« VA-2005: General Election Ballot | Main | PA-10: Republican Family Values »

Thursday, June 16, 2005

PA-08: Clearing the Field, Again in PA?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

It must be something in the water in Pennsylvania. Another Democrat is waiting for a cleared primary field if she is to throw her hat in the ring. This time, the candidate's name is Robin Wiessmann. Who is Robin, and what gives her the right to think she deserves a clear field. PoliticsPA has the skinny:

She serves as a Commissioner on the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission and is President of Brown/Wiessmann Group, a financial consulting firm in Newtown.

Wiessmann is the wife of prominent Democrat Ken Jarin, a Rendell fundraiser, member of the 2002 Rendell Transition Team and partner at the law firm of Ballard Spahr. Jarin was ranked #15 in the PoliticsPA List of Pennsylvania's most powerful unelected personalities.

The second paragraph is really what it's all about. I was on the phone with Chris Bowers of MyDD looking over her and her husband's past campaign contributions. It's impressive. Probably well over $100,000 given to Democratic (and Republican) candidates over the past decade or so. I would venture to guess that if you looked at the contributions made by her partners at her husband's law firm as well, it would probably knock your socks off as well.

I don't know where Pennsylvania Democrats like Bob Casey Jr. and Robin Wiessmann get off thinking they deserve a free ride to anything--and then assuming our immediate support for the General Election. I am going to have a lot more to say about Casey within the next few weeks, but let me leave you with a quote from Bob Casey Jr, in the 2002 Gov. Primary in Pennsylvania.

There are plenty of examples where this state has had a lot of tough primaries and then come together. In fact, the history shows, if you look at it, that the party with the tough primary usually wins.
And yes, there are already two declared Democratic candidates in the primary field, with a third, Ginny Schrader, potentially jumping in sometime soon.

(Disclaimer: I no longer work for Chuck Pennacchio's campaign for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, and any opinions I will express are my own and not of the campaign)

Posted at 01:12 AM in Pennsylvania | Technorati


Tim, why have you stopped working for Chuck? Anything wrong about that campaign that we should know about?

Posted by: Jeremy Young [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 02:15 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Why do you think that Bob Casey and this other woman think that they deserve a free ride? You don't know how this stuff goes down, went down, etc. For all any of us know, Bob Casey wanted a primary opponent so he could get ready for talking about issues in the general. While you may think that he's just assuming immediate support in the general, that's not the case. He's out campaigning like any candidate, perhaps just not in your small circle.

Posted by: sally [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 10:52 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Bob Casey Jr. wanted the primary field cleared because his progressive bona fides just aren't up to snuff. That's exactly why he blew a double-digit lead with 6 months to go before the 2002 Primary, only to lose by double digits; as soon as someone had the money to shine the light on him as a candidate, he got smoked.

And while I am quite certain that he is still taking time to figure out where he stands on each of these issues--I would appreciate it if he stopped echoing Republican talking points on the issues he is sure of. If I want to hear 'err on the side of life' and 'destroy life to save life,' I can generally get that from Rick Santorum and George Bush.

And no, he has not done any campaigning in my small circle, or many circles for that matter--save appearances at fundraisers.

I'll pass on Casey, thanks.


Posted by: Tim Tagaris [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 01:04 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm not asking you to support Casey. I am still wary of supporting Casey. I am asking you not to make statements about these candidates thinking they "deserve" something. How do you know about Bob Casey and the primary field clearing? That's the Democratic party in PA.

Posted by: sally [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 02:07 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Remember when the Democrats were supposed the party with a big tent?
Tim, are there any conditions or occasions that a candidate can disagree with parts of the Democratic platform, or should they be slaves to the ideology? Just curious.
For the record, please promote as many far left-wingers in PA as you would like. They don't win here.

Posted by: BCarr [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 02:22 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Hey, I guess I'd ask for a clear field, too. Why not?

I wouldn't cry if I didn't get it, but since it seems to be a popular option in Pennsylvania and elswhere, I guess I'd ask for it, too. Depending on whether or not I got my way, I might even get a picture of what kind of juice I really had.

Surely a big-time fundraiser has an outside shot at getting their back scratched once in a while.

Posted by: Kagro X [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 02:30 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The Big Tent:

Yeah, it's a big tent. My problem with Casey isn't that he's anti-choice. Fine. My problem with Casey is that he is:

- Anti-Choice
- Anti-Stem Cell Research
- So anti-gun violence prevention that the NRA runs commercials for him.
- Asked us to support the President at the start of the war and still says "this is about winning a war.
- Refused to give a definitive answer on ANWR
- Is against, or at the very least won't say that he is for full federal rights (1138 of them) for same gender unions.
- Pro-Congressional Intervention on the Schiavo case
- On issues we disagree on, he echoes Republican talking points
- Comes from the school of thought that we win by blurring the distinctions between candidates.
- Was pro-nuclear option compromise
- Pro-death penalty, without moratorium

So yeah, on any one or two of these issues, I could hold my nose, or even cheer for the candidate (maybe not the war issue).

It's a big tent, but not big enough to fit an elephant in it.


Posted by: Tim Tagaris [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 02:48 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I still ardently support pro-union, pro-affordable health care, pro-working families Casey. I think upon further investiagtion you could see some Spitzer-like qualities. But more importantly, here is something we might be able to agree on...Rep. Don Sherwood (R) of PA doesn't actually represent the city of Scranton anymore, so his district is pretty solidly Republican. It was a swing district when Casey's younger brother, Pat, gave him two close races to replace retiring moderate Rep. McDade's seat. (Scranton, which has something like a 4-1 Democratic edge was moved into the same district as Wilkes-Barre, which was already solidly Democrat.) Thought you might like to make a post on this because Sherwood plays the moral card often and hard. Maybe raise awareness to this? It would be a total long shot for a Democrat to win, assuming one could be found that would be willing to run in this district, but it would be nice to divert some of the Republicans' money to this district, which has been a total safe seat for them.


Posted by: BCarr [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 04:52 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Woah Tim, you are way off on some of these claims about Casey, specifically, the Schavio issue and the nuclear opinion compromise. I know for a FACT that Casey said it is wrong for politicians to intervene in such a personal mater. And the nuclear opinion I know he stated that what Frist was doing was unconstitutional and that dems had every right to filibuster.

Posted by: jkfp2004 [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 07:13 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


You remain one of the chief properietors of misinformation on the net when it comes to this campaign.

Bob Casey Jr. on Terri Schiavo, from Philly Daily News columnist Gar Joseph's interview with Casey Jr.

"I think you should err on the side of life. I think some kind of congressional review was appropriate.
Looks like you don't know for a "FACT" anything, again.

Then there is the nuclear option compromise, the one he applauded through his campaign manager the day after the deal in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The campaign manager for Pennsylvania Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., who is running against Santorum in next year's Senate contest, said Casey welcomed the deal. "Bob Casey is relieved that reasonable people in the Senate were able to find a bipartisan solution," Jay Reiff said.
So please, please, please, stop your continual spread of misinformation.


Posted by: Tim Tagaris [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 08:10 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Ok, where the hell in that quote does it say he supported the nuclear option? I'm confused. All it says it that he's happy the Senate was able to reach a compromise and didn't go off a cliff. It seems you're the one who's spreading misinformation. And even though Casey may be pro-life, do you think he will be in the same way as Santorum? Do you think he's going to make it his top legislative priority to make sure people in Africa don't use condoms? Our current Minority Leader Harry Reid, is a terrific senator and leader and is doing a magnificent job, yet he is "pro-life." Howard Dean frames this very well, saying that Democrats "care about babies after their born and Republicans don't"

Posted by: tjp [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 17, 2005 10:49 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


1.) The above quote says "pro-nuclear option compromise," not "pro-nuclear option."

2.) I love the fact that "Harry Reid is pro-life" is the Casey apologist fall-back position. First of all, Harry Reid is a LEADER in the Senate. People aren't necessarily enamored with the man because of his positions on the issues, rather they are impressed with his tactics as Minority Leader.

3.) I have no idea if Casey Jr. will go after condoms in Africa. I do know that he is in favor of appealing Roe v. Wade -- as Governor he said he would sign a bill to ban all abortions if he was elected.

I know that he supports the "pharmacist for life" position.

I know that is as anti-choice as they come, on either side of the aisle.

So no, I don't know if he would go after condoms in Africa. I know that he would, however, go after women's right to choose in America.

But it sure feels good to vote for someone simply because they aren't as bad as Santorum, doesn't it?

Posted by: Tim Tagaris [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 17, 2005 11:54 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Well I'm not going to vote for Chuck just because he rattles off his resume and tells us about campaigns that he worked on in other states. And unfortunately for your logic, people outside of our happy little circle don't care about the issues you listed as much as they care about jobs, health care, and education. And that is a lot of voters in Pennsylvania.

Posted by: sally [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 17, 2005 02:36 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

First of all, I am not asking you to vote for Chuck. My ultimate goal is to get party leaders to stop shoving unpalatable Democrats down our throats.

That said, I would disagree that people outside the blogs don't care about quite a bit about the war in Iraq, Congressional Intervention in the Schiavo case, I would argue that especially recently, people in Philadelphia are quite concerned about gun violence, I would argue that people care about stem cell research, and I would certainly argue that there are quite a few people that care about the issue of choice.

So, you can have Bob Casey Jr; if he is the future of my Democratic Party, I am quite unimpressed.

P.S. He isn't even that good on health care either. And I am still waiting for someone to show me what he has ACCOMPLISHED for labor. Until now, it has been labor investing in him that gives him his cache.

Posted by: Tim Tagaris [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 17, 2005 03:02 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

So the real issue is, if you don't think we should vote for Casey and I don't think that Chuck's resume is that impressive, I'm left with Santorum. No thanks.

And to be honest, your agreements have been so nasty and sarcastic that it is kind of a good ad for not listening to your points.

Posted by: sally [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 17, 2005 03:43 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

So the real issue is, if you don't think we should vote for Casey and I don't think that Chuck's resume is that impressive, I'm left with Santorum. No thanks.

No, the real issue is that there is a primary election before the general election. In the primary election, people choose who they think would be the candidate who most closely represents him/her to be the nominee in the general election. This is not a 3-way race and never will be. In the primary it will be between Chuck and Casey. In the general it will be between the Democratic nominee and Santorum.

As far as I know (and I've been following pretty closely), Tim has never suggested voting for Santorum. Everything that I've read from Chuck Pennacchio supporters says that if Casey wins the primary, they will all vote for him in the general.

Posted by: Fran for Dean [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 18, 2005 11:08 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Overall, I agree with the idea that competition generally produces a more experienced and tested candidate.

But there are two drawbacks: (1) it takes up a LOT of resources (especially in states that have a major media market (i.e., Phili) and (2) can sometime devolve into unsavory intra-party fighting.

While I can see that Casey may be "unpalatable" to some dems, no one can seriously claim that he is unpalatable to ALL or even MOST dems. His state-wide positives are a strong indication that PA voters think he is someone who can represent their interests in Washington.

Sure, if there were another Dem who could seriously challenge Santorum and has the respect of PA voters, I'd like to see them in the primary. Pennachio just doesn't convince me -- I like my candidates w/a bit more experience than your average 30 year-old political activist.

Let's face it: The PA party doesn't really have a strong stable of horses to run a statewide campaign against Santorum. It's really either Casey or Hafer, and they've placed their bets for '06 already.

Let's stop crying over spilled milk, and let's start doing the groundwork for training, nurturing, and promoting PA dems so that we have candidates to challenge for every seat not only in DC, but in H'burg too!

Posted by: LVDem [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 19, 2005 07:46 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Nah. I don't think I'll stop crying over spilt milk. I think I'm going to keep working to ensure Casey is not elected in May's primary and that as many people as possible get the truth about his questionable positions on the issues.

What's funny, is that over on PoliticsPA, you posted that if Chuck were to win the primary you'd sit out the General Election. But, heaven forbid anyone raise a finger to damage Bob Casey in the primary. The hypocrisy is stunning.

If the wacko for some unimaginable reason does get the nomination, I'll abstain from voting in that column.

Those were your words about Chuck, and you had a lot worse to say as well. I too will have a lot to say about Bob Casey in the coming weeks.

Posted by: Tim Tagaris [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 20, 2005 02:29 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Brother, please!

First, the fact that some other Dem from the Lehigh Valley (thus, LVDem) has posted on PoliticsPA does not mean that we're the same people. While I read PoliticsPA articles, I have never posted on the boards there. Good try on the op-research, big man!

Second, I have NO QUALMS with anyone questioning Casey's policy stances. I think that's completely legitimate and deserves to be aired out. The spilled milk comment was in regards to the "clearing of the field" topic. I'd be happy to have that issue moved to the background and see people start talking about his policy positions - whethere they're for him or against him. Kudos for that.

Third, I will say this: I would vote for anyone who comes out of the Dem Primary, including Pennachio. I probably wouldn't spend a ton of hours raising money or going door-to-door for him b/c I think he's a weak candidate, and I'm not for quixotic efforts, but he'd get my vote.

Posted by: LVDem [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 20, 2005 10:44 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I have one comment. I will vote for Pennacchio in the PA primary. If Casey wins the PA primary, I will vote for Santorum in the general election. I don't want to send a message to the democratic leadership that moving to the right is OK. Santorum will get my protest vote! I have always voted for only democratic candidates in the past but, I can't stomach Casey. He's too much of a Zell Miller.

Posted by: Sharon [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 24, 2005 01:09 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Tim, if you stopped working for Chuck's campaign so that you could go all negative on Casey, that's really uncomfortable. I've said to Chuck that I really respect that he has kept things positive and focused on his views and the need to defeat Santorum, rather than seeking to tear down Casey as much as possible. And he has agreed with me and said how important he feels it is to remain positive. If you support his candidacy, it's really unfortunate that you appear to disagree with him on this basic philosophical issue.

One of our major progressive values should be raising the debased level of political discourse in this country. I haven't asked Chuck, but I have a feeling he would agree with me on that.

Posted by: Steve M [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 24, 2005 08:08 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


Here is the problem. There are a lot of people going around and spreading misinformation about Casey. What I am talking about is issues. That's a far cry from people who have run around saying that I was working for Santorum, and that supporting Chuck is like supporting Santorum.

You see, when it started, everyone said, "oh, casey is only wrong on Choice." And I knew it wasn't true. But that was the talking point, and if you dare disagree with Casey, you become a "single issue litmus test voter" and "everything wrong with the Democratic Party."

I am not going to run around and call Casey "Joe Lieberman" because of his propensity to appear on nationally viewed Right Wing talk shows and repeat Republican talking point. But I will continue to inform people on where Casey stands on these important issues.

I mean, look above. I point out he was wrong on Schiavo & the nuclear option compromise. If you support his decisions on those--fine. But you have people running around saying, they know for a "FACT" that he was not on the side he actually took.

It's not right. And it's frustrating. Cause these lies come from the top--from people like Joe Hoeffel who when "surrogating" keep repeating the talking point, "he's only wrong on choice."

You see, personally, I can understand where concerned Democrats like Sharon above are coming from. But, I will never go around encouraging people not to vote for Bob Casey Jr. against Santorum. In fact, I am the first one to say I will talk with them the day after the primary if they wish about what we accomplished on the Net.

It's such a double standard to fear "damaging" Casey by being honest about his positions on the issues, but it's cool to walk around calling Chuck unelectable. If winning is the the bottom line to all these people--what's the real smear?

That's all.


Posted by: Tim Tagaris [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 25, 2005 04:01 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment