Bruce Castor, a Montgomery County Commissioner, told PoliticsPA in a story posted this morning that he's thinking about challenging Gov. Tom Corbett in the 2014 Republican primary:
There's no election on the calendar, but Allegheny County Democrats have a date to nominate their candidate for the 42nd District House seat previously held by soon-to-be-Sen. Matt Smith.
Smith resigned his House seat Nov. 30 after winning the 37th District Senate seat formerly held by John Pippy, a Republican. Smith ran concurrently for the two seats.
The speaker of the House will call a special election to fill the seat after members are sworn in, and the speaker is elected, on Jan. 1. County and state Democratic committee members living in the district are scheduled to vote on their candidate Dec. 16 in Mt. Lebanon.
"We usually try to get the nomination organized and the candidate chosen as quickly as possible," said Grant Gittlen, executive director of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.
As of this afternoon, no candidate had submitted a letter of intent, which they must do to secure a spot on the ballot. But this story by politics editor James O'Toole names former Mr. Lebanon commissioner Dan Miller as a candidate for the party's nomination.
From today's paper, an example of the nuanced relationships of state lawmakers as their colleagues have headed to prison.
Republican state Rep. Garth Everett succeeded friend and ex-lawmaker Brett Feese in representing a Lycoming County district in 2007.
Feese is now at SCI-Waymart, one of soon-to-be eight ex-lawmakers who are imprisoned for crimes related to their official duties.
Everett emailed the House Republican caucus this week, asking if any of their colleagues wanted to chip in for a Christmas donation to Feese's inmate account.
Some have already sent him checks, Everett said in an interview, noting that a number of lawmakers had asked how they could help their former coworker.
"It is what it is," he said in an interview. "We have some former members in jail. That doesn't mean they're not people."
The auditor general-elect won't be sworn in until January, but this morning announced his transition team for managing that process.
In the release, the soon-to-be fiscal watchdog emphasized that no taxpayer funds would be spent on his transition efforts.
His co-chairs are Joe Powers, a former top staffer in the state Department of Environmental Protection, where DePasquale spent three years, and Dave Myers, who served in senior management positions in the Rendell and Casey administrations.
His campaign manager, Liz Wagenseller, will be staying on as a co-coordinator for the transition, with Suzanne Itzko, a former deputy secretary for the Department of Transportation, as the other co-coordinator.
A number of the other high-profile names have ties to the Gov. Ed Rendell era, including David Sweet — who was Rendell's 2002 campaign manager and executive director of his transition team — and Chuck Ardo, a former Rendell campaign and gubernatorial spokesman.
Mary Soderberg was state budget secretary at the end of Rendell's tenure, and Abe Amoros also was a Rendell spokeman.
The list of committee chairs and other members can be found after the jump:
A month before Pennsylvania was to swear in its first openly gay state lawmaker, three-term state Rep. Mike Fleck announced in his local newspaper that he is gay.
Fleck is not only Pennsylvania's first openly gay state legislator, but appears to be one of only two openly gay Republicans serving in legislatures across the country last session.
Fleck told his personal story in the Huntington Daily News, recounting a difficult private struggle that involved seeing a Christian counselor and a secular therapist, and eventually separating from his wife.
As excerpted by PoliticsPa:
"I'm still the exact same person and I'm still a Republican and, most importantly, I'm still a person of faith trying to live life as a servant of God and the public. The only difference now is that I will also be doing so as honestly as I know how."
He said his party affiliation remains strong.
"The Republican party is all about the government needing to stay out of people's lives," Fleck said. "I'm not a one-issue person and it's not a one-issue party."
Fleck's south-central district is overlapped in part by the Senate district of Republican John Eichelberger, who has introduced bills to ban same-sex marriage and has been outspoken on his anti-gay views.
On his blog Saturday, Eichelberger described Fleck's announcement as "stunning," and noted it again on Sunday. "...it will be interesting as the business week begins, to see how Mike Fleck's announcement is received in his district and around the Commonwealth."
Next session, Fleck will be joined across the aisle by the first openly gay legislative candidate to run and win in Pennsylvania.
Democratic Rep.-elect Brian Sims will replace Democrat Babette Josephs representing center city Philadelphia.
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