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What We’re Hearing
“Allegheny County has never been as blue as Philadelphia. So much depends on the candidates.” – Chris W. Bonneau, political science professor at University of Pittsburgh
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1. How A Pittsburgh County Election Foreshadows The 2024 Presidential Race
“As Democrat Sara Innamorato jumped on a table to rally supporters at a union hall recently, she cast her campaign for Allegheny County executive as a precursor to the battle for Pennsylvania in next year’s critical presidential and congressional elections.
“What we do in this election sets the groundwork for what we are going to do in 2024,” said Innamorato, 37, a former state representative. “We got to hold Sen. [Robert P.] Casey’s seat, and we got to hold the White House.”
Innamorato’s Republican opponent, banking executive Joe Rockey, also has been storming around this county that includes Pittsburgh with his own subtle references to 2024. ” (Washington Post)
The Election Reform That Could Help Republicans in a Swing State. “In Pennsylvania, the reform “really has a potential to lean more Republican,” Seo-young Silvia Kim, an elections expert who has studied the system, told me. It’s “not great news for Democrats.” (The Atlantic)
Republicans Still Lukewarm To Mail Ballots. “Despite a call from the Republican Party of Pennsylvania to “Bank Your Vote,” the pleas have mostly fallen on deaf ears among Keystone State GOP voters.” (PoliticsPA)
- After Trump Called Them ‘A Scam,’ PA Republicans Are Now All In On Mail Ballots. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Every Pennsylvania House Republican Voted For An Anti-Abortion Extremist For Speaker. “Every Pennsylvania Republican in the US House of Representatives last week voted to elect Mike Johnson as the new Speaker of the House, elevating an extreme, anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ candidate to the most powerful position in Congress.” (The Keystone)
A 2023 Election Mega-Preview. “The key races we’re watching next week are gubernatorial races in Kentucky and Mississippi, the state legislative contests in Virginia, an abortion-related ballot issue in Ohio, and a state Supreme Court race in Pennsylvania.” (Sabato’s Crystal Ball)
2. Election 2023: PA Superior Court
While the race for the open seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is drawing most of the attention (and the money), there are two other court races in the Keystone State that will impact life in the Commonwealth.
The Superior Court was established in 1895. It is one of Pennsylvania’s two statewide intermediate appellate courts. The Superior Court is often the final arbiter of legal disputes.
There are four candidates running for the two open seats – Republicans Maria Battista and Harry Smail Jr., and Democrats Jill Beck and Timika Lane. (PoliticsPA)
State And Local Election Workers Quitting Amid Abuse, Officials Tell U.S. Senate Panel. “Conspiracy theories have fueled a more hostile environment for election workers, which has led many to quit, creating more challenges for the inexperienced new leaders, the top election officials from two battleground states testified at a U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing on threats to election administration.” (Penn Capital-Star)
Shapiro Administration Launches ‘Money-Back Guarantee’ For Most Permits, Licenses In PA “Pennsylvanians applying for licenses, certifications, and permits will now be eligible for their money back if the state doesn’t meet its own deadlines.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Three Democrats Vying to Unseat State Treasurer Stacy Garrity. “With the party’s endorsement meeting just over six weeks away, three Democrats from different corners of the commonwealth are looking to unseat Treasurer Stacy Garrity, a Republican.” (Penn Capital-Star)
Around The Commonwealth
3. Commonwealth Court Permanently Blocks Effort To Make Power Plants Pay For Greenhouse Gas Emissions
“Pennsylvania cannot enforce a regulation to make power plant owners pay for their planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, a state court ruled Wednesday, dealing another setback to the centerpiece of former Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to fight global warming.
The Commonwealth Court last year temporarily blocked Pennsylvania from becoming the first major fossil fuel-producing state to adopt a carbon-pricing program, and the new ruling makes that decision permanent.” (AP)
- PA Court Strikes Down A Key Climate Program, But Environmentalists Expect An Appeal. (Spotlight PA)
Broken Politics Is Hardly Limited To Allegheny County. “I agree with Editor Douglas Heuck’s piece entitled “The Broken Politics of Allegheny County.” I moved across the state in 1986 to the Philadelphia suburb of Bryn Mawr, in part because I was tired of the political scene in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County; not that it’s proven to be any better here.” (Pittsburgh Quarterly)
Pittsburgh Political Consulting Firm Hit With Lawsuit Alleging Sexual Assault. “The complaint against Pittsburgh-based ColdSpark Media, initially filed in August and amended last month, includes claims for sex discrimination, hostile work environment, retaliation, and aiding and abetting.” (Tribune-Review)
Lehigh County Controller Sues Local Republican Committee For Defamation, Seeks More Than $1 Million In Damages. “A legal showdown is about to take place between Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley, an incumbent Democrat, and local Republicans. Pinsley filed a defamation lawsuit Wednesday in county court against the Lehigh County Republican Committee after it sent out a mailer this weekend saying he marched in a “pro-Hamas” rally.” (LehighValleyNews.com)
Dauphin County’s Outgoing Republican Treasurer Wants Democratic Candidate To Replace Her. “Endorsements are a dime a dozen at election time. But at a time of deep partisan politics, finding a cross-the-aisle endorsement is a rare event.” (PennLive)
Fogal Resigns As Franklin County District Attorney. “Matt Fogal’s tenure as Franklin County district attorney ended earlier than expected this week, as the county’s top prosecutor resigned two months before the end of his third and final term.” (Chambersburg Public Opinion)
- What Are Judicial Retention Elections, And How Do They Work In Philadelphia? (Billy Penn)
- Election Battles Brewing In Counties Outside Allegheny, Especially In Washington County. (CBS Pittsburgh)
- What’s On The Ballot? A Voting Guide For 17 Counties In Northeastern And Central PA. (WVIA)
- Chester Co. GOP Tests Democrats First-Ever Majority On Board of Commissioners. (WHYY)
- Could a Special Election Be Called For The Greene Commissioners Race? (Herald Standard)
- School Board May Need Write-Ins To Fill Seats. (Lewistown Sentinel)
- Erie County Voters’ Guide To The Races, Candidates And Issues. (Erie Times-News)
4. What They’re Saying
- Local Elections Matter. Voters Must Take Heed. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Antisemitic Intimidation Demands Condemnation From Pittsburgh Leaders. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Electing Judges Is A Bad Idea. There Is A Much Better System. (Robert C. Heim)
- Ninety-Nine Mayors – And One That Finally Looks Like Me. (Jenice Armstrong)
- In The County Executive Race, It’s Ambition Vs. Experience. (Ruth Ann Dailey)
- Mike Pence Is Out. Who Goes Next, And What’s It Mean For Trump? (John Baer)
- Four Must Dos for the Next Allegheny County Executive. (Colin McNickle)
5. Bringing Home The Bacon
“Kevin Bacon has been captured in Gettysburg.
After spending the past couple weeks roaming free around town, making his way into national headlines, and even getting a nod from the Hollywood actor himself, the 200-pound Juliana pig is back in his pen.
Thus ends a tale that captivated the nation. Of course, knowing Kevin Bacon, another run is probably in him at some point.” (Tribune News Service)
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