Former revenue secretary sets RNC delegates on the right road

Published by Tracie Mauriello on .

He once was responsible for collecting billions of dollars in state revenue, but this week Bob Judge is head chauffeur for Pennsylvania’s current slate of powerbrokers.

If you think it’s a demotion, think again. The former state revenue secretary wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is his fifth time volunteering to coordinate transportation for state delegates headed to the Republican National Convention. He’s the first friendly face many of the state’s 400 delegates will see when they arrive in Tampa.

He got here himself just yesterday but after several trips between the airport and hotel he drives the short stretch like a pro. He’s been picking up the early arrivals by car, but tomorrow and Sunday, when delegates start arriving en masse, they’ll be transported by bus.

Mr. Judge coordinated pick-up schedules to coincide with flight arrival times and is working to ensure no delegate has to wait too long. Eight trips are scheduled for tomorrow and 14 for Saturday.

It’s been a piece of cake compared to the 1992 convention at the Houston Astrodome. Traffic there was nightmarish, Mr. Judge said.

New York City in 2004 was smooth sailing by comparison. That’s a city that knows how to move people, he said. 


Casey hits "Tea Party Tom Smith"

Published by Tim McNulty on .

The Bob Casey campaign has loaded all its opposition material on Republican challenger Tom Smith -- including their takes on his stances on Medicare, trade and taxes -- into one handy website today that mostly focuses on another part of Smith's biography. His founding of a Tea Party group in Indiana and Armstrong counties.

The "Tea Party Tom Smith" site is filled with newspaper and YouTube clips. Said the Casey campaign:

"This web site lets voters know what Tea Party Tom Smith meant when he said that he is a Tea Party guy," said Casey Campaign Manager Larry Smar. "Not only did Tea Party Tom Smith start his own Tea Party group, he is pushing an extreme agenda that is in lockstep with the Tea Party and out of step with Pennsylvania."

Tom Smith is one of Pennsylvania's most prominent Tea Party leaders. He is a self-proclaimed "Tea Party guy" who newspapers have said founded an "ultra-conservative" Tea Party organization. On the campaign trail, Smith has embraced all of the Tea Party's extreme polices - from ending Medicare as we know it to privatizing Social Security to a flat tax that would cut taxes on the wealthiest while raising taxes on working families - and he even said he'd go to Washington to help the Tea Party caucus.

Of course, Casey's colleague Pat Toomey is embraced by the Tea Party too (though the junior senator has been careful not to officially join hands with the movement).

Here's the response from Smith spokeswoman Megan Piwowar:

"Unfortunately, for more than five and a half years, Sen. Bob Casey has offered zero solutions to fix our economy and create jobs, which has forced his campaign to launch false attacks. In November, voters will have a choice between a career politician who has voted in lock-step with President Obama's job-killing policies or a proven job-creator. Tom's experience in the private sector has demonstrated his ability to manage a budget and meet a payroll, something Bob Casey knows little about."


Supremes agree to Sept voter ID hearing

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court agreed today to a swift review of the Commonwealth Court decision upholding the state's voter ID law, thereby rejecting a Corbett administration request to hold off until October.

The court agreed to an expidited review, meaning it will hold hearings in its Philadelphia session from Sept 10-14. Arguments are currently set for Sept. 13.

The order is below:



Muhlenberg/MC: Obama up 9

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Here's why Pa is perceived as a lean-Obama state: the latest Muhlenberg/Morning Call poll is out and it still shows the Democrat with a 9-point lead over Mitt Romney.

From the Morning Call's Colby Itkowitz:

The first poll of Pennsylvania voters since Mitt Romney made Paul Ryan his running mate found the pick did nothing to move the race.

President Barack Obama maintains his lead in the lean-blue state with 49 percent support to Romney's 40 percent among likely voters, according to a The Morning Call/Muhlenberg College public poll conducted this week. In other recent polls of the state Obama's lead has ranged from 12 points to six points, but he's consistently been ahead.

Notably, Obama maintains that lead despite weak job approval -- 47 percent disapprove of the job he's doing in the White House, compared to 43 percent who do.

Medicare is a big reason why. Respondents to the poll of 422 voters favored Obama's handling of the health insurance plan 47-34%. The Romney/Ryan Medicare plan was also unpopular among voters in today's Q/NYT swing state poll -- those voters rated Medicare the third most important issue in the election following the economy and health care generally.


More blows to Pa swing status

Published by Tim McNulty on .

We've been saying for a while now that Pennsylvania isn't a top tier presidential battleground state this year, and there's more evidence today bearing that out.

Today's First Read from NBC doesn't have Pa in their list of toss-up states. Instead they are:

1. North Carolina
2. Iowa
3. Florida
4. Colorado
5. Virginia
6. Nevada
7. Ohio
8. Wisconsin
9. New Hampshire

Bill Clinton is huge in Pa, and the Obama camp has produced its first ad using the former president, but it's only running in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, N.H., Nevada, N.C., Ohio and Virginia. There is no evidence yet that the Romney team will begin advertising in the state, though things could change after the GOP convention.

Three weeks ago the Quinnipiac/NYT swing state poll surveyed Ohio, Florida and Pa. Today's studies Ohio, Florida and and WisconsinUVa's Larry Sabato moves Wisconsin into toss-up territory today and leaves Pa as Lean Dem.