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May 3rd Ups & Downs

A state representative likens pipeline workers to Nazis, a state Senate hopeful shares a variety of offensive posts on his campaign’s social media accounts, a political consultant gets 5 years in federal prison for his role in a corruption scheme, and the campaign against a possible run from AG DePasquale has begun. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.

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Mike Fleck. The last man is sentenced in the Allentown and Reading corruption saga. Fleck, a political consultant and former Easton Councilman, was sentenced to five years in federal prison, followed by three years on supervised release for his role facilitating bribes in exchange for political favors for former mayors of Allentown and Reading. Former Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, while former Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer was sentenced to eight years for their roles in the scheme. According to the Express Times, Fleck also lied to the FBI to cover up the illegal actions, while admitting to tax fraud.

Danielle Friel Otten. Note to public officials: be careful with references to Hitler or Nazis. When a pro-pipeline group tweeted to the Democratic state representative that the protests were preventing the workers from doing their job the Chesco State Rep responded, “The Nazis were just doing their jobs too.” Backlash was quick as opponents and fellow Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa and Attorney General Josh Shapiro, criticized the choice of words. The Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia also criticized her for these comments. Instead of immediately owning up to the words, she issued a statement on Wednesday said the “outrage” was being “manufactured and stirred up by media consultants who are paid by the oil and gas industry” to silence the voices of pipeline opponents. Yesterday afternoon, Friel Otten sent out a tweet issuing an apology for the choice of words and said the language she used in the tweet was insensitive and she sincerely apologizes for her choice and words and to those who were hurt by the post.

Doug Mastriano. The GOP nominee in the special election for the state’s 33rd Senate District has a record of bigoted social media posts, aired this week by his opponent and the Pa. Democratic Party. Mastriano shared a series of anti-LGBT posts and an anti-Muslim post on his very active campaign’s Facebook account. On April 28, he shared an article from Lifesitenews, a pro-life website, titled “Polish party chief calls LGBT ideology a dangerous western import”. On what appears to be a now deleted post from April 24, Mastriano shared a picture with religious symbols that read “Coexist?” followed by a message that shares a message that Islam intends to cause harm to other religions. He retweeted a video from March 29 of a protester at Texas Muslim Capitol Day who grabs the microphone from a speaker and says, “Islam will never dominate the United States and by the grace of God it will not dominate Texas.” The caption of the retweeted video says, “God bless this woman and God bless #Texas

Joshua Wolson. The Philadelphia attorney was voted by the U.S. Senate to serve as a district court judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Wolson, a partner with Dilworth Paxson, was confirmed on a 65-33 vote, including support from both Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey.

Eugene DePasquale. With great potential comes great scrutiny. He hasn’t officially declared a run for a future office yet, but the Pennsylvania GOP is taking a potential bid very seriously as he mulls a bid for the 10th Congressional District (and other offices). After years of ignoring him, the PAGOP this week accused the Auditor General of using his official role to set himself up for a future run by publicizing audits on his campaign account. The party acknowledged the shift in focus was a response to his potential candidacy for PA10, Governor, or Senate.

Jim Kenney. New polling this week conducted for the Philadelphia Inquirer by SurveyUSA shows Kenney doesn’t have a lot of support for key parts of his agenda, but holds a positive approval rating. Although Kenney doesn’t surpass the 50% threshold in approval rating, he holds a 17 point net approval rating among registered voters. 55% of registered Democrats in the city approve his job performance, 24% disapprove and 22% aren’t sure. He faces former City Controller Alan Butkovitz and state Sen. Anthony Williams in the May primary. On policy, well Kenney doesn’t hold the same support. Despite Kenney’s pre-K program boasting a 3-1 ratio of approval, the means in which it is funded, the sugary beverage tax, is widely disliked. 62% polled called the tax a failure, while 26% consider it a success. Over half, 55%, believe the tax should be eliminated and 17% think it should be reduced, while a quarter polled think it should stay the same or be raised. An even larger majority of voters disapprove of Kenney’s support for a proposed supervised safe injection site that would be opened by a nonprofit. 67% oppose this proposed plan, while 22% support it and 11% aren’t sure.
Amanda Green-Hawkins, Beth Tarasi, and Rebecca Warren. Not the best of news for these three Superior Court hopefuls. The Pennsylvania Bar Association delivered “not recommended” ratings to these candidates. According to the Beaver County Times, Tarasi was criticized for plagiarized content on her campaign website, which she took responsibility for, but blames the third party outlet in charge of running it. Warren did not participate in the ratings process and Green-Hawkins, one of the two endorsed Democratic candidates, lacks “the experience and preparation” for the job, according to the PA Bar Association.

Chris Chermak and Mike Giannetta. In what WBRE/WYOU is describing as a “twist” these two received the Republican Party of Lackawanna County endorsement over the current sitting commissioner, Laureen Cummings. Chermak and Giannetta are running as a team for the upcoming GOP primary.


And this week is a follow up after Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon’s (D-Delaware) viral tweet earlier this year where she had two different color shoes on.

16 Responses

  1. So our Auditor holding a public event to explain his findings is a campaign asset? Then Scott Perry’s next town hall will be one too, for logical consistency. And TheRumps Tweets too. We await PA GOP outrage at the waste of taxpayer resources.

    Weak. Even by the low bar set by GOP hypocrisy.

  2. Why aren’t we talking about Casey Long? That lecherous, sleazy, self-important degenerate should be given a down arrow in public forums everywhere.

  3. A basic Bar recommendation should be a prerequisite for endorsements by either party. It is not that hard to get a recommendation but it is obvious these candidates do not have the basic skills to perform the task. It is possible to be a qualified candidate as well as an electable one. Identity politics do not belong in this process

    1. I disagree with John Roberts about a PA Bar recommendation as an absolute prerequisite for an endorsement by either Political Party. State Bar Associations like any other professional organization can possibly have their own agendas too. I would never agree to allow any BAR Association to have absolute veto power over which candidate either Party’s State or County Committees may endorse for a judgeship. It would give them far more power over the judiciary than they deserve.

  4. Is it true that one of the Superior Court candidates is telling the counties that she didn’t get the endorsement from State committee because the PARTY was asking $80,000 to be endorsed? That is a lie and if the Party finds out the rumor is true, they better call her out and make her apologize. This has been a dirty campaign because we have one candidate who feels entitled. Is this what you want for a Superior Court Judge?

    1. It’s true. Most of the other things she says are lies, too. People need to start doing their research.

      1. The Party endorsed two good candidates for Superior Court. Why isn’t the Party coming out and doing something the lies the non endorsed candidates is telling? Where is the Chairwoman and Executive Director? Whey aren’t they putting a stop to these lies? She is not only making the Party look back, but also the Chairwoman and Executive Director. I agree with Court Watch, we need to do our research.

  5. Has Trump apologized yet for chatting up Putin for over an hour and never once warning him not to interfere in 2020 election?

    1. Gulag, didnt you think Stack was a Republican? You should find a rock and bang your head on it whenever you decide to comment on politics again.

  6. Did you actually read those Bar evaluations? Amanda Green-Hawkins got a Not Recommended at this Time because they wanted a different emphasis in her experience. Beth Tarasi got a Not Recommended, period, because of temperament. There’s a world of difference.

    1. Liar liar pants on fire. What do you expect from a Zappala stooge?

  7. The State Rep made a mistake. They admitted such. No one ever says dumb stuff and wish they did not? No one ever said something without thinking? We’re human. We goof up. The smart person acknowledges it and expresses amends and then moves on. You live and learn. It’s called being a person.

      1. The state rep messed with the wrong people and said stupid and wrong things. She walked into it and initially could not walk it back. A one issue candidate who is not ready for prime time. She made condemnation of her actions easier than condemning property for pipeline construction. She said no dems had her back and there was a reason for that. The oil and gas media consultants she blames had an easy job, but they should get a bonus.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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