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McGinty on gift ban

Published by James O'Toole on .

Katie McGinty is trying to add a does of momentum to her longshot campaign with a new positive ad which congratulates itself for not being part of the increasingly rancorous debate occupying other candidates.  It turns out she's still the daughter of a police officer; still one of ten children; and still worked for Ed Rendell and Bill Clinton. She would also, according to the ad's narrator, "ban gifts to Harrsiburg politicians, restore Cobrbett's education cuts and support Obamacare.''

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LCB RIP? TBD

Published by James O'Toole on .

Karen Langley and Kate Giammarise pull back the curtain on another round of legislative machinations in pursuit of reform of the state liquor sales system.  The latest permutation of the elusive LCB changes "would leave the state stores  operating while reducing restrictions on beer and wine sales.''

"They didn't want fifths of Jack Daniel's going out of Wawa at 2 a.m.,'' says killjoy Sen. Chuck McIllhinney, R-Bucks.

 

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Inky goes for McCord

Published by James O'Toole on .

State Treasurer Rob McCord is down in the polls and facing some flak from party elders on his tough new ad attacking Tom Wolf, but his campaign got one big plus over he weekend as he picked up the backing of the state largest newpaper.  While lauding the overall quality of the Democratic contenders, The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board praised the treasurer's  "obviously rich reservoir of intelligence, knowledge, and energy ....  with his substantial experience in politics, government, business, and finance.''

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Hanger endorses Wolf

Published by James O'Toole on .

John Hanger, former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Resources, has endorsed Tom Wolf for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Mr. Hanger, who ended his own campaign for governor earlier this year, said he had decided to back the York businessman because, “He will be the great, transformational governor Pennsylvanians need so desperately right now.’’

Mr. Hanger’s short-lived campaign was praised for its detailed focus on issues but failed to gain much traction in the polls. He had calculated that his underfunded campaign could prevail by winning a plurality in a splintered field. But he said at the time he dropped out that the Wolf’s early surge had left him without a realistic path to victory. Mr. Hanger attracted attention of his call to legalize and tax marijuana. His outspokenness on that issue helped prod the rest of the Democratic field to move toward backing various degrees of decriminalization of the drug’s recreational use in addition to supporting medical marijuana.

In a statement released by the Wolf campaign, he said, “I also endorse Tom Wolf because he has run a positive campaign that has consistently discussed the issues that matter to our future.’’

You can read the full Hanger statement after the jump.

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Rendell, Casey denounce McCord

Published by James O'Toole on .


Senior Pennsylvania Democrats including former Gov. Ed Rendell and Sen. Bob Casey denounced state treasurer Rob McCord Saturday for running a commercial accusing his rival Tom Wolf of racial  insensitivity, but Mr. McCord, in an emotional news conference, vowed to press the attack regardless of its consequences.

The exchanges came as Mr. Wolf has gained a wide polling lead over his rivals for the Democratic nomination for governor.  In ad that began airing Friday, the McCord campaign raised pointed questions about Mr. Wolf's decision in 2001 not to disassociate himself from a former York mayor, Charles Robertson.  Mr. Wolf was the chairman of Mr. Robertson's campaign for mayor that year.  After he won the primary, Mr. Robertson was charged as an accomplice to the murder of a woman who died in a 1969 race riot.  Mr. Robertson was a police officer at the time of the riot and acknowledged that he was racially bigoted at the time but said that he recanted those views.  He denied any involvement with the womnan's death and was subsequently acquitted of the murder charge after he stepped down as a mayoral candidate.

The McCord ad throws a harsh focus on the episode, asking, "Why would he chair the campaign of a man arrested for his role in a race riot, one that left a black woman dead?  ....For York, it was an ugly episode; for Tom Wolf, there's just no good answer.''

The Wolf campaign shot back with an ad featuring the current York mayor, Kim Bracey, who is African-American, rejecting the attack and asserting that Mr. McCord, "should be ashamed of himself.''

Mr. Rendell, the former governror, called a press conference Saturday morning to echo and amplify the criticisms of the McCord attack.

  "This is the wrong type of politics. It’s bad politics,'' Mr Rendell said.  "Again, it’s politics that makes me ashamed to have been part of this profession for almost all of my adult life.'' Mr Rendell, who emphasized that he had not endorsed a candidate in the Democratic race, noted that in 2008, Mr. McCord had accepted a $20,000 contribution form Mr. Wolf for his campaign for treasurer and said that he should have been familiar then with the background of Mr. Wolf, who served a secretary of revenue in his administration.

"So, I wonder whether Mr. McCord is going to return that check today because of the strong feelings expressed in his ad, which I think is one of the worst I have seen in politics,'' he said. Noting the standings in the race with less than three weeks to go before the May 20 primary, Mr. Rendell said, "I know the feeling of desperation when you’re losing because you believe in yourself. You think you can do good things. And I believe that Rob McCord believes in himself and believes that as governor he could do good things for the people of Pennsylvania. But that desire, that knowledge, should not overcome basic decency.''

Sen. Bob Casey also rebuked the McCord ad.   "I have refrained from endorsing a candidate in the gubernatorial primary and I am not endorsing today,'' he said in a statement.  "However, I wanted to speak out about one of the recent ads run against Tom Wolf.  I have known Tom for a long time and he is a person of uncommon integrity and an abiding commitment to justice and fairness. This ad is offensive. I hope it will be taken down and that all of the candidates will focus on the importance of moving the Commonwealth in a new direction."

Mr. McCord stood by his ad and his overall criticism of the front-runner in a hastily called mid-afternoon news conference in Philadelphia.  He stood with his wife, Leigh, who is African-American, and said he would not back down from issues that were deeply personal to him.   "We think this conversation is important at and we are going to to drive this conversation forward,'' he said, contending that Mr. Wolf had failed a test of leadership in not immediately repudiating Mr. Robertson in 2001.  

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