October 5th Ups & Downs
A gubernatorial debate captures the nation’s attention, the President is on his way back to the state, sports betting and much more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce. Ok, the one and only gubernatorial debate didn’t go as planned. ‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek spent much of the time opining about his views of what the state was doing well and what needed improvement. Trebek later apologized for his performance at the debate. Despite the poor reviews for the game show host, this debate will definitely go down as one of the most interesting debates in recent memory. Bringing a well known game show host from out of state to moderate a gubernatorial debate captured headlines before the debate took place and was effective in selling tickets to the event. Although the debate was widely viewed as a failure, we’ll give the chamber points for creativity at least.
Tom Wolf. The jury is still out on which candidate won the lone gubernatorial debate since Trebek stole the spotlight, but ultimately the incumbent walks out a winner. Instead of the conversation revolving around the challenger coming out swinging against Wolf, the focus remains on the moderator. Spectators on both sides of the aisle expressed disappointment in the debate and wish there was another to be had. Wagner proposed two additional debates, which Wolf declined. Various Editorial Boards have called for Wolf to accept another invitation, but it appears the decision to only engage in one debate shouldn’t hurt him too much.
Rep. Mike Kelly. President Donald Trump is taking his talents to Erie on Wednesday night to rally with the Republican incumbent seeking another term for Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional district. Trump won this district by 20+ points. So why both arrows? Democratic candidate, Ron DiNicola appears to be making gains in the district and the party is putting their money where their mouths are. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made their first television ad buy in the state into boosting DiNicola. The DCCC originally placed $107,000 in their initial announcement, but have since dedicated $325,000 total per a DCCC aide.
Gun Reform Opponents. Crossing the aisle? This week, the Pennsylvania legislature passed a bill requiring the surrender of guns in certain domestic violence cases. House Bill 2060 passed the Senate this week by a vote of 43-5, after passing the state House. Some supporters of the bill say this is the most significant gun control measure passed in the state general assembly since implementing a background check system in 1995. The bill awaits Gov. Wolf’s signature to become law.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. This isn’t the easiest year for Republicans in moderate districts, but the Bucks County Republican seems to be weathering the storm thus far. A new Monmouth Poll released this week shows Fitzpatrick leading Democratic challenger Scott Wallace by 4 points among likely voters. The polling outlet credits Fitzpatrick’s moderate message and approval rating for the current lead. In the Democratic surge model, Fitzpatrick leads by 1 point, while his lead extends to 7 points in the low voter turnout model.
Free Rides. This week, the state House voted 140-44 for a bill that would phase out the free use of state leased vehicles. Out of the 253 seats in the General Assembly, officials say the state currently leases 42 vehicles for an approximate annual cost of $304,000. House Republicans are the only members of the four caucuses the previously did away with leases among their members, the AP reports.
College Athletics Power. The Philadelphia Inquirer writes that in about a month or so, Pennsylvanians will be able to bet on sports, including college athletics. New Jersey and Delaware does not allow betting on in state college games. The article credits the significance of collegiate sports in the state. “It would have [been diminished] had college athletics not been part of the bill,” said State Rep. Rob Matzie, a Democrat serving Allegheny/Beaver counties who drafted Pennsylvania’s original sports-betting bill, the Inquirer writes.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
You know it had to do with the debate this week.
Listen up, you ingrates: Alex Trebek has spent DECADES asking people what THEY know, having to feign interest in their tiny trivia-geek lives. He gives so much, and asks so little in return. Don’t you think he deserved to tell us more about HIMSELF for once?
— Chris Potter (@CPotterPgh) October 2, 2018