Harrisburg hog call!

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Great news Pennsylvania:

Fresh off working late into the night to pass a budget -- and violating their pledges to no longer do so -- your elected representatives in America's Largest Full-Time State Legislature are now going on a paid three month voting break. But don't dare call it a vacation.

Leaders of both parties defend the hiatus. From Jon Delano at KDKA-TV:

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, a Republican, says work is being done over the summer.

“You don’t have to be in legislative session to consider an issue. That’s why you have committee meetings, and hearings, and discussions.”

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, a Democrat, agrees.

“Well, I wouldn’t call it a 12-week break,” says Costa. “I would suggest to you that there’s work that’s being done daily in the legislative offices, other events are going on in the communities that we are participating in, working on.”

Lawmakers do come back to work Sept. 24 for EIGHT days of votes. Then go on ANOTHER three-month election season/holiday vacation. Which is probably a pretty normal work schedule for most of the (non-elected) people reading this.


Poll: Outsourcing attacks working in Pa

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Pollsters for the Obama-tied SuperPAC Priorities USA Action claim several weeks worth of attacks on Mitt Romney's history at Bain are working in Obama's favor in Pa and other swing states, with voters seeing the Republican and his business ties in a negative light.

In June 25-July 3 interviews with likely voters in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, Romney has his lowest favorable numbers in any of the states in Pennsylvania, and the difference between his favorable/unfavorable numbers is also greater than in any other state (at -12 points). Ohio is right behind at -11.

Which is why the Romney camp and the RNC is battling back on hard -- finally, after complaints from other Republicans -- on that point, saying Obama is really "the outsourcer in chief" for sending jobs overseas through his stimulus package. The NYT today says the claims are thin by both camps, and companies cited by the GOP for outsourcing deny they're doing so. The "two candidates and their allies have all but stuck their fingers in their ears while continuing with their outsourcing attacks," the story says.

According to Roll Call, David Axelrod and two other top Obama political advisors met with congressional Dems yesterday and said their strategy is based on winning nine states including Pa: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.\

UPDATE: Here's reaction from the RNC's spox in Pa, Billy Pitman:

“Hard to take seriously an internal poll from a Bill Maher funded Obama superpac touting their own negative attack ads that have been consistently proven false by independent fact checkers.  The Obama campaign and their allies have continued to mislead voters with false attacks on Governor Romney’s business record because they have no answer for their own failed economic record that has seen 41 months of unemployment over 8 percent. In fact, the Obama campaign even admitted today that billions of taxpayer dollars meant to create jobs here that were sent overseas instead.”


Raja says no special elex, slams Dems

Published by Laura Olson on .


Republican state Senate candidate D. Raja says state officials should not call a special election for the seat he's seeking.

In a statement issued this morning, Raja said not filling former state Sen. John Pippy's 37th Senatorial District seat for the handful of fall session days would be a prudent decision.

"With only a few months left in Senator Pippy's term, it does not make fiscal sense to have a special election to fill the seat," he said in the statement. "I ask Lt. Governor Cawley to please not have a special election for this seat. The taxpayers can ill afford another election for just a few months of time."

Pippy resigned from his Senate seat moments after his final budget votes on June 30. He announced on Monday that he will be the new CEO of the state's reorganized coal trade group.

Raja was set to be running against Democrat Greg Parks this fall, but he withdrew from the race just before Pippy's resignation. Democratic state Rep. Matt Smith of Mt. Lebanon is considering joining the race.

The Raja camp noted their temporary absence of an opponent in the statement against a special election.

"Raja, nominated in a primary, is the Republican nominee for the seat," the statement read. "Democratic nominee Greg Parks has dropped out of the race. It appears he did so in order to allow party bosses to handpick a new candidate without the voters consent."

UPDATE, 3:40 p.m. -- Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley announced this afternoon that he will not be calling a special election in the district, saying that an extra round of balloting would not be in the public interest":

“After consultations with Governor Corbett and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, I have decided against having a special election prior to the general election,” Cawley said. “When considering all the factors: the logistics of holding an election and certifying the results, the limited number of session days, and since the voters will be casting their ballots in just a few weeks, the cost to taxpayers does not justify holding a special election.”


Vulakovich launches Senate race ad

Published by Laura Olson on .

Republican state Rep. Randy Vulakovich is on the cable airwaves in his bid for the state's 40th Senatorial District seat.

His ad -- the first in that August 7 special election for former Sen. Jane Orie's seat -- highlights his years as a police officer, and states that he never took per diems for Harrisburg session days.

He faces Democrat Sharon Brown of McCandless in the upcoming contest.

Video of the ad is posted above, and the script can be read after the jump:


Tuesday heds: Redistrict, lobbying, voter ID

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Good morning.

Obama seeks to cut middle class taxes, whereas Republicans see a tax increase on small businesses (Jim O'Toole)

With another round of state legislative district lines comes another round of legal challenges (Laura Olson)

Former state Sen. John Pippy is jumping right into the PA Coal Alliance lobbying efforts (Erich Schwartzel)

A bunch more on the Corbett admin's contract for a Republican firm to do voter education on the new Voter ID law (TPM). Sample graf on why Eric Holder won't be jumping into Pa fray:

While the Justice Department has challenged voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas it hasn’t done so in Pennsylvania because it isn’t covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a provision which requires certain states with a history of racial discrimination to have changes to their voting laws precleared by federal authorities. While civil rights groups have sued over Pennsylvania’s law on behalf of clients including a 93-year-old woman who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a challenge from DOJ’s Civil Rights Division likely couldn’t come until after the 2012 election.