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September 18: Ready To Launch

😀 Greetings and Welcome to the new week. Thanks for reading the PoliticsPA Playbook.

PA Weather
🌤️ Pittsburgh | Mostly Sunny, 72
🌥️ Harrisburg | Partly Sunny, 75
🌥️ Philadelphia | Becoming Mostly Sunny, 72

PA Sports
⚾ Phillies (81-68) | St. Louis 5-6 | Mon-Wed vs. Atlanta
⚾ Pirates (70-80) | NY Yankees 3-2 | Tue-Thu vs. Chicago Cubs
🏈 Eagles (2-0) | Minnesota 34-28 | Sep 25 vs. Tampa Bay
🏈 Steelers (0-1) | Mon vs. Cleveland
🏈 Penn State (3-0) | Illinois 30-13 | Sat vs. Iowa
🏈 Pitt (1-2) | West Virginia 6-17 | Sat vs. North Carolina
🏈 Temple (2-1) | Norfolk State 41-9 | Sat vs. Miami, Fla.
⚽ Union (14-5-8) | Cincinnati 2-2 | Wed vs. Charlotte

What’s Happening
The State Senate will convene at 1 p.m. Welcome back.

What We’re Hearing
“There are a large number of open questions about Pennsylvania’s elections that are almost assuredly heading to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2024” – Victoria Bassetti, senior counsel at States United Democracy Center.

Happy Birthday
Cake and candles for Sen. Marty Flynn.

The Best Political Wrap In The State
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Top Story

1. McCormick To Launch Senate Bid On Thursday

Dave McCormick

“POLITICO is reporting that former hedge fund CEO David McCormick will formally announce that he is running for the U.S. Senate on Thursday.

McCormick is expected to challenge incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr. for the seat. He narrowly lost the 2022 Republican nomination to Mehmet Oz.

The former hedge fund CEO has been the target of both parties since his unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination in 2022.” (PoliticsPA)


The McCormick-Casey PA Match-Up Lining Up To Be The Biggest Senate Race In 2024. “David McCormick’s entrance to the U.S. Senate race this week sets the stage for what has the potential to be one of next year’s most important, bombastic and expensive Senate races in the country.” (Washington Examiner)

The 5 Members Of Congress In PA Who Could Be In Trouble Next Year. “Five of the 70 House of Representatives seats deemed ripe for an upset by national campaign committees can be found in the Keystone State. The Pennsylvanians included in these listings are: U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Susan Wild (D-Pa.), Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) and Chris Deluzio (D-Pa.).” (Erie Times-News PA Pressroom)

Can Joe Biden And A Wad Of Cash Win Rural America For Democrats? “Biden’s campaign plans an aggressive outreach to rural voters, who account for 30% of the electorate in swing states North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin, around 22% in Pennsylvania, and about 61% in Maine.” (Japan Times)

John Fetterman Drives To Michigan To Back Striking Autoworkers. “I drove 290 miles from Braddock in my UAW-made Ford Bronco to stand in solidarity with these brave workers as they walk the picket line,” Mr. Fetterman said.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Loosens Senate’s Informal Dress Code. “The change would let Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., who is often seen wearing a hoodie and baseball shorts, wear his casual attire on the Senate floor whenever he wants. Fetterman, who was elected in last year’s midterm elections, wore a suit and a tie at his swearing-in in January.”(NBC News)

Fitzpatrick Touts Right-Wing Positions Amid Primary Challenge. “Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) recently mailed a letter to constituents promoting the right-wing agenda he’s supported this legislative session. The mail piece may have caught some off guard, but comes as Fitzpatrick faces a primary challenge next year.” (The Keystone)


2. Special Election On Tuesday Will Again Decide Which Party Controls PA House

“For the second time this year, Allegheny County will determine which party controls the Pennsylvania state House.

And once again, there won’t be much suspense about the outcome.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


Different Futures For Pennsylvania Elections Collide in November’s Supreme Court Race. “Candidates for an open seat on the court would take election law in divergent directions, as disputes loom over mail voting, gerrymandering, and ballot counting in this key swing state.” (Bolts)

Lawmakers Look For Answers To Fix Pennsylvania’s Unconstitutional School Funding System. “Leaders in Pennsylvania school districts, large and small, are forced to make unthinkable decisions as they work within crumbling buildings, triage educational resources and improvise a social safety net, state officials heard this week.” (PA Capital-Star)

‘Risky’ Energy Retail Market Deterring Consumers. “Retail energy choice may not deliver the consumer savings it promised, industry experts say, thanks to unscrupulous “fly-by-night” suppliers that lock residents into deceptive contracts.” (The Center Square)

Pennsylvania Casino Smoking Targeted in New State Legislation. “Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) is no fan of smoking exemptions for certain businesses like casinos. For a second year in a row, the Allegheny County Democrat has introduced legislation in the Harrisburg capital that seeks to end the smoking loopholes for casinos and other venues currently immune from the state’s indoor smoking law.” (

Around The Commonwealth

3. Gov. Shapiro Invites Pennsylvanians To Text Him

Gov. Shapiro text messaging

“Now here’s something new and different.

You can text the Governor – and have him text you back.” (PoliticsPA)


PA Unemployment Rate Holds at 3.5%. “Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was unchanged over the month at 3.5% in August, remaining the lowest rate on record (back to January 1976).” (PoliticsPA)

PA Treasury Opens Vault. “Treasure hunters and history buffs would be in heaven if they were ever given the opportunity to tour the Pennsylvania Treasury vault.” (Gettysburg Times)


4. What They’re Saying

  • A State Budget Compromise Is Possible, If Pragmatism Can Trump Ideology. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • School Vouchers In Pennsylvania Would Violate The Principles Of ‘Public’ Education. (Marc Stier)
  • Harrisburg Politicians Continue To Attack Small Businesses. (Rep. Aaron Bernstein)
  • Florida’s Big Lie On Vaccines Is A Scary Preview Of How GOP Would Run America. (Will Bunch)
  • Cherelle Parker Needs To Show Us Who She Really Is. (Helen Ubiñas)
  • Why ‘Ballot-Box Biology’ Is The Greatest Threat To Hunting In Pennsylvania. (Matthew Argot)
  • Fracking Is Making Pennsylvanians Sick. Lawmakers Must Act. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Parents Make The Common Sense Case For Lifeline Scholarships. (Guy Ciarrocchi)
  • Past Performance is an Indicator of Future Decisions. (Beth Ann Rosica)
  • Media Policies Don’t Trump First Amendment. (Tribune-Review)
  • It’s Time To Face The Taxation Issue In PA. (Ed Abegg)
1 Thing

5. Microwavable Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Kraft Heinz Unveils Microwaved Grilled Cheese | Food Manufacturing

Coming soon to a Harrisburg office near you?

“The quest for a microwavable grilled cheese sandwich may have come to an end: Kraft Heinz has introduced a Lunchables version that you take from the freezer and nuke for 60 seconds (and let sit for another 60).

Why it matters: Food makers are busy trying to add convenience and speed to our kitchen experiences — witness the rise of a new category of products called “thaw and eat” — and kid-friendly instant grilled cheese could be a parental game-changer.

Lunchables Grilled Cheesies come two-to-a-box, in plain and pepperoni, in a proprietary microwave pouch that’s meant to keep the bread crispy and the cheese gooey.” (Axios)

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