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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

er jeb arizonaFormer Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (Reuters)

1) Announcement No. 1: Jeb Bush, who announced in December that he was thinking about announcing a run for the Republican presidential nomination, has announced that he'll make an announcement June 15.

2) Announcement No. 2: Accused felon Rick Perry isn't bothering with making announcements about announcements; the former Texas governor has announced that he's running.

3) Announcement No. 3: Lincoln Chaffee, the former governor of Rhode Island, will seek the Democratic nomination. Frankly, we don't know much about Mr. Chaffee, other than the fact that he was a centrist-to-liberal Republican when he served in the U.S. Senate. NPR can help us fill in the gaps.

4) One of our favorite ways of holding politicians accountable for what they tweet has been shut down by Twitter. Politwoops posted and archived the tweets that politicans wish they hadn't tweeted -- and had gone to the trouble of deleting. We will miss it desperately.  

5) Rick Santorum told a Philadelphia radio station that Pope Francis should probably stay away from pronouncements that climate change is largely driven by human influence, saying "I think we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists." We wonder if Mr. Santorum will deliver a similar message to his fellow Republicans as well.

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Chelsa wins twice; Weinstein too

Published by James O'Toole on .

Chelsa Wagner hugs a supporter as she learned she had won the Democratic nomination for Allegheny County Controller. (Bill Wade/Post-Gazette)Chelsa Wagner hugs a supporter as she learned she had won the Democratic nomination for Allegheny County Controller. (Bill Wade/Post-Gazette)

County Controller Chelsa Wagner's job seemed to be in jeopardy through the spring as she fought off a well-funded challenge for the Democratic nomination from her predecessor, Mark Patrick Flaherty.

Her comfortable victory in the May 19 primary ended that threat and her hold on the job is now doubly secure after a tally of write-in votes gave her the GOP nomination for controller as well. County Treasurer John Weinstein, who had been unopposed for the Democratic nomination, also managed to secure enough write-ins to secure the Republican ballot line for the November general election. Ms. Wagner collected 970 GOP write-in votes while Mr. Weinstein gained 801.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. were also unopposed in their bids for the Democratic nomination. Neither collected enough Republican signatures to secure dual nomination.

 

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Danko vote confusion persists

Published by James O'Toole on .

Jim Burn, the state Democratic chairman and the former chair of the Allegheny County Party, has weighed in on the procedural controversy swirling around an open nomination for the county council seat once held by the late Barbara Daly Danko. Ms. Danko died two weeks before the may primary but whose name collected the most votes for a place on the party's ballot line.

In a purely advisory opinion, Mr. Burn recommends that the nomination be filled in a vote of all of the party committee members elected from each precinct in the 11th county council district. That's in contrast to the preliminary recommendation of his successor, Nancy Patton Mills, who has called for the spot to be filled in a vote of a smaller group -- the party's ward and municipal officers in communities covered by the district.

In a letter to party officials sent just before the primary election, Ms. Mils suggested that the nomination should be filled by the broader group of committee members. But in a subsequent interview with radio station WESA, Ms. Mills said that, on reflection, she believed that said that the party's by-laws indicated that the substitute nominee should be chosen by a vote limited to the ward officers, a total of 24 people. There are more than 200 committee members in the district.

Sam Hens-Greco, the chairman of the 14th ward, the largest jurisdiction covered by the council seat, protested, arguing for larger group. That's not surprising in that a committee vote would give his ward a much larger say in the process than a decision limited to the officers. He asked Mr. Burn to offer his opinion on the issue.

Ms. Mills said Wednesday that she at least tentatively, stands by her interpretation, but said again that she would consult a variety of party and outside lawyers familiar with the rules before making a final determination on the procedures. She mentioned Jack Cambest, the solicitor of county council, and Chuck Pascal, a lawyer and veteran Democratic activist.

One thing that all the parties agree on is that the party rules are something of a mess, leaving a cloud of ambiguity over the selection process.

Ms. Mills said she expected to have a decision sometime next week. But the party is not under much time pressure in that they could deliberate through most of the summer and still have time to get the substitute nominees's name on the general election ballot.

The confusion arises because the party rules, last amended in 2009, do not specifically mention county council in setting out the procedures for replacement nominees. At one point they say that the smaller group of ward officers should vote on "all vacancies that occur on the County ticket.'' But other language in the same section calls for a larger committee vote for vacancies for offices including Congress, state legislature and municipal offices.

Mr. Burn, who was chairman of the county party the last time the bylaws were rewritten acknowledges that there is plenty of blame to go around on the sources of the current confusion.

"I personally regret not amending this rule in 2009 along with the other rules that were amended in order to bring [the by-laws] up to speed with the current elected positions in Allegheny County,'' he noted in his advisory opinion.

Nonetheless, he argues that the spirit of the bylaws suggests that the larger group of committee members should determine the nomination. He also urges his successor to "finish what we started in 2009 and promptly schedule another bylaaws convention to clean up this rule ...''

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RMU poll finds tight GOP presidential field

Published by Mike Pound on .

Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, talks to a throng of media personnel after addressing an economic summit hosted by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Orlando, Florida, June 2, 2015. (Steve Nesius/Reuters)Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, talks to a throng of media personnel after addressing an economic summit hosted by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Orlando, Florida, June 2, 2015. (Steve Nesius/Reuters)

The race for the Republican presidential nomination has plenty of candidates, but, so far, no clear-cut leaders, according to a Robert Morris University poll released today.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush holds a slight lead in a cluster with two other candidates – Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – each of whom earned support of between 15.4 and 13.8 percent in the national poll. A second cluster of candidates – all hovering between 7.5 and 6.7 percent in the poll – included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

The poll was conducted by the RMU Polling Institute in early May, well before Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul did what he could to boost his visibility during debates over the renewal of the Patriot Act; the RMU poll has Mr. Paul coming in at a meager 2 percent.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a huge lead over declared or presumed challengers. Ms. Clinton came in at 55.8 percent; her most serious challenger in the poll, Vice President Joe Biden, received just 8 percent. Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (4.8 percent), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (2.9 percent) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (0.6 percent) followed.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

 Terri Klein, right, hugs Allegheny County Judge Eleanor L. Bush after being sworn in to fill the County Council District 11 seat left vacant by the death of Barbara Daly Danko Tuesday. (Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette)Terri Klein, right, hugs Allegheny County Judge Eleanor L. Bush after being sworn in to fill the County Council District 11 seat left vacant by the death of Barbara Daly Danko Tuesday. (Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette)

1) Early Returns welcomes Terri Klein to Allegheny County Council. We also welcome the kinder, gentler Rich Fitzgerald, who sounded legitimately warm in his statement about Ms. Klein, who will serve out the term of the late Barbara Daly Danko, who died prior to winning the Democratic nomination in last month's primary.

2) Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will tell us whether or not he's running for president on June 24 in New Orleans. If he chooses to run, it would probably be good to ask him a few questions about the financial shape of his home state ... and, you know, whether he has a basic notion about how budgets work.

3) Kathleen Kane's least favorite news of the day: the corruption investigation of Philadelphia-area legislators that she abandoned has netted two more guilty pleas.

4) When you place a telephone call today, be sure to say hi to the National Security Agency, which can once again tap into your call records, albeit with some new limitations.

5) Sepp Blatter will still be president of FIFA, the highly profitable non-profit that governs international football (the sport known here as soccer), when the Women's World Cup gets started this weekend. But that doesn't mean that Mr. Blatter, who announced on Tuesday plans to resign, is off the hook in the scandal that has so far netted charges against several of his colleagues; there are widespread reports circulating today that he is the subject of the continued investigation by the United States of corruption in the sport.

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