffee
Inquirer Editorial Board: Philly ballot questions: How to vote on 4 proposed amendments to the City Charter | Endorsement
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Gainey right to nix Peduto’s basic income gimmick
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: Audit the Vote PA’s voter survey was flawed, deceptive and clearly meant to advance the Big Lie
Paul Muschick: America stinks at recycling plastic. Why don’t we care?
Lynn Cullen Live: Problems within the Democratic Party (05/11/22)
Bill McKinney: As city leaders try to improve Kensington, they too often leave out community members
Jonathan Sgro, Kate Dugan, and Monty Wilson: 5 ways the city can lessen the financial blow of new property assessments
Bruce Ledewitz: A leak? The Supreme Court tipped its hand on abortion long ago 
Aasta Mehta: Let’s build bridges to birth justice l Expert Opinion
Eszter Kutas: To counter fake news, look to lessons from the Holocaust

11 Responses

  1. People like celebs. Voters want to sound serious but the reality is Oz is in good shape to win the Primary and only because of TV.

  2. There was no reason to think Kathy Barnette would win her 2020 race for the U.S. House.

    Barnette, a Republican, was facing incumbent Rep. Madeleine Dean (D) in a redrawn district near Philadelphia that Hillary Clinton had won by 20 points in 2016. Even if the race had occurred in a year when Republicans were heavily favored, a victory for Barnette would have been a stretch, and in 2020 in Pennsylvania, it was not a particularly good year for Republicans. Barnette lost and that, it would seem, was that.

    But it wasn’t. Even before vote-counting was completed in the state, President Donald Trump began challenging the results. He insisted that his election-night lead was somehow the real tally and that the absentee ballots being slowly counted represented some scheme to upend his success. It was obviously false; it had been apparent for weeks that absentee ballots would favor Joe Biden and be counted after polls closed. The question was solely whether Trump’s lead (the “red mirage,” it was dubbed) would withstand the eventual count. Such clarifications were not useful to Trump, of course, so he ignored them.
    So did Barnette. In an appearance on Fox News, she insisted she had won the day-of balloting but had to watch that be upended by “ridiculous” vote-counting after the fact. The process, she claimed, was akin to how elections were conducted in Afghanistan.

    Barnette did not give up on elections. She is now seeking the Republican nomination for the Senate in Pennsylvania, hoping to appeal to the hard-right base of support that gave Trump almost enough votes to win the state. And to make that pitch, she can point to one particular contribution to the cause: the elevation of an election-fraud theory that has since metastasized into its own vibrant universe of surreality.

    It began not with the election but with the pandemic.

    In late August, Barnette hosted a man named Douglas Frank for a discussion of the coronavirus in a video interview. Frank, an administrator and teacher at a school in Ohio, had compiled data assessing the progress of the pandemic over the course of 2020 and arrived at a determination that would certainly have pleased the president: The virus had run its course. A Facebook post making that point went viral, prompting the Associated Press to debunk it. (History has since debunked it further.) But Frank was making a pitch about reopening schools that Barnette found compelling. His case might have been flawed, but he made up for it with lots of visually interesting, complicated graphs.

    This apparent expertise seems to have lingered with Barnette. When she decided after the 2020 election that something suspect must have happened, she contacted Frank. Frank’s analysis showed what Barnette might have hoped: There were tens of thousands of votes cast in Montgomery County that weren’t connected to real people. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported last year, this appeared to confirm the other analysis Barnette had received. The fraud, she apparently believed, was real.

    The problem, of course, is that it wasn’t. We’ve assessed Frank’s theory of the case before, including when it was later championed in Michigan by an attorney named Matt DePerno — now the presumptive Republican nominee for attorney general in that state.

    In short, Frank took data on turnout by age from individual counties and then averaged rates across a handful of counties. He then compared that average to counties across the state, finding that they all correlated strongly — something he attributed to an unnatural introduction of an algorithm. But of course, there’s a much simpler explanation. Turnout patterns by age are consistent both within and across elections, with younger voters turning out less than older ones. Frank was simply representing that pattern. What he was doing was the equivalent of averaging four of Usain Bolt’s 100-meter dash times and announcing that the average was remarkably close to the times in his other races. Which: Of course.

    But it all sounded complicated. He talked about “sixth-order polynomials” and had lots of charts and discussed r-correlation values. To a layperson, it seemed like an expert trying to convey complicated insights. To experts, it seemed like a layperson trying to feign complicated insights.

    “I don’t think she thought of me as an election person, which I’m not,” Frank told the Inquirer somewhat incongruously.

    Frank apparently did other things for Barnette, too. In an interview last year, he claimed to have been hired by a losing congressional campaign to knock on doors where his purported fake voters lived, in hopes of proving no legitimate voter was there. This was Barnette, though the Inquirer credits this door-knocking plan to another consultant.

    The upshot?

    “Barnette and a team of about 100 volunteers spend four days in December knocking on doors,” the paper’s Andrew Seidman reported. “About a third of the homes they visited ‘had something awry going on,’ Barnette said.” That’s what Frank said in that interview, too, that “we found about 30-32 percent of the doors we knocked on had at least one phantom voter.”

    Now, it’s important to recognize why this is dubious. The set of houses being contacted was about 1,600, presumably all in the same county. Even with 100 people working for four days, you are not going to be able to confirm the identity of 1,600 residents, as anyone who’s ever done a door-knocking effort can attest. People aren’t home. People move. People don’t answer the door to strangers. It’s harder than it sounds. So we don’t know what the denominator of that 30 percent figure is. We do know, though, that there does not appear to have been any law enforcement action that identified numerous fraudulent votes in Montgomery County.

    Despite that, Frank soon became a minor celebrity on the election-fraud circuit. He spoke at a Trump rally in Ohio, where he applied his magical polynomial to the state’s results to find the same “evidence of fraud,” by which I mean he discovered that turnout patterns were consistent there, too. He sat at MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s side as Lindell hosted a gathering of enthusiasts in South Dakota where he pledged to prove rampant fraud had occurred, ultimately failing to do so.

    How did Lindell meet Frank? According to Seidman, through Barnette. She “helped introduce” the two, he wrote, with Frank’s claims quickly finding a home in Lindell’s pantheon of unverified assertions. “Lindell also interviewed Frank for a video in which they discuss Pennsylvania’s 4th District,” Seidman added.

    Questions sent to Barnette’s campaign about her assessment of her 2020 loss and her work with Frank did not receive a response. (To Seidman, she said she “didn’t believe” the state’s elections were riddled with fraud.) The pair’s advocacy extended to presentations before state legislators and discussions of a lawsuit, an effort that ended when Barnette decided to run for Senate.

    Frank and Lindell, though, are still at it. The pair spoke at an event in Gettysburg, Pa., last month, where they focused on “fixing the election.” Frank is the keynote speaker at an event including several right-wing candidates in Arizona this upcoming weekend. On a promotional image for the event, he is described as a “40 Year Modeler of Elections,” despite his insistence that he was not an “election person.”

    On Sunday, Frank shared an update on his Telegram page: He and Lindell were endorsing Barnette’s Senate bid. If she comes up short in the hotly contested race, one can assume Frank will be able to explain why.

    1. This narrative is riddled with errors, not surprising when it has emanated from one of the anti-everything Gale-brothers.

      For example, the depiction of Frank is in-error, for he defined the denominator of phantom-voters by correlative statistics based upon the 2010 Census.

      The absence of any reference to “Rigged” or to “2000 Mules” renders this posting to be as fraudulent as was 2020.

      1. You are one opinionated soul, Dr Bob! The article is taken verbatim from yesterday’s Washington Post, written by Phil Bump. Obviously you are a devotee of Doug Frank and Mr Pillow, both of whom have repeatedly been discredited as erroneous in their calculations.

        1. the core-point in Frank’s analysis is to correlate the voter base with the 2010 census; this is omitted from this article

          also, it ignores “Rigged” and “2000 mules” as providing support for how phantom ballots were strategically created and stuffed

          i’ve been critical of Frank, but not regarding these assertions and how they were generated

  3. The problem is that voters often do not think; it’s like they just grab the latest cereal off the shelf that they saw an ad for last night.

  • Reader Poll: Should President Joe Biden Step Aside?

    • Yes. He should step aside because of his age, declining ability to do the job. (45%)
    • No. He should not step aside. (39%)
    • Yes. He should step aside because he can't beat Donald Trump. (15%)

    Total Voters: 231

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