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Richardson raises money for McGinty

Published by James O'Toole on .

Calling on the Clinton alumni network, Katie McGinty, one of the Democratic candidates for governor, was to raise money in Philadelphia Thursday night at an event headlined by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

McGinty and Richardson served together in the Clinton administration.  McGinty chaired the White House Council on Environmental Quality while Richardson served as secretary of energy.

“Katie is a long-time friend and colleague. Over the years, I have seen Katie support an agenda that cuts pollution, supports new energy technologies, and makes clear that the economy thrives when the environment is protected.'' Mr. Richardson said in a  statement released by the campaign  "Now, I am determined to do all I can to elect her governor.

Ms McGinty, a former state secretary of environmental protection, was endorsed earlier by Mr. Clinton's vice president, Al Gore.

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McCord on same-sex marriage

Published by James O'Toole on .

Treasurer Rob McCord, a Democratic candidate for governor, has asked a federal court to allow him to offer a formal argument in favor of a same-sex married couple challenging Pennsylvania's marriage law.

In his argument in federal court in Philadelphia, Mr. McCord includes personal reflections on how his own interracial marriage would have been illegal in many states within his lifetime.

Echoing a point he has made in campaign appearances, Mr. McCord's filing notes that, "The issue of marriage equality is very personal to me.  My own interracial marraige, had it ocurred when I was born (and not 27 years later) would have been illegal in many states.''

In his brief to the U.S. District Court, McCord wrote: "Litigation before this Court revisits the issue of state laws that selectively recognize marital rights, replacing racially based barriers with a newly identified obstacle -- sexual orientation."

Mr. McCord argues that the issue is relevant to his official duties in that, in a variety of contexts, including pension rights,  instances of unclaimed property, and the state's tuition savings plan, he may be called upon to enforce regulations that, in his view, discriminate against same sex-marriage.

 "As treasurer, I oversee a broad range of public programs and benefits. Too often, our state's marriage law forces me to implement these programs and convey benefits in ways that may deprive people of their equal rights. I believe that is morally wrong and should be illegal. The statute places me in the untenable -- and personally disturbing -- position of enforcing and complying with a discriminatory law," McCord said.

Mr. McCord's views on marriage equality are broadly shared by other condidates for the Democratic nomination for governor, but a press release issued by his office notes that he is the first state elected official to argue that position in a formal legal proceeding.

 

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Batman's always watching

Published by James O'Toole on .

Lord-Grunge-aka-Jarrod-Weeks

Mayor Bill Peduto's career and mayoral triumph rest in part on his appeal to nontraditional voters, the young, the hip, the new Pittsburgh.  But perhaps he shouldn't be too comfortable that the effects of the Peduto Kool-Aid will endure. 

Last week, East Liberty's Kelly-Strayhorn Theater featured a reprise run of "Pittsburgh Batman,'' a satiric look at the local political and cultural scene from a distinct yunzer perspective _ or is it yinzer; philologists disagree.

The author, Lord Grunge, aka, Jarrod Weeks, was gracious enough to allow Early Returns to quote an encounter with the Bill Peduto character from his "hilariously vulgar display of hilarity and vulgarity.''

Speaking of which, since we're a family blog, Early Returns had to wimp out on some of the more colorful bits of dialogue, so any time you see an ellipsis below, please use your most vulgar imagination.

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Peduto to the Windy City

Published by James O'Toole on .

Mayor Bill Peduto is heading to Chicago next month to talk about what works in cities.  It's part of Politco's ongoing look at prescriptions for urban success.  Mr. Peduto will be on a panel with speakers including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.  The event is on Wednesday April, 9 and 9 a.m. Central Time.  If you can't make it yourself, Politico.com will have a live stream. 

Some of you may remember a few pieces from Politco Magazine looking at Pittsburgh in that context last month.  The featured article, on the region's economic transformation, was by the great Glenn Thrush.   Some local hack added a sidebar on the accompanying political changes hereabouts. 

 

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Wagner's Out

Published by James O'Toole on .

 

Former Auditor General Jack Wagner dropped his late-starting quest for the Democratic nomination for governor Wednesday, acknowledging that he hadn't been able to raise enough money to be competitive in the multi-candidate field.

Mr. Wagner said he wasn't ready to endorse any of his former rivals, while saying that he was keeping all professional options on the table, including the possibility of another run for office.

His departure leaves four Democrats vying for the right to take on Gov. Tom Corbett _ York businessman Tom Wolf; U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, state Treasurer Rob McCord, and Katie McGinty, a former state secretary of environmental protection.  The Wagner departure doesn't appear likely to have a major impact dynamics among the remaining contenders.

His late entry into the Democratic contest seemed to rest on the hope that as the only western candidate in the field, he could grab the nomination in a multi-candidate field.  But he failed to gain any real traction as better funded rivals began to take to the airwaves.   Several prominent western Pennsylvania politicians showed they were less concerned about geographic affinity a few weeks ago as they assembled for a group endorsement of Mr. Wolf, the free-spending York businessman.

Mr. Wagner said he had raised less then $100,000  _ a rounding error by the standards of the multi-million warchests of the rest of a field led, financially, and in recent polls by Mr. Wolf, who has pledged to spend $10 million of his own money on the race.

"I was glad I got into the race even for a short period of time,'' said the veteran Beechview Democrat, who declared his candidacy on the eve of the February filing deadline while his principal rivals had been preparing their bids for many months.

"I really believe I had a message for Pennsylvania of being a moderate Democrat ... I'm passionate about the issues,'' he added.

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