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September 20: Large and In Charge

Wednesday. The Day After. Thanks for reading the PoliticsPA Playbook.

PA Weather
Butler | Sunny, 74
Bloomsburg | Mostly Sunny, 74
Malvern | Sunny, 74

PA Sports
Phillies (82-69) | Atlanta 3-9 | Wed vs. Atlanta
Pirates (70-81) | Chicago Cubs 1-14 | Wed-Thu vs. Cubs
Union (14-5-8) | Wed vs. Charlotte

What’s Happening
The PA Senate will convene at 11 a.m. today.

What We’re Hearing
Matt Gruda, a former advisor to Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, has been tabbed to run Dave McCormick’s Senate campaign.

Happy Birthday
Cake and candles for Sen. Katie Muth.

The Best Political News In The State
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Top Story
1. HD-21: Powell Wins Seat; Dems Keep State House Majority

Democrats can breathe easier today. They remain in the majority in the Pennsylvania State House.

Lindsay Powell, the Director of Workforce Strategies for InnovatePGH, defeated Republican challenger Erin Connolly Autenreith to win the special election in the 21st House District to keep Democrats in charge with a 102-101 majority.

The Associated Press called the race at 8:09 p.m., moments after the polls closed in the primarily Democratic district. (PoliticsPA)


Democrats Win Allegheny County Special Election To Keep Control Of PA House. “Lindsay Powell, a Pittsburgh nonprofit leader, handily won the special election Tuesday to fill a vacant Allegheny County seat in the state House and restore Democrats’ one-seat majority in the chamber.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Powell Special Election Victory Affirms Narrow Democratic Control Of PA House. (Pittsburgh Union Progress)

The Billionaire Keeping TikTok on Phones in the U.S. “Financier Jeff Yass made a big bet on the app, and he’s a top donor to lawmakers who support it. ‘The idea of banning TikTok is an anathema to everything I believe.” (Wall Street Journal)

Senate Dress Code Change Draws GOP Barbs Toward Fetterman. “The first-term senator’s dressed-down attire has been a point of focus, thanks to a relaxation of the Senate’s rules on what members can wear announced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) over the weekend.” (Roll Call)

Senate GOP’s Latest Target: The Fetterman-Friendly Dress Code. (POLITICO)
Fetterman Mocks Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory That He Has A Body Double. (HuffPost)

Focus Groups: PA Swing Voters View Shapiro As Dems’ Next Darling. “Some Pennsylvania swing voters believe Gov. Josh Shapiro could become the Democrats’ next rising star sooner rather than later, according to our latest Engagious/Sago focus groups.” (Axios)

Republicans, Democrats Both Lose From Late-Night TV’s Silencing. “The late-night TV landscape has been silenced by Hollywood strikes, leaving audiences with fewer laughs, depriving candidates of an easy way to get attention and generally upsetting the nation’s normal political discourse.” (The Hill)

2. Shapiro Implements Automatic Voter Registration in PA

“Gov. Josh Shapiro announced that Pennsylvania has implemented automatic voter registration (AVR) for eligible Commonwealth residents obtaining driver licenses and ID cards at Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) driver and photo license centers.

“Now when you go to the DMV to get a driver’s license, renew your driver’s license, you’ll be able to automatically get registered to vote unless you choose to opt out,” said Shapiro on “Morning Joe.” “There’s about 1.7 million Pennsylvanians who are eligible to vote but aren’t registered. This is a safe, secure, streamlined way to be able to get them to register and get them to participate in our democracy.” (PoliticsPA)


A Bipartisan Bill Seeks To Crack Down On Harrisburg’s ‘Revolving Door’ Of Lobbyists. “A new bill aims to slow the speed of the revolving door between public service and private sector lobbying, a threshold state lawmakers and workers often cross once they leave Pennsylvania government.” (Spotlight PA)

An Earlier Presidential Primary Could Be Coming To Pennsylvania. “Rep. Scott Conklin, who is majority chairman of the State Government Committee, said the committee will likely discuss the various dates being proposed on Oct. 3, with a goal of moving the legislation out of committee quickly.” (WPSU)

AFP Action Backs 5 GOP House Candidates in Primaries. “A major conservative group is ramping up its push into congressional primaries and endorsing GOP candidates early in the hopes of avoiding the losses of 2022. AFP Action is adding to its endorsement list Pennsylvania GOP challengers Ryan Mackenzie, of the 7th district, and Rob Mercuri, of the 17th.” (POLITICO)

CFPB Investigating PHEAA Over Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharges. “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is investigating whether the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, a large student loan servicer, illegally tried to collect on private loans that were already discharged by bankruptcy courts.” (POLITICO)

Around The Commonwealth
3. VP Kamala Harris Gets Warm Welcome In Reading

“The vice president smiled brightly as she shook hands, posed for selfies and chatted with the students. The students, in turn, gushed over Harris. A few even shouted, “We love you.” (Reading Eagle)

Harris Touts Automatic Voter Registration In Visit To Pennsylvania. (Roll Call)


Philly Mayoral Candidates Agree to Debate Date. “Democrat Cherelle Parker has agreed to debate Republican David Oh next month during the final days of the Philadelphia mayoral campaign.” (PoliticsPA)

Critics Are Questioning The Working Families Party’s Independence As It Gains Traction In Philly. “Republicans say the Working Families Party ensures one-party rule in Philadelphia. But the progressives say they’re the ones holding elected Democrats accountable.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Darrell Clarke’s Next Gig? The State Liquor Control Board, If The PA Senate Approves. “Gov. Josh Shapiro nominated Clarke, who is retiring from Philadelphia City Council, to the position. Liquor Control Board members are paid $89,000 per year and meet two days per month.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Lancaster County Commissioners Caution Against Earlier 2024 Primary Election Date. “They said the change, currently being debated in the General Assembly, could create major logistical headaches for county election officials charged with organizing thousands of voting locations across the commonwealth.” (LNP)

Meet York County’s Most Influential People For 2023: Politics. “In a world of change, one thing remains constant: The number of people who work, often behind the scenes, to make our lives a little better.” (York Daily Record)

Civil Lawsuit Filed Against Former Somerset County DA. “A woman has filed a civil lawsuit against former Somerset county District Attorney Jeffrey Thomas, Somerset County, and the District Attorney’s Office.” (CBS News Pittsburgh)

4. What They’re Saying
A Secret Jan. 6 Case Against A Mastriano Ally. (Will Bunch)
Simpler Out-Of-State Credentialing Will Ease Nursing Crisis. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Giant Eagle’s Woke Capitalism And Their Offended Customers Who Go To Walmart. (David Mills)
Republicans Like The Constitution Too Much, And Democracy Too Little. (Jamelle Bouie)
The U.S. Supreme Court Needs A Code Of Conduct To Restore American Trust. (John A. Tures)
Matt Bradford’s Failed ‘Leadership’  (Nathan Benefield)
Intentional Omissions From The Philadelphia Inquirer? (Beth Ann Rosica)
Moody’s Rating No Cause for Celebration. (Rep. Seth Grove)
Is The Senate Dress Code That Big A Deal? (Tribune-Review)

1 Thing
5. Minks On The Lam

“State police say thousands of minks were released from a central Pennsylvania fur farm by one or more people who cut holes in the fence surrounding the farm.

Troopers were told that sometime during the early morning hours Sunday, holes had been cut in the farm’s fence and about 6,000 to 8,000 minks were released from their pens. Police said numerous state agencies and farm staff are trying to recover the animals.

“These animals should not be approached as they can be aggressive,” the animal hospital said. “They are not pets, and should not be taken in a home or to a rescue. If one of these minks were to approach you get far away from it.” (AP)

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  • Who are you voting for in the PA Supreme Court race?

    • Dan McCaffery (61%)
    • Carolyn Carluccio (37%)
    • Still undecided (2%)

    Total Voters: 344

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