As we round the corner and head toward President’s Weekend, we look back at the week that was. A look back at those who choose not to debate, to those who top a poll and to those who reorganize. We also acknowledge those who receive a notice from the Select Committee, a believer in the good of redistricting, judges who made their call, a newsroom in trouble, and a legislator supporting students. All this and more in our weekly Ups and Downs.
Mehmet Oz, Dave McCormick and Carla Sands. The trio of U.S. senatorial candidates all bowed out of a scheduled debate at Villanova University on February 21. McCormick and Sands originally agreed to participate, but pulled out when Oz cited a scheduling conflict. The PA senate race is one of the hottest in the nation and these first-time candidates have never been on a public debate stage before. Republican voters deserve to see how they handle themselves when the bright lights are on.
Lou Barletta. The Republican candidate for Governor received a boost when he topped the Trafalgar poll with nearly one-quarter of the responses. The former U.S. representative from Hazleton was eighth in cash-on-hand among the GOP candidates entering 2022, but should be able to board the momentum train after the announcement.
Jake Corman. The Senate President Pro Tempore has shaken up his campaign once again looking to gain traction in the Republican race for Governor. At least five staffers and advisers have left the Corman campaign, including the campaign manager, political director, finance director, a fund-raiser and a scheduler. The campaign has relocated to Pittsburgh from Harrisburg and searches for a deep-pocketed donor to help make a difference.
Doug Mastriano. The state senator from Franklin County earned a spot on the list by receiving a subpoena to appear before the January 6 House Select Commission. “We understand you participated in these activities based on assertions of voter fraud and other asserted irregularities and based on a stated belief that under the U.S. Constitution the “state legislature has the sole authority to direct the manner of selecting delegates to the Electoral College,” said the Commission’s letter. It remains unclear whether Mastriano will comply with the subpoena.
Manuel Guzman Jr. The Democratic state representative from Berks County is on the record as seeing opportunity and advantage for Latino voters, even as his district becomes more suburban and white. “Now that ‘packing’ is being somewhat undone; now it gives those Latinos in Sinking Spring, Wyomissing and Mohnton the opportunity to potentially influence an election.”
Patricia McCullough and Mary Hannah Leavitt. The Commonwealth Court justices have made their rulings on congressional maps and PA’s vote-by-mail law. McCullough’s map gave extra deference to the map devised by state Republican lawmakers. Leavitt has set March 15 as the date when VBM will be stricken. These could turn to up arrows … or down arrows … depending on the Supreme Court decisions.
WHYY. The newsroom at the biggest public media outlet in the Philadelphia region has lost half of its staffers since the start of 2021. They have noted lower pay than their competitors, lack of opportunities for advancement, an emphasis on short news pieces vs. longer ones that NPR has long championed, and a perceived lack of commitment from management. “It’s the media landscape of the moment,” said Andrea Wenzel, an assistant professor at Temple.
Maria Collett. The state senator (D-Bucks/Montgomery) is getting support for her bill to make the Hershey’s Kiss the official candy of Pennsylvania. Her bill stems from an idea from The Hershey Kiss Committee – a group of eight students in the Council Rock School District. The legislation serves as a companion to Rep. Mehaffie’s HB 2150. Follow the students’ quest on Twitter at @thekissforpa