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.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
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.
Not wearing the same shoes seems to be my thing. pic.twitter.com/sBkgnjcIn2
— Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (@RepMGS) May 2, 2019