October 19th Ups & Downs
A gubernatorial candidate garners national headlines and criticism after releasing a Facebook live video, a New York Times/Siena College poll shows a Democrat leading in a moderate district, and the Republican candidate for Senate calls for an attack ad to be taken down. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Scott Wagner. The GOP candidate for Governor was the subject of national headlines on Friday when his Facebook Live video went viral in which he said he would, “stomp all over” his opponent, Gov. Tom Wolf’s face with “golf spikes.” The video lasted a couple of minutes in which Wagner shared his differences with Wolf. This video has since been taken down from Wagner’s campaigns Facebook, but after national outlets picked up the story that even garnered criticism from those on the Republican side of the aisle as well. Wagner’s campaign said the comments were not meant to be taken literally, but should be viewed as a “metaphor for how he will approach the final stretch of the campaign.” Wagner released a video of his own later that evening expressing his “poor choice of words.”
Lou Barletta. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, the race between Barletta and incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey took a “deeply personal turn” over the past week. Casey released a television ad that featured a family in Lancaster County with twin daughters, who expressed their fear of when they were diagnosed with cancer. The Inquirer reports that, the ad criticized Barletta’s “2017 vote on legislation that would have allowed health insurance companies to charge customers much higher rates if they had pre-existing medical conditions.” Barletta’s 18-month-old grandson is currently being treated with chemotherapy for cancer. The GOP candidate released a video via social media saying the Casey ad is “insensitive and personal attack” and called for the television ad to be removed. According to PennLive, Casey pulled the ad from the Scranton/Wilkes Barre market, but remains on television in other parts of the state. The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that Casey acknowledged the error, “That was a failing on my part not to think about his grandson.”
Senate GOP. On Wednesday night, a clergy abuse bill was stalled in the Pennsylvania Senate after already passing the Pennsylvania House, according to WITF. “The bill would have made it easier for child victims of sex abuse to later sue abusers and enablers,” the article states. Members in the Senate GOP took issue with a provision that would have opened a window for lawsuits on cases in which the statute of limitations has already expired. The House passed a version of the bill with a “two-year retroactivity window.” WITF’s report stated that GOP President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati led the opposition, believing the bill is unconstitutional and could bankrupt churches, while for-profit insurers and the Catholic Church also oppose the bill. Scarnati said the decision is about protecting the people who rely on the Church, not about protecting the churches, while also accusing supporters of the bill for making the issue too political. The House and Senate have no more scheduled session days before the election.
Scott Wallace. The Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District received some good news when the New York Times/Siena College Poll was released earlier this week. The poll shows Wallace leading incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) 50-43 in the moderate district in the Philadelphia suburbs. This is the first public poll with Wallace leading Fitzpatrick. The district went to Secretary Hillary Clinton in 2016 by just a couple of points. President Trump’s approval rating in the district according to this poll was 42%, while 53% disapprove of his job performance, with 5% unsure.
Bob Brady’s Relationship with the DCCC. The retiring Philadelphia Congressman and head of the Philadelphia Democratic Party was given a goal of paying $250,000 in dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the 2017-2018 campaign cycle, but “his actual contribution was $0,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The report also stated Brady was given another goal of raising another $250,000 for the DCCC, but as of the most recent filing period, has brought in $30,400. “It’s pathetic that he wouldn’t help out the DCCC when we have so many competitive races in our area,” said one Democratic consultant in the Inquirer report. Brady countered that he had paid his dues for the “past 20 years” and since he is retiring also said, “We’re not required to pay dues if we don’t run for reelection.”
The legacy of two long standing public servants. Sadly, two members of the Pennsylvania state House of Representatives died earlier this week. Rep. Mike O’Brien (D-Philadelphia) died Monday morning after suffering a fatal heart attack. He was 64 years old. Rep. Sid Kavulich (D-Lackawanna) died Tuesday from complications of open heart surgery. He was 62 years old. Members from both sides of the aisle lauded their service as elected officials to their respective communities and shared that they will be missed.
Dave Reed’s Time Off. The Pennsylvania state House majority leader is not seeking reelection next month, but will be occupied with another profession rather shortly. The Pittsburgh Business Times reported that the Reed has taken a role as regional president with First Commonwealth Bank. The eight term state house representative delivered his farewell address this week to his colleagues. Reed expressed his excitement to start his new career to PennLive. “I look forward to helping grow the bank and the communities it serves,” Reed said.“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to be part of the future of this fine institution.”
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— Max M. Marin (@MaxMMarin) October 18, 2018