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Wagner to Pileggi: I Want You Out as Majority Leader

Wagner PileggiThe conservatives-versus-moderates battle among State Senate Republicans started early – and publicly. When the chamber convenes after the election, Sen. Scott Wagner hopes to unseat Sen. Dominic Pileggi as Majority Leader.

Wagner (R-York), who took office following a special election in March, wrote a letter to Pileggi (R-Delaware) openly declaring his opposition on Monday.

“The bottom line is this: I have concluded that it is not in the best interest of Pennsylvanians for you to continue as Senate Majority Leader,” Wagner writes.

“Contrary to past and current practices in Harrisburg, I am expressing my opinion in writing to you, rather than engage in back-stabbing and lies.”

Pileggi took the unexpected step of forwarding the letter to all of his Republican colleagues according to PA Independent, which first obtained the memo.

Wagner’s letter accuses Pileggi of deliberately denying Governor Tom Corbett legislative victories. He attributes Pileggi’s refusal to bring paycheck protection legislation – a conservative priority that is fervently opposed by labor unions – to the Majority Leader’s support from unions, including $175,000 he has received from IBEW Local 98.

“I view this as an internal caucus matter, not something to be debated in the media,” Senator Pileggi told PoliticsPA.

Wagner’s opposition to Pileggi comes as little surprise. As a private citizen he was a major donor to anti-establishment candidates and causes such as the Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania. He characterized his special election write-in campaign as a referendum on GOP leadership in Harrisburg. State Rep. Ron Miller, Wagner’s GOP opponent, had the full political and financial backing of Pileggi and the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.

The challenge is the latest chapter in the ongoing tension between the chamber’s conservative Republicans, who primarily hail from western and central PA, and its relatively moderate Republicans, who tend to represent areas of eastern PA.

Pileggi has his work cut out for him as he seeks re-election to his position. A series of retirements and electoral defeats has moved the Senate GOP in a more conservative direction since the last time the caucus saw a contentious leadership election in 2006.

Pileggi was re-elected in 2012; Wagner is a strong favorite to win election to a full term in November.

Full disclosure: Wagner advertises on PoliticsPA. Pileggi has advertised on PoliticsPA in the past.

22 Responses

  1. Don’t forget that Pileggi also failed to disenfrancise enough voters through voter id to hand Pennsylvania to Romney. Seriously, consider how many Commonwealth employees have a job through a legislator, or a friend who knows a legislator, or contributors or any number of situations. Let us start with the nearly 3,000 people who work for the four caucuses. Now these same legislators do not want to make their friends, aquaintances, etc. mad by screwing around with their pensions, after all they want to keep getting elected for as long as possible.

  2. Time to clean house and Pileggi should be the first to go. This man has not been a moderate; rather, he has been an obstructionist, wholly owned and operated by the unions and special interests.

  3. The genius of Pileggi, and probably Arneson, was to forward the letter to all the members and the press. Through the letter emanates the psychotic nature of the Senator from York County.

  4. David, D’s have no shot. At the best they keep the status quo. Most likely, however, they lose 1, and maybe 2 seats. 28-22 or 29-21. Then the next go around they’ll have to save Teplitz who is horrible for his district. In two years it’s back to 30-20.

  5. We needed one billion to fix roads & bridges pileggi took the gas hike to 2.3 billion a full 28 cent gas hike. Motorists were screwed by pileggi so he would have piles of taxpayer cash to give away to pals.
    He blocked the liquor privatization cause his buddies are the union. Privatization would have yielded one billion for roads & bridges without tax hike or for education
    Pileggi blocked it to keep spending high. The liquor employees get the unaffordable pensions the public can’t afford to pay for
    Pileggi blocked pension reform for 3 years ensuring that the union pension got all the money while kids are in jeopardy for classroom. Motto seems to be screw every tax payer ti give all to unions and other insiders the union & the pensions all the taxes the public pays. Pileggi will be right there pushing more tax increases after the election.for 3 years pileggi blocked corbett reform now he will defeat him

  6. @JonS The same questions you are asking on here are the same questions you were asking last night on PCN TV. Looks like you won’t get your answers on here either. Too bad you are voting against you own interests as well. Another one fooled by the Teabaggers in ‘The T’. 🙂

  7. “Smarm[y] garbageman” is a hilarious characterization and made my day. I would love to see that used in a campaign.

  8. Pileggi will be ousted, and deservedly so. He’ll lose his race in the south east and the southwest will gain 2 or 3 and the math is no longer favorable to him. He never should have stuck his nose where it didn’t belong the last couple years.

  9. When caucus elections are held, Pileggi will remain in leadership and Wagner will still be isolated because he just doesn’t get it.

  10. Pileggi is a do-nothing majority leader. Not a single meaningful reform has passed the legislature the past 4 years with the Republican Party in control of the legislature and governorship. That’s inexcusable. Pileggi needs to go

  11. “I view this as an internal caucus matter, not something to be debated in the media,” Senator Pileggi told PoliticsPA.

    Of course he does. Pileggi doesn’t represent the Republican party well at all and is happy to have the leadership election in the dark of night like it has been in the past.

  12. Wagner’s goal is to break the GOP for his own benefit. He is not a conservative nor is he a Republican; even he claims to be more of an independent than anything else. He’s a horrible Senator who has no connection to the people who he represents; in fact he rarely is ever in his district office. I guess he is more concerned about getting to his helicopter on time so he can fly to St. Michaels Maryland for those long 3 day weekends.

  13. How can a state with a Republican Governor, Senate, and House get nothing accomplished? Answer-Liberal RINOs like Pileggi who block prudent fiscal reform policies. Senator Wagner-We need more politicians like you with a backbone and a political will to change the feeding trough mentality in Harrisburg! Best wishes!!

  14. Pileggi is one of the most dedicated, caring and articulate member of the Senate Republican Caucus. His grasp of the issues is amazing and his ability to deal with the crazies of his caucus (Wagner being one) demonstrates his ability to lead. Wagner is a right wing demagogue who will be no more than an obstructionist and further set back the Republican Party.

  15. Got to love a guy who ran on getting the government out of our lives after he became a millionaire because local governments forced residents to pay his company (they had not her choice in companies) to haul away their garbage.

  16. Wait, so another yahoo from the “T” who hasn’t accomplished Nothing and is bought and paid for by out of state lobbyists thinks he can win leadership?
    If he does he will do exactly what Brownback did in Kansas and turn the entire state blue.

  17. I notice that Wagner is doing his best not to mention the Tea Party… perhaps the group is finished in PA, if one their staunchest supporters seeks to distance himself so obviously. I caught this garbageman’s schtick on PCN last evening, and his special brand of smarm and cluelessness means the former Tea Partiers will be stepping and fetching. The rest of us know PA’s version of Ted Cruz when we see him, and will be watching to see what kind of damage he seeks to inflict on middle-class Pennsylvania workers. He will not be successful, and will become known for mindless grandstanding a la Cruz, Bachmann, Gohmert, etc.

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