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Ups and Downs

Looney Tunes

A busy week around the Commonwealth with reelection announcements, candidate debates, poor choices of words and an 18-wheeler dangling over an overpass on I-70. The week that was.

Up arrowBob Casey. Pennsylvania’s senior senator announced his reelection campaign and saw good numbers in a F&M survey of potential 2024 opponents. When paired against Republican Dave McCormick, the Scranton native has a 42-35% advantage. That lead is extended to 47-31% when paired against state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

Up arrowJosh Shapiro. The newly-minted governor of the Commonwealth received excellent or good marks for his job handling from 43 percent of respondents in a recent Franklin & Marshall poll. One in 4 felt that he is doing a fair job.

Up arrowBrian Fitzpatrick. The Bucks County Republican announced that his campaign has raised more than $685,000 this quarter and has nearly $1.9 million cash on hand as he prepares for his 2024 reelection bid.

Down arrowDoug Mastriano. It can never be seen as a good sign when the National Review runs an article saying that you are a sure bet … to lose. The story revolved around Mastriano’s consideration of a run for the U.S. Senate. The author wrote “The calculation, perhaps, is that if Trump is as competitive statewide as he was in 2016 and 2020, then Mastriano himself will also have a puncher’s chance. The differential between Oz’s and Mastriano’s results in 2022 should be enough to disabuse any sober person of that notion.”

Up arrowJohn Fetterman. The Commonwealth’s junior senator plans on a return to the U.S. Senate chamber on Monday where he will chair his first subcommittee hearing next week on “SNAP and Other Nutrition Assistance in the Farm Bill”

Down arrowJoanna Doven. The race for Allegheny County Council’s at-large Democratic seat took an ugly turn on Wednesday, when the challenger accused first-term incumbent Bethany Hallam of selling heroin prior to taking office — an accusation that Hallam rejected and that one criminal defense attorney who frequently handles drug cases called a “horrible” attack.

Down arrowJeff Brown. The businessman not only made national headlines for a dismissive answer about the city of Chester in a mayoral debate, but also was slapped with a lawsuit alleging he coordinated with an outside spending group that is supporting his candidacy, in violation of the city’s campaign-finance laws.

Up arrowAmera Gilchrist. Amera Gilchrist is poised to become the first Black woman to lead Pittsburgh EMS after Mayor Ed Gainey nominated her Thursday for the position left by outgoing chief Ron Romano. “My plan is to never stop growing,” Chief Gilchrist said, calling it an honor to be nominated to the full time position.

Down arrow

Derek Green and Maria Quinones Sanchez. Green, the former prosecutor and two-term City Council member has suspended his campaign for Mayor of Philadelphia. The announcement came two days after the mayoral debate with six other Democratic candidates where Green failed to make much headway in the race. Quinones Sanchez the former City Councilmember, suspended her mayoral campaign as well, saying the flood of money into the race from self-funding candidates and outside spending groups made it impossible for her to keep up.

Up arrowCherelle Parker. City Council president Darrell L. Clarke endorsed the former member of his leadership team. Clarke and Parker bonded when she was a state representative. As chair of Philadelphia’s delegation to Harrisburg, Parker worked closely with Clarke to advance the city’s interests in the Capitol.

Down arrowEd Gainey. According to KDKA-TV, a health care workers union has considerable sway over the Pittsburgh Mayor’s administration after it helped elect him, according to a new report, including drafting Gainey’s talking points for an ongoing fight with UPMC — with which the union has long clashed.

Down arrowRochelle Bilal. The Philadelphia Sheriff requested nearly $2 million from City Council to assist in filling 79 vacant deputy jobs. The Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that Bilal diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund raises for her executive staff and other office workers. Records show that she attempted to double her $136,083 salary during the process.

Up arrowEd Kisslak. The 88-year-old Waynesboro man was honored at the American Red Cross blood drive April 6 at the Waynesboro American Legion. Since 1962, he has given 36 gallons of blood — represented by jugs displayed during the drive — and actively encourages others to give the gift of life. Kisslak gave blood for the 288th time, continuing a streak that began in 1962. The 288 pints has been enough to help 864 patients in need.

Up arrowGerald Groff. The former Mennonite missionary and son of a truck driver from Lancaster County will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to require employers to be more accommodating of religiously observant workers, including a right to skip shifts on the Sabbath and still keep their jobs. In 2019, he said his boss forced him to choose between practicing his faith or a paycheck distributing packages, and he resigned. The case has the potential to transform workplaces — and the employer-employee relationship — across America, experts say.

Kostas Hobitakis. The semi driver whose tractor-tractor dangled across the overpass of a Pennsylvania interstate escaped with just scratches. Hobitakis “failed to properly negotiate a left curve,” on I-79 in Washington County, state police said, causing him to strike the cement barrier. The semi then overturned and was suspended over Interstate 70. The vehicle would have likely fallen off the overpass had it not spilled about 70% of its load of cardboard, KDKA reported.

2 Responses

  1. That I-79 to I-70 sharply curving ramp is a menace to traffic. Whoever designed it should be barred from practicing highway design ever again.





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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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