October 18th Ups & Downs
Lebanon County Republicans are divided over the process of selecting a nominee for a special election, Allegheny County Democrats aren’t united behind all of the endorsed candidates, and a Lehigh County Republican was tapped to join the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Lebanon County GOP Unity. Republicans conferees from Lebanon, York, and Dauphin counties are just one day away from selecting their nominee for a special election to fill the state Senate seat previously held by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), who resigned after being charged with possession of child pornography. The 48th District is a GOP friendly area and the seat is expected to stay red, but that hasn’t stopped intraparty fighting ahead of selecting who is likely to be their next state Senator. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that activists are accusing Lebanon County GOP Chairman Casey Long of hand-picking people who will represent them at the nomination conference on Saturday, which would be a violation of bylaws established by the state GOP. Republicans who have taken issue with Long over the process claim that the County GOP Chair “imposed what amounted to a $150 fee on voters who wanted to be chosen as conferess, after he sent emails that appeared to require their attendance at a closed-door, members-only event for party donors.” The story also explains that “the county executive committee voted overwhelmingly this month to give Long sole authority to choose Lebanon County’s 41 conferees, who will vote at the district’s nomination conference on Oct. 19,” which violates state committee bylaws that state conferees must be selected by the county committees, according to those aggravated with the process. Long has argued nothing was done wrong since committee members “did chose the conferees collectively when they voted to give me the authority,” and stated the Lebanon GOP followed the same process last year, when he chose the conferees to vote on a candidate to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh) for the old 15th District.
Allegheny County Dem Unity. We’re just weeks away from the upcoming election and some members of Allegheny County’s Democratic Committee are openly supporting and campaigning for some non-Democrats in the upcoming race. City Paper reports that those in the party actively pushing for some of the non-Democrats include independent candidate for District Attorney, Lisa Middleman and independent Pittsburgh City Council candidate Chris Rosselot. Middleman, who is facing longtime Democratic incumbent District Attorney Stephen Zappala, is running to the left of the endorsed Democratic incumbent, and has been endorsed by more than 15 current elected officials within the county, including state Rep. Summer Lee, Allegheny County Councilor Anita Prizio, and Pittsburgh City Councilors Erika Strassburger and Deb Gross. The Allegheny County Democratic Committee Chair Eileen Kelly has responded to the members endorsing non-Democrats by shooting out an email telling them that endorsing either an Independent or Republican candidate is a “violation of our Bylaws.”
Ryan Mackenzie. The GOP state Representative from Lehigh County was tapped by the White House to join the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. Mackenzie was one of the three selected to join the commission and the only one from Pennsylvania.
Jane Clare Orie. The former GOP state Senator’s conviction for using government employees to work on political campaigns was upheld by a panel of federal appeals judges, according to the AP.
Paige Cognetti, Kyle Donahue and John Goshleski. They will appear on the ballot after all. Cognetti, Donahue, and Goshleski, who are all candidates in the Scranton mayoral race, can appear on the ballot after the Commonwealth Court upheld a decision earlier this month, rejecting Robert Sheridan and the Lackawanna County Democratic Party’s challenge to their ballot status.
Joe Gale. The Montgomery County Commissioner is pushing a conspiracy theory that his fellow Republicans are attempting to oust him on Election Day, Philly Clout reports. Gale made a similar claim about the Montco GOP in his 2015 bid. Gale posted the Horsham GOP’s most recent campaign finance report on Facebook, which included 17 donations from Philly political action committees controlled by Democrats. Well, the problem with Gale’s claim is that the Pennsylvania Department of State says the Horsham report was “data-entered incorrectly” and revised to delete the donations that never occurred from those Democratic political action committees. After the error was corrected, Gale still went to Facebook to claim that the correction was proof of his theory that that local Republicans were conspiring against him.
Giani Sukhvinder Singh. The Delaware County resident made history this week in Washington D.C., when he became the first Sikh to deliver invocation in the Senate’s history, the Delco Daily Times reports. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) invited Singh and other Sikhs from Delaware County to the morning prayer and the evening reception. Toomey said that the opening prayer had never been a Sikh that delivered the opening prayer and added that it was overdue.
Sports Betting. With the Birds and the Steelers beginning their seasons in September, sports betting in the state surpassed its previous monthly record with $194.5 million in September at the casinos and off-track betting parlors where sports betting is approved, according to the AP. The previous record in August was $109 million, meaning the most recent month was a 78% increase.
Judge William I. Maruszczak. The Pottstown Mercury reports that the Montgomery County district judge, who has served for 22 years, has been reprimanded by the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline after being accused of making aggressive statements towards acquaintances who were supporting his opponent in the 2015 election. Maruszczak has to serve one year period on probation for this.
Sandra Thompson. The Democratic candidate for York County judge was reprimanded by the Disciplinary Board of the state Supreme Court for making “material misstatements to her clients in a lawsuit” and later “failed to comply with court orders” on paying the previous attorney on the case more than $50,000 “promptly,” the York Daily Record reports.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
The Tweet of the Week comes from the PLSReporter’s Andrew Bahl, who comments on one GOP presidential hopeful’s campaign swing through the state.
Also known as the “Kids, Mark Sanford is Running for President and We Didn’t Even Know It” tour https://t.co/XD1r8qHnOM
— Andrew Boooohl (@AndrewBahl) October 15, 2019