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September 19: Special Election Day

☑️ It’s Special Election Tuesday. Thanks for reading the PoliticsPA Playbook.

PA Weather
☀️ Erie | Sunny, 65
🌤️ State College | Mostly Sunny, 72
☀️ Reading | Sunny, 72

PA Sports
⚾ Phillies (82-68) | Atlanta 7-1 | Tue-Wed vs. Atlanta
⚾ Pirates (70-80) | Tue-Thu vs. Chicago Cubs
🏈 Steelers (1-1) | Cleveland 26-22 | Sun vs. Las Vegas
⚽ Union (14-5-8) | Wed vs. Charlotte

What’s Happening
The PA Senate will convene at 1 p.m. today.

What We’re Hearing
Gov. Josh Shapiro is announcing automatic voter registration in the state. In Pennsylvania’s version of automatic registration, residents who are obtaining new or renewed driver’s licenses and state ID cards will be automatically moved through the voter registration process unless they opt out — provided they are eligible voters.

Happy Birthday
Cake and candles for Rep. Jesse Topper.

The Best Political Wrap In The State
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Top Story

1. HD-21: The Race For The State House Majority

For the second time this year, Allegheny County voters will determine which party holds the majority in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Democrat Lindsay Powell and Republican Erin Connolly Autenreith will meet in a special election on Tuesday for the 21st District House seat vacated by Sara Innamorato. (PoliticsPA)


District 21 Special Election Will Determine Control Of PA State House. “A special election Tuesday in Allegheny County will prove pivotal in determining who controls the state House, where both Republicans and Democrats now have 101 members.” (Tribune-Review)

  • Control Of The Pennsylvania House Will Again Hinge On Result Of A Special Election. (AP)


The Big Attorneys General Elections In 2024. “Races for attorney general taking place next year are already kicking off. It’s a role that catapults politicians into higher offices, including governors’ mansions and Congress. Attorney general campaigns, like many down-ballot efforts, are often in the shadow of other races – especially during a presidential year. But a number of open seat contests across the country next year are setting the stage for competitive races in battleground states.” (POLITICO)

This Is How John Fetterman Feels About The Nixed Senate Dress Code. “Asked about the dress code changes on Monday, Fetterman said he’d likely keep to his casual look but wouldn’t rush to flaunt it on the floor. “I think we should all want to be more comfortable, and now we have that option.” (Roll Call)



2. Pennsylvania Rolls Out Automatic Voter Registration

Wolf move expands voter registration forms at state offices - WHYY

“Pennsylvania will now automatically register residents to vote when they interact with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Gov. Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday.

Under the new system, which goes into effect today, residents obtaining new or renewed driver’s licenses and ID cards will automatically be led through the voter registration process unless they opt out. Previously, Pennsylvania used the opposite default: Residents interacting with PennDOT had to opt in to the registration process.” (VoteBeat)


By The Numbers: September Voter Registration. “Closing the gap … ever so slightly. Two months ago, Democrats held a 480,000 advantage over Republicans in voter registration in the Commonwealth. Today, that lead has shrunk by 30,000.” (PoliticsPA)

Former PA Governors Call For Repeal of Closed Primaries. “They may not agree on policy, but they do agree it’s time to change Pennsylvania primary elections.” (PoliticsPA)

  • PA Senate Moves Bill For Earlier 2024 Primary Election As 5 Former Governors Join In Backing Open Primaries. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • 5 Former PA Governors Call For Open Primaries: ‘It’s The Right Thing And Smart Thing’. (PennLive)


PA House GOP Leader: ‘No Movement’ On College Funding As Lawmakers Return Next Week. “Ten weeks after the Pennsylvania House deadlocked on funding the commonwealth’s four state-related universities, a path forward is still not certain, the body’s top Republican indicated Monday.” (PennLive)

PA Lawmakers Moving Bill To Permanently Ease Hiring Of Substitute Teachers. “The Senate Education Committee unanimously advanced House Bill 27 on Monday. The bill from state Rep. James Struzzi, R-Indiana, would permanently allow schools to hire retirees, teachers with inactive certifications, recent graduates with education degrees, and certain student teachers to work as substitute teachers.” (CNHI News)

Almost $150,000 Unaccounted For In House Democrats’ Expense Report Payments To Campaign Director. “The executive director of the House Democratic Campaign Committee can not provide receipts for nearly $150,000 in reimbursements paid to him over a three year period, according to a Broad + Liberty analysis.” (Broad + Liberty)

Does the Pennsylvania GOP Have Room for an Amen Corner? “The Democrat-led campaign to kill off a popular education-reform package may have an unexpected hope in one party-bucking Democrat.” (National Review)


Around The Commonwealth

3. PA Innovation Is Focused In Pittsburgh, State College, Philadelphia As Other Areas Miss Out

Manufacturing PA Innovation Program

“Pennsylvania could become a national leader in innovation — if the support is there and state leaders embrace reform.

Experts argued that the commonwealth is falling short of its potential, squandering the opportunity it has now and failing to leverage its current assets.

One problem is a hyper-concentration in a few locations, limiting growth in small metros and rural areas.” (The Center Square)


Election Season Is Around The Corner. Meet The Allentown Shop Producing Millions Of Political Mailers And Yard Signs. “Lehigh Valley residents may not know about the LV Print Center, but they’ve almost certainly seen its work. And if they somehow haven’t, that’ll likely change in the weeks ahead.” (

The 76ers Arena Is Now The Next Mayor’s Problem. “And we explain the latest on a Democratic primary scandal, as well as an unwritten rule in City Council.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Democratic Sen. John Fetterman Backs Third-Party Progressives For Philly Council. “Sen. John Fetterman has endorsed two progressive third-party candidates seeking seats on Philadelphia City Council, becoming the second statewide Democrat to buck local leaders and align with the Working Families Party.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

What The Decision Against The Philly Ethics Board Means For Big Money In Local Politics. “A judge may have just blown a hole through rules that try to keep big-money political contributors from determining the outcomes of Philadelphia elections. Or not.” (Billy Penn)

Traffic Camera Programs In PA Are Reducing Fatalities And Speeding, Officials Say. “In a Senate Transportation Committee hearing on Monday, Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll said the programs, which allow the use of cameras in work zones and on school buses to catch violators, should be extended and expanded before they expire over the next several months.” (PA Capital-Star)

PA Needs 40,000 Poll Workers for Upcoming Elections. “Election Day is less than two months away, and for the process to go smoothly, Pennsylvania needs a lot more poll workers.” (Public News Service)

Making History In Bucks County. “The Bucks County Commissioners are on the ballot and the race is attracting national attention. A victory by the Democrats will be historic. We sit down with Kunal Atit – the campaign manager for the Democratic incumbents.” (PA Kitchen Table Politics)



4. What They’re Saying

  • This Is What Taking On Election Deniers Really Looks Like. (Greg Sargent)
  • Pennsylvania Needs A Better Congressman Than Scott Perry. (Shamaine Daniels
  • Cherelle Parker Should Debate David Oh. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • We Must Preserve A Strong Steel Industry For Pennsylvanians. (Earl Baker)
  • Animals Have Friends In Pennsylvania — And The Federal Government Should Let It Stay That Way. (Jeff Coleman)
  • Who Is Afraid Of A Government Shutdown – And Why? (Jerry Shenk)
  • Why PA Must Fund Our Public Universities. (Elaine Maimon)
  • Dressing Up For Senate Success. (Tom Purcell)
  • “Obscene Festival of Hate”: Open Letter to University of Pennsylvania President. (Aren Ostrovsky)


1 Thing

5. The Ghosts of Gettysburg College

Haunted Gettysburg | Gettysburg Battlefield Tours

“The Gettysburg battlefield, where thousands perished in the battle that changed the course of the nation’s Civil War, is almost a mandatory stop for anyone interested in American history. But it’s also a staple for those looking for something else: ghosts.

Gettysburg has been deemed by publications like Condé Nast as one of the most haunted places in the United States and — in the case of Travel + Leisure — even the world. Indeed, with all the violence and death that occurred there, it’s easy to believe Gettysburg’s spirit population to be quite dense.

The same could be said for Gettysburg College.” (PennLive)


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  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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