Pennsylvania Archive:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

PA-07: Sestak Hits the Airwaves

Posted by James L.

...and I have a feeling that it will tickle some of Matt Stoller's erogenous zones (via YouTube):

What do you think?

UPDATE: Joe Courtney, the Democratic challenger to Rob Simmons in CT-02, is up with his first ad, too:

Posted at 01:00 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, September 11, 2006

PA-Sen: Finally, Casey Shows Some Teeth

Posted by James L.

You remember that saucy book by Rick Santorum? It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good? It was filled with such pearls of wisdom like this one:

Santorum questions whether both parents really need to work:

In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might confess that both of them really don't need to, or at least may not need to work as much as they do. And for some parents, the purported need to provide things for their children simply provides a convenient rationalization for pursuing a gratifying career outside the home. [Pg. 94]

It's filled with tons of wingnutty shit, like saying that it's inappropriate for unwed mothers with low levels of eduction to go back to college in order to better their job prospects. And holding it against mothers of any kind to hold a job outside their home in order to support their family. And calling public schools "weird". And supporting Social Security privatization.

Really, his whole book was filled with about two dozen negative ads waiting to be written. I've been waiting for Democratic challenger Bob Casey to release a few, but I guess he felt he didn't need to so far (and, when you've been 10 to 20 points ahead in the polls for months, maybe he had a point). However, in the last few weeks, Santorum's thrown a significant amount of resources into an effective barrage of TV advertising across the state, and the insiders are buzzing about a rumoured Casey internal poll showing Santorum trailing by only three points. It could very well be a b.s. story, but somehow, I wouldn't be surprised if it were true--especially now that I see Casey baring some fangs. A visit to the DSCC's website shows a new attack ad on Santorum prominently on the page, and it goes right for the jugular, attacking Santorum for criticizing working moms for earning the necessary incomes in order to put food on the table for their families. Bob Casey has the ad up on his website here, but the tech genius responsible for the website did a horrendous cropping job with it, so I'd recommend the DSCC version instead.

I'm not sure what kind of excuses Santorum will throw up for his shameless attacks on working families, but who knows, maybe he'll get his kids to defend himself again.

Update: Thanks to Mike at the DSCC, we now have the ad up on YouTube:

Again, good stuff. Casey is starting to hit where he needs to hit.

Posted at 01:22 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Netroots August Fundraising Push: Support Joe Sestak

Posted by DavidNYC

Joe Sestak, a recently retired Vice Admiral, took everyone by surprise with his impressive entrance into the race for Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district. A political unknown, he raised over $400,000 less than two months after declaring his candidacy. Needless to say, people - the netroots included - took notice.

We quickly learned that Sestak was running in a district that had moved markedly to the left over the years - from R+4.4 in the 90s to D+3.6 - something the local bloggers had, in fact, been pointing out for some time. Sestak's entrace crystallized this fact for the rest of us. Yet despite this shift, incumbent Curt Weldon hadn't received a serious challenge in years.

But then it got better: Those of us not familiar with Weldon soon realized he was a totally unhinged conservative extremist. While Curt Weldon was off selling access to the highest bidder, Joe Sestak was honorably serving his country.

It was hard to believe that Weldon had gone unchallenged for so long, but with a strong Fighting Dem clearly well-positioned to put up a tough fight, we realized Joe Sestak was a perfect fit for the netroots page - and, it turns out, vice-versa. From the Washington Post, just a few days ago:

Sestak is getting support from traditional sources such as labor unions and newer ones such as the "Net roots" -- online activists who are channeling significant sums to anti[-Iraq ]war Democrats. He has raised $230,000 online this cycle, including thousands through blogs.

"We really hit a vein," he said.

Indeed he has. Around a month after the netroots endorsement, Sestak was added to the first wave of the DCCC's Red to Blue list. This fit perfectly into our strategy of helping to get the ball rolling so that the big boys take notice and come in later. Of course, it's our privilege to stick with Joe until he crosses the finish line in November. So please consider contributing or volunteering today.

Posted at 04:30 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Fundraising, Netroots, Pennsylvania | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

PA-10: Carney (D) First to Go Up on TV

Posted by DavidNYC

This is good news. From a Carney campaign press release:

Today, Chris Carney put his first television ad, "Pennsylvania Values" on the air. This is a huge victory because Don Sherwood has already started a campaign of negative attacks that the Towanda Daily Review called "ugly," "irresponsible," and a "low blow."

"Chris Carney beat Don Sherwood to television so he can tell the truth about himself, his family, and the values he will take to Washington," said Carney campaign manager Andrew Eldredge-Martin. "Beating Sherwood to television is a huge victory for all the Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who support our campaign to take our values back to Congress. In fact, this first ad includes both Republican and Democratic supporters who are all ready for a change in Washington."

You can find the ad here.

Why, you might be asking, does this matter? I mean, doesn't this seem like the ultimate insider baseball - who has ads on TV first? It's not like voters care about ridiculous stuff like this, right? Well, of course they don't. But what matters - as Carney's campaign manager explains above - is that Carney can now tell his story to the voters of the tenth district. By going up on TV before Sherwood does, Carney can blunt Sherwood's ability to drive up Carney's negatives.

Chris Bowers has a new post up on the so-called "incumbent rule," which holds that most undecided voters will break for a challenger on election day. However, this rule has weakened considerably in recent elections, notably in 2002 (see Wayne Allard, CO-Sen) and especially in 2004 (George Bush and many others).

One of the oft-cited reasons (discussed by Chris) for this phenomenon is that incumbents have started slamming their opponents hard and early. Thus, by the time undecided voters get to the polling booth, they are presented not with one known and one unknown quantity, but rather one known and one undesirable quantity. So naturally, they start sticking with the incumbent.

Carney is in a fortunate position, in that he has enough cash to go up on the air, and in that the media market in PA-10 is very, very cheap (especially compared to other competitive Northeastern races). Every Democrat who can expect a nasty, negative campaign from his or her opponent (ie, every Democrat on the face of the earth) should consider taking a cue from this move.

Now, I'm not merely extolling the virtues of paid media, which many consultants will do to the deleterious exclusion of all else. Rather, I'm praising Carney's timing. If you're gonna spend money to get noticed, and you can afford to go up before your opponent slanders you as a lily-livered, Bible-burning, hate-America terra-ist, then do it. Obviously, the move has to be carefully calculated - you don't want to wind up like Matt Brown in Rhode Island. But, of course, you also don't want to wait too long to go on the offensive. Just ask John Kerry.

Posted at 12:57 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

PA-Sen: Tightening

Posted by James L.

Lordy, I sure do hope that this is an outlier (Quinnipiac, June in parens):

Bob Casey (D): 47 (52)
Rick Santorum (R-Inc.): 40 (34)
Undecided: 11 (12)
MoE: ±3.1%

In a three-way general election match-up that includes "Green" Party candidate Carl Romanelli, the lead is ever so slightly narrower:

Bob Casey (D): 48
Rick Santorum (R-Inc.): 42
Carl Romanelli (Green): 5
Undecided: 5

I'll say this delicately: if Bob Casey allows Rick Santorum, one of the creepiest and most off-the-wall members of the Senate, to somehow dig his way out of his political tomb, then Casey will prove himself to be one of the most incompetent and disastrous challengers of the 2006 cycle. Casey has a reputation for being the sleepy Mr. Rogers of Pennsylvania politics; he's going to have to learn to go for the kill and not let Santorum get away with inoculating himself with warm 'n' fuzzy TV ads. Remember Santorum's recent book in which he sung the virtues of "conservative family values", including making sure that women stay barefoot in the kitchen? This guy's entire career is just one big negative ad waiting to write itself. If Bob Casey thinks he can casually stroll to victory based on a year's worth of very favorable poll results, he may be in for a rude awakening.

Fortunately, Casey's still got a very fertile field to play in: 49% of Pennsylvania voters believe that Santorum doesn't deserve to be re-elected. That's insanely bad for an incumbent. But if Casey lets what could have been a blowout turn into a nailbiter, we're going to see a lot more resources and manpower spent on shoring up his campaign that could have been directed elsewhere by the DSCC. Still, we should wait to see if this trend is verified by other polling outfits before we get ahead of ourselves. If one thing can be said about this race, it's that there's never been a shortage of polls on it.

Posted at 10:51 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, August 04, 2006

PA-06: Dead Heat

Posted by DavidNYC

Lois Murphy's campaign just released a new internal poll (likely voters, no trendlines):

Murphy (D): 42
Gerlach (R-inc.): 41
Undecided: 17
(MoE: ±4.1%)

Obviously, few details apart from the top-line numbers have been released, but the poll was conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang, which I understand to be a pretty reliable outfit. Hopefully we'll learn more about the MoE, etc., soon. [UPDATE: MoE, voter type, and undecided percentage all added, via Polling Report. Also, Gerlach has a 37-46 job approval rating according to this poll.]

In any event, if you followed House elections closely last time, you may recall that Lois Murphy was one of the "DKos Dozen" candidates, sort of a predecessor to the netroots list.You may also remember that Lois Murphy suffered one of the most heart-breakingly narrow losses, losing just 51-49 (less than 7,000 votes out of over 300K cast). She raised a ton of money and ran an excellent campaign - and she's doing that once more this year. She is one of my favorite candidates this cycle, and I've long felt she is our single-best chance of beating a Republican incumbent. If we win only one seat this year, we'd win PA-06.

The flip-side, of course, is that if we do poorly in PA-06, we're almost certainly doomed - which is why, needless to say, I'm glad to see this poll showing the race so competitive. You may recall my cash-on-hand competitiveness chart: Lois Murphy is at the very top of the list, one of only four Dems who actually has more money on hand than her opponent. She'll need every penny, though: This campaign got started incredibly early, and Gerlach has been working furiously trying to tarnish Murphy's name.

But Gerlach himself is being dragged down by the Bush anvil. And, near as I can tell, Murphy has run a picture-perfect campaign. There's still a long, hard slog ahead in PA-06 - just like there is in every race throughout the country - but I feel very good about this race.

Posted at 01:51 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, July 10, 2006

PA-07: Update on Republican Push Polling

Posted by James L.

A few weeks ago, DavidNYC asked if anyone had any information on an alleged nasty push poll against Joe Sestak, a retired Navy vice-admiral running against crazy Curt Weldon. Well, it now looks like those rumors are true. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

It's going to be a long campaign season in the Seventh Congressional District, judging by opening telephone salvos against U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon and his Democratic opponent, Joe Sestak.

Dennis Berry of West Chester said that Venture Data L.L.C., a Salt Lake City polling company, asked him a series of negatively framed questions about Sestak, including one he described as outlandish. Berry said he was asked if he would be more or less likely to vote for Sestak if he knew Sestak "had an opportunity to capture Osama bin Laden in Sudan and passed."

Sestak, a retired Navy vice admiral, served as a National Security Council official in the Clinton White House. He said he had heard about the phone calls, but not the details of the message - and nothing about bin Laden.

Venture Data didn't return phone calls. Michael Puppio, Weldon's campaign manager, said that the polling company was not working for the Weldon campaign.

On the other side, Working America, an AFL-CIO affiliate, used a robot dialer to urge Seventh District voters to call Weldon's district office and ask the congressman why he voted against an increase in the minimum wage. Weldon has said that the call distorted his record on the minimum wage.

As an aside, notice how the Inquirer seems to take the narrative that a push poll designed to suggest that Admiral Sestak brushed off an opportunity to capture Bin Laden is 'tit-for-tat' with a robocall saying that Weldon voted against the minimum wage. As if one "salvo" is anywhere near on the same level as the other.

Curt Weldon's history of complete looniness is well-documented. It shouldn't come as a surprise that his Republican friends are already cooking up ways to slime Admiral Sestak while Weldon is off planning his next opportunity to play dress-up as Indiana Jones and find his mythical WMDs in the Iraqi desert.

Posted at 03:19 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, June 22, 2006

PA-07: ALERT: Sestak a Victim of Push-Polling?

Posted by DavidNYC

Passing on an alert from the Joe Sestak campaign, for those who live in the district:

A supporter called in and said that he was just surveyed about the election, and was asked VERY negative slanted questions about Joe.

If you get polled, please take notes, and ask who sponsored to poll. Get back to us with the info (, or 610-891-8956). They must be nervous!

If enough people document such a poll in action, we can make these kind of tactics backfire.

And of course, if you somehow are able to actually RECORD such a phone call, you'd be a hero. I personally think the Internet makes it harder to get away with push polling like this because the response time is so fast. In the past, it might be days before anyone realized what was going on. Now, we can mobilize instantly - and we stand a better chance of catching the SOBs who are doing this.

So please, pass this along to anyone you know who might live in the district.

UPDATE: Uh, maybe you don't wanna try taping anything, actually. As several commenters point out, PA is one of the few states that prohibits recording phone calls without the consent of ALL parties. Hey, I'm busy studying New York law!

Posted at 09:00 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, May 26, 2006

PA-Gov: New Poll Shows Swann Fumbling

Posted by James L.

From Rasmussen (likely voters, April in parens):

Ed Rendell: 52 (41)
Lynn Swann: 34 (44)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

If this holds, the PA Republicans are going to be up the creek this year, with the anemic performances of Swann and Santorum potentially dragging down Republican performance other races, including their most vulnerable Congressional seats (the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 10th).

Posted at 05:20 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Pennsylvania | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, May 19, 2006

PA-10: Sherwood (R) on the Ropes

Posted by James L.

One of the few real surprises out of Tuesday evening's primaries was scandal-haunted incumbent Rep. Don Sherwood’s close call in a primary battle with political newcomer Kathy Scott. Let's take another look at why the battle for the 10th is going to be a real barn-burner this fall.

As far as incumbent protection schemes go, Rep. Don Sherwood has had a pretty sweet deal in recent years. After winning a nailbiter in 1998 (by a margin of 606 votes) and another tight race in 2000 over Democrat Patrick Casey, the Republican-controlled state legislature worked to cover his vulnerable ass in the last round of redistricting, moving Democratic-leaning Scranton to the nearby 11th C.D. and adding swaths of Republican-friendly rural territory to the 10th. What was once a tight swing district turned into a solid Republican bastion that gave 60% of its votes to George W. Bush in 2004. Sherwood had it so good, that Democrats didn't even bother to oppose him in 2002 and 2004. Now, if only he didn't have to go and get himself $5.5 million lawsuit for allegedly choking his 29 year-old mistress of five years. You just had to go and ruin a good thing, didn't you Don?

Undoubtedly, the lingering aftermath of Sherwood's extramarital scandal has poisoned his political capital in the 10th. That this guy still managed to win any kind of election is rather perverse on a deeper level, but his 56%-44% margin of victory over primary opponent Kathy Scott is a bad omen for his chances in November against Democrat and former Pentagon intelligence analyst Chris Carney. The Donster wasn't exactly resting on his laurels for this race. As The Hotline notes:

Sherwood spent $300,000 on seven direct mailings and automated phone calls from President Bush and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

That's right: Sherwood had to dump $300k of his $800k warchest to survive a primary challenge from an unknown who presumably spent less than $5,000. Moreover, even direct appeals from Santorum and Bush couldn't prevent this anemic result. Better yet, Scott spent the last several weeks attempting to refute accusations that she was a stealth Democrat:

"Why would a Democrat change her party affiliation just days before the filing deadline and run in the Republican Primary for Congress? That's what ... Kathy Scott did," states a flier mailed out to registered Republican voters by the Sherwood re-election campaign on May 1. "And what's to stop her from changing back to a Democrat should she and the Democratic Party's liberal leaders win the election?"

Scott claims that she's switched her party registration back and forth to support "good candidates" across party lines, but that's beside the point. Obviously, a good share of PA-10 Republicans have a significant level of disgust for Sherwood that they'd throw their vote to a possible Democrat. With that in mind, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that a few of them would even go so far as to vote for the real deal come November.

Chris Carney has been a solid challenger this cycle, but he's lacked the big break to make his campaign truly competitive and catch the attention of statewide and national donors. This is it. The DCCC started to make noise about funding Carney last week, and you can bet that after these results, they're salivating over what looks like yet another competitive race in Pennsylvania.

Posted at 02:10 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

KY, OR, PA Primary Results Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania all have primary elections today. The main events:

PA-08: Patricky Murphy vs. Andy Warren. I'm rooting strongly for Murphy.

KY-03: Andrew Horne vs. John Yarmuth. Horne, like Murphy, is also a Fighting Dem, but I don't really have a dog in this fight.

OR-Gov: Incumbent Ted Kulongoski faces a surprisingly strong primary challenge. This race hasn't been especially prominent on my radar, though from what I've read, it looks like Kulongoski will have a fight on his hands in November even if he prevails tonight.

Results: KY | OR | PA.

Posted at 09:37 PM in 2006 Elections, Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, May 04, 2006

PA-07: Surprise! "Army of Curt" a Proud Member of the Culture of Corruption

Posted by DavidNYC

Unhinged lunatic Crazy Curt Weldon already has a long list of demerits to his name. Now - not that it's any surprise - you can add corruption:

Over the past eight years, Weldon has spent about $80,000 of campaign treasury funds—donated money that congressional ethics rules say should be used for “bona fide campaign or political purposes”—on restaurant meals. His dining choices range from high-end establishments like The Monocle, a Capitol Hill restaurant popular with lawmakers and lobbyists, to the humble Cracker Barrel. During the same period Weldon also dropped about $30,000 on hotels.

Take January 3, 1999: less than two months after winning reelection with 72 percent of the vote and 22 months away from his next election, Weldon spent $435.39 in campaign funds at the Capitol Grille in Washington. (The Grille’s website bears the slogan: “Remind yourself why you work so hard.”) Then, during the summer and early fall of 1999, still more than a year from election day, Weldon put down $400 of campaign funds on five meals in Wildwood, New Jersey, where he then owned a beach house. Three of those meals were on the weekend.

Weldon has drawn from his campaign funds for a number of other seemingly unusual expenditures. He spent $1,698 for a personal computer, delivered to his home, and several hundred dollars in Budapest, Moscow, and at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Oslo—all highly unusual campaign stops for a man representing a district in eastern Pennsylvania. In Atlantic City he spent $502 at The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and $405.61 at the Taj Mahal. Add to that $4,618 paid for landscaping to a company owned by a campaign contributor and some $13,000 in unitemized personal reimbursements.

Landscaping? As a campaign expense? Are you kidding me? At the very least, I hope Curt did a good job winning over all those voters in Hungary, Russia and Norway, because he'll need them big-time if he wants to win this fall.

Man, stuff like this may be legal, but it shouldn't be. Or as they say, the scandal isn't the illegal behavior - the scandal is what's legal.

Posted at 04:43 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, April 30, 2006

PA-07: Loony Weldon Thinks CIA Is Out To Get Him

Posted by DavidNYC

Curt Weldon's batshittery knows no bounds. Last year, he claimed that the CIA was out to get him because he published a report critical of the agency. Now, his conspiracy theory (as they always do) has cast a wider net. Joe Sestak, you see, is just the latest minion to rappel out of a black helicopter:

Veteran Rep. Curt Weldon has a proclivity for calling out shady government doings that have him in mind as a principal target. A year ago, for example, after the No. 2 Republican on the House Armed Services Committee published “Countdown to Terror,” a frontal assault on the CIA’s track record before Sept. 11, he claimed that Clinton administration veterans with ties to the agency were out to get him.

So it’s not surprising that as Weldon girds for the most difficult re-election bid during his two decades representing the Philadelphia suburbs, his campaign is alleging that the CIA is probably abetting the opposition. Last month, his campaign manager Michael Puppio Jr. announced that Weldon’s expected Democratic opponent, Joe Sestak, a former Navy vice admiral, had taken campaign contributions from Mary McCarthy, the CIA operative recently fired for allegedly leaking secret information to the media. McCarthy, who was specifically accused of being a source for The Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story on secret CIA prisons overseas, has denied that charge through her lawyer.

The media also has raised suspicions in the Weldon camp. The reporter on the Post article, Dana Priest, wrote a piece last year about Weldon’s book that the congressman viewed as critical.

It’s just a question of following the money, says Puppio. “What’s a CIA analyst doing giving money to a partisan political candidate?” he asks. “I’m not sure she violated any laws, but then when that analyst is alleged to have leaked information to a reporter who in turn is extremely critical of Curt Weldon, that raises some big questions.”

That last quote from Puppio, the campaign manager, is vintage conspiracist nuttery. No conspiracy is too attenuated, too poorly supported by the evidence, and too downright stupid for a bonafide conspiracy theorist. This reminds me of Ross Perot's lunatic assertion that GOP operatives were planning to disrupt his daughter's wedding, forcing him to drop out of the presidential race in 1992. Ross & Curt should hang out - they're both equally nuts and seem to share the same worldview, which shouldn't surprise anyone.

Posted at 03:32 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Friday, April 07, 2006

PA-07: Cook Report: "Weldon More Vulnerable Than Ever This Year"

Posted by DavidNYC

Amy Walter, Senior Editor for House races at the Cook Political Report, writes about PA-07 in her column today, titled "New Races On The Radar." It's subscription-only, so I'll just quote a few excerpts - but you're gonna like what she has to say. This is the theme of her piece:

When it comes to incumbent retention, party strategists on both sides admit that what worries them most are not the incumbents who have been targeted year after year (think Republican Anne Northup or Democrat Dennis Moore), but incumbents who have not been tested in years. These folks tend to be overconfident and underestimate potential threats, are not as sensitive to the changing demographics of their districts, and are often out-of-touch with modern campaign technology (one insider told the story of a longtime incumbent who had his fundraising contacts on note cards). Examples include former GOP Rep. George Gekas who lost re-election for an 11th term in 2002 and Democrat David Minge who lost his re-election bid in 2000.

Walter identifies Curt Weldon (along with Republican JD Hayworth in AZ-05 and Democrat Allan Mollohan in WV-01) as one such untested incumbent:

Rep. Curt Weldon is getting his first significant contest since winning this seat in 1986.


Republicans concede that the underlying political environment and Weldon's lack of experience in a competitive campaign environment are liabilities for the Republican congressman. While there is no doubt that Weldon is readying himself for a tough fight - he told The Hill newspaper that he is going to unleash the "Army of Curt" - his rusty campaign skills have already been revealed. Weldon's zeal to define his opponent went over the top in early April.

Army of Curt - LOL. Goofy and crazy as he may be, Weldon won't be a pushover:

Yet, labeling Weldon's voting record as out of touch with these suburban voters isn't going to be easy. According to the National Journal vote ratings, Weldon's voting record was pretty evenly divided between liberal and conservative. His composite voting score was 57 percent conservative and 43 percent liberal - not much different from the other two Republican Reps. in the Philadelphia suburbs, Mike Fitzpatrick and Jim Gerlach. CQ pegs his party unity score at 85 percent.


Given the ugly numbers for President Bush nationally, it's not too much to believe that Weldon is more vulnerable than ever this year. But to knock off a well-known, well-liked, and entrenched incumbent like Weldon, Democrats need more than just a good political environment. Sestak also needs to prove to be a strong and well-funded candidate with an effective message who can break through the clutter of the crowded (and expensive) Philadelphia media market.

I think Sestak has the potential to be exactly that guy. And I think "rusty" Weldon could be in for a bit of surprise this campaign season. Remember, Sestak's now on the netroots page, so please consider contributing or volunteering.

Posted at 09:35 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

PA-07: Curt Weldon Sells Access via His Daughter

Posted by DavidNYC

What is it with Republicans setting up their inexperienced family members with lucrative gigs in the GOP money machine? First we learned that Reps. Doolittle and Sweeney let their wives - who had no consulting experience - skim off the top and collect a percentage of all funds raised for their campaigns. Now it turns out that Curt Weldon's daughter (also neophyte) has earned scads of money as a lobbyist by helping her clients to "develop relationships" with none other than her father.

TPM Muckraker gets credit for pointing us to this LA Times story from 2004 which lays out all the sordid details:

Karen Weldon, an inexperienced 29-year-old lobbyist from suburban Philadelphia, seemed an unlikely choice for clients seeking global public relations services.

Yet her tiny firm was selected last year for a plum $240,000 contract to promote the good works of a wealthy Serbian family that had been linked to accused war criminal Slobodan Milosevic.

Despite a lack of professional credentials, she had one notable asset — her father, U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), who is a leading voice in Washington on former Eastern Bloc affairs.


Karen Weldon said her father "developed a rapport" with the Karics and introduced her to them. But her firm, Solutions North America Inc., won the consulting contract on its merits, she said. Her father declined to answer questions for this article.

The congressman also has gone to bat for at least two of Solutions' other clients, both struggling Russian companies.

Together, the three contracts are worth almost $1 million a year to her firm for services that have included joining her father on congressional trips and in meetings with clients.

Nice work, if you can get it. This whole charade may technically be kosher, but as is often the case, the real crime is that it's legal in the first place. As they say, there oughta be a law. If you wanna make that happen, support Joe Sestak.

P.S. Sestak's been added to the combined netroots-wide ActBlue page. He's very much worthy of our support. He's running in a lean-Dem district (D+3.6, the seventh-most Dem CD held by a Republican), he's shown himself to be a strong fundraiser, and - as should be clear to everyone by now - he's taking on a seriously crazy mouth-breathing wingnut. If there is indeed a Democratic wave this year, one place the Republican dominoes will surely fall is in the Democratic-leaning suburbs of Philly - ie, exactly where Sestak is running. Bowers has more here.

Posted at 03:14 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, April 06, 2006

PA-07: Curt Weldon a Moonie Cultist

Posted by DavidNYC

When I got an e-mail yesterday from Admiral Joe Sestak's campaign about Curt Weldon's depraved attack on Sestak's four-year-old, cancer-stricken daughter, I wanted to throw things. What kind of disturbed, twisted nutbag could stoop so low? Well, as community member Predictor reminds us in the comments, this kind of nutbag:

Weldon spoke at the coronation of Sun Myung Moon "as humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent", on March 23, 2004. His office originally vehemently denied his attendance, then when he was revealed to be a co-chair organizer of the event claimed that he had intended to attend but could not because of a scheduling conflict; then when a photo surfaced of him speaking at the event while standing next to a lifesize photo of him pinning a Unification Church medal on Moammar Al Qadhafi, stated that he had left immediately after the speech and had no knowledge of what else went on.

That whole Moon coronation thing seriously, seriously creeped me out. I mean, it was really beyond insane. Get this:

• It was freakin' coronation for cryin' out loud! Since when do we have coronations in this country, except at Burger King?

• It was in a Senate office building! The United States Senate! Hell, Art. I, Sec. 9 of the Constitution even forbids Congress to grant "titles of nobility." I realize this was not some kind of legislative act, but jeez.

• Rev. Moon declared himself to be the Messiah?!? Look, man, I don't know about you, but in my religion, worshipping false gods is a serious no-no. Oh wait, Weldon's a Christian. So that means the Ten Commandments apply to him, too. Weldon even voted for something called the "Ten Commandments Defense Act," a bill to let states display the decalogue in government buildings. And man, even I know that Christianity accepts Jesus as the Messiah, not Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

• And Moon himself? How could any serious person ever be associated with someone so sick? This is a man who has called gays "dirty, dung-eating dogs," declared that "the Jews" killed Jesus, and thinks that "Satan is clinging to our sexual organs." How is it acceptable for politicians to even get near this freak?

Personally, I think the whole Rev. Moon story is just too weird for the media. Crazy tax felon billionaire with delusions of being the Messiah publishes major DC paper, holds Washington power-players in his thrall? That's the plain n' simple truth, and yet because it's so bizarre, I just think the traditional media has no interest in touching it. If they ran honest stories about Moon, I think ordinary folks would assume they were made up.

Of course, that doesn't excuse the media turning a blind eye to this savage cult - and it certainly doesn't get sicko Curt Weldon off the hook for being a Moon lackey. As noted above, Weldon denied attening Moon's "coronation," but only later fessed up when photos emerged - including a photo of another photo of Weldon pinning a medal on that well-known American hero, Col. Muammar Qadafi.

Busted, you sonofabitch. Now how about apologizing to Joe Sestak and his daughter?

UPDATE: Another photo of Weldon giving a plaque (or as Monty Burns would style it, "the plague") of some sort to Qadafi. I gotta say again, what the hell? What American - let alone what American politician - would want to be within 100 feet of a terrorist-supporting dictator like Qadafi? This is so topsy-turvy that even I can hardly believe it.

Posted at 11:16 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

PA-Sen: Santorum's Ethics Mire

Posted by DavidNYC

We all knew how much of a joke it was when Bill Frist tapped Dick Santorum to be the GOP's "ethics point man." It almost seemed like a perverse set-up job at the time - Li'l Ricky was sure to crash and burn on the ethics front. And indeed, that fate has come to pass:

SEN. RICK SANTORUM and his wife received a $500,000, five-year mortgage for their Leesburg, Va., home from a small, private Philadelphia bank run by a major campaign donor - even though its stated policy is to make loans only to its "affluent" investors, which the senator is not.

Good-government experts said the mortgage from The Philadelphia Trust Co. raises serious questions about Santorum's conduct at a time when he is the Senate GOP's point man on ethics reform. They said it would be a violation of the Senate's ethics rules if Santorum received something a regular citizen could not get.

A campaign spokeswoman for Santorum, who is seeking re-election, said the couple's mortgage interest rate was "market-driven," but she refused to offer specifics, as did officials from Philadelphia Trust.

Reminds me of a great episode of Law & Order where a wealthy family bribes a judge by pressuring their bank to offer him a low-interest loan available only to the uber-rich. But wait, there's more:

• A political-action committee chaired by Santorum, America's Foundation, spends less money on direct aid to GOP candidates - its stated purpose - and more on expenditures than similar PACs. And its expenditure reports are littered with scores of unorthodox expenses for a political committee, with charges at coffee and ice cream shops and fast-food joints as well as supermarkets and a home-hardware store.

For example, America's Foundation made 66 charges at Starbucks Coffee, almost all in the senator's hometown of Leesburg, Va., and 94 charges at another D.C.-area vendor, HMSHost Corp. Virginia Davis, the campaign spokeswoman, defended all the charges as campaign-related, saying the senator prefers to meet political aides in coffee shops rather than on Senate property.

• A little-publicized charity founded by Santorum in 2001, the Operation Good Neighbor Foundation, is not registered in Pennsylvania, even though the majority of its fundraising and spending takes place here.

What's more, three years of public tax returns show the charity spent just 35.9 percent of the nearly $1 million it raised during that time on charity grants, well below the 75 percent threshold recommended by experts. The group's Web site says it has distributed a total of $474,000 to groups, many faith-based, that fight social ills and urban poverty.

The part about the charity really steams me. So many charities in this country are near-scams, spending most of what they raise on expenses, rather than directing their contributions to the people and groups who really need the money. I'm hardly surprised that someone like Santorum is engaged in that kind of activity, but it still infuriates me.

Fact is, though, wittingly or not, Bill Frist shone a bright spotlight on Santorum's own ethical record, and it's an ugly, ugly sight. I seriously hope DC Democrats can make some hay out of this one, because this particular story is not just about one senator's misdeeds. The storyline here is that the Republican tasked with cleaning up ethics practices himself is an unethical scoundrel. That's definitely man-bites-dog - or should I say, man-on-dog?

Posted at 03:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Band of Brothers: Chris Carney is Coming on Feb. 8th. Are You?

Posted by DavidNYC

From Lt. Commander Chris Carney, running in PA-10:

Next Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., Chris Carney, democratic candidate for Congress, will stand with over 40 fellow veterans on the Capitol West Lawn to call for a change of direction in Washington.

Today Chris Carney issued this statement:

Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy take a simple oath: Do not lie, cheat or steal, nor tolerate those who do. Those are the values we learn and live by when we fight for our country. Those are the values that we will take to Washington.

Our band of brothers and sisters is leading the charge to empty the sewers of Washington. We will not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do.

It is time for change of direction in Washington, time for Americans to stand proud again. The bribery, the money laundering, and the high crimes of the highly placed cannot continue.

We are talking about reform on a personal scale. We need the right people in Washington–people who can tell right from wrong, and honorable from dishonorable.

Without the right people, all the rules and reforms in the world will amount to nothing. I will make the 10th District proud of its representation in Washington.

Chris Carney will be there on Feb. 8th. Will you?

Posted at 10:16 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Band of Brothers, Pennsylvania | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, January 19, 2006

PA-Gov: Swann Surges Against Rendell

Posted by DavidNYC

A new poll from Rasmussen on PA-Gov (likely voters, Nov. in parens):

Rendell: 45 (50)
Swann: 43 (36)

Rendell: 46 (47)
Scranton: 36 (39)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

Ed Rendell is the incumbent Democratic Governor. The Republicans are Lynn Swann, a former star received for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Bill Scranton, a former Lt. Gov. Swann just formally announced his candidacy a couple of weeks ago and may be benefitting from the media coverage. The stability of the Rendell-Scranton numbers suggests, at least, that Rendell is not to blame for Swann's surge.

Here's my question to Pennsylvanians: Rendell is the consummate pol's pol and strikes me as unlikely to make too many obvious mistakes. But does Swann have what it takes to be as slick on the campaign trail as he was on the gridiron? Or is he coasting on star power and name rec now, only to get taken down once things heat up?

Posted at 11:19 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Pennsylvania | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, January 14, 2006

PA-12: Don Bailey: Biased, Bitter & Bonkers

Posted by DavidNYC

Former Rep. Don Bailey ("D"-PA) is making up stories about conversations he allegedly had with Rep. John Murtha. Why do I know that Bailey is bullshitting?

Pennsylvania 12th Congressional District Primary - May, 1982

John Murtha: 52%
Don Bailey: 38%

That primary was a poignant election - Bailey and Murtha, both incumbent Congressmen, were pitted against each other because Pennsylvania had lost seats after the 1980 census. No one feels more entitled to his next victory than an incumbent - and because incumbents lose re-election campaigns so rarely, failure is exceptionally galling to them. I am sure Bailey has been carrying around a grudge - "It should have been him, not me!" - against Murtha for over twenty years. Bailey's so embittered he's become delusional: He thinks that a one-sided recollection by an obviously biased party constitutes legitimate news.

Oh, and how angry was Bailey after his loss in May of 1982? Angry enough that the Republicans were courting him to run against Murtha in the general election that fall!

Democratic Rep. Don Bailey is doing nothing to discourage growing speculation he'll run for Congress as a Republican in November. Bailey, a casualty of reapportionment this year, lost to fellow Democratic Rep. John Murtha by more than 8,000 votes in the May primary.

Talk of a Murtha-Bailey rematch has been growing since Clair Saylor, the GOP nominee, withdrew from the race, citing lack of support and money. [UPI, 7/5/1982]

Bailey's been peddling his lies since 2002, when Murtha was once again involved in an incumbent-vs.-incumbent race. Yet if Murtha supposedly made some confession to Bailey during the ABSCAM goings-on in 1980 (as Bailey claimed to the National Journal), why didn't Bailey use that against Murtha in 1982? The answer doesn't change: The story is bullshit, and Bailey hadn't bothered to invent it yet. Rather, Bailey - after spending two decades losing a whopping four more races - dreamed up his tale in 2002 as a way to settle an old score against Murtha. (He failed, badly: Murtha won the primary that year 54-30.)

I obviously expect every gutter-dwelling conservative website... but I repeat myself. I obviously expect every conservative website to fawn all over Don Bailey's every phony word. He's a less credible witness than a nun-beating crack dealer - in other words, perfect for the non-reality-based community. But if the traditional media wishes to pay attention to Bailey's pedigree, they'll realize there's no way he could be telling truth. His story doesn't add up, and his motives are so nakedly venal that it should be plain for anyone to see.

Posted at 05:57 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, January 05, 2006

PA-Sen: Santorum to Head GOP Ethics Batallion? Don't Make Me Laugh

Posted by DavidNYC

So Bill Frist has tapped Dick Santorum to, as CREW puts it, "head the ethics charge in the Senate" on behalf of the GOP. Of course, this is the ultimate joke, given Santorum's disgraceful ethics record:

• Sen. Santorum runs the K Street project, created by conservative activist Grover Norquist and former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), in which he ensures that all top lobbying and trade association jobs are filled by Republicans.

• Two days before Sen. Santorum introduced a bill that would benefit private national weather companies at the expense of the National Weather Service, the Senator's political action committee, America's Foundation, received a $2,000 donation from the chief executive officer of AccuWeather, Inc., a leading weather data provider located in State College, PA.

• Working to undermine public confidence in the National Weather Service, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Sen. Santorum stated in an interview with a local Philadelphia radio station that the National Weather Service failed to predict the storm's fury and that its warnings were "not sufficient." In fact, the early warnings about Hurricane Katrina issued by the National Weather Service were praised for their accuracy by news organizations such as Associated Press, NBC News and The New York Times.

• Since the 2001-2002 school year, at least three of Sen. Santorum's children have attended a Pennsylvania cyber charter school in Penn Hills, PA, costing local taxpayers about $67,000, despite the fact that the Senator and his family spend most of the year in Virginia.

It's actually number three (in concert with number two) which really gets me steamed. These guys are so removed from the reality-based community that they'll spew outright lies just to benefit lobbyists and screw taxpayers. Yes, our tax money pays for the National Weather Service, but Santorum's bill would prevent the NWS from releasing its information to the public! Imagine how much worse Katrina would have been without the rock-solid NWS.

Fact is, though, Frist only has some 50-odd guys and gals to pick from, and each one is lousier than the next when it comes to governmental ethics. If Frist is saying that Dick Santorum is the best he can do, that is saying a hell of a lot about the modern GOP. And anything which increases Santorum's profile on ethics only drives a few more nails into his already tightly-sealed political coffin.

Posted at 03:06 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

PA-06: Gerlach Can't Count - To the Tune of $2.2M

Posted by DavidNYC

A little background: Pennsylvania's 6th CD is one of our best pickup opportunities this cycle - Superribbie, for one, ranks it 6th overall. The district went narrowly for Gore in 2000. Our challenger is Lois Murphy; the incumbent is Republican Jim Gerlach.

Alright, so this is kind of an amazing story. At least, I can't recall anything quite like it. Just read:

A million here, a million there, and soon you have a real political war chest.

Or maybe not.

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.) conceded yesterday that Gerlach had overstated his campaign receipts for this year by $2.2 million.

But it was all a clerical and computer error, campaign spokesman Mark Campbell said.

A clerical error AND a computer error? Oh, that's good. Some flunky entered the wrong number into an Excel spreadsheet AND the software also malfunctioned. Guys, at least keep your phony excuses simple, okay?

The Murphy camp has filed a complaint with the FEC. Unfortunately, FEC "enforcement actions" are pretty toothless (if and when they ever happen). But the sheer embarassment of being off by $2.2 million should give this story the legs it deserves. At the very least, itll be good for a few snarky political ads and a good joke or two in any debate.

More on the Murphy complaint here and here.

Posted at 09:14 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

PA-Sen: McCain, Santorum, Third-Party Ads, and the Moment of Truth

Posted by DavidNYC

First, the table-setter:

Arizona Sen. John McCain will attend fund-raisers this week in Pennsylvania for fellow Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, a Santorum spokeswoman said Sunday.

Second, the dirty business:

Nearly $1 million from hidden sources is pouring into Pennsylvania to buy television ads supporting U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

The money is flowing through a Virginia-based organization called Americans for Job Security, a Republican-leaning, anti-tax group that says its money comes from 500 individuals, corporations, business groups and other sources.

It refuses to identify any of them, or the amounts they have donated. (Emphasis added.)

Third, the record:

The need to reform the avalanche of soft money in our political system is evident in every competitive race in this country where parties, business and labor, and ideological groups on all sides are spending hundreds of millions of unlimited, and in some cases, unreported dollars to influence federal elections. (Emphasis added.)

- John McCain

Fourth, the inevitable intransigence:

Making an appearance yesterday in Northeast Philadelphia, Santorum refused to tell a Daily News reporter whether he believes the group should identify its financial backers. (Emphasis added.)

And finally, the moment of truth. Will Sen. McCain stand up for what he claims to believe in and call on "Americans for Job Security" to disclose their donors - or call on Santorum to reject their help? Or will he willingly play the hypocrite and stick his neck out for a candidate who relies on shady, secretive organizations for political support?

John McCain, we're all watching to see what kind of man you are. Do you have the courage of your convictions? Or will you sacrifice your principles for expediency? Either way, we'll remember your choice here.

Posted at 04:47 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, November 14, 2005

Santorum Challenging Casey to Debate?

Posted by DavidNYC

This is pretty funny. We've officially moved into Bizarro World. According to Hotline On Call, incumbent Senator Dick Santorum has sent a letter to his challenger Bob Casey, Jr. asking Casey to debate Li'l Dicky.

In any normal universe, it's the challenger who clamors to debate the incumbent - and usually the incumbent gives said challenger the back of his hand. But here, Sen. Man-on-Dog is so desperate to improve his public image, he's gotta beg Casey for some free air-time. Since we're in Bizarro World, I assume we'll also see Santorum start to distance himself from George Bush. Oh wait... he already has!

Through the looking glass, indeed. Soon enough, though, we'll wake the Red King and Rick Santorum will disappear like the bad dream we know he is.

P.S. Dick Santorum named World's Worst Person by Keith Olbermann (our next Edward R. Murrow?) - video clip here!

Posted at 03:50 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, November 10, 2005

PA-Sen: No Mas! No Mas!

Posted by DavidNYC

Two polls came out today showing Rick Santorum, fully a year away from election day, getting utterly, completely demolished by his putative opponent, Bob Casey, Jr. The first is from Franklin & Marshall College and some media outfits and is known as the Keystone Poll (registered voters, September in parens); the second is from Rasmussen (likely voters, July in parens):


Casey: 51 (50)
Santorum: 35 (37)
Undecided: 14 (13)
(MoE: ±4.2%)


Casey: 54 (52)
Santorum: 34 (41)
Other: 4 (4)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

Just when you thought things couldn't possibly get worse for Little Ricky, they do. I would not be at all surprised if the Republican Party is looking to "pull a Torricelli" here and replace Santorum with a more likeable candidate. At the very least, these polls give added credence to reports that the national GOP has already abandoned Sen. Man-on-Dog.

The Rasmussen poll is extra-interesting, though, because it shows you where Santorum is getting killed: Undecideds. (I'm presuming the balance of Rasmussen polls consist of people who haven't yet made up their minds, since they don't actually list an "undecided" line.) He dropped seven points in that group, which is devastating because those are precisely the people Ricky needs to win back if he wants to have a prayer. Good luck, bub.

P.S. Fans of Chuck Pennacchio: F&M did you a solid and actually asked a question on the Democratic primary, the first I've ever seen. Unfortunately, Chuck trails 67-5 with 28% undecided. Don't get me wrong - I like Chuck. But the odds of him rising from obscurity ala Howard Dean are slim indeed.

Posted at 10:54 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, October 20, 2005

PA-Sen: Santorum Forced to Fend for Himself

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Talk about being thrown to the wolves.

Capital Hill sources say his support from RNC heavies has also evaporated. The blow-dried bible-thumper, who launched his campaign with a giant war chest, is also being deserted by the party’s major moneymen, who are focusing their largesse on more competitive candidates.

“This is how the Republicans operate,” sighs a veteran GOP campaign manager close to Santorum. “Even if you agree with their agenda, they’ll abandon you if you’re behind in the polls and move on to the next-most important race.” [...]

“It’s disgusting. Rick used to be Bush’s biggest booster on issues like stem-cell research, Social Security, and the Iraq war. Now the White House won’t even take his phone calls.”

This would be a miracle of miracles. What was once supposed to be the highest profile race of 2006 might be able to take place largely in the shadows. Democrats could not have asked for anything more than this, at all, period. First, we defeat Santorum, 'nuff said there. But as an added bonus, any confusion about a national message that might have taken place with the spotlight on Bob Casey is avoided. This news comes on the heels of a new Strategic Vision poll (Republican outfit) that shows Casey Jr. with a 16 point lead over the incumbent.

It's also important to note that the ultra-conservative base in Pennsylvania is not likely to rally to the side of the Senator. Amazingly, he is not even a hero to the extreme right in his home state--he's more of a villain. In 2004, that base rallied around current Club for Growth President Pat Toomey in his primary bid against Arlen Specter. Santorum endorsed Specter when the upstart group of supporters needed him to step up. Toomey lost, barely, and Santorum's own base for 2006 eroded. In fact, many in the conservative PA blogosphere would prefer to elect a "real Republican" to that seat...go figure.

Posted at 11:37 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (9) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

PA-Sen: Casey Outraises Santorum

Posted by DavidNYC

It's that time of year again - time for campaigns to release their quarterly fundraising numbers. The official FEC quarterly filing deadline is always on the 15th day of the month following the end of the quarter, meaning that the approaching due-date is 10/15. (Campaigns get a couple weeks extra to submit end-of-year reports - those are always due on Jan. 31.)

Anyhow, the numbers are out in the Pennsylvania senate race, and it looks like the third quarter was pretty good to Democrat Bob Casey, Jr.:

Casey 3Q Amount Raised: $2M+
Santorum 3Q Amount Raised: $1.7M+

However, the cash-on-hand disparity favors Santorum:

Casey Cash-on-Hand: $3M
Santorum Cash-on-Hand: $6.6M

As Adam Bonin points out, though, Santorum's latest poll numbers are atrocious. If things stay this way, Casey simply won't need as much money as Santorum in order to win. If anything, it is Santorum who is desperate right now. However, Little Ricky still has time to turn his image round, though his penchant for wingnuttish blunders (such as writing and publishing that misogynistic book of his) will make that difficult.

I'm also not sold on the Casey the Younger's political acumen (and I disagree strongly with many of his views on important issue), so it's possible that the race might turn if he starts making mistakes. But with the way things look right now, ya gotta believe that Sen. Man-on-Dog will soon be sent to the kennel.

Posted at 12:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, October 06, 2005

PA-Sen: Landslide

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Bob Casey Jr. has extended his lead from 11 to 18 in the most recent Quinnipiac poll.

From September 27 - October 3, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,530 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.

If the 2006 election for Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Bob Casey Jr. the Democrat, and Rick Santorum the Republican, for whom would you vote?

Bob Casey: 52% (50)
Rick Santorum: 34% (39)
Don't Know/Other: 14% (12)

If you look closer at the numbers, you'll find that Casey has a lead on Rick Santorum in each and every region of the state, with the exception of Central PA. Also, I think you'll find that this Casey bounce has a lot to do with disaffection with the current Republican Adminstration. Support for the occupation of Iraq in Pennsylvania is at a thirty-seven percent, to fifty-seven who disapprove. Bush's approval rating is at a lowly 37% to 61% who disapprove. For the first time, a plurality of Pennsylvania voters believe Rick Santorum DOES NOT deserve to be re-election, 41% to 42%, that's from a 45-38 spread last time Quinnipiac was in the field. Meanwhile, Casey's approval rating has barely budged:

Is your opinion of State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

Approve: 38% (39)
Disapprove: 9% (9)
Mixed: 20% (17)
DK: 33% (36)

For the past few months, I have always thought Casey's numbers would go down; it was just a matter of time. But maybe this thing really will be a blowout that never materializes into a real race? We can only hope. To the extent we can keep his race out of the national spotlight (which a close race would be), we minimize further national confusion about what we stand for as a Democratic Party.

Posted at 10:54 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hackett Effect: Six Veterans Running as Democrats

Posted by Bob Brigham

While the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hiding from the Iraq issue, individuals are stepping up to fill the DC Establishment leadership void. In fact, there are already 6 veterans ready to serve again -- in Congress:

While fighting in Iraq, a private asked then-Capt. Patrick Murphy why U.S. forces were in the Persian Gulf nation and was told it didn't matter; there was a job to do and just try to return home safely.

"That wasn't the time to question our government," Murphy recalled.

Now, however, Murphy and five other veterans of the war are asking questions about President Bush's policies in Iraq as part of their broader Democratic campaigns to win congressional seats in next year's elections.

Given their experience in Iraq, the six Democrats in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia say they are eminently qualified to pose the tough questions.

Unlike the DCCC, these six candidates are in line with the American people:

Their reservations mirror public opinion, with an increasing number of Americans expressing concern about the mission and favoring a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The most recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll indicated only 37 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq, with 62 percent disapproving.

This summer, Democrat Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran, nearly defeated Republican Jean Schmidt in a special election in an Ohio district considered a GOP stronghold. Hackett focused on his wartime experience and his opposition to Bush's policies.

Unlike the DCCC, these six candidates are doing their duty:

"Some guys don't think it's time to question our government, but the fact is I love my country," said Murphy, 31, a lawyer who fought in the 82nd Airborne Division. "We need to have an exit strategy now."

Murphy is challenging first-term Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, a Republican in the northern Philadelphia suburbs of the 8th District.

Another Iraq war veteran, Texas Republican Van Taylor, is also running for a House seat, but he backs President Bush.

It's too soon to measure the impact of the war on the 2006 elections, but the handful of veterans pursuing seats in the House of Representatives is an early indicator.

The press thinks this is a story, the veterans know first-hand how high the stakes are, and it is clear that individuals are stepping up to fill the leadership vacuum created by wimpy Washington Establishment Democrats.

Please use the comments to let us know what you know about this six Democrats.

Posted at 02:17 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Democrats, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, September 29, 2005

PA-Sen: Casey Lead Down to Eight & Santorum Revelations

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Chock full of discoveries today in Pennsylvania.

1.) We found out that Bob Casey would have voted to confirm Judge Roberts.

2.) Rick Santorum used to be very pro-choice, and as a young lady, his wife lived with a doctor who co-founded Pennsylvania's first abortion clinic.

3.) Bob Casey's lead over Rick Santorum is down to eight points, from anywhere between tweleve and fifteen in recent studies.

Among the 54 percent of Pennsylvania voters dissatisfied with Bush's job performance, only 9 percent intend to support Santorum while 57 percent back his likely Democratic challenger, Bob Casey Jr. Overall, Casey leads Santorum, 37 percent to 29 percent, with 31 percent undecided. [...]

The telephone survey of 477 voters was conducted between Sept. 18 and 25 and has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

Opinions about Santorum, a leading conservative voice, were strongly divided. Forty percent of voters have a favorable view of him and approve of the job he's doing. But 37 percent were unfavorable, and 36 percent disapproved of his job performance.

Twenty-nine percent of voters had a favorable view of Casey, while only 12 percent were unfavorable. But 57 percent were neutral toward Casey, and 3 percent had not heard of him at all. Casey being a blank slate with most voters could work in Santorum's advantage as the campaign goes on and voters learn more about the challenger, Borick said.

And there you go.

Posted at 02:50 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

PA-Sen: Stances on Roberts Crystalize Campaign Strategies

Posted by Tim Tagaris

For months, I have a kept a very close eye on the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race. I have watched as meme after meme floated by the Santorum folks has been shot down by the mainstream media. First, it was "Casey the opportunist," running for four offices in eight years; that didn't work. Then it was Casey is a Liberal; yeah right. But now the media in Philadelphia has seemed to find the angle they are going to run with: Casey is the same as Rick Santorum.

And in this instance, both Casey and Santorum [heart] John Roberts:

After considering factors such as character, resume and judicial philosophy, and listening to Roberts' testimony before the Judiciary Committee, "I would vote to confirm him," Casey said in a statement issued by his campaign.

Casey's decision erases a potential contrast with incumbent Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, who says he will vote for Roberts when the Senate takes up the nomination today.

This line of attack is penetrating, putting the Casey camp on the defensive. Ironically, when responding, Casey's campaign manager attempted to focus on their differences and included Iraq, where the two have almost exactly the same position -- would still vote for authorization and funding if the vote were held today.

It's not that the two are the same, cause they aren't. The difference is in campaign strategy, as a local pollster pointed out:

Berwood Yost, a pollster with Franklin and Marshall College, said Casey's choice is politically safe. "Opposing Roberts runs a broader risk of alienating people who are in the middle," Yost said. [...]

Casey was unavailable to comment yesterday. But through Reiff, Casey said he was initially concerned that Roberts would "bring an ideological agenda to the bench." "Based on his testimony and statements, Bob Casey believes Judge Roberts adequately addressed this concern," Reiff said.

Aside from the fact that Roberts refused to answer any questions, the campaigns seem to have fleshed out their strategies for the next few months. Casey is going to follow the prevailing winds of public opinion (except on Iraq) and take the side of positions that avoids controversy at all costs (anti-choice/anti-stem cell research). Santorum on the other hand, is running around promoting his crazy book, still stumping for social security upheaval, and taking whatever controversial position he can...seemingly on purpose.

At the end of the day, Rick's camp will make the argument that "you may not agree with me, but I will take the difficult position, and you know where I stand." -- Sound familiar?

UPDATE (Bob): Stirling whacks Mighty Casey:

In Pennsylvania, Casey, the machine candidate, has said that he would vote to confirm Roberts, where as Pennachio, the insurgent, has said that he would not.

In the coming years, ask yourself how many progressive judgets Casey will kill, and how many reactionary judges he will vote to confirm. Over the course of 24 years in the senate, the some of these reactionary judges may well be on the bench in 2060. Every election matters, because your great grand children will be living with the results of them.

The Fourteenth Amendment is not a minor issue, over half a million Americans died to bring about a nation which assured citizenship to all, and it took another century to actually give that promise teeth. Voting for Casey is to toss away the lives of those who perished at Gettysburg. Think about what that blood cost, and what the freedoms it bought are worth.

Something to think about.

Posted at 11:06 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, September 16, 2005

PA-Sen: Imagine It Getting Worse For Santorum

Posted by Tim Tagaris

...Cause it just did. A whole slew of new numbers to chew on from the most recent Keystone Poll released today.

Keystone Poll. September 8-13. 650 Respondents - MoE Not Reported.

Bob Casey: 50%
Rick Santorum: 37%
Don't Know: 13%

Favorables for Santorum
Favorable: 40% (42)
Unfavorable: 32% (26)
Undecided: 14% (13)
Don't Know: 14% (18)

Favorables for Casey
Favorable: 32% (40)
Unfavorable: 7% (9)
Undecided: 22% (15)
Don't Know: 39% (36)

Just when you thought it couldn't get much worse for Santorum. These numbers are pretty close to the Strategic Vision numbers released yesterday. Again, a whole bunch of good stuff to take a look at inside the poll, including a few questions about evolution/creation, statewide politics, and the governor's race in Pennsylvania. In short, Republican's aren't certain about the three primary choices they have, but Lynn Swann (25%) leads Picolla (5%) and Scranton (18%); the majority of voters remain undecided. I'd guess there will not a be a primary here. Rendell leads all three of the Republicans, but interestingly Picolla is the closest at 46-37. Scranton trails Rendell 51-34, and Swann fares even worse at 53-33.

No other canidates were included in the Keystone Poll for U.S. Senate (Chuck Pennacchio or Alan Sandals). It's interesting to note the steep decline in Casey's favorables, however. For the time being, it appears the hide-and-seek campaign against Santorum is all that its been cracked up to be.

Posted at 07:48 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

PA-Sen: Casey's ATM Syndrome Lands Him In Hot Water

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Locally, Bob Casey is getting taken to task by Rick Santorum and print media for including a fundraising solicitation in a campaign email that discusses Hurricane Katrina. The email, sent a mere days after the disaster includes a huge fundraising link on it, and was probably pretty inapproriate. Of course, this is something that could have been avoided had the Casey campaign not treated the netroots like an ATM machine.

[Casey Jr.] said the e-mail was not meant as a solicitation, even though it included the fund-raising link. That link is attached to every campaign e-mail, he said.

Amazing that his excuse is exactly the problem. Running against Rick Santorum, Bob Casey Jr. should easily be the biggest game in town during the 2006 election cycle in the netroots. But there is no outreach, and any online correspondence is a shake-down, all solicitous, some more so than others. No meaningful mechanisms for dialogue and participation. The message is simple, just shut-up about my questionable positions on the issues and open your wallets. Oh, don't forget to sign my petition as well.

Posted at 01:55 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (13) | Technorati

Monday, September 12, 2005

PA-08: Ginny Schrader Is Out

Posted by DavidNYC

Adam Bonin's got the story over at Kos - one-time official SSP-adopted candidate Ginny Schrader won't be seeking the Democratic nomination to represent Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District. We are sorry to see Ginny leave the race, but I am sure it will still be an interesting one - and regardless of who wins the primary, freshman Republican incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick is highly vulnerable.

Posted at 08:35 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Thursday, September 08, 2005

PA-Sen: Casey to Debate Pennacchio

Posted by Tim Tagaris

You gotta hand it to Chuck Pennacchio, he has no fear. Tonight Bob Casey and Pennacchio will meet face-to-face for the first time, and Pennacchio plans on walking right up to Jr. and challenging him personally to a series of nine debates between now and the primary election. Casey's campaign manager indicated that he would debate the primary challenger.

Casey's campaign responded that he will debate Santorum and any primary opposition, but said that it's too early.

"First, we need to see who actually qualifies for the Democratic primary," said Jay Reiff, Casey's campaign manager. "Once the primary field is set, we will decide which debate invitations to accept."

Typical Casey campaign response, taking a page out of the Bush Adminstration's perpetual "plenty of time" campaign. But Reiff's acknowledgement is a huge step in legitimizing Chuck's campaign, long ignored by team Casey. My guess is that Casey will end up debating Chuck a few times, but will do everything they can to stifle coverage of the events.

It's another in a series of tight-rope walks for Casey. Chuck will clean Casey's clock in any debates they have. I have seen both speak, and Chuck's knowledge of important issues and populist bent is only outstripped by his contagious passion. Casey, on the other hand, is boring and nuanced. While Chuck will undoubtedly light a room on fire, Junior will bore people and allienate Democrats when forced to come clean on many of his issue positions.

But it's something Casey must do before he takes on Santorum. Frankly, he is a poor campaigner and needs the practice. Ed Rendell called Casey's campaign for Governor one of the "worst in modern American politics," and the presumptive nominee can't afford to further alienate a Democratic base slowly but surely shifting Pennacchio's way in recent weeks/months. I'm sure it kills his campaign to have to debate anyone, as the strategy is largely to blur the differences and allow Santorum to fall on his own sword.

Good Works PAC, an organization committed to building electoral foundations through community services (sort of like Dean Corps on steroids) has already tried to organize debates, but cited Casey as the major stopping point.

Efforts to get independent third-party groups to host debates and all the candidates to participate at such an early date hasn't been a success.

"It just looks like a non-starter," said Eric Loeb, executive director of, which tried to organize debates this fall. "It's just not in enough of the important players' interest for it to happen," Loeb said. [...]

"It would be in Santorum's interest if he could get Casey there," Loeb said. "Obviously it would be in the smaller candidate's interest. It's not in Casey's interest."

This is going to get interesting. Don't be surprised to see Chuck challenge Santorum to debates (or the other way around) should Pennacchio continue to build momentum and Casey continue to run and hide. I think it would be a good idea, and would make things very interesting.

(Disclaimer: I used to work for Chuck and hope he cleans Casey's clock)

Posted at 12:30 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (8) | Technorati

Sunday, August 28, 2005

PA-18: Hafer's Out

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Backing out of races is bit of an emerging pattern with Barbara Hafer, but the latest news is that she will soon decline to run for Congress in Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District. Earlier this year, former Republican turned Democrat Barbara Hafer started a bid for U.S. Senate in the Democratic Primary. For several days before the Bob Casey announcement, Hafer played hard ball with the Casey campaign, releasing polling that showed her with a good chance to beat Santorum and declaring she was in the race to stay. Hours after Casey announced, she dropped out.

Speculation started in the weeks following that she might make a congressional bid. Then she started up a committee that allowed her to take contributions and most thought she was officially in.

The Pittsburgh Tribune reported last week that Hafer was wishy-washy on the race.

Could Barbara Hafer be having second thoughts about a congressional bid? The former state treasurer and one-time Allegheny County commissioner last month all but declared she would challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair. Hafer even has formed a congressional campaign finance committee, which allows her to accept contributions for the race next year.

But political insiders suggested last week that Hafer, a former Republican turned Democrat, might be reconsidering a challenge to Murphy because of family reasons.

PoliticsPA declared it all but official this afternoon.
Republican-turned-Democrat former Treasurer Barbara Hafer has decided against running for Congress in the 18th District. She will likely soon issue a statement about her decision, claiming that the health of her husband and her business weighed heavily against this run, or another run for Lt. Governor or any other office.
I hope her husband makes a speedy recovery from whatever ails him, but I personally say good riddance. Sure, she is pro-choice--for many Democrats that was the sole reason they wanted her to run against Bob Casey. But Barbara Hafer is a bit of an opportunist. She was a Democrat, then turned Republican (making a career as a GOP hatchet-woman), and after she failed to get Republican establishment backing in a potential 2002 gubernatorial bid against Ed Rendell, she switched her political party out of spite. She was barely a Democrat for a few weeks before speculation began that she did so to take on Rick Santorum--and she wanted to, only to be pushed out at the 11th hour.

Posted at 05:01 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Thursday, August 25, 2005

PA-Sen: The Politics of Blurring

Posted by Tim Tagaris

This morning, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a piece on Casey v. Santorum (v. Pennacchio) and the issue of the Iraq conflict. I bit my tongue all day until I read one of Casey's chief online supporters, David Siorta, take the leading Democrat to task.

I have given proper applause to Pennsylvania Senate candidate Bob Casey (D) for raising questions about the Iraq War in his 2006 race for the U.S. Senate against Rick Santorum. But I must say, I was disturbed when I read today about his Kerry-2004-style position on the Iraq War vote itself.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that "on the major Iraq votes - authorizing force and funding the operation - Casey said he would have supported those measures, just as Santorum did.

Having helped Chuck Pennacchio get his Internet outreach off-the-ground, I have felt caught between a rock and a hard place since leaving. On the one hand, people seem to get real pissed off when I speak evil of the "golden boy," Bob Casey Jr. But in my mind, Bob Casey is a disaster--the worst possible candidate we could ask for in highest profile race of 2006.

If you thought people across the country were confused about what Democrats stood for, just wait until $100 million plus is poured into the race that will serve as national barometer in the one of the country's largest "swing states." Take a look at some of these newspaper quotes on the race.

War in Iraq Casey faces his own challenges, among them finding a position that portrays him as neither an antiwar defeatist nor a passive war supporter. On the major Iraq votes - authorizing force and funding the operation - Casey said he would have supported those measures, just as Santorum did. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Terry Schiavo "I think you should err on the side of life. I think some kind of congressional review was appropriate." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Embryonic stem-cell research Casey: Supports the 2001 action, but not an expansion of it. (Philadelphia Inquirer April 18, 2005)
Ten Commandments Display "I don't oppose [such displays]. I do think politicians spend a lot more time talking about that question than trying to live the 10 Comandments. No matter what your religious beliefs, there are some universal truths in those commandments that we all ought to live by."
After getting his for his MoveOn Endorsement "They (Move On) endorsed him… He didn’t endorse them." -- Bob Casey's Campaign Manager
Nuclear Option 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.

You know why Casey is forced to take this ridiculous position on the war today? It's because when it started in March of 2003, he did the same song and dance as John Kerry and Joe Hoeffel. When the war started, most of these candidates had to know it was wrong, but their positions, their votes, and their public statements were couched in fear of public that appeared to overwhelmingly support the effort. Now when it comes to Iraq, it's our party that finds itself in the quagmire--specifically for failing to stand on principle from day 1.

And that is what we get from Bob Casey, a candidate who is playing the four corners offense with 15 months to go--A candidate just trying desperately to stay out of trouble, attempting walk the fine line between blurring the differences between him and his opponent, while at the same time attacking him on nuance like the issue of "challenging the president" on the war.

If he beats Rick Santorum, this will become part of the national template for 2008--the blur. And it's not that I don't want Bob Casey Jr. win should the two square off--cause I do. I just hope by that point, the damange isn't already done.

Posted at 06:56 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (10) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

PA-19: Joe Otterbein's Community-Based Strategy

Posted by Tim Tagaris

In 2004, there wasn't even a Democratic primary to determine the challenger to Republican Congressman Todd Platts. This year, Joe Otterbein is the first to throw his hat into the ring for Democrats. Not only is he the first to announce his desire to challenge Platts, his campaign is calling for more Democrats to step up and fill up the primary field. Then Otterbein and fellow Democratic challengers will go into the field to beef up and mobilize their volunteer base by preforming community service acts in the district. The idea was conceived by Good Works PAC, and Otterbein is the first Democrat running for Congress to give it a go. (From a press release I received today):

Instead of hoping to keep other candidates out of what many consider a long-shot attempt to defeat the three term incumbent, Otterbein is asking other Democrats to challenge him.

Otterbein told supporters at the York County Judicial Center that, "Politics should be about people getting together and solving problems. As competitors we can work together to find solutions to the real problems in our communities. Rather than bluster and preaching to the choir, we Democrats need to get off our stumps and into our communities to work side by side with our neighbors. We need to earn their trust with our sweat."

The strategy paid off for Swing State Project visitor and candidate for New York City Council candidate Gur Tsabar who was endorsed by the New York Times, in part because of his willingness to get out into the community and preform "good works." The PAC plans on pushing the idea primarily in "red" areas during the 2006 election cycle; those candidates don't have much to lose. But if and when it is successful, I think we might see more of the idea in 2008, much like we see with Dean Corps today.

Posted at 06:05 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Saturday, August 20, 2005

PA-Sen: There is Finally Contrast in the Senate Race

Posted by Bob Brigham

Chalk this up as one of political history's greatest, "if you can't make it, fake it" moments. Since both Santorum and Casey are Theocons, there has been a noticable lack of contrast in the race. However, Casey has consultants earning every extra zero and has now come up with his plan: focus on contrast between Santorum and Santorum. has the story.

Posted at 05:26 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (10) | Technorati

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Politics PA Exposed

Posted by Tim Tagaris

One of the best kept secrets in Pennsylvania's online community is who is "Sy Snyder" of PoliticsPA fame, and is he/she a Republican or Democrat? "Synder's" site is one of the more respected sources for commentary in the Pennsylvania political scene, and goes out of its way to purport "balanced" coverage of PA politics.

Although I cannot find the links right now, Synder has used the front-page of his highly popular site to mock at least one Philadelphia blogger (Dragonball Yee) who assumed Snyder was a Republican. He/she has also put up polls on the site asking readers to guess what his/her political affiliation is. I have also suspected PoliticsPA of being run by a Republican using the cover of balance to subtely push a Republican message and candidates. I first brought this up on a conference call I had with Philadelphia area online activists in a February conference call.

To be fair, while working for Chuck Pennacchio, I never had a problem with "Snyder." If I ever sent a press release, it was posted within minutes. However, Chris Bowers and one of his intrepid readers over at MyDD appear to have exposed PoliticsPA as funded by the Right Wing Noise Machine. I also know that a number of PA reporters used to check in at Swing State Project while I worked for Chuck (including the Philly Inquirer). If you are still checking Swing State Project, please take note of these developments. PoliticsPA has certainly helped push stories into the mainstream media before, and I hope jounralists act with pause and consider the source in the future.

Posted at 02:36 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Friday, July 22, 2005

PA-06: Atrios Endorses Lois Murphy

Posted by Bob Brigham

NOTE: Swing State Project will report on bloggers' ActBlue lists. Here is the Swing State Project Candidate List


It feels like November 2006 is a long time from now, but it's amazing how time flies. I'm certainly not going to do the hard sell on fundraising for candidates any time soon (the Paul Hackett special election on August 2 was of course an exception). And, my default position is to stay out of any seriously contested primaries, though that isn't necessarily an unbreakable rule. On the other hand helping to finance candidates early gives them more free time to press the flesh and as they have to spend less time in the coldcall fundraising dungeon.

I've added Lois Murphy to my list of candidates, which you can find in the link to the left. Murphy's running in PA 6 against the odious Jim Gerlach. Gerlach just had a fundraiser with Karl Rove so you know he puts his personal political concerns over the national security of this country. Murphy only lost by about 7,000 votes in '04, with at least one local network affiliate calling the race (incorrectly) for her.

Last year, Atrios moved so much coin people called him Mr. Noe. This is good news for Murphy. Since we love SEPA and competitive races, Swing State Project will be closely following the race.

Posted at 06:35 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Democrats, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

PA-18: Hafer Running

Posted by Tim Tagaris

A handful of Pennsylvanians in the 18th Congressional District will get a chance to do something many wished they could have done in Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate...Vote for Barbara Hafer. PoliticsPA breaks the news.

PoliticsPA has learned from multiple sources that former Republican Treasurer-turned Democrat Barbara Hafer has decided to enter the 17th (sic) Congressional District primary. Most analysts expect a relatively easy primary win for Hafer, who will have the support of most Democratic leaders in Harrisburg and Washington, DC. Her challenge to Congressman Tim Murphy will be his toughest race yet.
PoliticsPA expects a formal announcement to come around Labor Day. This development has been speculated for months since her abrupt "self-removal" from the U.S. Senate race literally moments after Bob Casey Jr. declared his intentions for Rick Santorum's seat.

Posted at 03:08 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Monday, July 18, 2005

PA-06: Radioactive Rove Headlining Gerlach Fundraiser

Posted by DavidNYC

Jim Gerlach is the embattled Republican incumbent in Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District. I say "embattled" because he won by barely 2% in 2004 against an excellent candidate, Lois Murphy, who is poised to take him on again - and because he's making a highly toxic mistake:

Rove to Headline Gerlach Fundraiser

71% of Republicans Think Rove Should be Fired if he Leaked Classified Info

My political geiger counter tells me that Rove is approaching Chernobyl levels. Gerlach's is obviously busted. Good - I love it when Republicans screw up.

Posted at 10:37 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

PA-Sen: Casey Still Leads Santorum Climbs

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Quinnipiac released another poll today on the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania. Bob Casey still holds a commanding lead, but Rick Santorum's numbers are on the rise slightly. There were quite a few questions missing from the release, and I put in a call to see if they had asked about Chuck Pennacchio. I'll update when I hear back.

From July 6 - 10, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,639 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.

If the 2006 election for Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Bob Casey Jr. the Democrat and Rick Santorum the Republican for whom would you vote?

Casey (D): 50%
Santorum (R): 39%
Don't Know: 11%

Looking ahead to the 2006 election for United States Senator, do you feel that Rick Santorum deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?

Deserves to be re-elected: 45%
Does not deserve re-election: 38%
DK/NA: 17%

Much more data to comb through here.

Posted at 09:42 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

PA-Sen: Santorum Exposed

Posted by Bob Brigham

New website:;

We believe that Rick Santorum has failed to use his position as a U.S. Senator improve the lives of most Americans, and our mission here is simple: To shine a light on the facts about Rick Santorum's extreme positions, failed policies and hypocritical statements -- and let the facts speak for themselves.

Santorum Exposed has a blog, lots of video and oppo files on:

Social Security
Tax dollars
Minimum Wage

Posted at 02:23 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Friday, July 01, 2005

PA-Sen: SCOTUS Vacancy to Play Role

Posted by Tim Tagaris

It was bound to be a problem for Bob Casey Jr, whoever stepped down first from the Supreme Court, and it will continue to be a problem when Chief Justice Rehnquist steps down as well. Without hesitation, major news outlets began talking about one case (arguably, in jeopardy, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. While lesser known than Roe v. Wade, the case preserved a woman's right to chose, but gave more flexibility to the states to impose certain limitations. A quick Google News search of the case "Planned Parenthood v. Casey" shows over 2,000 articles mentioning the case today alone.

Since announcing his bid for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Bob Casey Jr. has taken part in a difficult balancing act; on one hand, the hope is that his staunch anti-choice stance will take the issue of abortion off-the-table with conservatives in Pennsylvania's "T" region. On the other hand, he tries not to talk about it too much for fear of alienating a base that never quite turned out to contribute, volunteer, or even vote for anti-choice Democrat Ron Klink against Rick Santorum in 2000. From a piece by the Philadelphia Inquierer entitled, "Casey walks fine line between views on abortion and party support."

In the final years of his career, Gov. Robert P. Casey attacked abortion with the zeal of an Old Testament prophet, declaring that the Democratic Party had "lost its soul" on the issue. Don't expect the same from his son, Robert P. Casey Jr. [...]

The difference is that Casey Jr. would much rather talk about something else. Anything else.

He wants to talk about anything else because, believe it or not, in Pennsylvania, most people don't know that Bob Casey Jr. is pro-life for fear of suffering a fate similar to Klink in 2000. Two questions from a recent Quinnipiac poll:
On the issue of abortion, do you happen to know whether Bob Casey Jr. is pro-life or pro-choice?

Pro-Choice: 17%
Pro-Life: 9%
Don't Know: 74%

Two questions later (Question #22), they identify Bob Casey and Rick Santorum as pro-life, and ask the question where the real problem might lie for Bob Casey Jr.
If there were an independent candidate on the ballot who was pro-choice on the issue of abortion, how likely would you be to vote for that pro-choice candidate instead of (Casey/Santorum) -- very likely, somewhatlikely, not very likely or not likely at all?

Among Democrats:

Very Likely: 19%
Somewhat Likely: 29%
Don't Know: 8%

I am not saying that this will be an issue in the Democratic Primary; that decision can and will be made by groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood. At this point, Chuck Pennacchio doesn't have the financial firepower to make it one. But as more and more people find out about Casey's stance on choice, we will begin to see the impact of question #22 on Pennsylvania's electorate--begging the question, what will the impact be among progressives and pro-choice advocates across Pennsylvania in the run-up to the election and ultimately on Novemeber 6, 2006 should Casey get the nomination.

Posted at 10:03 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania, Supreme Court | Technorati

Monday, June 27, 2005

PA-Sen: Santorum a Friend to Dog Lovers & Primary Update

Posted by Tim Tagaris

In the past, Rick Santorum has been a vocal supporter of animal rights. But it isn't his vocal opposition to "man on dog" sex that has animal rights activists vowing to "campaign aggressively for him."

Puppies and kittens likely are not the first things that come to mind when many think of Sen. Rick Santorum--the conservative No. 3 Senate Republican known for his tough stance against abortion and gay marriage.

But Santorum, R-Pa., has won high praise from the Humane Society of the United States for pushing legislation aimed at ending breeding facilities known as puppy mills.

Actually, I would argue that puppies are the first thing that many think about when the name Rick Santorum is brought up.

In other PA-Sen news, according to an email sent out by MoveOn today, Bob Casey Jr. was victorious over Chuck Pennacchio in their online primary poll. I am not sure how close it was, although they did use the word "overwhelming" in the email. "Overwhelming" comes as a surprise to me, but I would guess that the early "primary" was conducted to give MoveOn the politcal cover needed to endorse the Conservative Casey over the Progressive Pennacchio. By holding the vote this early, Casey was almost assured a victory. They are now fundraising for Casey Jr.

There is some disbelief over the endorsement on MoveOn's action forum.

Posted at 12:13 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

PA-10: Greg Skrepenak

Posted by Bob Brigham

Tagaris posted earlier on Chris "Iraq/Al Qaeda Meme" Carney looking to challenge scandal-plagued Congressman Don Sherwood for Pennsylvania's 10th District. In the comments, Swing State Project regular BCarr noted that there may be another Democrat in the race. From the Scranton Times Tribune:

Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak is considering a run at the Democratic nomination for U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood's seat. [...]

"Congress has always been in the back of my mind," Mr. Skrepenak said. "Timing is everything in this business. It would sure appear the timing is right for the Democrats to take over that seat. I have to explore the opportunity wholeheartedly."

Mr. Skrepenak is intrigued by higher office because he feels "true policy change" has to be implemented on the federal or state level, not locally. If he enters the race, some of his key issues would be health care, social security and economic growth.

Commissioner Skrepenak also coaches football at Crestwood High School and went to high school in Wilkes-Barre before going to Michigan (where he was the "largest player ever") and a career in the NFL (lineman: HEIGHT: 6'6" WEIGHT: 315 lbs).

Posted at 05:07 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Technorati

PA-10: Dem. Challenger Responsible for Iraq/Al Qaeda Meme?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Don Sherwood (R-PA), now on the butt end of a lawsuit for allegedly abusing a twenty-nine year old mistress during a five year adulterous bonanza, has always had a pretty safe seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Not anymore. Political Science professor, and Democrat, Chris Carney is going to take his shot at Sherwood and believes there are "some cracks in Mr. Sherwood’s armor now.”

Unfortunately, Carney works as a "special consultant for the Department of Defense," and was part of the intelligence team that alleged the link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda.

Critics of the Iraq war have criticized Carney’s conclusions, saying much of the information was outdated and inconclusive. They claim President Bush used Carney’s research to help bolster his case for war. Carney stands by his work.

"On this issue with the president, I agree,” he said. “I firmly believe there were links between Iraq and al Qaida. There’s no question in my mind. I’m comfortable with that. What I’m uncomfortable with is the problems within the intelligence community at large."

Can't say that I feel too comfortable about that.

Posted at 10:41 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, June 16, 2005

PA-10: Republican Family Values

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Champion of moral/family values Congressman Don Sherwood was just slapped with a $5.5 million dollar civil suit filed by a woman who claims Sherwood choked and beat her during an adulterous relationship that lasted five-years.

U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood repeatedly punched and choked a Maryland woman during a “five-year intimate relationship” with her, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Cynthia Ore, 29, of Rockville, Md., says that after each “unprovoked and vicious attack” Sherwood, 64, promised he wouldn’t do it again and begged her not to leave him [...]

Sherwood, who is married and has three daughters, struck Ore on her face and body with a closed fist while she attempted to sleep and he began “violently choking her.”

Family values, indeed. It could be worse, he could have informed his wife that he wanted a divorce, in a phone call, after cheating with a Washington lobbyist--that's the prefered method of other Republican Congressmen.

Posted at 05:47 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

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 | Comments (22) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

DCCC: Health Insurance for the Troops

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the subscription-only Hotline:

Using Memorial Day as a backdrop, the DCCC went up in 12 CDs over the weekend to pick at Republicans for opposing military benefit expansion.

John Havens, who identifies himself as a retired adjutant general in the Missouri National Guard, says in the 60-second radio spot that "thousands of brave National Guard members and reservists" serving on active duty "lose the same health insurance other soldiers can count on" when they return home. An announcer, noting that Congress recently "defeated a plan to extend health coverage to members of the Guard, the Reserves and their families," mentions a Republican who opposed the plan and asks listeners to tell the member "he owes those who serve our nation more than Memorial Day speeches. "

The spot takes issue with the members for opposing a procedural motion to H.R. 1815 that would have expanded the TRICARE insurance program to National Guard members and Reservists.

The targets?

According to a DCCC spokeswoman, the spot airing in airing this week in a "strategic buy" covering the home districts of 12 GOP lawmakers: Vito Fossella (NY 13), Sam Graves (MO 06), John Hostettler (IN 08), Tim Murphy (PA 06), Bob Ney (OH 18), Richard Pombo (CA 11), Dave Reichert (WA 08), Rick Renzi (AZ 01), Rob Simmons (CT 02), Mike Sodrel (IN 09), Charles Taylor (NC 11) and Ed Whitfield (KY 01). Different versions of the spot mention each representative by name.

These 12 Representatives should be ashamed -- our troops deserve better.

Posted at 04:33 PM in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington | Comments (2) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

PA-06: Lois Murphy to Challenge Gerlach Again

Posted by Tim Tagaris

This was one of the closest races of the 2004 election cycle. Lois Murphy (D), came up just short of upending incumbent Jim Gerlach, approx. 7,000 votes short. If there is a Demcratic groundswell in 2006, Murphy might be just the kind of candidate that gets swept into office along with the tide--but then again, she has the chance to beat him outright even if that doesn't happen. From PoliticsPA.

PoliticsPA has confirmed that Democrat Lois Murphy will again challenge Jim Gerlach in the 6th Congressional District. Murphy will likely this week will hold a press conference announcing her candidacy. [...]

From a senior Democratic source in Washington: "When Lois Murphy announces, she will emerge as one of the strongest Democratic
challengers in the country.

Posted at 06:30 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

PA-08: Something's Fishy in Bucks Co.

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Last election cycle, Swing State Project went to bat for Ginny Schrader (Dem. PA-08). On one fateful day, the blogosphere took a candidate destined for anonymity and propelled her race into the national spotlight. So effective was the blogswarm that the DCCC was "forced" to stick with Schrader in an open-seat showdown against Mike Fitzpatrick. She became one of us, as Bob put it, it was Ginny Schrader (D-Blogosphere).

While Ginny got much love from the roots, on the ground among the Bucks County, Pennsylvania establishment, there was a different story playing out. There are a lot of questions about the level of commitment the county party had in electing Ginny. And trust me, living in Bucks County right now, I am exploring many of them.

But for now, some of my earliest suspiscions have been confirmed. Even during the 2004 election, despite the national support, despite the local enthusiasm in the grassroots, people were already looking towards 2006. Working towads 2006. And they had their candidate already picked out.

Well, he announced yesterday, Patrick Murphy is running for the House of Representatives in Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District.

Posted at 01:13 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (5) | Technorati

Monday, May 23, 2005

Nuclear Option: NE, PA, OH, VI Calls

Posted by Bob Brigham

If you live in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Virginia -- pick up your phone right now and help save the Senate. Details after the jump...

From NHC1978 on Daily Kos:

Arlen Specter: (Pennsylvania)
DC Office:

Philadelphia Office:

Pittsburgh Office:

John Warner: (Virginia)
DC Office:
(202) 224-2023

Richmond Office:
(804) 739-0247

Norfolk Office:
(757) 441-3079

Mike Dewine: (Ohio)
DC Office:
(202) 224-2315

Cleveland office:
(216) 522-7272

Columbus office:
(614) 469-5186

Chuck Hagel: (Nebraska)
DC Office:
(202) 224-4224

Omaha Office:
(402) 758-8981

Posted at 03:25 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nebraska, Nuclear Option, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia | Technorati

PA-Sen: Sirota Rips NYT for Santorum Advertisment

Posted by Bob Brigham

Ricky Santorum, Pennsylvania's wack-job Junior Senator, compares the New York Times to Nazis and the Times (happy for a reach-around), gives the Senator a glowing profile in the Sunday Magazine.

However, David Sirota isn't afraid to speak truth to power and you know it is a must-read when Sirota headlines, "All the Kneeling to Power That's Fit to Print."

Posted at 02:29 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Friday, May 20, 2005

PA-Sen: Under the Radar Wingnuttery From Santorum

Posted by Tim Tagaris

In the midst of running around and comparing people he disagrees with with to Nazis (See the Democratic Party & the New York Times), it's easy for a quote like this to get lost in the shuffle:

"Now we are forced to do something that societies often do when people can't control their desires. We have to pass laws to stop their desires."
That's Senator Rick Santorum on the Democratic attempts to save the filibuster. And if you ponder it for any longer than a second, it sheds some light on his line of thought on a number of topics, most notably equal rights for the GLBT community.

Posted at 09:05 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

PA-Sen: Update on Santorum Scandal

Posted by Bob Brigham

Two major updates on the Santorum Scandal.

Chuck Pennacchio, Democrat challenging Santorum in 2006, has posted a startling video on his blog of Santorum using a Nazi slander against the New York Times.

The Anti-Defamation League is outraged

Dear Senator Santorum:

We write to object in the strongest terms to your reference to Adolf Hitler in the context of a political debate on judicial nominations on the floor of the Senate today.

Whatever your views on the Senate rules relating to the use of the filibuster and judicial nominations, it is utterly inappropriate and insensitive to suggest that Democratic Party tactics in any way resemble actions taken by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Suggesting some kind of "equivalence" between these tactics and statements and actions of Adolf Hitler demonstrates a profound lack of understanding as to who Hitler was and what he and his regime represented.

We urge you to repudiate your remarks and apologize to the American people for distorting an important issue with such an inappropriate comparison to Hitler and the Holocaust.

Ricky Santorum should step down from his leadership position to avoid being censured by the full Senate.

Posted at 04:50 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Netroots, Nuclear Option, Pennsylvania, Scandals | Comments (1) | Technorati

PA-Sen: Spectacular Hypocrisy of the GOP

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Yesterday, Atrios mentioned the MoveON standard in reference to Santorum's ridiculous comments on the floor of the Senate. In a bit of an ironic twist--From a GOP release yesterday, attacking the Democratic position of saving the filibuster:


Two Ads Comparing President Bush To Hitler Appeared On’s Voter Fund Website. “One ad begins with Adolf Hitler making speeches, until a picture of President Bush appears. Another also uses Nazi and Bush images, with the tag line: ‘What were war crimes in 1945 is foreign policy in 2003.’ The videos appeared on the Web site of’s Voter Fund as part of a nationwide contest for an anti-Bush television ad on which the liberal group plans to spend a considerable sum.” (Howard Kurtz, “Anti-Bush Ad Contest Includes Hitler Images,” The Washington Post, January 6, 2004)

Rick Santorum on the floor of the Senate yesterday:

"It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me? How dare you bomb my city? It's mine,'" Santorum said during a 30-minute statement on the Senate floor.

A few hours later, Santorum issued a statement calling his remarks "a mistake."

Just a bit of an FYI--quite ironic that the GOP release came out just shortly before Senator Santorum unacceptably compared Senate Democrats to Hitler.

Posted at 12:00 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, May 19, 2005

PA-Sen: Senator Rick Santorum Out of Line

Posted by Bob Brigham

This post made CNN.

NOTE: This is a long post with lots of links that should be explored. This is completely outrageous, Santorum should step down from his leadership position.

Another Raw Story Exclusive:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) compared Democrats' attempts to keep the filibuster to Hitler's moves in 1942 in a floor speech in the Senate Thursday afternoon, RAW STORY has learned.

Atrios asks:

The "Move On" Standard

Once upon a time an organziation called Move On (or probably Move On Pac, forget which) ran a little ad creation contest. The initial submissions, of which there were many, weren't really screened by the organization, and a couple of them admittedly crossed the line by making Bush/Nazi comparisons. Those ads were yanked immediately by the organization, but are nonetheless used to this day by the liberal media to smear Move On as an irresponsible "extremist" organization.

Now we have the junior Senator from Pennsylvania comparing the entire Senate Dem caucus to Adolf Hitler. Will the "Move On" standard of the liberal media still apply?

Good question. My guess is that the blogosphere will be making a list of every reporter who wrote about the MoveOn non-story. If reporters will enable right-wing attacks by repeating non-stories about something posted online, but won't give more attention to a real story about this happening on the Senate floor, then I believe that these reporters deserve the wrath of the blogosphere.

We're watching, if you're a reporter, you had better be filing.


UPDATE: : Sean-Paul Kelley piles on at The Agonist. And Atrios busts Santorum for flip-flopping.
UPDATE: Dave Johnson piles on at Seeing the Forest.
UPDATE: David piles on at The Supreme Irony of Life (how fitting).
UPDATE: David Sirota piles on and escalates -- great stuff!
UPDATE: Oliver Willis has audio.
UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has video.
UPDATE: Jeffrey Dubner at American Prospect tells Santorum to go to hell
UPDATE: In Santorum's home state Pennsylvania, Jeff's Little Blog Blue piles on.
UPDATE: Think Progress throws down.
UPDATE: Talking Points Memo seemed to be in a state of disbelief
UPDATE: The blogswarm is turning into a shitstorm, Armando has it on the front page of Daily Kos.
UPDATE: DC Media Girl asks readers to call Santorum's office at 202-224-6324
UPDATE: Balloon Juice is in favor of bitch-slapping
UPDATE: ArchPundit calls Senator Santorum a jackass.
UPDATE: Chris Bowers of MyDD piles on
UPDATE: The Carpetbagger joins
UPDATE: Spin Dry suggests a spanking may be in order
UPDATE: The "view from above" is at the Rooftop Report
UPDATE: 2 Political Junkies: "Un-fucking-believable"
UPDATE: Left in the West call's Rick Santorum an asshole and has more here
UPDATE: And Random Ravings

UPDATE: This is now an issue in Pennyslvania's 2006 Senate race, Chuck Pennacchio's statement (also on Politics PA):

“As an historian of Holocaust-era Germany, I find Rick Santorum’s comment to be offensive, divisive, and destructive. Rick Santorum should immediately issue a public apology, and then retreat with conscience to consider the lasting damage he has done to the United States Senate and to the memory of 12 million Holocaust victims.”

“How ironic is it that he would make such an extremist comment, comparing Senate Democrats to Adolph Hitler, while his own political party seeks to consolidate all governmental party in its own hands?”

Pennacchio continued, “This is embarrassing to all Pennsylvanians. Unfortunately, Rick Santorum’s hate-filled and heated rhetoric is completely consistent with the junior Senator’s past behavior.”

UPDATE: Damn Liberals piles on
UPDATE: Talk Left piles on.
UPDATE: Rob at Laughing at the Pieces: Holy Fucking Shit
UPDATE: Political Strategy: Scum of the Earth (and at Semidi
UPDATE: Yudel Line piles on
UPDATE: Charging Rino: the nuclear option's "Major Kong."
UPDATE: In Pennsylvania, Young Philly Politics piles on
UPDATE: The scandal made "BUZZ" on Salon's Dauo Report
UPDATE: Think Progress has the rebuttal from Senator Max Baucus: “This is the Way Democracy Ends”
UPDATE: David Sirota has his second post
UPDATE: Steve Gilliard of News Blog: this is like shitting on the WWII memorial
UPDATE: Stirlying Newberry of Blogging of the President calls for CENSURE
UPDATE: Brad of Brad Blog: Fillibuster Blitzkreig!
UPDATE: AmericaBlog piles on and on.
UPDATE: With way too much time to prepare before morning drive time, here comes Eric Hananoki with the Air America Al Franken Show Blog
UPDATE Over at Hullabaloo Digby writes: Santorum is full of shit and everybody but the theocrats and the press knows it. Even Ricky.
UPDATE Steve Soto at The Left Coaster: In fact, a good old liberal lynching of Frist and Santorum is just what this country needs right about now, if you ask me.
UPDATE DNC's Kicking Ass: truly sickening


Washington, D.C. Office:
511 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-6324
Allentown Office:
Counties: Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Northampton, Lehigh, Berks
3802 Federal Office Building
504 West Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18101
Main: 610-770-0142
Fax: 610-770-0911
Altoona Office:
Counties: Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Clearfield, Fulton, Huntingdon, Somerset
Route 220 North
Regency Square, Suite 220
Altoona, PA 16601
Main: 814-946-7023
Fax: 814-946-7025
Coudersport Office:
Counties: Cameron, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Tioga
1705 West 26th Street
Erie, PA 16508
Main: 814-454-7114
Fax: 814-459-2096
Erie Office:
Counties: Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, Warren
1705 West 26th Street
Erie, PA 16508
Main: 814-454-7114
Fax: 814-459-2096
Harrisburg Office:
Counties: Adams, Centre, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Union Snyder, York
555 Walnut Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Main: 717-231-7540
Fax: 717-231-7542
Philadelphia Office:
Counties: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia
1 South Penn Square
Widener Building, Suite 960
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Main: 215-864-6900
Fax: 215-864-6910
Pittsburgh Office:
Counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Westmoreland, Washington
100 West Station Square Drive
Landmarks Building, Suite 250
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Main: 412-562-0533
Fax: 412-562-4313
Scranton Office:
Counties: Bradford, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Montour, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming
527 Linden Street
Scranton, PA 18503
Main: 570-344-8799
Fax: 570-344-8906

Posted at 05:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Netroots, Nuclear Option, Pennsylvania, Scandals | Comments (3) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Philly-DA: Results

Posted by Tim Tagaris

First and foremost, let me bark about Philadelphia County's election results reporting. You can't follow it in real-time unless you pay a news subscription fee. Long live democracy.

Philly DA: Seth Williams (The Philly Phenomenon) vs. Lynne Abraham.

Update 1: Reporting 5% - Abraham 70% - Williams 30%
Update 2: Reporting 21% - Abraham 59% (13,143) - Williams 41% (9,212)
Update 3: Reporting 70% - Abraham 59% - Williams 41% (KYW Reporting)
Update 4: Reporting 74% - Abraham 58% (50,354)- Williams 42% (36,016)
Update 5: Reporting 90% - Abraham 57% - Williams 43% (KYW)
Update 6: Abraham gives acceptance speech. I Still wonder how well Seth did and will keep you updated as well.
Update 7: Reporting 94% - Abraham 56% (59,542)- Williams 44% (47,218)

Growing Greener: $625 million bond issue to finance a number of environmentally-related projects.

Update 1: Reporting 3% - Yes 65% (7,924)- No 35% (4,339)
Update 2: Reporting 12% - Yes 67%(46,638) - No % 33%(22,566)
Update 3: Reporting 40% - Yes 61%(224,782) - No % 39%(142,170)
Update 4: Reporting 64% - Yes 61%(385,288) - No % 39%(245,066)

Another Update: Returns should start coming in from the L.A. Mayor race. Bob will be following that when he returns.

Posted at 09:27 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Inq on "Philadelphia Phenomenon" - Seth Williams

Posted by Bob Brigham

Philadelphia Inquirer:

While blog power has been well-celebrated in national politics - consider bloggers' role in former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's brief reign as a front-running Democratic presidential candidate last year - the Williams effort is considered one of the few attempts ever to unite electronic activists around a candidate for local office. [...]

Though it seems modest, a national Democratic political consultant who specializes in Internet organizing sees the Philadelphia effort as a beginning. Bloggers in Pittsburgh have been talking up a candidate in the mayoral primary there.

"A lot of national campaigns see the Internet as a glorified ATM machine," said Tim Tagaris, the consultant working to set up Chuck Pennacchio's 2006 U.S. Senate campaign in Pennsylvania. "Regionalization is going to be the next wave," Tagaris said.

He also has written extensively about the Philadelphia phenomenon on his national blog, Swing State Project. Tagaris said that local blogs, with their small audiences, have the same organizing potential in cyberspace as the neighborhood networks that President Bush's reelection campaign put together to win support in small towns and rural areas.

"It's that same peer-to-peer strategy, but online," Tagaris said. "Millions of people have blogs, but they are read for the most part by neighbors, friends, coworkers and family. You are able to influence a few people at a time." (emphasis mine)

Tim had an important post on Philly's localization yesterday, and right now I have front-paged diaries on Daily Kos and MyDD about regionalization.

More from the Inq:

Williams strategists say they believe the bloggers provide at least a modest counterweight to District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham's power. She is a 14-year veteran who has plenty of campaign cash - but so far no bloggers - and the support of Democratic Party ward leaders.

"The bloggers tend to be leaders," said Ray Murphy, who runs Williams' Internet operation. "I think of them as carrier pigeons spreading the word." [...]

Blogs can have more power locally because those who write them tend to be influential, active and have extensive social networks in their communities, said Julie Barko Germany, deputy director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet at George Washington University. "People are just starting to discover the possibilities," Barko Germany said. [...]

In coming days, the Williams campaign plans to include canvassing lists on its Web site for supporters to download, Murphy said. Campaign literature and window signs already are available there.

"We want to get Seth's name and ideas out to as many households as possible," Murphy said.

For more on Seth William, check out Swing State Project on April 21, April 28, May 2, and May 9.

If you live within driving distance of Philly, join them next Tuesday for GOTV.

Posted at 09:51 AM in Netroots, Pennsylvania, Site News | Technorati

Monday, May 09, 2005

Philly-DA: Big Mo' for Seth Williams

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Over the past two weeks, Philadelphia bloggers have alerted me to big news brewing in the "City of Brotherly Love." They have rallied behind Democratic District Attorney candidate Seth Williams in a contested primary against incumbent Lynn Abraham. The reasons they find this specific primary race so important are best elucidated by Daniel of Young Philly Politics.

Just the other day, a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer called me to talk about why a bunch of local bloggers rallying around Seth Williams is relevant. We talked for about 45 minutes and he is apparently set to run an article tomorrow about the Netroots support for Williams. We talked about what I have written about HERE and HERE. But most importantly, Williams now has the Big Mo', despite being outspent 26-1 in the race. Just yesterday, the eighth largest paper in the country, The Philadelphia Inquirer endorsed Seth Williams.

But Philadelphians don't have to wait for Abraham to wake up one day and realize she has stayed "too long." They have a chance now to choose a worthy successor to Abraham with fresher, better ideas to fight crime in their city. His name is SETH WILLIAMS, and The Inquirer recommends him to Democratic voters in their party's May 17 primary.
That's right, the primary is May 17th. If you are in the Philadelphia area, consider volunteering for Seth Williams.

Posted at 09:11 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

PA-Sen: Chuck Pennacchio Joins Princeton Filibuster

Posted by Bob Brigham

Regular Swing State Project readers know that when Tim isn't posting here, he is directing communications for Chuck Pennacchio, who is running against Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania.

Today they are in New Jersey, joining the Princeton Filibuster: (see here, here, here, and here).

I just got off the phone with Tim...

Professor Pennacchio begins speaking at 3PM local time, with Chris Matthews doing a Harball interview beginning at 4PM.

Because of the media attention, there are rumors of a College Republican protest, but it is unknown what size of crowd they would be able to turn out.

They are closing in on Hour 173 with no end in sight. Right now, there are around 25 students at the event and the MSNBC crew is setting up.

The mood is festive, with refreshments and people seem to be having fun.

Tim is decked out with the postmodern politics toolkit: laptop, cell phone, mic, video and still digitals. You can watch the event on the webcam at

More to come...

Posted at 02:41 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Monday, May 02, 2005

PA-Sen: Abortion Hurting Casey Fundraising

Posted by Bob Brigham

You might remember Barbara Hafer, the pro-choice Democrat that was forced out of the Pennsylvania Senate race to support Bob Casey, Jr. Casey's last period fundraising report was disgraceful, with the candidate only raising $90,000. Could his anti-rights stance on abortion be the reason why? From USA Today:

After meeting with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a former Democratic national chairman, Hafer agreed to step aside. But she doesn't sound happy about it.

"I've heard from many, many, many women and men who are not just pro-choice but are very concerned about the shift of emphasis in the party," Hafer says.

"I think it hurts fundraising. It certainly hurts the base of the party." She says she felt compelled to do what Rendell felt was best for Democrats.

"If that's accurate or not," she adds, "only time will tell."

Hafer's views became irrelevant when she let herself get steamrolled. As for whether the women's groups will have relevance in deciding how Democrats talk about abortion, only the primary will tell.

Posted at 09:19 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (5) | Technorati

Thursday, April 21, 2005

PA-Sen: Santorum, from Showdown to Slowdown

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Hill:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate of the “nuclear option” to end the Democrats’ filibuster of judicial nominees, is privately arguing for a delay in the face of adverse internal party polls.

Details of the polling numbers remain under wraps, but Santorum and other Senate sources concede that, while a majority of Americans oppose the filibuster, the figures show that most also accept the Democratic message that Republicans are trying to destroy the tradition of debate in the Senate.

The Republicans are keeping the “nuclear” poll numbers secret, whereas they have often in the past been keen to release internal survey results that favor the party.

While these numbers are secret, Santorum's poll numbers are public and sinking. The GOP now has solid evidence that the "nuclear option" is political suicide, yet they will probably do it anyway. The backlash brewing against the zealots could be a powerful force in 2006 Senate elections. While Santorum may have cold feet, this has gone too far for Frist to chicken out. As the 2008 Presidential campaign heats up, it looks like Frist is the crazy one and Santorum the one doing the daring, but too chicken to do the deed. Keep handing them rope and please, somebody make some popcorn.

Posted at 02:48 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans, Pennsylvania, Republicans | Technorati

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

PA-04: Heinz Not Challenging Melissa Hart

Posted by Bob Brigham


"I'm definitely not doing it in 2006. I've thought about it in my life, but it's just not right at this particular time," [Chris] Heinz told The Associated Press by phone from New York City, where he lives.

If you ask me, that's best for all. It would be one thing to live in Pittsburgh and go for it, but when a reporter calls you at home in another state to ask if you're running, the correct answer is usually no.

This is a good district, and this move by Heinz allows Democrats the opportunity to come at this from the ground up.

Posted at 10:06 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Technorati

PA-Sen: Financial Reports

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Morning Call has fundraising totals for the 2006 Senate Race.

WASHINGTON -- | Sen. Rick Santorum raked in nearly $2 million in campaign contributions during the first three months of the year, giving himself a large financial head start over Democrat Bob Casey Jr.

Santorum's haul, combined with money raised earlier, gave him $2.8 million in cash on hand as of March 30.

Casey, who entered the race in early March, raised $90,000 and had just $73,500 in the bank after expenses, according to his financial report."

Casey has overwhelming name ID and received a good deal of press when he announced. It is troubling to see such a poor outpouring of support, if Casey excited people even slightly he should have been able to have raised three times that from people not asked, but looking, to give. Santorum may have off the chart negatives, but it looks like Democrats are taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes Casey Jr.

Posted at 08:35 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Monday, April 18, 2005

PA-Sen: Choosing on Choice?

Posted by Bob Brigham

As Lakoff says, when you negate a frame you invoke the frame. In Pennsylvania's 2006 Senate race, we are seeing this proven. In the past two days, the Philadelphia Inquirer has devoted a large number of column inches towards examining the subject that the DC insiders said wouldn't be an issue: Choice.

Yesterday, Karen Heller had a column titled, No primary for you. The sub-head read, "With Senate candidates like these, one thing's certain: Women lose."

If Casey defeats Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania will have the dubious distinction of fielding one of the Senate's most moderate Republicans and one of its most conservative Democrats, so conservative the Republicans will wonder why he isn't theirs.

Casey was chosen for several reasons: name, name, name, and that his politics are virtually indistinguishable from those of Santorum, to say nothing of his looks, age and family life.

Like his father - did we mention that his father was the late governor Robert Casey? - the state treasurer is staunchly anti-abortion. He's also staunchly against gun control.

Choice as an issue will not matter in the Pennsylvania race. There is no choice.

Well, actually there is. Which Carrie Budoff and Thomas Fitzgerald report on today:

But as a 2006 U.S. Senate candidate, recruited by national Democrats for one of its highest-profile races, Casey will be forced to address abortion as he seeks the nomination from a party in which he holds the minority view. [...]

Top Democratic leaders see Casey as their best chance against Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, who worked for eight years to help pass the 2003 ban on late-term abortions. To win the nomination, Casey must first get by Chuck Pennacchio, a University of the Arts professor who supports abortion rights.

So will choice become an issue in the primary?

"A lot of women will make sure that not a nickel of their money goes to Casey," said Kim Gandy, head of the National Organization for Women, which has gathered 13,000 signatures on a Web protest petition.

There is even talk of wealthy donors boycotting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in retaliation. You can see the passion in the Karen Heller piece:

Casey is not an appealing choice to progressive women. Specifically, he makes this progressive woman ill.

Santorum and Casey are like the old Patty Duke Show, they walk alike and talk alike and, gee, if you can tell them apart, please, let me know. [...]

Both parties should be open to more voices. I just don't want Bob Casey's voice representing mine.

Casey's Web site offers no positions yet, though he's uttered plenty of hollow platitudes about "supporting working families." Aren't we all for working families?

He supports various welfare entitlements which, a cynic might point out, poor women are going to need, especially if access to choice keeps diminishing.

Like all voters, Philadelphians ought to be selfish. Women voters ought to be selfish. I don't see either candidate representing my interests, or those of a lot of other women.

I've asked social and political activists why, more than a year before the election, this huge state can't produce better candidates instead of Brylcreemed clones. One organizer said to me, "I tend to support causes that have a realistic chance of getting accomplished."

There has to be more choice than none.

As regular readers know, Swing State Project's Tim Tagaris directs communication for pro-Choice Democrat Chuck Pennacchio. He offers his take on MyDD and Daily Kos.

I have two concerns at this point.

My first concern is that by negating Choice as an issue, it has become the defining story of the campaign. By agreeing with Santorum, not only are we turning off our base, but we also threaten to invoke right-wing frames by signaling to voters that the right has the good ideas. As the storyboard of the 2006 campaign unfolds as a backlash against the theocrats assault upon personal rights, my worry is that Democrats may be unable to take advantage of the national debate in this key race.

My greater concern is that some DC consultants want to move Democrats away from individual rights at a time that we should be highlighting our defense of civil liberties. Pennsylvania will be the most nationalized race in 2006, my choice is for a candidate who is on message with the rest of the Party.

There are ways that anti-choice candidates can approach the issue without harming the Party. But this isn't it:

Like his father, Casey Jr. said he believes the government's right to protect the vulnerable includes the unborn. He bases his conviction on biology, he said, not his Catholic theology.

"There's a life there," he said.

Casey said he will not make it a defining issue.

Regardless of what the Casey campaign is planning, with a stance like that I don't see how abortion can be anything other than the defining issue.

Posted at 01:18 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

PA-Sen: Democratic Party Should Give Back the Money

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is campaigning hard -- to win the award for the most incompetent Democratic organization in America.

The best thing Senator Rick Santorum has going for the fact that the his opposition party is lead by T.J. Rooney and Don Morabito.

Yesterday, the PA Democratic Party made a major play against Senator Santorum. Don't worry if you didn't hear about it, you aren't alone.

They issued a press release, but it flopped in the traditional media.

The press release did find it's way to Politics PA (that has a section where they post any press release) and Big News Daily. If you have a paid subscription to the National Journal or Roll Call you might have read about it.

But a lot of people who would have been interested in reading about it, didn't. Which is too bad, because people should have read about it.

In a shocking display of incompetence, it isn't even listed on the PA Dems website. It isn't listed on the PA Dems blog, because Morabito has zero understanding of blogs:

For the next hours, scattered among questions about the 2006 US Senate race, people insisted that the state party step up and start communicating with us.

It ain't gonna happen (I believe that is even a quote).

What was the excuse? He said money. I told him the party would raise money online. He said that the state party is in debt. I told him that getting a blog up can be free. He said they didn't have staff to work it. I told him there were plenty out there that would love to write for the blog. I even pointed to Chris Bowers of MyDD (sorry Chris). He said they hired a consultant from Massachusettsto look into it. Great...

And they wonder why they have lost 14 straight full-term U.S. Senate elections in PA.

The fact that it flopped in traditional media shouldn't have mattered as much as it did because people should have read about it online. This could have spread like wildfire across the blogosphere, but it didn't.

You see, Don Morabito is unqualified to participate in post-modern politics. Just like you wouldn't want him to perform surgery on you or try to fix your car, I don't want him anywhere near a key senate race.

So when it comes to giving back money, I think that the PA Democratic Party should give donors back the money that has been wasted on Don Morabito's salary.

This is a character test for T.J. Rooney. He should admit poor judgment, and return the wasted money.

Posted at 12:54 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Monday, April 11, 2005

Tom DeLay Scandal: Reps. Blunt, Nussle, and Gerlach hit with ads

Posted by Bob Brigham

Press Release:

Public Campaign, a nonpartisan money and politics watchdog group, will launch television advertisements in three congressional districts tomorrow to build pressure on Republican members of Congress to demand Majority Leader Tom DeLay's resignation. The ads will run in:

-- The 7th Congressional District of Missouri, currently represented by Majority Whip Roy Blunt

-- The 6th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, currently represented by Rep. Jim Gerlach

-- The 1st Congressional District of Iowa, currently represented by Rep. Jim Nussle

"With Rep. Chris Shays' courageous statement yesterday calling on Tom DeLay to step down, we are turning up the heat on Republican members to join him," said David Donnelly, National Campaigns director of Public Campaign. "DeLay's big money scandals and cash-and-carry politics should be repudiated by elected officials everywhere."

Posted at 06:25 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Choice in Pennsylvania: Abortion and 2006 Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

Associated Press: Abortion stance could haunt Casey in Senate bid

But like Santorum, Klink, and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who helped talk Casey into running, Casey opposes abortion rights. And that could give moderate Republicans in the important Philadelphia suburban swing region one less reason to cross party lines as they did in large numbers to help elect Rendell in 2002.

Casey is unlikely to avoid the abortion question even in the Democratic primary.

Despite Rendell's attempts to clean house, at least one candidate who favors abortion rights has vowed to compete against Casey in the primary — Charles F. "Chuck" Pennacchio, 45, a history professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. A longtime Democratic organizer, Pennacchio has not run for office before but said his campaign has raised about $25,000 so far.

While Pennacchio's campaign is more about using the power of the Internet and low-key "meet-ups" with the candidate to promote grass roots activism within the party, a spokesman said Pennacchio definitely will raise the subject of abortion in the primary campaign.

"It's an issue that voters in the Democratic primary are concerned about," said the spokesman, Tim Tagaris, citing Senate Democrats' efforts to block judicial nominees who oppose abortion.

Yes, that is Swing State Project contributor Tim Tagaris getting the nationwide ink. Earlier this week, Tagaris was referred to as a blogging guru in the Pennsylvania press.

The AP article gives the history:

Ron Klink's experience is Bob Casey's bad dream.

Klink, a onetime TV news anchorman in Pittsburgh and a longtime congressman, lost the 2000 U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Rick Santorum after a campaign that failed for various reasons to gain traction. [...]

In the general election campaign, Klink said, national party leaders' promises of financial and field support failed to materialize. [...]

Klink said he was proud to be a "Casey Democrat" — a reference to Casey's father, the late governor, whose strong views made him a national hero to the anti-abortion movement. He bitterly recalled being portrayed as "Santorum Light" during the 2000 primary because of his abortion stance and blamed his defeat partly on Democrats who refused to vote for him for that reason.

By a 2:1 margin, Pennsylvania Democrats prefer a pro-choice candidate. The worry about moderate Republicans and Independents not supporting Casey is born not just from history, but also from the fact that 40% of Republicans and 54% of Independents also prefer pro-choice candidates. This is something people notice.

If Tagaris says it is going to be an issue, then it is going to be an issue. The national attention to the issue signals that it will be heard and the polling suggests it may play a major role. No wonder, "haunt" was the word used in the headline.

Posted at 08:10 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (6) | Technorati

U.S. Senate "Nuclear Option" and 2006 midterm elections

Posted by Bob Brigham

Over at DailyKos, Kargo X has kickstarted a conversation on the coming "Nuclear Option" -- the Republican scheme to end the filibuster and gain absolute power.

If the GOP pushes forward with this power grab, it will force a major backlash against Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections. During the Schiavo usurpation, Bush dropped 10 pts in the time it took for Santorum to permanently tie himself to the issue.

If the GOP continues their quest for absolute power, the backlash will be severe. Already, Democrats have 12 Republican Senators (facing re-election in 2006) on record with their Social Security vote.

It has become conventional wisdom that Americans oppose the GOP plan to privatize Social Security. If the GOP moves for absolute control of the Senate while Bush forces privatization then the storyline gets a villian in a potent way. Add Tom DeLay as the public face of Republicans in Congress, a splintering of the conservative coalition, and a united Democratic Party. Together, this could result in a major restructuring of party perception in a nationalized 2006 midterm election cycle.

Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) wants to be President so he needs to protect his record. In addition, the following Republican Senators need to worry about running for re-election in 2006:

  • Senator George Allen (R-VA)*
  • Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT)*
  • Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)*
  • Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH)
  • Senator John Ensign (R-NV)*
  • Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)*
  • Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)*
  • Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)*
  • Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)*
  • Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)*
  • Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)*
  • Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
  • Senator Jim Talent (R-MO)*
  • Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY)*

* Social Security: on record voting in favor of "deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt."

In addition, such a move would allow the following Democrats a hero vote to bolster their 2006 re-elections:

  • Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
  • Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
  • Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
  • Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE)
  • Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
  • Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND)
  • Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ)
  • Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN)
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
  • Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI)
  • Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
  • Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE)
  • Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  • Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Posted at 06:36 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Nuclear Option, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming | Technorati

Friday, April 01, 2005

Rhode Island 2006 Democratic Party Primary for U.S. Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

Providence Journal:

PROVIDENCE -- Rhode Island's former attorney general and U.S. Attorney Sheldon Whitehouse advised close family and friends earlier this week that he has decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Lincoln D. Chafee.

Barring the unexpected, Whitehouse's long-anticipated entry into the closely watched Senate race guarantees the spectacle of a two-man fight for the Democratic nomination to take on Chafee in November 2006.

A formal announcement by the 49-year-old Whitehouse is expected Monday, but he signaled his decision in a series of e-mails in which he foresaw that U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy would pull himself out of the running before the week was out.

Facing a potentially costly primary contest against Secretary of State Matthew Brown, the only announced Democratic candidate for Chafee's Senate seat so far, Whitehouse also took the occasion to state the obvious: "I will have to become a fundraising demon in the new quarter, which will bring you expensive requests for contributions, contacts and so forth."

This sounds a lot like Pennsylvania, almost sounds like a pattern...

Party Bosses back a candidate who lost a Primary campaign for his state's top job:

In 1998, [Whitehouse] beat out two Democratic competitors to become the state's attorney general, but did not survive a three-way primary when he ran for governor four years later. He trailed former state Sen. Myrth York by 926 votes, with then-Rep. Antonio Pires placing a distant third.

Candidate hires top-dollar consultants:

Whitehouse advised these supporters on Tuesday he had already opened a campaign account and hired well-known Washington political consultant Mike Donilon. [...]

When asked whether the Washington-based Donilon, a top adviser to Sen. John F. Kerry's presidential campaign who also worked on the Rhode Island campaigns of U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, was already on the Whitehouse campaign payroll, Preston said: "Mike would be part of any Whitehouse campaign team."

(Preston said the Rhode Island race would be one of two high-profile races for Donilon, who has also signed on to work for the reelection of one of the national GOP's top Democratic targets in '06, freshman Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.)

Campaign uses other elected officials to strong-arm and force out any other Democrats (so candidate doesn't lose like he he did in gubernatorial primary):

Without formally announcing, Whitehouse already has the backing of many in the state's political elite, including Kennedy and Langevin, who have both publicly urged the 35-year-old Brown, who is midway through his first term in office, to get out of the race. [...]

Brown campaign spokesman Matt Burgess said the secretary of state has no intention of leaving the race, and "looks forward to a thorough and thoughtful discussion of how to best solve the problems people in Rhode Island are facing everyday."

Burgess also sought to minimize the significance of Whitehouse's high-wattage political backing, saying: "This race is going to be decided by people in Rhode Island -- not a handful of political insiders and politicians. It just doesn't work that way anymore."

The State Democratic Party comes out against democracy:

But state Democratic Party Chairman William Lynch said: "It's never a good thing to have primaries."

Never. As is in democratic primaries are not ever good; on no occasion; at no time; under no circumstances. Letting the People participate in democracy is never a good thing.

Posted at 05:18 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island | Comments (4) | Technorati

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Senator Rich Santorum is a liar

Posted by Bob Brigham

Philadelphia Inquirer:

Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean ripped into U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum at a party fund-raiser in Old City last night.

Dean, a former Vermont governor and former Democratic presidential candidate, called Santorum, a Republican who is up for reelection in Pennsylvania in 2006, a "liar" and "right-winger" who actually lives in Virginia.

"He doesn't tell the truth," Dean told a gathering of about 150 at Bluezette on Market Street.

Dean said Santorum had voted to kill Amtrak, an important service in Pennsylvania, and had then turned around and written a piece for The Inquirer saying he supported Amtrak.

He said that Santorum should return the more than $100,000 that Santorum's declared home school district, the Penn Hills School District in Allegheny County, paid over the last few years to educate his children at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

While attending the school online, Santorum's children actually lived at his house in the Virginia suburbs of Washington. The charter school and the Penn Hills district are in a dispute over payments for Santorum's children. Santorum has maintained that he has followed the law.

Dean joked that Santorum should "stay in Virginia," although he added that the senator was "too much of a right-winger for Virginia. How about Venezuela?"

In Pennyslvania's 2006 U.S. Senate race, Rick Santorum is being challenged by Chuck Pennacchio and Bob Casey, Jr.

Posted at 02:57 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

2006 Pennsylvania Senate Primary: Internet-fueled challenge

Posted by Bob Brigham

This morning's Philadelphia Inquirer:

If Chuck Pennacchio's candidacy was judged by conventional campaign standards, he would stand little chance in the 2006 U.S. Senate race.

The Democratic establishment bypassed the Philadelphia professor earlier this month to line up behind state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. Pennacchio has never run for statewide office. And he has pledged to reject money from special interests in favor of small individual donations.

All of that could have buried Pennacchio from the start just a few years ago, but not necessarily these days when Web logs, or blogs, can lift an obscure candidate into the realm of contender.

Pennacchio and his small, Web-savvy staff have been leaving footprints across dozens of blogs during the last month, hoping their Internet presence - combined with traditional campaigning - builds a loyal grassroots following to rival Casey's stranglehold on the establishment.

"Wherever you look - we'll be there. Like a bad pop-up ad for the University of Phoenix," Pennacchio's 28-year-old blogging guru, Tim Tagaris, wrote on one Web site, referencing that school's Internet saturation.

Blogging guru, eh?

Pennacchio's Internet approach is a smart way to jump-start an outsider's campaign, such as Howard Dean did in the 2004 presidential race, said Daniel M. Shea, director of Allegheny College's Center for Political Participation.

The ol' Howard Dean comparision, I hope Tim is prepared to deal with front-runner's syndrome...

Pennacchio, who hopes to raise $3 million for the primary, has asked his supporters to start their own blogs. He spent $5,000 on his first ad buy. But that kind of money wouldn't buy a few seconds on TV or radio, so he blanketed 18 national and local blogs. Pennacchio held his first conference call in late February. But instead of gathering print and broadcast media, he discussed his campaign with 10 Pennsylvania and New Jersey bloggers, including a 16-year-old.

"They are opinion leaders and they need to be respected," Pennacchio said.

How else would SheaBrianna Christilaw, 24, a Pittsburgh student and author of the blog Urban Democracy, have gotten involved in his campaign this early? She's organizing a Friday reception during his first swing through Western Pennsylvania.

Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg, a writer for Young Philly Politics, said Pennacchio appeared to be benefiting not so much from anti-Casey sentiment - "I think a lot of people were very happy with him running" - but anger stemming from efforts by Democratic leaders to clear the primary field.

"It is this presumption from the state party that they know best," Urevick-Ackelsberg, 23, said. "People want to feel more like they can have a say."

Pennacchio has "a lot of potential," Urevick-Ackelsberg said, but a far way to go.

"It would be the upset of all upsets."

More from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean, scheduled to appear tonight at a Center City fund-raiser, said the party would do "anything we can" to defeat Republican Sen. Rick Santorum next year.

The expected clash between Santorum and the consensus Democratic candidate, State Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., already is intensifying. Dean's GOP counterpart, Ken Mehlman, last week said reelecting Santorum was his party's top priority. [...]

Casey faces an Internet-fueled challenge for the nomination from Chuck Pennacchio, a University of the Arts professor.

"realm of contender"
"loyal grassroots following"
"Internet saturation"
"smart way to jump-start an outsider's campaign"
"blanketed 18 national and local blogs"
"the upset of all upsets"
"Internet-fueled challenge"

It looks like Tim has been busy when he isn't blogging for Swing State Project.

Posted at 07:25 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Monday, March 28, 2005

Schumer takes heat for anti-Choice candidate

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the New York Post:

In Pennsylvania, for example, where Democrats believe they have a decent chance of toppling anti-abortion conservative Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, Schumer had a hand in luring State Treasurer Bob Casey, an anti-abortion Democrat, into the race.

Clearing the primary field for Casey required elbowing out of the way a pro-choice Democratic woman who wanted to take on Santorum — and the hard-ball move has left some hard feelings.[...]

Women's-advocacy groups are steaming that Schumer, who himself strongly supports abortion rights, is working behind the scenes to recruit pro-life candidates.

National Abortion Rights Action League president Kate Michelman called Schumer's actions "disturbing," while Emily's List spokeswoman Ramona Oliver said she was stunned by what the New York Democrat is doing.

Posted at 01:35 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Saturday, March 26, 2005

2006 Pennsylvania Senate "virtual" campaign

Posted by Bob Brigham

Bob Novak seems to think Tim doesn't exist:

Dole's Democratic counterpart, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, has guaranteed a virtually uncontested primary in Pennsylvania for the strongest Democratic candidate, State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr., against Senate Republican Conference Chairman Rick Santorum.

Virtually, it appears the 2006 Pennsylvania Democratic Primary is very contested.

Posted at 09:47 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Comments (7) | Technorati

REAL Ultimate PA Power

Posted by Bob Brigham

When I saw the headline, "Ninja to Take Over Pennsylvania's Central Susquehanna Valley," I knew it must be about gearing up for the 2006 Pennsylvania Senate election.

Remember The Facts:

1. Ninjas are mammals.

2. Ninjas fight ALL the time.

3. The purpose of the ninja is to flip out and kill people.

You have a choice.

If you don't believe that ninjas have REAL Ultimate Power you better get a life right now or they will chop your head off!!! It's an easy choice, if you ask me.

An easy choice indeed.

Posted at 08:41 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Casey/Santorum: Dead Heat

Posted by Tim Tagaris

A new poll released by Patriot News/WGAL-TV in Pennsylvania shows Bobby Casey Jr.'s lead over arch-Republican Rick Santorum is down to one percent. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first (or second?) public poll since the "official announcement" of Casey Jr.

March 22, 2005 (MoE +/- 4.2%)

Bobby Casey Jr. - 44%
Rick Santorum - 43%

February 16, 2005 (MoE +/- 2.8%)

Bobby Casey Jr. - 46%
Rick Santorum - 41%

These two results come after a DSCC poll released around January 13, 2005 that showed Casey with a 52% to 38% lead over Santorum.

Disclaimer: I am working Democratic candidate Chuck Pennacchio's online outreach

Posted at 09:52 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Vote on Social Security

Posted by Bob Brigham

Yesterday, the Senate gave the following statement an up or down vote:

"It is the sense of the Senate that Congress should reject any Social Security plan that requires deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt."

Here are the 12 Senators (standing for re-election in 2006) who voted for deep social security cuts and massive debt:

Allen, George VA
Burns, Conrad MT
Chafee, Lincoln RI
Ensign, John NV
Hatch, Orrin UT
Hutchison, Kay Bailey TX
Kyl, Jon AZ
Lott, Trent MS
Lugar, Richard IN
Santorum, Rick PA
Talent, Jim MO
Thomas, Craig WY

Here is the link to the vote.

Posted at 09:24 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming | Technorati

Friday, March 11, 2005

Santorum Funeral

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last time Senator Rick Santorum was seriosly slapped around, it was due to two bloggers. Chris Bowers and Tim Tagaris went to a Townhall meeting the Senator was throwing.

Tim captured the legendary video footage of the College Republicans chanting, "Hey-hey, Ho-ho, Social Security has got to go.

Once inside, Bowers got Santorum to admit that he couldn't name a single Democrat willing to privatize.

Now, the two are at the Funeral March for Social Security.

Bowers told me that there are well over 200 people marching and that the sound is echoing off the buildings...creating a roar.

Tim has a camera again and told me, "People do real stupid things when you turn the camera on." He claims to have, "great video" of the protest.

UPDATE: There is a great deal of least eight cameras. Bowers says they are loud enough to be heard inside.

more to come...

Posted at 05:32 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Friday, March 04, 2005

What a day...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

When we started the day, Barbara Hafer was in the PA Senate race to stay, Bob Casey Jr. was unsure, no word from Joe Hoeffel, and Chuck Pennacchio wasn't going anywhere.

Well, at around noon, the stuff really hit the fan. Casey is now in, Hafer is now out, still no word from Hoeffel, and Pennacchio remains steady.

Read more at PoliticsPA.

Apparently the back-room efforts have paid dividends for the Casey Jr. campaign. I suppose its only a matter of time before Hafer is offered the Lt. Governor position for her party loyalty.

Pennacchio website

Casey Jr.'s new website

Posted at 01:10 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Pennsylvania | Comments (4) | Technorati

Thursday, March 03, 2005

State Party Blog Project

Posted by Tim Tagaris

You can lend a hand with Pennsylvania, and have immediate impact. Tonight, I am meeting with the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Don Morabito.

The local DFA asked me to speak to him about the importance of getting a blog up on the PA State Party website. So, that's where you come into play.

Are you from Pennsylvania?

If you are, please send me an email letting me know what it is you would like to see from a brand new Pennsylvania Democratic Party website. Let me know how you want the state party to use a blog in their grassroots outreach. In fact, pass along whatever you want passed to Morabito.

I will collect the emails and bring them into the meeting:

If you aren't from PA, feel free to write something on how your state party uses its blog, or even how you have seen blogs as an effective fundraising, organizational, and communication tool.

I will pass those along as well. I hope we can get about 10-15 of them by the time the meeting starts.



Posted at 10:59 AM in Activism, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Monday, February 28, 2005

Two jokes

Posted by Tim Tagaris

As some know by now, former Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Lynn Swan is making a run at Ed Rendell in the 2006 Pennsylvania Gov. race. Of course, the campaign is "Alan Keyeseque," a feeble attempt by Republicans to get a well-known placeholder up to help other races up and down the ballot. I mean, when the Green Party is effectively making a mockery of your campaign, maybe it's time to re-think?

Former Green Party candidate for governor, Michael Morrill, today declared his intention to try out for the position of wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Morrill admits he has no experience in organized football, has only a casual fan’s understanding of the game and at age 50 might be a little slow for the National Football League. When asked why he thought he might be qualified to be a wide receiver for the Steelers, Morrill said he was inspired by four-time Super Bowl Champion Lynn Swann. “If Lynn Swann can run for governor with absolutely no public policy experience, why shouldn’t I be able to try out for the Steelers?” Morrill responded.

Morrill was also asked what he thought his chances were to make the Steelers. “About the same as Swann’s chances to be elected governor,” he replied.


Posted at 12:51 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Rick Santorum Video From Yesterday

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Here is the video I shot from the town hall meeting yesterday featuring Rick Santorum. Disclaimer, I work for the candidate whose site it is posted on.

That out of the way, there are two clips:

1.) Drexel College Republicans chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, social secrurity has got to go," as Santorum enetered the building.

2.) Chris Bowers calling out Santorum on an earlier statement by the Senator that Democratic colleagues of his supported privatization. Nice try Rick.


Posted at 12:18 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, General, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Report From Santorum Soc. Sec. Event in Philly

Posted by Tim Tagaris

(video coming tomorrow of said events)

The first stop on Rick Santorum's re-election campaign this morning was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania--Drexel University. First of all, let me tell that I got lost on the way (not being from PA), and drove around for around 45 minutes more than I had to.

It was worth it...

I got there at around 9 A.M. in time to witness the pre-protest taking place outside of the ballroom the event was to take place in. At first it was a bunch of Drexel College Democrats standing outside, getting organized and passing out pamphlets. Then the College Republicans started strolling down the pavement.

You can see them coming from a mile away, or smell them coming, or sense them coming, whatever... It's funny, cause they feel like they have to put on a show; it's not even about supporting Santorum, it almost seemed like it was more about getting people to look at them. Example: One kid who deemed it necessary to put his Bush/Cheney t-shirt on in long exaggerated movements as he began approaching the crowd. It's a little thing, but it was obvious.

Anyway, the cameras were rolling and the literature was flying. One man stood out in the middle of the road with a giant sign that said, "TAX THE RICH" Back and forth, chanting, hooting and hollering like it was a college basketball game.

But the real show happened inside...

So, I am walking up the steps a few minutes before 10 A.M. to head inside and get a good seat. I was supposed to meet Chris Bowers from MyDD, but at this point I gave up hope. As I am walking up, the level of noise grew and people swarmed around me.

Well, not me, Santorum was walking up the steps right beside me. Yes, I was about 2 feet away. Soon the press swarmed and I just put my cigarette out, and moved aside from the spectacle. I walked inside the lobby and here he came again, as if he was following me. He motioned to one of the security folks that he had to use the rest room; it was only because I was restrained by a smarter man than I that I didn't follow him in with the video camera.

So, I headed inside and the show started. About 3 minutes into the event, Chris Bowers called and had no idea where to find the place. I got up and met him outside and we came back in. It gave me another chance to get a few puffs in.

Oh, I forgot to note that some shmuck from the SSA used some analogy about an aircraft carrier, let's call it, "The FDR," he said. And the ship's Admiral got an order to turn starboard. The admiral got pissed and the punchline was something about the orders coming from a lighthouse. Stupid, I know. But the "FDR" crack kind of pissed a few people off.

Where was I? Yes, Bowers and I get back inside.

Right away, Santorum asks, "and do you know what happens in four years?" Immediately, someone responded, "Bush is out of office." The smirk on the face Richy Rick (R-VA) was priceless. I only wish I got that part on tape. Sorry. The place clapped, it was great.

About two minutes later, a young man stood up and started calling Rick Santorum out and talking about Pinochet, Chile, George Schultz and the Govenator. Once again, Rick had quite a smirk on his face. The man was escorted out of the room while screaming something about "death squads."

Yes, he was a LaRouchie.

No more than 2 minutes later, the guy RIGHT INFRONT OF ME stood up. Same thing, Pinochet, Chile, and death squads. This guy kept on going--then he got roughed up. I have the entire exchange on tape, and as I said above, I will post a link to it tomorrow.

The entertainment value was high, but as someone next to me noted, "Every Democrat is hanging their head right now." He was right, it did not reflect well on us.

So, the rest of the event was pretty, ummm, uneventful. With the exception of the last minute. That was when Chris Bowers got to ask a question. Earlier in the forum, Slick Rick (R-VA) said something to the effect of conversations with Democratic Senators that supported atleast partial privatization. Chris called him on it and asked him to name names.

Rick could not.

In fact, he said that there were not any Democratic Senators who supported the Bush-Santorum corporatization scheme, but there was "one member in the House, I think."

Umm, yea. Nice try Rick--Great question Chris.

After that, I had my first Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, in Philly, and went home.


Posted at 09:02 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, General, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, February 21, 2005

Bob Casey Jr. to decide this week...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

It looks like Bob Casey Jr. will make an announcment this week on whether or not he intends to enter the Democratic primary field for the 2006 US Senate race in Pennsylvania.

Speaking of Casey, he's expected by week's end to make a decision whether or not he'll run against Santorum next year.

A recent Quinnipiac poll showed Casey with a 46-41 lead as a hypothetical candidate against Rick Santorum--those numbers are down from a DSCC poll that showed the former Governor's son with a 52-38 over the darling incumbent of the Republican right-wing.

I also happen to know that Zogby is conducting a poll on the race that features Casey Jr., Joe Hoeffel, and Barbara Hafer as potential Democratic candidates.

Posted at 03:15 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Rick Santorum is already campaigning...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I hesitate to write about the PA Senate race, but we do focus on the 2005/2006 "swing races" and defeating Rick Santorum is going to be priority number one, period. That fact doesn't change whoever the nominee is.

I received an email the other day noting that Santorum is barnstorming across the state on a "town hall" speaking tour. He is attempting to accomplish two goals: 1.) Campaigning to dismantle social security. 2.) Running for re-election in 2006. His staff is also sending out emails to supporters, asking them to not only attend his events, but "bracket" them with letters to the editor, radio talk show calls, and building their AMWAY volunteer scam.

You can find the list of events in the extended entry and information on how to counter their "bracketing" efforts with one of our own.

The point is this. How long does the Democratic Party and DSCC think we can wait to start a full-scale campaign against Rick Santorum? Shouldn't we be building organization on the ground right now!? Democrats in PA have lost THIRTEEN straight full-term US Senate elections, and this attitude is in large part why it happens. I don't care who the nominee is, but in an era where Republicans run perpetual campaigns, we have to get out of the mindset that we can run for 12 of 24 months and expect to win on election day. It obviously isn't working.

Where is the leadership in PA organizing against Rick Santorum's "town halls?" The short answer is, they aren't. We are letting him run amuck across the state starting his re-election bid, unmolested. We wouldn't stand for this in 2006, so why 2005? So it's up to the grassroots, yet again.

If you can make it to one of them, great. If you are from PA and can write a letter to the editor, even better. I will be at Drexel University on February 22nd if you care to join me--let me know. Good chance I will be at the one in Easton PA (Bucks County) on the 25th as well.

To "bracket" Santorums appearances with letters to the editor, here is a great resource. It gives you all the tools you need to write a letter, and quickly send it to as many outlets as you want within your selected zip code.

Monday, February 21st
Location: Allegheny County
Duquesne University
Student Union - Duquesne Room
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA
Time: 10:00am - 11:15am

Location: Cambria County
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Heritage Hall Living Learning Center
450 Schoolhouse Road
Johnstown, PA
Time: 3:00pm - 4:30pm

Tuesday, February 22nd
Location: Philadelphia County
Drexel University, Behrakis Grand Hall
Creese Student Center
3210 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA
Time: 10:00am - 11:30am

Location: Delaware County
Widener University
University Center - Webb Room
One University Place
14th Street, between Walnut and Melrose
Chester, PA
Time: 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Wednesday, February 23rd
Location: Erie County
National City Bank
Community Room
801 State Street
Erie, PA
Time: 9:30am - 10:45am

LPenn State University
HUB - Robeson Center
Room 117
State College, PA
Time: 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Thursday, February 24th
Location: Dauphin County
Messiah Village Senior Center Chapel
100 Mount Allen Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA
Time: 9:30am - 11:00am

Location: Lackawanna County
University of Scranton
Gunster Student Center - Eagen Auditorium
Scranton, PA
Time: 4:00pm - 5:15pm

Friday, February 25th

Location: Northampton County
Lafayette College
Colton Chapel
Easton, PA
Time: 10:30am - 11:30am

Location: Bucks County
Ann's Choice
10000 Ann's Choice
Warminster, PA
Time: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Posted at 03:30 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Arlen Specter & Special Election Scenarios

Posted by Tim Tagaris

By now, most of us have heard the unfortunate news that Arlen Specter has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease and will undergo treatment with chemotherapy. I gotta say, this was one of the more inspirational quotes I have read in some time; from Specter:

"I have beaten a brain tumor, bypass surgery and many tough political opponents, and I'm going to beat this, too"

...and we hope he does. However, many have asked what happens should Specter resign, or tragically, worse? From the Pennsylvania Election Code:

§ 2776. Special elections for United States Senator; nominations.

Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator, said vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term by the vote of the electors of the State at a special election to be held at the time of the next general or municipal election, occurring at least ninety (90) days after the happening of such vacancy, and it shall be the duty of the Governor to issue writs of election to the various county boards of elections and to the Secretary of the Commonwealth within ten (10) days after the happening of said vacancy.

There is more, but the long and the short of it is this:

If Specter has to leave inside of a 90 day window before the 2005 General Election in PA, then Governor Rendell will appoint a replacement, and there will be an election in November of 2006. In that case, there would be TWO United States Senate elections in that year.

If Specter has to leave office 91 days or more before the 2005 election in PA, the Governor would once again appoint a replacement until the November 2005 elections in PA. In that election, the Democrat appointed (presumably) would have to "defend" his/her seat against a candidate appointed by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.

In both cases, 2005 & 2006 special elections, there is no primary for either party. The nominees for the seat are appointed by each of the state party aparatuses. Whoever were to win that election, would serve until Specter would have been up for re-election--2010.

Hope I got it right, and I hope it helps.

Posted at 11:50 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

PA Senate 2006

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Disclaimer: I am working for another candidate in the PA Senate race, helping to get his online program off-the-ground.

Bob Casey Jr.'s hypothetical margin over Rick Santorum is slipping. Two weeks ago the DSCC released a poll that set the netroots ablaze; Pennsylvania's Auditor General Bob Casey led Rick Santorum 52-38 in a "what-if" battle of the titans. Today, that margin has tightened some. MoE +/- 2.8%

Casey: 46%
Santorum: 41%

Other candidates don't fare nearly as well as Casey.

Rick Santorum: 47%
Barbara Hafer: 39%

Rick Santorum: 50%
Joe Hoeffel: 34%

Because of my work situation, I don't want to talk to much about the race specifically--not on SSP. It's just out of respect for you and David for letting me write here.

And no, my candidate is none of these 3; we have an even longer way to go.

Posted at 09:28 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Pennsylvania's 3rd Congressional District

Posted by Tim Tagaris
Great piece by Steven Porter's 2004 campaign manager, Pete Zeigler, on the 3rd CD of Pennsylvania. Porter (D) challenged incumbent Phil English (R) and received 40% of the vote despite getting outspent 5-1. Pete gave me permission to link the piece on SSP as well -- Tim

Over the past two months, there has been much debate over how many House races the Dems should target, what criteria to use, how much support unwinnable races should get, etc. I want to give an example of where and why our current targeting is severely flawed, and why we must look more broadly at the races we give our support to.

I'm going to discuss the 3rd CD of Pennsylvania. It covers Northwestern PA; all of Erie County, and parts of six other counties. It extends from the New York border and Lake Erie to the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh. It has a slight Democratic registration edge, Dem performance of approx 48%, and a combination of urban, suburban and rural voters. The major cities in the district have been hit very hard by free trade; Erie has seen thousands of jobs outsourced, the Shenango Valley's steel industry has been hard hit, Butler has lost multiple large employers, and Meadville, once the nation's tool-and-die capital, has seen the industry suffer greatly at the hands of cheaper foreign competition.

The current incumbent is Phil English (R). Despite this economic hardship in his district, and his full-throated support of free trade, he hasn't faced a party-supported challenge since 1996. The reasons for this defy logic.

English was initially elected in 1994 with less than fifty percent of the vote, against a strong challenge by Bill Leavens. In a normal year, English would have been defeated; however, 1994 was anything but normal. The DCCC immediately placed English on the top of its target list. The GOP immediately gave him a seat on Ways and Means to protect him.

In 1996, Erie lawyer Ron DiNicola steeped up to face him. This race saw outside money from a large number of interest groups pour into the Erie market; the WSJ even covered the race as an example of the "soft money" problems prevalent at the time. On election night, DiNicola was thought to be the winner, until late returns from GOP-dominated Butler County gave an approx. 2,500 vote victory to English.

So far so good. We have an incumbent on the run with every sign of vulnerability. So of course, in 1998, the Democratic Party, both locally and nationally, basically decides to sit the race out. A Mercer County school administrator, Larry Klemens, won the nomination, and received absolutely no party support. In their defense, he was a weak candidate, but if I were the DCCC, there is no way I'd have permitted there to be a weak candidate in the race, without a miracle upset in the primary. Klemens raised $30,000 (not a typo), and lost 63 to 37. All of a sudden, a seat that should be competitive looks less so.

Now of course, our party has a very short memory. In one cycle, the race went from top priority to unwinnable in the perception of DC. In 2000, we ran a former Republican doctor who got beat 61-39. Redistricting helped English slightly, but not enough to eliminate the Dem registration edge. So in 2002, the Dems don't even run a candidate. the Green candidate against him gets 22% of the vote, a number deflated by the massive undercount in Erie and Sharon, caused by people pulling the Dem party lever (yes, we still have the party option for voting in PA). In 2004, a good man, Steven Porter, made the race. Despite getting outspent 6 to 1, having zero name ID prior to the campaign, no national support, and being subject to a ridiculously vicious negative campaign (he was falsely accused of supporting forced sterilization and banning hunting, among other lies), he managed 40% of the vote against English.

Now, is Phil English some ridiculously popular figure? By no means. He is the exact opposite of telegenic, not very personable, and stories of him mistreating constituents abound. He is an able fundraiser, but he is not a candidate who generates a groundswell of support from the GOP base, a la Santorum on their side. He tries to portray himself as a moderate, in a part of PA where the GOP base is Red-State conservative. He is not loved, not even really liked by most of the GOP infrastructure in the district. He should be the definition of a weak incumbent.

If the DCCC does not engineer a strong challenge here in 2006, especially as he made a 6-term pledge (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3-30-95), there are serious issues in their targeting criteria. But I am not advocating for just this race. There are probably a number of CDs nationwide where, if we took a look at the factors, much more attention is deserved, and the DCCC has to take a run at them. As English's example shows, taking one cycle off is too many.

The DCCC has to be able to find a minimum of 60 open-seat/weak incumbent districts every cycle and put forward a good faith effort towards:

1. Candidate recruitment
2. organizational support
3. dollars.

When the DCCC fails, they fail us. We should take action and make our voices heard to make sure it does not continue.

Also, if you got this far, I'm interested to hear about other districts, kinda off the radar screen, where new emphasis is warranted.

Posted at 12:31 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Sunday, December 05, 2004

US Senate 2006: Pennsylvania - A First Look

Posted by Tim Tagaris

A first at the 2006 Pennsylvania U.S. Senate Race.  Hopefully this post will provide the initial broad overview needed to continue the discussion in-depth down the road.  If you know of any other potential candidates (on either side) please indicate in comments and we can add information as we compile it together.

The Antagonist: Incumbent Republican Rick Santorum

He was initially elected in 1994, defeating incumbent Democrat Harris Wofford.  Santorum won his last Senate election bid in 2000 against Democrat Ron Klink with an uninspiring 52% of the vote.  Because of that close election, a history of bigoted remarks on homosexuality, questionable ethics, and the fact that Senator Kerry carried the Keystone State, Progressive Democrats have a big bulls eye painted on Santorum's back for 2006.

One such comment on April 7, 2003 put homosexuality in the same class as pedophilia, incest, and zoophilia -- all of which threaten society and the family according to Santorum.

Santorum found himself in more trouble earlier this year when it was discovered that the Penn Hills School District has paid over $100,000 dollars for his children to attend an on-line charter school.  Some school board members have since decided to call for a refund.

Looking for a "definition" of the word "santorum" on a site that doesn't pull any punches? Click HERE.

Potential Protagonists:

Barbara Hafer:

The current Treasurer of the great state of Pennsylvania and former Republican that switched to the Democratic Party in 2003 (which tells you much of what you need to know).  She is widely seen as the likely candidate against Santorum in the 2006 Senate Election.  Her official biography can be read HERE. 

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review gives Hafer the early nod as the Democratic nominee.

Mentioned as Santorum's most likely challenger is Republican-turned-Democrat outgoing state Treasurer Barbara Hafer.

Hafer lost in overwhelming fashion to Bob Casey Sr. in the Pennsylvania Gubernatorial race in 1990.  Which provides a great segue...

Bob Casey Jr.

The son of former Pennsylvania Governor, Bob Casey Sr.  Casey was just elected to serve as the treasurer of Pennsylvania, taking over for the above mentioned Barbara Hafer.  He received more votes than any candidate, or any race in the entire state. Prior to taking over as treasurer, he served as the Auditor General for the state.

Casey is another Democrat you might have to hold your nose for while pulling the lever.  He is an anti-choice Democrat with a decidedly moderate tilt.  His biography can be read HERE.

In 2002, he lost in the Gubernatorial primary to Ed Rendell, who went on to win in the General Election.  Conventional wisdom is that Casey will not run for the United States Senate in 2006, despite the potential attractiveness of his candidacy and last name, which is widely revered in Pennsylvania.

From the Times Herald:

Some Democrats wistfully mentioned the name of Robert P. Casey Jr., the state's two-term auditor general and the late governor's son who last month garnered a state record of 3.3 million votes to succeed Hafer as treasurer. Casey has not publicly expressed interest in the office and, for the time being, is concentrating on his work as auditor general and his transition to treasurer, an aide said Saturday.

Joe Hoeffel

Ran a much more successful race than most anticipated in 2004 against Arlen Specter for United States Senate.  He received 42% of the vote to Specter's 53%.  Prior to his bid for United States Senate, Hoeffel was the Congressman for PA-13. 

Just yesterday Pennsylvania Democrats held a rally with much of the attention focusing on who will attempt to take out Santorum in 2006.  Hoeffel had this to say about his intentions on being that candidate.

After his speech, Hoeffel, D-13th Dist., said he would sort out his future early next year. Still, he said he felt his campaign against Specter had laid a foundation, such as wider name recognition and a list of donors and volunteers, that could prove useful in another Senate campaign.

Chuck Pennacchio:

I bring him up because he is the one Democratic candidate we know is running for absolute sure in the primary.  Also, the potential parallels to Senator Wellstone are unavoidable.

Pennacchio is the History Program Director at the University of the Arts in Pennsylvania.  He even has his own Senate website up and running.  At the very least, he might be the most Progressive of the candidates in the mix, and has every intention of calling upon the grass & netroots to help deliver him a long-shot victory.

I am running because I know how to fight and win tough elections and because I believe Democrats cannot afford to run the same kind of campaign that has led to defeat in all but one U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania since 1962. Im running because I believe we can use the power of the Internet to help build a new kind of campaign that will elect a candidate who is not a career politician and is free from special interest politics as usual.

I have spoken with Chuck via email; he has already started with executive committee meetings and building his initial base of supporters.  On a personal note, I wish him well.  I am not sure anyone would call him the favorite, but he is fighting the good fight.

Kathleen McGinty:

Mr. Liberal, Stepehn Yellin, added another option on Daily Kos and his own blog, The Yellin Report (always a great read -- highly recommended)

Rather, keep an eye on Kathleen A. McGinty. Who? McGinty served as Bill Clinton's Chairwoman on Environmental Policy, and as Deputy Director of the EPA from 1998-2001. She currently serves as Governor Ed Rendell's EPA Director, where she has been highly acclaimed for her work in bringing together economic growth with environmental protection in the Keystone State. McGinty has extensive financial and political connections-she was a top counselor to Al Gore's 2000 campaign and a senior advisor on the 2000 Democratic Platform (which had an excellent environmental plank, thanks to her). Pennsylvania Democrats are very excited about her (likely) candidacy, and I wouldn't be suprised if she is the Democratic nominee against Santorum.

The rest of the field:

As mentioned in previous comments at Swing State Project:

Allen Kukovic: PA State Senator
Tim Holden: United States Congressman
Don Onorato: An Allegheny County Executive
Chris Matthews: Host of Hardball on MSNBC

Posted at 05:59 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (14) | Technorati

Monday, November 01, 2004

Sunday on the Campaign Trail with Ginny

Posted by Chris Bowers

This week, I had the time of my activist life working with/witnessing the Ginny Schrader campaign in action. It was a grassroots, citizen-based campaign the likes of which I have never seen before in my life. Ginny herself is a remarkable, fantastic person. If John Kerry wins tomorrow, I will still be depressed if Ginny Schrader loses. She is exactly the sort of person we need in Congress, the sort of person everyone says they want in Congress. She is the American Dream in the flesh.

Here are just some of the things I learned about Ginny's campaign during my two days:

�Ģ No staff member has been paid in about a month. Nearly all of the money they raised went directly to campaign related activities, even though they raised more than $400K over the past three months. In addition to funding the final mailing, our final few contributions probably meant that the staffers would not go home completely empty-handed.

�Ģ Ginny's campaign might be the first Congressional campaign in history to raise the majority of its money online. Ginny received the majority of her money form blogs, MoveOn, DFA and direct online contributions.

�Ģ Over the final week, the campaign is fueled primarily by several hundred volunteers, most from in-state who just walked into either the campaign office or one of the five Democratic coordinated campaign offices in Bucks county.

�Ģ Apart from organizations such as ACT, MoveOn labor and environmental groups, there are nearly 1,000 volunteers walking Bucks county in the coordinated Democratic campaign this week. Bucks has just under 600,000 people.

�Ģ If Kerry reaches 55 or 56% in Bucks county, Ginny will win. I have seen the numbers in the county, both for the congressional and Presidential campaign, and this is very doable. Right now, Bush is stuck in the mid to low forties in the district.

On Sunday morning, before noon, I helped seventy-five volunteers stream into the office, fold literature, be quickly and orderly assigned walking lists, and sent into the field to work with the over 200 volunteers at one of four offices of the Bucks County Democratic coordinated campaign.

Also on Sunday, starting at 7:30 am, well before Ginny spoke in a predominantly African-American church in the MontCo corridor of the PA-08, an RV covered with Ginny signs, called the "Ginny mobile" was already touring the streets. Playing music and with former Congressman Mike Forbes as MC, Ginny would jump out of the RV every so often to shake hands with enthusiastic supporters. I was frequently aboard the RV, and being there gave me a feeling of utter confidence and excitement about the campaign.

I saw Ginny walk tables in a diner with Senator Bill Bradley, who I had the honor of meeting and chatting with for a couple minutes (we actually talked about, of all things, Chris Mathews). I shared a free loaf of bread with the staffers, Ernestine Bradley (Bill's wife), George Schrader (Ginny's husband) and Ginny's two young granddaughters, who came to the diner for the event.

I saw Senator Bradley, usually reserved, immediately perk up and give the most intelligent, thoughtful response to any question the second he was asked. He was remarkable--the political equivalent of what my father said Jim Brown was like as a football player (Brown walked back to the huddle as slowly as possible to conserve energy, but he would explode whenever he was handed the ball).

I saw staffers, most of whom were younger than myself, act with incredible professionalism and dedication even as they casually chatted with me about blogging, Senate campaigns and swing states. I did not keep an exact count, but I think the staff thanked me more than one hundred times for the help the netroots had given to the campaign.

I saw a rally of two hundred volunteers greet us when we arrived at the one of the coordinated campaign offices, cheering like mad as Ginny, Senator Bradley and everyone else stepped out of the RV. I saw Ginny and Bill give excellent speeches, and then I saw all two hundred volunteers return to canvassing only a few minutes later.

In the midst of a campaign fueled almost entirely by small donations averaging $40 and hundreds of volunteer activists, I saw NRCC TV ads calling Ginny Schrader and Lois Murphy terrorists who supported the rape of young girls. Now you tell me, how am I supposed to have any respect for Republicans at all after seeing that? It was the face of pure hatred scowling at a group of active citizens filled with hope. The NRCC is running this ad nationally to attack every Democrat in a close election--how can you have any respect for Republicans at all after this attack?

In short, I saw politics the way it should be run: a fully functional grassroots campaign supported by the larger party. I also saw it up against the definition of how politics should not be run: an evil smear campaign used in an attempt to perpetuate a radical agenda. A loss here would be a profound defeat for American politics. Then again, that Ginny is close is already a huge victory. This is what the blogosphere has wrought.

Posted at 10:54 PM in Activism, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Get Out the Vote in Pittsburgh - It's Your Turn!

Posted by Seamus


We have 24 hours left. And we need your help NOW!

I've been working down here in Pittsburgh at the Steamfitters Hall with America Votes since Saturday. It has been a good experience, but we have been woefully short on the volunteers we need to get out the vote in the Burg. That means that we need folks within driving distance of Pittsburgh who aren't already committed to getting out the vote to come on down.

Are you supposed to work? Call in sick.

College classes? Call in sick.

Doctor's appointment? Call in sick.

This is the most important election in our lifetime. Directions and more info below the fold.

Use this Mapquest link, enter your address, and create directions.
Mapquest Link to the Steamfitters Hall
Note: If you are traveling north on Route 51, you want to turn left immediately after the BP gas station (also on the left).

Call me on my cell phone at (814) 229-4790 if you need to.

The America Votes coalition, along with SEIU, Sierra Club, and ACT, is trying to help get Pennsylvanians to the polls. But our volunteer base has been inadequate, which means if you can feasibly drop everything on your desk, we need you now.

I've been here since Friday night. That night, we organized canvassing in the Sierra Club office which has a solid volunteer base. On Saturday, we moved on to the America Votes site but have not met our volunteer goals. We have been canvassing the South Side, Greenfield, and other neighborhoods. These are areas that have not turned out to vote in adequate proportions in prior years. Today, we have been canvassing with door hangers to remind folks when polls are open and where their polling place is. Believe it or not, people often do not know these things.

Tomorrow is crunch time. We are going to be canvassing the neighborhoods and reminding folks that we need them to vote. But we need more bodies if we are going to do this successfully.

If you are not within reach of Pittsburgh, please take the time to figure out where you can go help get out the vote. To do that, visit Act For Victory and click on your state. The contact numbers for offices in your state are listed on the left.

Posted at 05:07 PM in Activism, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Thursday, October 28, 2004

You Rock! (& Open Thread)

Posted by DavidNYC

Wow - who knew? When we started our fundraising drive for Ginny Schrader, Chris and I weren't even sure we could help raise $1,000. Turns out that the readers of MyDD and the SSP have given an impressive $6630.14. Donations were given by 110 very generous people, far, far more than I thought would participate. Our final fundraising push netted almost two grand.

Excellent, excellent work, people! I know that the Schrader campaign is very appreciative, and this last pile of cash will most definitely help them get their final mailing out. So pat yourselves on the back - and I promise that there won't be any more fundraising nags from now until the election. (I will, of course, keep bugging you to volunteer for GOTV and poll watching.)

Now, it's all up to Ginny. Let's wish her the best as she brings this one home.

Please feel free to use this as an open thread.

Posted at 02:04 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (45) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Republican Scum Compare Ginny to Hezbollah

Posted by DavidNYC

I wish I were making this up, but I am seething, just positively seething right now. The bottom-feeding scum at the NRCC have put out an unthinkably vile flyer which has the gall to link Ginny Schrader to Hezbollah, a group which is on the State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

Ginny, to her extraordinary credit, has refused to put up with this outrage. During a debate last night, she demanded that her opponent, Mike Fitzpatrick, apologize for the flyer. When Fitzpatrick refused, Ginny left the debate. Good for her!

So if this doesn't motivate you to give Ginny some turkee, I don't know what will. We just can't let an extremist like Fitzpatrick win, especially not when his support is coming from such wretched quarters.

We've raised over $700 since this final fundraising push began. I'd love to hit $1000 by midnight tomorrow so that Ginny can get out one last mailing to her district, to combat this garbage. The one bit of good news here is that if the NRCC is sending out such an atrocious piece of mail, it means they are beyond desperate right now and are running very, very scared. Let's put the final nail in their coffin.

Donate to Ginny Schrader: $

Posted at 04:00 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (25) | Technorati

Friday, October 22, 2004

Swing the Bat for Ginny & Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

You all know how the bat works - now it's Ginny's turn at the plate. Though we have already far exceeded our original goal - we've raised over $4800 - the Schrader campaign needs to send out one final mailing, and they need our help. We aren't setting any particular goal this time - we just want to contribute as much as we can by Wednesday at midnight. Let's do something of Red Sox-ian proportions here. Please give whatever you can.

Donate to Ginny Schrader: $

Please feel free to use this as an open thread as well, as I'm travelling today.

Posted at 03:44 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (42) | Technorati

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Ginny Raises $350K in Third Quarter

Posted by DavidNYC

Just a quick update on Ginny Schrader: She managed to raise an impressive $350,000 during the third quarter of this year - impressive because no one knew who she was until three weeks into the quarter, when Stephen Yellin wrote his now-famous post about the race. Ginny now has over a quarter million cash-on-hand to finish out the race. And the $4,000 we raised for her is a nifty chunk of that.

Her opponent, radical anti-choice extremist Mike Fitzpatrick, pulled down $567K and has $424K left. Don't be intimidated by these numbers. Fitzpatrick should have raised a lot more, given his high profile in the region. And he needs to out-raise Ginny, because the 8th CD leans Dem. What's more, ACT and all the other associated 527s have been working overtime in the Philly region - while Bush has pulled out of PA altogether. Our ground game is going to kick their ground game's ass.

And I have a very strong feeling that Ginny Schrader will be the first Representative in Congress to unofficially carry a (D-Blogosphere) tag, and proudly so.

Posted at 03:25 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Bush Pulling Out of PA

Posted by DavidNYC

Word on the street is that the Bush campaign is ditching Pennsylvania. If so, this would be interesting - they'd be the first campaign to abandon a major, top-tier battleground. (I don't consider Missouri to fall into this category.) Combined pro-Bush expenditures show only one PA city (Harrisburg) on the top-ten list, and the Bush campaign itself actually has zero PA media markets on its list.

So, the battle will now be fought in Ohio and Florida. Good. What about Wisconsin and Iowa, you ask? Well, they start to matter a lot less with PA no longer in play. If we win FL, we will win even if we lose both WI and IA. OH is a bit dicier - we lose with OH going to Kerry but WI and IA going to Bush. We'd need to pick up a couple of small states to make up the difference. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that the fewer states we have to defend - especially the fewer big states - the better.

Posted at 05:13 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (15) | Technorati

Friday, October 08, 2004

Into the Final Stretch in Pennsylvania

Posted by Seamus

I'm heading down to Pittsburgh tonight to watch the debate and do some canvassing tomorrow. This will be my second time out knocking on doors with the Sierra Club. This is kind of an issue for me as knocking on doors doesn't suit my personality. But its work that needs done. In any case, this is a good time to take into account the status of the election here in Pennsylvania.

Kerry has re-shifted into a slight lead in virtually all of the state polls:

ARG (Oct. 4-6): Kerry 48, Bush 46, MOE=4%
Survey USA (Oct. 3-5): Kerry 49, Bush 47, MOE=3.6%
WHYY (Oct. 1-4): Kerry 50, Bush 43, MOE=4%
Keystone (Sept. 30-Oct. 4): Kerry 49, Bush 43, MOE=4%
Rasmussen (Sept. 25 - Oct. 1): Kerry 47, Bush 47, MOE=4%

This is all good stuff. And there is also the voter registration news that Fester posted about a week back. There was another article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporting 100,000 new registations in Pennsylvania. And now of course is the key - getting these people out to vote. This may in fact be the hardest part. As the Post-Gazette noted in a subsequent editorial:

"In any case, all of this registration is pointless if new voters don't go to the polls on Nov. 2 or vote absentee in advance. It is one thing to sign up to vote, but the job's not done -- the sacred democratic transaction is not completed -- until a person makes a choice on Election Day."

Gameday is fast approaching. The best playbook in the world doesn't matter if we don't execute. This is where everyone's efforts will truly be graded.

Posted at 02:07 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (12) | Technorati

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Guest Poster: Ginny Schrader

Posted by DavidNYC

[Following up on our earlier guest post from Jeff Seemann, we now have one from none other than Ginny Schrader - who, incidentally, was just adopted by Atrios yesterday.]

Posted by Ginny Schrader

This is my first time blogging, so here we go! I wanted to write personally to say thank you for all the help you���ve given me so far and I look forward to working with you until we win on November 2nd!

I���m running to be a real voice for real people on health care, the economy, education and putting our first responders first. My daughter is a teacher and my son is a police officer - and I understand, and have lived through the struggles that everyday people go through. That is why I want to go to Washington, so the people of my district have real representation.

This campaign is the perfect example of how you are helping to change the future of politics. The blogosphere���s initial fundraising helped build the momentum our campaign is taking into the final stretch. Now our fundraising is going great, we are up on TV, and we have a top-notch organization already in the field.

From now until Election Day, I know you will continue to reinvent netroots activism. Refining these skills and bringing in new activists now will prove invaluable when we transition from campaigning to reforming.

So thanks again and I���ll keep in touch!


P.S. We���ve had ads running on Swing State Project for some time now, and I���ve been honored by how many of you have clicked through to find out more information. Your interest, ideas and support have proven to me what we can accomplish when we work together to progress our country.

Posted at 12:21 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Oh Man, We Are SO Close!

Posted by DavidNYC

$2,940.08 raised for Ginny Schrader. Just one more generous contribution of $60 will put us over the top, and you won't hear any more Ginny nags from me. (Except, of course, to schlep out to Bucks County and do GOTV.) I have to say, I was a bit nervous when we set our original goal of $2,000 - I just had no way of knowing if we could make it. But you guys (and MyDD readers - I'm sure there's a lot of overlap) have really come through.

As I've said before, Thursday - tomorrow - is the last day of the quarter. Though FEC reporting regulations don't require campaigns to post full reports until 15 days later, I have a feeling that any campaign that's done well (and perhaps even some that haven't) are going to want to trumpet their results as soon as possible. If Ginny posts good numbers - and I have a feeling she will - some big-name groups (perhaps EMILY's List?) may decide to take an interest at the last-minute. If that happens, we can definitely say that we had a hand in it. So let's hit that $3,000!

UPDATE: WE DID IT! WOOHOO! Someone chipped in that final $60 and we've crossed the $3,000 threshold! The Schrader campaign can go home that much richer, and I can quit buggin' you for donations. Pat yourselves on the back - you guys really came through here, for an incredibly deserving candidate.

Posted at 11:07 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (3) | Technorati

Allegheny County Voter Registration Analysis

Posted by Fester

The Post Gazette is reporting that through the middle of September, the Allegheny County elections division has received and registered approximately 40,000 new voters. Among these voters are 21,859 Democrats, 9,369 Republicans, and 9,265 indpedents. More registrations are expected in the next week as registration ends on Monday, Oct. 4. Democrats are out-registrering republicans 2.3:1 which is a rate that is higher than the current voter registration rates in the county. Now what does this mean?

2000 general election shows that Al Gore was able to win a large Democratic majority in the county with 56% of the vote. Bob Casey, a conservative Democrat, won the largest Democratic majority with ~62% of the vote. The state attorney general vote saw a slim majority (~52%) go to Republican Mike Fisher. As we moved down ballot we see Democrats pile up signficant majorities in two of the four area congressional seats. A narrow win for Democrat Mascara occurs in the South Hills and a large win for Republican Mellissa Hart in the North Hills and far eastern suburbs of the county. There is significant ticket splitting within these races, but the county overall went for Democratic candidates. Approximately 585,000 people turned out.

2001 off-year general elections saw the County go overwhelmingly Democratic with significantly lower turnout. The lowest winner for a county wide seat was Recorder of Deeds, Valerie McDonald at 60% of the vote. Turnout was a little more than 230,000 voters.

On turnout of roughly 400,000 voters, the county barely went for Gov. Rendall by 52% in 2002's general election. In significantly redrawn districts, Republicans swept up large majorities in two Congressional districts for Melissa Hart and Tim Murphy, while the Democrats won large in two others.
The 2003 local elections saw the Democratic party win significant majorities for all races. Dan Onoroto was the weakest finisher with ~58% of the vote, while the row officers all received at least 60% of the vote. Turnout was said to be heavy for an off-year election, but I can not find an exact number right now.

So what does this tell us about Allegheny County voting patterns? The hard core partisans and extremely dedicated voters show up no matter what, but they number roughly 230,000 people. These voters split 60-40% Democratic in this county. The less reliable voters are 150% larger as a bloc than the dedicated voters. They also tend to vote more conservatively than the extremely dedicated. Al Gore did well with 56% of the vote in the county in 2000, performing above his state average, but a conservative Democrat received the largest majority, and a Republican won the county for Attorney General.

These new registrations are the anti-definition of extremely dedicated voters. They are previously unattached to the electoral process, and some of them will not be coming out to vote in November no matter how impressive the ACT, ACORN and Pittsburgh VIE GOTV efforts are. However, these three groups have run a pretty impressive campaign already and I have to assume that they have some plans in place for effective GOTV efforts for Allegheny County. The new Democrats who have been registered by these groups voters have been targeted to be in Democratic favorable demographics, so I think that their loyalty will be fairly high when they make it to the polls. These efforts will most likely give John Kerry and other Democrats an additional 1%-2% margin in Allegheny County which will help ride out the large losses that Kerry will take in some of the state's centrally located counties.

Crossposted at Fester's Place

Posted at 10:07 AM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Daily Ginny Nag

Posted by DavidNYC

From now until the end of the quarter on Sept. 30th - that's just three days - I'm going to post a daily nag for Ginny. If we hit our goal of $3,000 before then, though, I'll quit buggin' ya. As of this moment, we've raised over $2,500 for the Schrader campaign. That's more than even a single wealthy individual could give, and that's pretty spectacular for a pair of blogs that don't quite have DailyKos-level traffic.

Speaking of which, on October 2nd, ActBlue and Party2Win are teaming up to help organize Kos Dozen House Parties. Follow that link to host your own, or find out if there's a party in your area you can attend. It's a great way to support this excellent roster of candidates, including, of course, Ginny Schrader.

Donate to Ginny Schrader: $

Posted at 02:30 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Monday, September 27, 2004

Operation Shame on You

Posted by DavidNYC

I like this idea: Some folks have launched "Operation Shame on You," which is designed to target newspapers which endorsed Bush in 2000 to get them to change their minds for this year. The current target state is Pennsylvania. A number of papers there actually endorsed Clinton-Gore in 1996, so getting them to see the light via letters to the editor might actually be doable.

OSOY has previously targeted Ohio and Florida, but if you want to help out with those states, you certainly still can. This is something very easy to do - you don't even have to get out of your chair. I'm not sure how big of an effect these endorsements have, but I'm inclined to believe that they matter, particularly for undecided voters right near the end of the campaign. Let's put it another way: It can't hurt to have as many endorsements as you can muster.

Posted at 03:13 PM in Activism, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Ginny Update: We Did It!

Posted by DavidNYC

Just a quick Ginny update: We're now at $1920! With just a couple more donations, we can hit our goal of $2000 today. Who's gonna step up to the plate?

As I was typing the above, a generous contributor put us over the top! We've exceeded our goal of $2000! But that's no reason to stop. Like the Dean bats of yore, you hit a target and then you keep on going. Can we raise another $1000 by the end of the quarter? I think we definitely can.

Posted at 03:49 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

It's Ginny Time

Posted by DavidNYC

Here's my weekly nag to give to Ginny. We are incredibly close to our goal already - as of this afternoon, we had raised $1770 from 31 different donors. We are almost there! (And if you follow that link, you can keep track of the totals.)

As it happens, Markos has a post up today about how the abortion issue is playing out in Pennsylvania's 8th CD. Moderate Republicans (they still exist in voter form, if not as politicians) are very turned off by Mike Fitzpatrick's rabidly anti-choice views:

Talk to Ellen Faulkner about abortion rights and passion takes over. The Iraq war and stamping out terrorism are important, but the self-described moderate Republican says the issue of "choice" is not one to compromise.

So in November, Faulkner, 46, of Chalfont, will support Democrat Virginia "Ginny" Schrader over Republican Michael G. Fitzpatrick because of his antiabortion stance. She expects her Republican friends to follow suit.

Abortion, one of the nation's most explosive political and social debates, is emerging as a critical issue in a competitive Eighth Congressional District race in moderate-leaning Bucks County. The district also includes portions of Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties.

If you'll recall, this district is solidly pro-choice - Fitzpatrick's wignuttery just isn't going to play in Bucks County. Embarassed by his own positions on the topic, his campaign has even tried to steer the conversation away from reproductive issues.

The end of the quarter is September 30th, just a week away. This is the last reporting period of the election. Campaigns which can show strength going into the final five weeks will be the recipients of any remaining last-minute "big money." I'd love to see some white knights swoop in to help Schrader put the nails in Fitzpatrick's coffin in October. So let's hit our $2000 goal - the equivalent of one major donor - by the end of the month. Give today, in whatever amount you can.

Donate to Ginny Schrader: $

P.S. A big thank-you to my mother for sending out a fundraising e-mail for Ginny to her personal network. She's the author of "Picking Your Battles" - the ad for her site is on the left-hand strip - so if you have kids (or are thinking about having some), go click on over to her in appreciation. You'll be glad you did - it's an excellent book. (And, of course, she's an excellent mom!)

Posted at 01:17 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Saturday, September 18, 2004

CO, MO, PA Poll Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

DemFromCT has new polls for Colorado, Missouri & Pennsylvania.

Posted at 05:05 PM in Colorado, Missouri, Pennsylvania | Comments (29) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Rasmussen Pennsylvania Poll

Posted by Seamus

I have veered away from intensive poll-watching recently, but I came upon this Rasmussen Poll and thought it was worth posting. It has Bush up by 1 in Pennsylvania. Personally, this is good news. Remember, absent extraordinary circumstances, right now should be Bush's peak. Also, Rasmussen tends to be kind to George. I think Kerry is in great position to retain PA. (Likely voters, August in parens.)

Kerry: 48 (49)
Bush: 49 (45)
Other/Undecided: 4 (6)
(MoE: ��5%)

Also, there is this: "Forty-two percent (42%) believe the country is heading in the right direction. Fifty-five percent (55%) believe we have gotten off on the wrong track." Inevitably, folks who believe we are heading in the wrong direction will vote for change.

Posted at 11:34 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (39) | Technorati

Sunday, September 12, 2004

What is Canvassing Like?

Posted by DavidNYC

When it comes to get-out-the-vote (GOTV) operations, nothing is more important than door-to-door canvassing. If you haven't done it yet but you're wondering what the experience is like, ebradlee10 has a good diary about spending the day canvassing the Philly burbs with ACT.

Posted at 11:18 PM in Activism, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Two More SUSA Polls (MO & PA)

Posted by DavidNYC

There's no way I'm going to be able to keep up with all the polls. The prolific Survey USA makes things especially difficult for an obsessive poll-watcher like myself - they use an entirely automated system to collect their samples, so they can keep churning out polls as fast as their robo-dialers can make calls. They've released two more swing state polls today (in addition to several that cover non-swing states). Hopefully I'll get the numbers in order this time.

First up is Missouri (PDF) (likely voters, mid-August in parens):

Kerry: 46 (47)
Bush: 48 (48)
Other/undecided: 5 (5)
(MoE: ��3.9%)

As in Ohio, Bush and Kerry do almost equally well among their respective bases (90%+ for both), and Bush leads among independents, 49-40.

Perhaps not surprisingly, 80% of Bush voters say they are voting "for" Bush, while only 19% say they are voting "against" Kerry. For Kerry, though, only 41% say they are voting for him, while 56% say they are voting against Bush. I wish SUSA included questions about favorability, because then these numbers would mean a lot more. If Bush's unfavorables are high, then this sort of split is nothing to be concerned about - it means the "anti" vote will come out in force.

SUSA's results also show a deadlocked Governor's race. In a somewhat unusual development, the incumbent Democrat Bob Holden actually lost his primary to challenger Claire McCaskill. McCaskill, though, went from a five-point margin against Republican Matt Blunt in August to a one-point margin this time around. We can definitely hold on to the Governor's mansion here. The Senate outlook, however, is fairly bleak.

Missouri is not a terribly likely pickup for us - I certainly think we have a better shot at (bigger) Ohio. And I don't see us taking MO but not OH. Nonetheless, this is a state in which we want to remain competitive, given the other important races here. And a final note: This poll was taken not long after the Republican convention, at a point when Bush should be riding highest. So the fact that things are still so close here is very good news for us.

And now, Pennsylvania (PDF) (likely voters, early August in parens):

Kerry: 49 (53)
Bush: 47 (41)
Other/undecided: 5 (7)
(MoE: ��3.8%)

Those trendlines sure are ugly, but a lot has happened since this poll was taken - not least of all the Swift Boat Liars and the Republican convention (which appear to have had a greater affect here than in MO). At the same time, I don't think any reasonable person could have expected Kerry to win PA by 12 points, so that early August poll strikes me as something of an outlier - it was taken right after the DNC.

Speaking of the Swift Vets, SUSA shows those with a military/veteran background preferring Bush 50-46 in this poll. The previous poll had Kerry winning this group 52-42. I'd caution against reading too much into this particular observation, though, for two reasons: First, again, the August poll seems too pro-Kerry to me, and second, for polling sub-groups, margins of error can skyrocket because you're likely dealing with tiny numbers of people.

As above, both candidates do just about equally well with their base (86% for Bush, 82% for Kerry). I bring this up again partly because SUSA actually provides this info, but also because a lot of polls seem to show Bush doing significantly better with Republicans than Kerry does with Democrats (on the order of 15 points or so). At least we aren't seeing evidence of that here.

One side note: The Senate results again are quite disappointing here - SUSA has Hoeffel back 18 points. Like many other people, I wonder how things might have been different had Arlen Specter lost his primary.

Posted at 12:21 AM in Missouri, Pennsylvania | Comments (5) | Technorati

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Show Ginny Schrader Some Love!

Posted by DavidNYC

As Chris's detailed post below demonstrates, PA's newly open 8th Congressional District is a great pickup opportunity for us. That's why MyDD & the Swing State Project are officially "adopting" Ginny Schrader, the Democratic challenger about whom you've already heard a great deal.

We've already raised almost $900 through ActBlue. Our goal is to ultimately raise $2000 for Ginny. So you can expect fundraising nags from us, as well as up-close campaign coverage from Chris.

Schrader was also selected as a member of the DKos Dozen today, so you know she's for real. The blogosphere helped put this race on the map when the incumbent decided not to seek re-election - and we can help put Ginny in Congress if we do our part now. So give today - small contributions add up quickly!

P.S. As you may have noticed, I've added a direct contribution button to the Schrader campaign in the right-hand column. That goes straight to our ActBlue page - very handy! You can also punch an amount into the box just below in this post to make a contribution:

Donate to Ginny Schrader: $

UPDATE: I just tossed in my $25.01 via ActBlue - now it's your turn.

Posted at 03:56 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Ginny Schrader for Congress, PA-08

Posted by Chris Bowers

Here are the trial heat, benchmark and vulnerability poll results from PA-08, where Ginny Schrader is taking on Michael Fitzpatrick in an open, Republican-held seat. All of this information comes to me through internal polls from Ginny Schrader's campaign, and thus there is no link. For starters, here are some outside factors:

Presidential Race
Kerry: 48
Bush: 44

Generic Congressional Ballot
Democrat: 42
Republican: 41

The Republican-led Congress receives a 52% negative job rating.

Right now, Fitzpatrick leads in name recognition, which not surprisingly means that he leads in the trial heat:

While Republican Mike Fitzpatrick has higher name identification than Democrat Ginny Schrader, neither is known to a majority of voters. Fitzpatrick currently leads by a 46% to 30% margin with nearly one-quarter (24%) of all voters still undecided. Democrats have a natural advantage with undecided voters on the generic ballot by a 37% to 30% margin.

With that level of unknowns, clearly this is a highly volatile race, and Ginny's chances to rise are excellent. Further, here is the main benchmark result, which reveals Ginny's strength:

When voters are read the following biographical paragraph on the two candidates, Ginny Schrader takes a 48% to 45% lead over Mike Fitzpatrick.

Here are the bios:

Mike Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Middletown, is a Bucks County Commissioner and a lawyer. Fitzpatrick says that as a County Commissioner, he has worked to prevent domestic violence, secure flood relief for local families. and pass the county's land-conservation program. In Congress, he says he will fight for better jobs and economic development, and more help for local governments to preserve open space.

Ginny Schrader, a Democrat from Lower Makefield, is a former Vice President of a financial services company. Schrader says she understands the needs of working families because she has lived in their shoes. She was a single mother who went to college at night, and struggled to make ends meet before becoming a successful businesswoman. In Congress, she says she will fight to control healthcare costs, improve education, and create new jobs

Fitzpatrick's main vulnerability comes from his extreme anti-choice stance:

A majority (54%) of 8th district voters are pro-choice, with an additional 28% favoring exceptions like rape, incest and the life of the mother. Republican Mike Fitzpatrick is pro-life and opposes the right of a woman to have an abortion even in the case of rape and incest. Two-thirds of pro-choice voters say they would either "definitely" vote against (30%) or "probably" vote against a pro-life candidate. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters say they would be less likely to vote for Fitzpatrick when they hear about his extreme positions on abortion, including 43% of Fitzpatrick's current supporters.

So the situation here is really quite simple. If Ginny can raise her name recognition, get her message out and make Fitzpatrick's extreme anti-choice position clear, then she will win and Democrats will pick up a seat in the House. If her name recognition remains low, then she will probably lose the district. Thus, raising her name recognition and getting her message out are the keys to victory. We can do this through volunteering, publicity, and, of course, through donations.

We are asking readers of MyDD and the Swing State Project to make donating to Ginny Schrader their number one Congressional donation priority. You can make donations either through the ActBlue page we have set up for Ginny (where we've already raised over $900).

We can make a difference in this race, a difference between picking up a seat for a real progressive or allowing it to backslide toward an archconservative. We helped bring this race to the fore - let's help close the deal as well. Our small donations of $25-$50 make a huge difference. Donate today.

Posted at 03:05 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Four Gallup Polls (MO, OH, PA & WA)

Posted by DavidNYC

Gallup released four new polls today, for Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania & Washington. All were taken after the convention, and all pushed leaners. (The questioning: "If undecided: 'As of today, do you lean more toward Kerry and Edwards, the Democrats, or Bush and Cheney, the Republicans?'") That means that a certain amount of Bush's support has to be quite soft. Polling firms like to do this because it produces "cleaner" data, but I actually think it makes the picture look murkier.

Missouri first (registered voters, no trendlines):

Kerry: 42
Bush: 53
Other/Undecided: 5
(MoE: ��4%)

Gallup also polled LVs here, who favored Bush by a 55-41 margin. In mid-July, Gallup had the race tied at 48-48 among LVs. The fact is, though, we know that Bush will not triple or quadruple his 2000 margin in Missouri this time around.

And Ohio (registered voters, mid-August in parens):

Kerry: 47 (52)
Bush: 48 (42)
Other/Undecided: 5 (6)
(MoE: ��4%)

Similarly here, we knew that Kerry wasn't going to win Ohio by ten points, so it's hardly surprising to see this race tighten up. What is very intesting is how skewed the LV numbers are for OH. Gallup has Bush up 52-44 among LVs, but as you can see, just one point up among RVs. And again, Bush isn't going to win OH by eight points (no matter what Zogby might say), so this just seems like pretty conclusive proof that Gallup's likely voter models skew absurdly Republican.

On to Pennsylvania (registered voters, late August in parens):

Kerry: 47 (49)
Bush: 47 (44)
Other/Undecided: 6 (7)
(MoE: ��4%)

Unlike OH, the LVs don't show a big jump for Bush - he's up 48-47. However, back in August, the LVs had Bush doing four points better and Kerry doing two points worse than the RV horserace that month (which was, as indicated above, 49-44 Kerry).

And finally Washington (registered voters, no trendlines):

Kerry: 51
Bush: 43
Other/Undecided: 6
(MoE: ��4%)

The other/undecided category includes two points for Nader. (The other polls didn't ask about him.) For once, LVs don't show a big difference: 52-44 Kerry.

Detailed poll results are available here.

Posted at 12:52 PM in Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Hoeffel in Trouble?

Posted by Fester

I have long believed that Joe Hoeffel is a pretty decent candidate who needed quite a few things to go right in order to win the Senate seat that is currently held by Arlen Specter. The best and easiest route would have been for reactionary conservative Pat Toomey to have won the GOP primary, but that is not the case.

The next best would have been for a nationwide meltdown of the Republican Party as the grown-ups stepped in to save the party from Bush - how much longer can they hold the coalition of conservatives, isolationists, imperialists, nationalists, Christian fundamentalist and corporate executives together given their internal contradictions? - but that does not look as though it has happened or ever will. So given these two past (non-)events, Hoeffel needed to get his name ID up into the high 70's or 80s and run with a unified party behind him.

Well the AFL-CIO of Pennsylvania has just decided to endorse Specter for the Senate race. An AFL-CIO endorsement does not neccessarily spell doom for the non-endorsed candidate (see Gov. Rendell), but it will deny Hoeffel a significant amount of organizational muscle and foot labor which will be needed for GOTV. Hoeffel's best chance is to pray that ACT and other 527 GOTV organizations combined with the DNC/Kerry Campaign do an extraordinary job of mobilizing the marginally likely Democratic voter as well as some unlikely voters. I would recommend that the DSSC look to funnel resources to other races at this time.

Crossposted at Fester's Place.

Posted at 09:08 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, August 30, 2004

Pennsylvania Shifts

Posted by Seamus

As a follow-up to my prior post, I thought I'd start a thread dedicated to the other news coming out of Pennsylvania. The new Gallup Poll (already being discussed in the Open Thread) shows a tie in Pennsylvania:

(Aug 23-26)
Kerry/Edwards 47
Bush/Cheney 47

These "likely voters" numbers are a bit of a swing where Kerry was soundly ahead of Bush not so long ago. Interestingly, if you add Nader and consider "Registered Voters" the numbers look like this.

(Aug 23-26)
Kerry/Edwards 49
Bush/Cheney 43
Nader 3

So much of these numbers are obviously in the "Likely Voter" calculations. Lets hope those can be upset. But these latter numbers are interesting given the newest information that Nader won't be on the ballot in Pennsylvania. I am not one who thinks Nader will affect Pennsylvania whether he is on the ballot or not. This makes that debate irrelevant.

Posted at 05:54 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (9) | Technorati

From the Streets of New York City to Main Street, USA

Posted by Seamus

Of course, one of the most fundamental aspects of winning a Presidential Election is the Get out the Vote effort. To that end, MoveOn PAC has put together some pretty cool ads and millions of dollars are being collected by a whole variety of 527s towards this effort. Pollsters, for their part, are doing their best to project who the "likely voters" are - which of course influences their polling numbers.

Much of what we can try and project regarding voter motivation is anecdotal. And one thing that certainly is evident on the left this year is the mass mobilization all across the country. Whatever you think the impact of New York City protests will be, there is no question that the demonstrations, characterized by the New York Times as "New York City's biggest in decades", represent more than just a simple anger but a mass mobilization that is an ongoing affair.

I happen to be intrigued by the mobilization that is occuring in Republican strongholds. This may not seem that important. After all, Bush will undoubtedly win in these areas. However, I believe these are threshold events. I do not recall having a Democratic option for state senate since I moved to Clarion County, Pennsylvania, in 1996. Not only do I have a 2004 Democratic State Senate Candidate in Kevan Yenerall but on Saturday the Clarion County Democrats opened the first county Democratic Party office in a long time.


This growth is not isolated to Clarion County as evidenced by this Daily Kos Diary regarding efforts in Lancaster, PA. I strongly believe we should take heart in these developments and help them grow. If folks know of other good stories from these unlikely places please share them.

Posted at 05:45 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Residential Advantage - Teresa Tours Western Pennsylvania

Posted by Seamus

Some time ago, many score ago it seems, I blogged here about the advantages and disadvantages of having Teresa Heinz-Kerry on the ballot. There is an excellent piece in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette highlighting how Teresa is not only using here Pennsylvania connections as an advantage for Kerry on the stump, but she is actually using her marriage to the late Senator Heinz to Kerry's advantage as well. She also obviously using her identity as an outspoken women to relate to voters on women's health issues. This is making great use of her identity for Kerry's advantage. Here is a short glimpse of the article:

Teresa Heinz Kerry made a daylong swing through Western Pennsylvania yesterday, promoting her husband's proposals for health care while chatting with a panel at a Lawrence County women's shelter and then opening a presidential campaign headquarters in Beaver County for Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry, the Democratic nominee.

At one point, she invoked the name of her late husband, Republican Sen. John Heinz, whose extraordinary crossover appeal to Democrats made him the state's top vote-getter.

The visit preceded a Midwestern trip, where Heinz Kerry will campaign for her husband in Detroit.

"We as a society have not built great support systems," Heinz Kerry told a group gathered at the Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County during a noontime meeting in New Castle.

She joined a panel of women's health experts for a discussion.

Posted at 08:06 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (17) | Technorati

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Nader Dinged in Two Swing States

Posted by DavidNYC

According to this AP piece, Nader has failed to get on the ballot in two swing states: Big-time MO and up-and-coming VA. (He also got dinged in IL and MD - sort of an Alan Keyes special.) The NYT map Chris posted a while back showed MO as a "likely" state for Nader.

Elsewhere, it looks like Nader is struggling in OR as well. His campaign says they have 20,000 sigs - they need over 15K valid ones, and the deadline is this Tuesday. I say he has no chance.

Nader is vowing to fight on in a lot of these states, but he's stretched incredibly thin. His campaign says they are fighting adverse rulings in AZ, MI and TX. But not only that, the Dems are training big guns on him. In PA, for instance, a team of ten attorneys from Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith - the thirty-third biggest law firm in America - is working pro bono to keep Nader off the ballot. I don't think Ralph is going to get on the ballot in too many more states.

Posted at 08:24 PM in Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia | Comments (2) | Technorati

Friday, August 13, 2004

A Schrader Campaign Scoop, Courtesy of Chris

Posted by DavidNYC

Intrepid blogger & cattle caller Chris Bowers has taken yet another leap into the world of real reporting, and he has a pretty big scoop. If you'll recall, the entire staff of Rep. Rodney "Benedict Arnold" Alexander quit en masse last week after he switched over to the Republican Party. It turns out that Alexander's chief of staff, a fellow named Brian Smoot, will be coming over to the Schrader campaign. It's not every day that a seasoned Hill staffer becomes available for new work, so this is a pretty big coup for a fledgling campaign.

In related news, Ginny finally has an opponent - Bucks County Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick. Kos has the details (cribbed from Congressional Quarterly). Though CQ seems to think that Fitzpatrick is strongly favored, it looks like the Republicans did us a big favor (as they often do): They nominated the one extremist who opposes abortion rights and stem-cell research. (Everyone else looking to run on the GOP side was pro-choice.) Whether in primaries or in behind-the-scenes deals, the GOP regularly puts forward their least electable, most right-wing guys.

Look at what happened in California in the 2002 governor's race: Moderate Dick Riordan, who could have easily beaten Gray Davis, lost in the primaries to the hard-right Bill Simon. Simon went on to get beaten by the sad sack Davis in the general. But just a year later, when the moderate Arnold Schwarzenegger managed to leapfrog the primary process via the recall election, he beat Davis handily.

The lesson to me here is just blindingly obvious: You want a moderate candidate in a moderate district. I just don't see anti-abortion, anti-stem cell positions doing very well in suburbia. In fact, Fitzpatrick's campaign is already trying to deflect attention from these views. In other words, I think Schrader's in a stronger position than CQ makes her out to be, especially if the DCCC helps her with financing. Hey, maybe they can give her all the money Benedict Alexander is supposed to return to them! In the meantime, we can toss her some coin of our own.

P.S. Chris has also been covering the Hoeffel campaign, so we should be seeing more from him on that topic soon.

Posted at 06:53 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Nader's Ballot Access Efforts in PA

Posted by Fester

I took some time last week going through signatures on the petitions submitted by Nader's ballot access team. I, along with a bunch of other volunteers, found plenty of errors, and we were wondering if the Democrats would file suit to challenge the petitions. Well they are, and the odds look pretty good to knock Nader off the ballot.

The Post Gazette is reporting that Nader's coordinators submitted, 45,000 signatures, less than the 50,000 which I had thought. The private verification effort believes that only 10,000 signatures are without dispute. Nader needs slightly more than 25,000 signatures in order to qualify, and if 35,000 signatures are in dispute, he needs to win 45% of the disputed signatures in order to qualify. This could take a while, and I think he'll make it by the skin of his teeth because I know that quite a few signatures violate the letter of the law, but were honestly and reasonably signed by people with their full knowledge of their actions. It will depend on the judge if Nader makes it, and if the judge goes for intent and spirit of the law, Nader will be on the ballot in November.

This AP article via the Pittsburgh Tribune Review seems to make the case a slam dunk as it says:

Pittsburgh lawyer Efrem M. Grail, who challenged Nader's petitions on behalf of seven western Pennsylvania voters, said in his filing that more than 30,000 signatures were invalid because the signers were not registered voters.

If that is the case, there is no way for Nader to make the ballot. This would leave roughly 17,000 signatures of registered voters of whom some percentage will have other problems. I am interpreting this story as a little too much good news, and I believe the quote may refer to 30,000 challengable signatures for all causes, including non-registered voters signing their names.

Posted at 03:21 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (29) | Technorati

Monday, August 09, 2004

Is Bush Shooting Himself in the Foot in Appalachia?

Posted by DavidNYC

This NYT story about coal mining regulations has me perplexed. On the one hand, it says that Bush wooed the mining vote in West Virginia in 2000 by promising to roll back environmental restrictions - ie, the kinds of regulations which allegedly were reducing the number of available mining jobs. WV, ordinarily a solid Democratic state, went for Bush - though Al Gore's gun stance (and some speculate, Joe Lieberman's religion) had something to do with it as well.

But now it seems, at the behest of the coal companies, Bushco is determined to roll back mining safety regulations, which are a horse of a much blacker color. The miners themselves - through their unions - are apparently quite opposed to such rollbacks. These anti-regulations, for instance, would permit exposure to even higher levels of coal dust - which is responsible for the dreaded black lung disease - even while OSHA itself is arguing for lower levels.

I can understand why the Bushies want to please their corporate benefactors in the coal industry. But coal executives don't cast too many votes. In order to once again carry a place like WV, Bush will need the rank-and-file - and if he's telling these works to literally eat his dust, I can't see how that's gonna help. And it seems to me that this is now the second time Bush has struck out when trying to win votes by helping a dying smokestack industry in Appalachia - remember steel tariffs, anyone? This news just put OH, PA and WV that much further out of Bush's grasp.

P.S. Environmental regulations - the kind promulgated by, say, the EPA or OSHA - are a key reason why it's so important to have a Democratic president. These sorts of rules can often be strengthened simply by a president's (or agency administrator's) directive, without getting stymed by lobbyists in Congress. And the regulations will get enforced by the president's appointees, who, without a doubt, will be much more vigilant in a Kerry administration than in a Bush administration.

Posted at 12:59 AM in Economy, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia | Comments (28) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

SUSA Polls Suggest a Swing State Bounce for Kerry

Posted by DavidNYC

Hmm... is there evidence of a swing state bounce for Kerry? Check out the polls below & decide for yourselves.

A huge jump for Kerry in Pennsylvania (PDF, likely voters, June in parens):

Kerry: 53 (47)
Bush: 41 (46)
Other/Undecided: 7 (7)
(MoE: ��3.7%)

This lead is clearly well outside the MoE. Part of it surely must be because the June sample was split equally between Dems and Republicans (41% apiece), while the August poll was 46% Dem and just 34% GOP. Ruy Teixeira has ably explained why it doesn't make sense to weight polls by party ID - there are a lot of reasons not to do so. (For example, one reason why more Dems might be responding is that there is simply a surge in people identifying as Democrats.) I'd be very curious to see if this trend holds in SUSA's next PA poll.

Meanwhile, Arlen Specter saw a big drop in his support, but challenger Joe Hoeffel seems unable to increase his poll numbers.

Another big jump - and a surprisingly close race - in Tennessee (PDF, likely voters, June in parens):

Kerry: 46 (41)
Bush: 48 (51)
Other/Undecided: 6 (8)
(MoE: ��4.2%)

Like many other observers, I've mostly written off TN for this election - and for the future - on the presidential level. (Don't get me wrong, though: I definitely think this is a state where we can compete strongly on the congressional level.) Al Gore's residual Tennessee background definitely kept the state closer than it otherwise would have been in 2000, so a poll result like this is certainly a surprise. So I'm still going to follow the "This is just one poll" rule - if you don't, you wind up standing on the ledge of a building because of one wacky New Jersey or California survey which shows George Bush one point behind.

And lastly, good old Washington State, where it's all over but the voting (PDF, likely voters, June in parens):

Kerry: 51 (49)
Bush: 43 (44)
Other/Undecided: 5 (7)
(MoE: ��4.2%)

I've grown pretty convinced that Bush has no shot in WA. It definitely has to be considered a second-tier swing state: If we win it, it doesn't mean we've won the whole thing, but if we've lost it, it almost certainly means we're hitting the Jack. I don't think WA is as hopeless for Bush as LA is for us, but it's approaching that territory.

It also appears that the Senate campaign of one-time giant-slayer Republican George Nethercutt is crashing and burning as well. SUSA shows him down eleven points. It's hard to prise apart cause and effect here, but Bush certainly isn't helping Nethercutt and vice-versa. Speaking of which, an internal poll conducted by the campaign of the incumbent, Sen. Patty Murray, showed Kerry ahead 49-41. (Available on Polling Report.)

Some general notes: SUSA only asks horserace questions, so no favorability ratings for any of these polls. Also, the low number of undecideds may have a lot to do with how SUSA words their questions: "If the election for President of the United States were today, and you were standing in the voting booth right now, who would you vote for?" (Argh - as a grammar geek, it infuriates me that they say "who" and not "whom," especially since they manage to get the subjunctive "were" right.) Anyhow, I think that wording exerts as much pressure as possible, so it may mask the true number of undecideds. But given that undecideds are expected to break our way, this probably doesn't matter much.

Posted at 08:05 AM in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington | Comments (4) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Nader on the PA ballot

Posted by Fester

I had previously stated that I thought it would be unlikely for Nader to get on the Pennsylvania ballot. I am most likely wrong about that prediction. Yesterday was the deadline for the Nader campaign to submit slightly more than 25,000 valid signatures. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is reporting that the two Nader ballot access coordinators submitted a bit more than 50,000 signatures. Given that the Liberterian Party and the Constitution Party each submitted roughly 35,000 signatures (to account for the throw-outs), it is extremely likely that Nader will receive enough certified signatures to qualify.

Crossposted at Fester's Place.

Posted at 02:57 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (8) | Technorati

Weekend Canvassing in Schrader's Back Yard with DFA & ACT

Posted by DavidNYC

Democracy for America's Mercer County, NJ branch is teaming up with its counterpart in nearby Bucks County, PA and America Coming Together to target voters in Bucks, which is a suburban Philly-area county. They'll be carpooling into PA nearly every weekend from the end of summer until election day. This seems like a great way to reach out to a swing state, and I've heard pretty much only good things about ACT. I haven't yet heard about anyone's field experiences with DFA 2.0, but of course, Deaniacs have always had a strong ground presence.

Mercer County, btw, is the home of Trenton, the state capital. It's around an hour or so from NYC by car, and a little bit more than that via New Jersey Transit, which leaves from Penn Station & is pretty affordable. Of course, I don't know exactly where the group is meeting up, but if you want information, e-mail jmelli, the author of the DKos diary linked above.

UPDATE: D'oh! I can't believe I forgot the most important part (which Chris helpfully reminded me of): This is Ginny Schrader's home territory. And by the way, SSP readers have raised close to $900 for Ginny - let's try to make that $1,000 soon. But if you can't contribute with cash, contribute with your feet!


Posted at 12:13 PM in Activism, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, August 02, 2004

Right-Wing Spoiler to Enter PA Senate Race

Posted by DavidNYC

Via Atrios, we learn that the Constitution Party appears set to offer up an ultra-right-wing challenger to Arlen Specter in PA's Senate race. In Pennsylvania's 1994 gubernatorial race, the Constitution Party candidate pulled a hefty 13%, again against another alleged "moderate" Republican, Tom Ridge, who is now the Homeland Security Secretary. (Ridge still wound up winning over the Dem, 45-40, but don't forget that 1994 was the year of the GOP wipeout.)

Even if this CP guy only winds up pulling a few percent, Joe Hoeffel's day just got a lot better.

Posted at 08:38 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Friday, July 30, 2004

Adopting Ginny Schrader

Posted by DavidNYC

It's always great to see some bona fide original reporting in the blogosphere, which makes Chris's interview with Ginny Schrader posted below all the more interesting. Though she's been plugged across many blogs, including this one, I like Chris's suggestion that the SSP & MyDD officially "adopt" Schrader. So far, in fact, the SSP has already raised over $800 for Ginny on ActBlue. (And already it's the third most-successful list on ActBlue.)

So if Chris & Jerome over at MyDD are willing, let's make it official. (As long as Mr. Liberal doesn't mind.) I don't want to set any specific goals, but I think we can do well for her. As an aside, the combined daily traffic of our two blogs is close to 10,000 visitors a day, which would put us in the realm of the top twenty blogs. Whaddya say?

Posted at 09:57 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (3) | Technorati

Chris's Interview With Ginny Schrader

Posted by Chris Bowers

Photos Courtesy of Wendy Badman (

On Tuesday, before the Kerry event in Philadelphia, I had the privilege of visiting Virginia Schrader in her home so that I could talk with her about her campaign. Although I forgot my tape recorder in her home after the interview, I went back and retrieved it on Wednesday. Several members of the DCCC were there, and Ginny informed me that for the next five weeks, with full-bore assistance from the DCCC, her campaign would be focused almost entirely on raising as much money as possible in order to put her in the strongest position possible. She also let me peek behind the curtain into their accounts to show me that the blogosphere had raised over $36,000 for her campaign. I would like to see our total rise to $50,000 as quickly as possible, so please donate today. Remember that early money is like yeast: it makes the dough rise.

Although it is not my decision to make alone, since DailyKos has already officially adopted eight congressional candidates, perhaps MyDD, combined with the Swing State Project, could fill the gap created by this incredible and unexpected opportunity and adopt Virginia Schrader for Congress in PA-08. Let me know what you think about this idea in the comments.

Schrader���s campaign also has a new and improved website that is adding new interactive content by the day, so be sure to check it out. Also, for those of you in the Philadelphia or Trenton areas, there is a Virginia Schrader Meetup that desperately needs members. Join today, and/or visit her website for more information on how to volunteer.

Typing up transcripts is very difficult.

Me: When did you first decide to run for Congress?

GS: November and December was the time period when I was trying to make the decision. I really thought this was a winnable race, even though it wasn���t going to be a profiled race, because it was an incumbent. The incumbent, Jim Greenwood, had originally been pretty much a moderate���in the terms that a Republican is a moderate���but in the last few years his voting record has been more and more and more in favor of the administration to the point where even though he is pro-choice, even though he is portrayed as a moderate, he is voting with the administration 88% of the time. So, we felt that if we could get that message out, then we could we could do something, do something big. This is an area that went very big for Clinton, went for Gore--

Me: Went for Rendell, over 60%--

GS: Went huge, huge for Rendell. So, they had added some Democratic areas in their gerrymandering into this district, so we felt those were mine. This was really a good opportunity. Anyway, those were all of the reasons why I decided to do it. I wanted to have a very serious campaign, I wanted to have a real race, really about the issues, about not having people roll over just because there is an incumbent, I think there is too much of a tendency to do that.

Me: Yes, absolutely. I agree.

GS: Other times, there are good candidates sometimes, and good candidates don���t have a snowball���s chance in hell because they are not being targeted, nobody is looking at them.

Me: When you say targeted, are you talking about the DCCC?

GS: I���m talking about any of the���there are more organizations than them who target people. I didn���t mean the Internet, because that is so brand new.

Me: Yes. Actually, on Dailykos, there is Lois Murphy in the sixth district�Ķ

GS: She is doing very well. Probably because started to notice her race even before mine.

Me: Why do you think that other people, other groups, didn���t feel that this was a district they should target?

GS: Because if you look at what has been written about Greenwood, that he was a moderate, even though he was a Republican he was a moderate Republican incumbent, the combination of those things made it feel that they wouldn���t have the energy. There was no push on other people���s part because they weren���t paying attention like we were here to the fact that he no longer was that moderate. It was a feeling that was left over. What we had to do was bring people to understand that he voted for the tax cut, voted for the war, voted for the energy bill, all of the things that the administration wanted. And he is pro-choice, since he is pro-choice, everything else is the 88% of the time that he votes for the administration.

Me: Exactly. When you say ���we��� are you talking about your campaign or Bucks county Democrats?

GS: A combination of both. After the 2000 election we really put on a push. There were so many of us who came into the party to revitalize it. Here, we able to incorporate people who had been here all along. You don���t want to toss out people who were working diligently the field, especially in this area. We were able to incorporate the people who had been here with the new people who had that energy and wanted to so more, and who wound up energizing everyone. That was really important.

Me: There was a contested primary though, right?

GS: It was a contested primary. However, it was a right-wing Republican who had run against Greenwood in the primaries over and over. What he thought he could do was hijack the Democratic primary unto himself. That didn���t work. We were running a serious campaign���thank God���so that he wasn���t able to do that. We were able to move out without much effort at all and win the primary. He was a well known, right-winger. People knew who he was from all those years of running.

Me: Closed primaries in Pennsylvania though, so as long as Democrats knew who he was they weren���t going to vote for him.

GS: The people who knew who he was���the Democrats who knew who he was were not going to get involved with him. He was pro-life, so he got a certain bit of the vote because of that. There are people who will vote that issue over everything else.

Me: What did you do before you decided to run for Congress?

GS: I went to law school when I was 39���before then I raised my family. I worked in government for a while. I got a Master���s degree in public administration while I was there.

Me: Where did you work in the government?

GS: I worked for the redevelopment authority in Philadelphia, when I came here. I am originally from South Boston.

Me: I am originally from Upstate New York myself.

GS: I came here in the very early seventies. When I was 39 I decided to go to law school. When I got out of law school I decided to go into insurance. I worked for AIG, which is one of the largest insurance companies in the world. To be a woman, and to be in that corporate environment, and to become a vice-president of one their subsidiaries, I learned a lot about higher-ups. This will all come in very handy in what I am doing now. I am used to those tough pressure kinds of situations.

Me: Are you on a leave of absence?

GS: No, I had to walk away. It was the only way to do this right, so I took early retirment.

Me: When did you decide to do that?

GS: As soon as I decided to do the race, there was no question that I was going to do that. The way my birthday fell, and the kind of retirement requirements they had, it had to be July 1st. It was just economic. I am not a rich person. I had to do the best I could with it. That did interfere with my early fundraising, since you can���t fundraise and work full-time.

Me: Now that there is no Greenwood, and now that you are campaigning full-time and the primaries are over, is this now seen as a race that groups such as the DCCC or MoveOn will target?

GS: Yep, they are already here, they have already moved in! There are two of them here now, and we are going downtown. I have been down to Washington and met with the Pennsylvania delegation���really good. The convention is this week, so you are not seeing as many people around. There was a really nice thing in the paper from T.J. Rooney, who is the head of the Democratic state party, about how supportive he is and as soon as this convention is over these guys are going to be right here working on the fundraising and helping us out. It was really exciting that guys were able to put almost $40,000 in the bank.

Me: I certainly hope that can become a lot more. Had you ever heard of the Blogosphere before?

GS: I know about it from Dean! We were working with Democracy for America and MoveOn and trying to get their attention. This is a real people, grassroots campaign. This wasn���t something being done by ���the big guys,��� it was being done by people in this district who thought we had a chance to do it. It was something that we wanted the Internet involved in���it was one of our hopes we could get them to care enough to jump in. Of course, having this happen just made it great.

Me: I imagine it is only a matter of time before Democracy for America gives you an endorsement.

GS: They were in their last stages of whether they were going to endorse us anyway. And so now, we have probably moved to the front of the line.

Me: Fabulous!

GS: Yep!

Me: When it comes to the future, now that you have all this support and you are running a big campaign, what do you plan on doing in Congress? What would be the most important issue for you, or the two or three most important issues?

GS: Oh, I know, it���s awful. This year, people ask you what are your issues, and you could right a book on your issues! The first thing you always have to worry about is international responsibility. I use those words because it encompasses more than just the war in Iraq, but also terrorism, our position in the world, and how we are viewed and respected by other countries. That is what we need to do. Honestly, I think John Kerry is going to do one hell of a job at it if he gets his chance.

Me: You opposed the war before it began, from what I understand on your website.

GS: It didn���t feel right���it just never felt right. It felt, almost like the President went on vacation, and he comes back and suddenly it was a great emergency. It���s like ���how come it wasn���t an emergency in the middle of your vacation?���

Me: Weren���t we on yellow or something? We weren���t on very high alert when supposedly we were in imminent danger.

GS: It just never felt right. And the weapons of mass destruction and all this stuff--which gee, what a surprise--none of it was true. To tell you the truth, I was surprised there was none. You know what I mean? I thought there would be something.

Andy (my ride/roommate/brother): They sold it so hard, that I thought maybe Iraq had some.

GS: I thought they were going to make a big deal out of something that was relatively minor. But to find that there was none! The trick is that had there been anything, they would have used it. The only thing that made it ���perfect��� was that there was none.

Me: But of course as we know now the intent to possibly want to make them someday is the same thing as having them, according to the administration. I would actually like to ask more about Iraq, when it comes to our troop situation. We are now calling up inactive reserves, and we are stretched pretty thin.

GS: Oh, it is devastating.

Me: Would you be in favor of an immediate scale-back, or even withdrawal of the troops?

GS: I think what has to happen is the world has to become actively involved in Iraq, and I think I new administration can do that. Once there is a new administration, as I say when I am talking to people, when you have people locked in a struggle--you know, they are negotiating, like I learned at my business--when they are negotiating and you got it so that it is personal and everyone���s got their heels dug in, you get nowhere, everyone���s locked. You take one of those away, so that it is a different person negotiating, suddenly that picture of it being impossible goes away. I think everyone wants to help, everyone knows that the situation isn���t good, what they are looking for is a way in dignity to be involved with us, and give dignity to the Iraqi people, and give dignity back to themselves. I think what is going to happen is we are going to have a multinational force that will be in there with us. We will not be with ourselves.

Me: This is actually one point where I disagree. It is hard for me to imagine that other countries are going to want to come in, even if Kerry is President, which I absolutely believe he will be.

GS: If it is a multinational���if it is seen as a world problem���if it is not just American problem. Whatever we did, it is done now. Whether it was right, whether it was wrong, it is done. We can���t walk away from there now and leave it a hotbed for every terrorist group that ever thought of us. There has to be some security for us and the Iraqi people, some safety so the kids can go to school and the hospitals can run. We just can���t walk away, but I don���t just mean the US. The world can���t just walk away. My feeling is that if we can get the entire world involved in it, we can stop the unilateralism of the administration. I think the world will want to come, I think they want to come. I think we will see less of the burning hatred that seems to be being mined there. The UN knows how to do this. We have gone into countries before, after World War Two, and built up countries and I think we can do it here.

Me: There have even been recent successes in Kosovo and East Timor.

GS: Exactly. It can be done, with all of the pain. We have to go now!

Me: You have to go? OK.

GS: I have about four or five other things���meeting with the Veterans, everybody giving me money.

Me: Well thank you for your time.

GS: Thank you!

Posted at 01:00 AM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Friday, July 23, 2004

Too Many Polls to Count

Posted by DavidNYC

DemFromCT has done yeoman's work and rounded up more polls than you can shake a stick at. There are new surveys out for AZ, FL, MI, NH, OH, OR and PA. I'm going to highlight that last one, which was done by the LA Times (registered voters, no trendlines):

Kerry: 51
Bush: 39
Undecided: 10
(MoE: ��4%)

Twelve points in PA? Gadzooks. Even with Nader included, Kerry holds a 10-point lead. Bush's job approval is below the Mendoza line here, at 47-48. The lack of trendlines is a bit frustrating, though, and it might be a while before the distant LA Times polls Pennsylvania again.

Posted at 06:34 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (11) | Technorati

Monday, July 19, 2004

Help Ginny Schrader in PA-8

Posted by DavidNYC

As you probably know, my election-year mantra is "Make Them Sweat:" Contest every race, and fight hard in each one. We won't win them all, but we'll make life a hell of a lot tougher for the other side. Just check out what Richard Morrison has managed to do down in Texas: For the first time in ages, I'm told, Tom DeLay is actually nervous enough that he's opened up a campaign office. (And not one, but two!)

The best part about following this strategy is that every once in a while, you get supremely lucky. And that, folks, has happened today. The blogosphere (led by DKos) has been abuzz with the news that Rep. Jim Greenwood, a "moderate" Republican representing Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District (Philly suburbs), has decided to retire.

This is a district which went narrowly for both Gore and Rendell. In short, it's a race we can definitely win, now that it's been thrown wide open. And you already know how important a swing state PA is, and how crucial it is for us to drive up turnout in the heavily Democratic Philadelphia region.

Our candidate, Ginny Schrader, looks good on paper in all aspects but one: She's very low on funds. We can make a huge difference overnight if we chip in to help her out - and we can also scare off any Republicans who might consider entering this race now. Imagine the headlines tomorrow or the next day if the blogosphere rapid-response network can toss Ginny some serious coin. I've seldom suggested donating to a particular candidate, but the special nature of this situation makes it impossible to pass up.

I suggest donating via ActBlue, which makes it much easier to track where donations come from. (And don't worry, ActBlue gives 100% of all donations to the campaigns.) I've already made a contribution - I hope you can make one, too.

Let's go, Ginny!

P.S. I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that as Bush's situation looks more dire, and the prospects for Democrats to retake the Presidency and Congress look better and better, more Republicans will start announcing their retirements. If you're in your 60s, say, and facing the possibility of returning to D.C. in the minority party, the warm embrace of your grandkids - and that cushy lobbying job in the private sector - start to look very tempting.

UPDATE: Kos just informed us that Ginny's campaign raised an astounding $14,000 online in just four hours tonight. This is going to be a big story.

Posted at 08:02 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Pennsylvania Q-Poll: Kerry Stays in the Lead

Posted by Fester

Quinnipiac University has a new poll out, conducted between July 6-11 with 1,577 registered Pennsylvania voters (late June in parens):

Kerry: 49
Bush: 42
Other/Undecided: 9
(MoE: ��2.5%)

In a three-way race (with Nader included), John Kerry and John Edwards have opened up a five-point lead over Bush/Cheney. But Nader is having massive ballot-access problems in PA.

The poll is also reporting that Kerry is gaining strength in Southwestern Pennsylvania and is strengthening his support among union members. My personal guess is that a combination of the unions institutionally feeling betrayed by Bush due to his flip-flop on steel tariffs, greater union discipline, and an unwillingness to vote on cultural versus economic issues is all starting to have an effect on solidifying this part of the Democratic winning coalition. We are also dealing with the start of an Edwards bounce as we enter the second phase of the campaign. The electorate has decided that Bush probably does not deserve a second term but the alternative needs to be examined. Well, the Kerry-Edwards ticket is looking mighty attractive so this is some good news.

Finally, I would want to wait to see if the Q-poll result is replicated with a couple of other outside the MoE leads for Kerry before the convention - but this could offer a good explanation as to why Pennsylvania is not flooded with television advertisments. Pennsylvania could be a swing state with a strong Kerry lean that needs some defense, but may not be a prime flip target. Interesting!

Crossposted at Fester's Place.

[Post modified slightly to put polling results in standard SSP format. - David]

Posted at 01:46 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (11) | Technorati

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Pittsburgh Effect

Posted by Seamus

David already posted about the impact of the Edwards selection as VP on his home state of North Carolina. But my mind has been wrapped around another aspect of John Kerry's Vice Presidential announcement - its location.

Although I do not live in Pittsburgh, I am getting a strong vibe about the level of effort being put into this area by John Kerry. Due to Theresa Heinz-Kerry's close relationship to the Pittsburgh area, there is a great opportunity here to influence the election in 2004. Presidential wives aren't known to carry states as far as I know, but owning personal property where you can hold Independence Day barbecues does a lot for a candidate's profile. And announcing the VP selection in Pittsburgh before a tour that will end in North Carolina is pure brilliance in the way in which it creates an extended media opportunity. The only thing missing was John Edwards standing alongside Kerry with hands held high in the air. While I missed seeing that, the opportunity will come at the convention, so it isn't a big loss.

Over the last few days, Dick Cheney was also in town. The local news channels were covering both visits but the contrasts couldn't be more obvious. Cheney was coming to speak to a closed door Republican Group in Oakland. Announcement only. But the local news was broadcasting for days that for anyone who wanted to see John Kerry, doors would open at 7am. So there was an announcement plus an update on what to do if you wanted to see Kerry.

And then, this morning, watching the VP announcement on WTAE-ABC, I couldn't help but notice their pleasant coverage. "[Steelers great] Franco Harris welcomed the crowd by telling them that he was not the Vice Presidential nominee." They repeated this line several times and added this additional off-hand comment as well, "Wow, he is really going all out for Kerry this year, isn't he." And remember, this coverage is not only piping out across Western Pennsylvania but also eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia.

I don't think the effect is anecdotal. Pittsburgh has an impressive Meetup enrollment of 1,337 rating it highly in comparison to cities of similar size. Kerry has done fairly well in the polls here too. I hope that the Kerry campaign continues to make intelligent use of its personal ties to swing regions like Pittsburgh and North Carolina.

Posted at 03:21 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Hoeffel Takes a Hit

Posted by Fester

The Pennsylvania Senate race is, from the Democrats' perspective, the top race of the second-tier pick-up opportunities; it is not an Illinois or an Alaska. There has been a reasonable chance of a pickup if the party maintains unity, runs a strong candidate who does not make too many if any mistakes and sees Specter spend a lot of political capital repairing the bridges buckled if not burned during a bruising primary campaign. Well, if I need to handicap the chances of a Democratic pick-up, the odds just got signficantly longer this afternoon.

Former Congressman Ron Klink (D-PA) has announced that he will be leading a "Democrats for Specter" committee. Klink is a conservative Democrat from the western part of the state. His former district has elected Melissa Hart (R-PA) for the past two cycles, and she is pretty conservative. Klink represents a large enough chunk of the state Democratic Party to give Specter some breathing room despite his low re-elect numbers. This race just got to be a lot tougher.

NOTE: Crossposted at Fester's Place.

Posted at 05:04 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (4) | Technorati

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Swing State Roundup Redux

Posted by DavidNYC

TAP had a new Purple People Watch column out last week. It's almost entirely about the Senate races shaping up in the various battleground states.

Meanwhile, Slate has slowly continued its state-by-state series. I should say very slowly: In a month, they've only done two states. Gotta pick up the pace, fellas. Unfortunately, they've changed authors for the latest installment. The tolerable Chris Suellentrop wrote the first piece (on Missouri), but now they have the odious Lord Saletan penning the current piece on West Virginia. Maybe I'll wade through it (it's a three-part "diary" format) at some point. Or maybe I won't.

One really frustrating thing is the Economist's swing state series. All of the articles seem to wind up behind their subscription wall eventually. But for a brief period of time, they sometimes provide a link to the story for free - and that link seems to never expire. I was able to dig up working links for their entries on Pennsylvania and New Mexico. If you can extract links to any other stories in this series, please post `em here.

UPDATE: Okay, so I decided to read Saletan's WV diary, and it's not half-bad. It's pretty striking how conservative West Virginia is - striking because the state has so often voted Democrat in the past, and there's a good chance it'll do so again this year. The trick, says Saletan, is to appeal to protectionist sentiments and to demonstrate appropriate fealty to the military, something war veteran Kerry can actually do.

But Saletan does make one (pretty glaring) error. He says that West Virginians respect authority and have switched to the GOP when a Republican incumbent was running for re-election. (WV went red in `56, `72 and `84). The big problem with this thesis is `92, when incumbent Bush p��re lost. And back then, I'm willing to bet that economic issues did old number 41 in - just like they might once again.

UPDATE: Carl in the comments provides a link for the Economist's Arizona piece. I had also previously posted a link to the inaugural Ohio article.

Posted at 04:28 PM in Arizona, General, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, West Virginia | Comments (4) | Technorati

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Philadelphia Daily News Endorses John Kerry

Posted by DavidNYC

This story has been making the rounds in the blogosphere today: The Philadelphia Daily News has officially endorsed John Kerry for president. They're claiming to be the first newspaper in America to do so, and as such, they're bound to get more attention than had they waited until October.

But it's also important for a couple of other reasons. First, I hardly need to remind anyone around here how crucial a swing state Pennsylvania is - something the editors of Daily News are also keenly aware of. Second, this isn't just a mere endorsement but rather a comprehensive action plan. Indeed, the front-page banner reads, "How You Can Help Elect John Kerry." news The editors include detailed information about how to get registered, register others, and volunteer for organizations (like ACT) which are helping to oust Bush.

This is a stark difference from the New York Times endorsements I'm used to reading, which typically declare a pox on both houses before grudgingly endorsing one candidate. I'm also told by one e-mailer that the Philly Daily News is normally a very conservative paper. Never having read it before, I won't swear by that description, though if so, this represents an even bigger coup. (Maybe my PA-based guest bloggers can shed some light?)

I also want to make one last related point: A newspaper's ability to support a candidate in this way demonstrates to me the futility and unfairness of campaign finance laws. The argument that supports of campaign finance reform usually make is that we need to keep money out of politics. Yet the dollar value of this endorsement - a full cover picture and headline, a huge editorial - is enormous. Indeed, the Philly Daily News could run a story like this every week if it wanted. Because it's a media organization, the Supreme Court allows the Daily News almost unfettered first amendment freedom to support the candidates of its choosing.

But as an individual, I can't give more than $2000 to the Kerry campaign. Why should the Daily News be able to support John Kerry more extensively than I can? That seems quite unjust to me.

P.S. TAP's latest roundup is now online.

Posted at 05:31 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (6) | Technorati

This Swing State is Swinging At Me

Posted by Seamus

I have been meaning for a while to write on this but I've been noticeably absent from political blogs these past two months. I have been caught up with my life's work which has apparently landed me in the middle of swing state politics. I work for a non-partisan organization so my job is to keep above the partisan fray while doing my job - which just so happens to be working to protect a national forest in a swing state. This is more of a swing state story than an analysis but I thought it would be interesting nonetheless.

It all started on Earth Day. We had no special plans and were just plugging away as usual when we get a call. It seems that President Bush had planned two major events (that I know of) for Earth Day in 2004. Bush was directly involved in one such event in Maine. I don't recall the specifics. For the other, he sent his Secretary of Agriculture to Pennsylvania to promote logging in the state's only national forest.

I cannot tell you fur sure this is by design but its definitely true that the Bush Administration has made frequent trips to Western Pennsylvania - primarily in Pittsburgh. And I know its debatable what kind of influence the environment will have on this years election. And throughout the next few weeks I almost entirely cut myself out of the partisan political scene because I was engaged in my non-partisan work.

First, a co-worker attempted to join the tour of the national forest logging sites being given by the US Forest Service for Veneman's stump speech. The Secretary and company were gathered at a recently logged "Healthy Forests Initiative" site. He pulled in and was greeted by Forest Service Law Enforcement. He was quickly he could not stand on public lands and listen to Veneman's speech and if he tried he would be arrested.

A shit-storm hits. Having effectively ruined our rabid Congressman's visit he promptly follows a week later with a press release - attacking us. Why the delayed attack? Well, it turns out the swing state stump speeches aren't over. Next trip - US Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth. Once again the Chief is pushing "Healthy Forests Initiative" logging in our national forest. And this time they don't threaten arrest but we do learn some salient facts - such as the fact that this will be the second largest logging project in this forest ever (we're in court over the largest right now).

The full force of the Bush Administration's "Healthy Forests Initiative" is now upon us (and no, I can't not put that in quotes). And stepping away from my day job I can't wonder what this means in an important swing state. Most of the logging has not commenced but will be in full force by summer's end. This could very well generate a lot of press.

And there does appear to be broader recognition of the political importance of this part of the state despite our small populations. Governor Rendell has made several trips up here this year and I don't think its a coincidence. He has on one hand praised a local timber company (based in Oregon) and on the other been promoting tourism. No question, there is a political game here. So what will it be?

Posted at 11:01 AM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Friday, May 28, 2004

Quick Poll Roundup: AZ, IA, PA

Posted by DavidNYC

Arizona, ASU/KAET-TV (4/23 - 4/26 in parens):

Kerry: 38 (38)
Bush: 43 (41)
Nader: 2 (3)
Undecided: 17 (18)
(MoE: ��5.1%)

What minor moves there are here are all well within the MoE. However, Bush's overall approval rating stayed the same at 48-47. The last poll on that front was taken all the way back in February, so it seems like all the bad news for the Bushies hasn't hurt him much in this state. The big number of undecideds could wind up tilting our way, though. (CW says that undecideds break for the challenger in the end.)

Iowa, Research 2000 for KCCI-TV (January in parens):

Kerry: 48 (42)
Bush: 43 (49)
Undecided: 9 (9)

Kerry: 46
Bush: 42
Nader: 3
Undecided: 9
(MoE: ��4%)

No trendlines when the poll includes Nader. We should definitely win here.

Pennsylvania, Quinnipiac (mid-April in parens):

Kerry: 45 (42)
Bush: 42 (46)
Undecided: 9 (7)

Kerry: 44 (39)
Bush: 41 (45)
Nader: 6 (8)
Undecided: 9 (8)
(MoE: ��3.7%)

Definitely looking a lot better than last time around, but I think we still need to fight hard here.

Posted at 02:05 AM in Arizona, Iowa, Pennsylvania | Comments (4) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Theresa Heinz-Kerry

Posted by Fester

I am not worried about Pennsylvania going red this election. Kerry will need to run a quasi-competent campaign to win the Commonwealth, but that is as close to a given as Secretariat was to win the Triple Crown. I could offer you some basic reasons such as the overall economic profile of the state has been poor, or that the Democratic Party led by Gov. Rendell has its act together, or as an extension of that, SW PA Democrats led by Onorato have been able to squelch the Roddey led GOP money machine down here. Or I could offer you the thesis that the radical right has overreached and that the Toomey voting base is willing to throw a temper tantrum in November. These are all good reasons to believe that Pennsylvania should be a blue state this year. However the primary reason is John Kerry's wife; Theresa HEINZ Kerry.

Theresa is golden in SW PA which is the swing region of the state. But before I explain why, I must disclose that I work at an organization that will soon be applying for significant Heinz Endowment Funds, I went to grad school at the Heinz School for Public Policy, and I occassionally go to the Symphony at Heinz Hall and the history musuem at the Heinz Regional History Center.

Theresa has massive credibility with the people of Southwestern Pennsylvania because she has stuck with the region through the thick and the thin. After her first husband died in a tragic helicopter crash, she could have left the region, but she stayed and entrenched herself as a Pittsburgher, one of the few new migrants to stick with the region. Her efforts in philanthropy have made the Heinz Endowments one of the most effective regional foundations in the country. She has made it a philosophy to get results with foundation money and she has achieved results in community development, education and now real estate development with the Hazelwood Works project. Healthcare and environmental education have also been a significant priority for the Heinz Endowments over the past fifteen years.

She has the credibility to make changes because she has made changes. She was for a long time, a moderate Republican and one of the two or three most powerful Republican women in the state. She switched becasue her husband was running for the Democratic nomination AND the Republican Party of John Heinz III is no longer a continuing entity. The Heinz Endowment was also willing to pull funding from the failing Pittsburgh public schools and then in conjunction with the other major foundations create solutions that the school system could use to improve the educational experience of the children involved. She has the credibility to propose change because she has the history of making successful change.

Finally, I have had the pleasure of listening to her speak publicly numerous times, and she is an enjoyable person to listen to. Her accent is distinct but not disturbing, while her words burn with both passion and intelligence. If John Kerry sets his wife out to do what she would do anyways; find ways to speak her mind and her passions, Southwestern Pennsylvania will follow her to the ballot box.

Posted at 10:18 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (32) | Technorati

Thursday, April 29, 2004

The Nader Effect in PA

Posted by Seamus

I have contended for some time that folks are over-emphasizing the impact that Nader will have in 2004. And since I'm fresh from getting snippy with some Democrat villifying Nader over at DailyKos, I thought I'd share some information that might help shed some light on the anticipated impact of Nader in this election.

As it turns out, the Green Party in Pennsylvania just held its 2004 Caucus on April 24th. In that caucus delegates were selected to represent Pennsylvania at the Green Party's national convention. Here are the leading results:

Now, I think the implications are obvious. Put aside how Nader himself did and realize that even if Nader got every other vote, the ability of "No Candidate" to siphon off 9 of 37 delegates is impressive! At the very least, this should be a bellwether for where the Green Party stands in 2004. Given the impressive results for Cobb and "No Candidate," I think it's pretty clear that Nader is only going to have marginal success at the election booth in November. (Remember that Nader polled much higher than he performed in the election in 2000 as well. That effect will be more dramatic this time around.) Oh yeah, and Kerry got one vote.

(My post from the Seamus Press and Election Results by County from the PA Green Party.)

Posted at 11:49 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Monday, April 26, 2004

Bush Losing His Coattails

Posted by Fester

I spent most of today listening to sports radio because I am a football freak. Arlen Specter was advertising extremely heavily today with two different ads on the radio. The first was a very positive one in which President Bush speaks for his need to have Arlen Specter in the Senate to win Pennsylvania in November and a generic plea by Specter for his supporters to come out and vote tomorrow. The other ad in rotation was a far more negative one in which Specter does not quite go for his former "Toomey not far right, far out" tag line but it was pretty close.

Now we know that the polls are suggesting either a toss-up or a slight Toomey edge. The weather looks thoroughly mediocre tomorrow, so if only the more dedicated voters go to the polls tomorrow, I think Toomey pulls out a squeaker.

Now I think that Specter will be a very expensive defeat for Bush as it will be the second data point and thus a start of a trend which will diminish his power against Congress. Bush has placed a pretty impressive amount of support behind a vulnerable incumbent in a critical swing state and it looks like he will lose this bet. His candidate Kerr lost in Kentucky and Terrel lost in the Lousiana run-off. So the last two single race elections in which there is a Bush backed candidate have been losses even though the demographics of the electorate should theoretically favor the Bush backed candidate. As DavidNYC points out, this is not a complete summary as the Bush backed candidate won the governorships of Kentucky and Mississippi, but the trend is favorable for the Dems.

Now if Specter loses, it "proves" that Bush can not protect vulnerable Republicans against either hard core conservative primary challengers or from competent moderate to conservative Democratic challengers. The Bush family and its political machine have built their operation on fear of retribution. The effectiveness of management by fear fails miserably when the opposition calls the bluff. This means that no vulnerable Republican will automatically assume that blind obedience to Bush is an electoral winner this summer and during the fall. Congressional Republicans are already behind in the generic Congressional ballot races. This gives vulnerable incumbents a very strong incentive to watch out for their own best interest.

Tomorrow will be interesting because it could give the press the start of a meta-narrative of "Bush losing his base."

Crossposted at Fester's Place

Posted at 08:06 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (6) | Technorati

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

PA: Quinnipiac Poll Shows Kerry Behind Bush

Posted by DavidNYC

There has been a TON of discussion over at the DailyKos about a new Quinnipiac poll showing Kerry trailing Bush in PA:

Bush: 45
Kerry: 39
Nader: 8

Kerry also trails in a head-to-head without Nader:

Bush: 46
Kerry: 42
(MOE: ��3.5%)

I'm not buying Nader at 8, and neither is former Green Party organizer Domne. Of course, there's still a four-point spread even without Ralph, but Winger tells us to catch our collective breath. He breaks down the numbers pretty convincingly to demonstrate that this is actually a very positive poll for Kerry.

Now sure, I don't like seeing numbers like this, and if the polls are still the same in August or September, I'll get a lot more panicked. But don't forget that Bush has spent roughly a trillion dollars, give or take, in the past month, while Kerry has spent about zilch. I'd also have to imagine that much of the political oxygen in PA is being sucked up by the GOP Senate primary, which is on Tuesday the 27th. In other words, it's early, and our man is still holding his own despite the huge onslaught.

Posted at 04:24 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (6) | Technorati

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Kerry Down in PA

Posted by DavidNYC

Just quick hit here (relating to the post immediately below): Kos points to a new F&M poll (PDF) which shows Kerry slipping several point behind Bush in PA. Feb numbers in parens:

Bush: 46 (46)
Kerry: 40 (47)

As always, I simply think we need to get on the airwaves here as elsewhere. So far, word is that the 527s have been doing some good ads on their own. Let's see the Kerry campaign follow suit - especially since Terry Mac's been bragging about the millions that the DNC is supposed to be forking over to Kerry right about now.

P.S. Veteran Kossack RonK has some thoughts on what these ads should look like.

Posted at 08:11 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (3) | Technorati

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Small Hints on the Election from Small Places

Posted by Seamus

Those few of you who know me probably know that I live in a very rural community two hours northeast of Pittsburgh (my township has some 250+ registered voters). It is also a highly Republican area where Democratic candidates are few and far between. In fact, between 1996 (meaning after the 1996 election) and 2004 I cannot remember a single Democrat running for US House, PA Senate, or PA House. Which gets me to my reason for posting.

Many folks here and elsewhere have noted the outstanding turnout for many of the primary elections as a positive sign. And I think there are other signs that the left of center public is fired up and motivated for this 2004 election. I think it speaks to something because I haven't seen this kind of excitement for Democratic politics in a long time (indeed I've only seen it within third party work I do). And I think there small indications that this is spreading to even Republican areas in Pennsylvania. Democrats here are running candidates for both the PA Senate and House in 2004. Either 1) this is an indicator of growing election interest or 2) it will create greater interest in the election. I see this primarily as a good thing for Democrats winning Pennsylvania in 2004. To the extent that Republican votes in rural Pennsylvania can be countered even before the suburban and urban votes are tallied so much the better! This is something worth keeping an eye as the primaries approach.

Posted at 11:02 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Saturday, March 27, 2004

The Heinz Factor & Western Pennsylvania

Posted by Seamus

It is often noted that Pennsylvania is Philadelphia & Pittsburgh with Alabama in between. While the basic implications of this are true it does overlook something else - the significantly different political landscape between eastern and western Pennsylvania. Philadelphia is the fourth largest media market in the country and much of the Poconos, although rural, is democratic and dominated by visitors from New York City, Philadelphia, and suburban New Jersey. Pittsburgh, in contrast, seems more like an island surrounded largely by a small suburban area (by eastern Pennsylvania standards) and very conservative rural areas.

One of the landscape differences that is unique to the 2004 Presidential election is the direct involvement of the Heinz Family through Teresa Heinz. Now, the Heinz family isn't new to politics but this is most definitely different by prior accounts given the national scope of the election and the state of the nation. I know from experience that in rural Pennsylvania, the Heinz Endowments, in which Teresa plays a significant role, themselves can be voiced as a sort of slur where the implication is often tied to some grand conspiracy of liberals. Actually, conspiracy theories are popular in these parts and are deep rooted in some of the bizarre power dynamics of western Pennsylvania.

Anyhow, the short of this is that the involvement of Teresa Heinz's husband John Kerry in the Presidential race will have some impact on the election in 2004. I think we will hear a lot of conservative hyperbole about the Heinz family and some of this will connect with voters. On the other hand, I think that the memory of Senator Heinz and the general positive feeling that people get from having a geographic representative of sorts can be helpful to Kerry. In either case, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette took a look at how the ketchup company itself is being affected and how this has already taken a hold on conservative talk radio.

Posted at 07:25 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Nader Hurting Kerry in PA

Posted by DavidNYC

This is the kind of thing I hate to see: A new Q-Poll in PA shows the following:

Kerry: 40
Bush: 44
Nader: 7

Without Nader, here's how it looks:

Kerry: 45
Bush: 44

It goes without saying that I hope the Nader number heads steadily downward. The good news is that he only pulled 2.1% in PA in 2000, and I have a hard time imagining he can do better than that this time around. Furthermore, 18% of respondents said they still hadn't heard enough about Kerry to form an opinion of him, while only 1% said the same thing about Bush. So I think once the Kerry campaign gets into full swing in Pennsylvania (and it surely will), his increased name recognition will give him a boost - at Nader's (and maybe even Bush's) expense.

(Via Political Wire.)

Posted at 05:29 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (14) | Technorati

Monday, March 08, 2004

Pennsylvania Solid Blue?

Posted by Fester

The Big Picture is posting a link to a Zogby analysis found in Barrons that is suggesting that Pennsylvania is not a swing state in the 2004 election. I am not sure what to make of this statement. I would like to imagine that Pennsylvania is not in play as it will go to Kerry as it would mean that West Virginia and Ohio are definately winnable without a massive expenditure of resources because a Pennsylvania win for a Democrat would mean strong support in the Philly corner and a good showing in Southwestern PA which is culturally and socially similiar to West Virginia and Appalachian Ohio.

However I look at the nimrods that significant portions of this state sends to Congress and I have to doubt that. I have been getting slowly more optimistic over the past two months about November, but I have not gotten that optimistic yet. It is likely in my opinion that Spectar will be re-elected in the fall barring a national revulsion against the Republican Party in general and that there are very few winnable Congressional seats in Pennsylvania for the Democrats to pick-up. The Allentown district is the best change, but Toomey is entrenched. Pennsylvania will be a tough fight regardless of what today's polling results show.

Posted at 05:39 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Implication of the FMA in Pennsylvania

Posted by Fester

I have to agree with Kos that Bush did not want to come out for openly enshrining discrimination into the basic values and laws of our American experiment. Instead he would have prefered to covertly discriminate and marginalize a segment of our population by executive order, rule design and innuendo. Coming out is an expensive procedure for Bush and it may cost the GOP a Senate seat that is somewhat safe.

Arlen Specter (R-PA) has stated that it is "premature" for him to consider the need for a constitutional amendment and that this is the proper question for the states to decide amongst and for themselves. This is a statement that is pretty damm close to the Kerry's and Edwards' positions, so it is one that I can live with.

However he is facing a strong challenge from the extreme, theological right in the form of Rep. Pat Toomey. Toomey is one of the co-sponsors of the amendment. His entire campaign strategy is based on riling up the conservative base against the Republican in Name Only Specter. This is an issue that he will use successfully to do so in my opinion. However, I believe that Rep. Joe Hoeffel (D-PA) the main Democratic challenger should be able to beat Toomey in the general election while Specter should be able to beat Hoeffel in most circumstances.

So this is a costly exercise of Bush screwing his party in order to further his own political hide... not that I am complaining.

Posted at 08:00 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (4) | Technorati

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Pennsylvania Competitive

Posted by Fester

Via DemFromCt's DKos diary I came across this poll which shows John Kerry is beating George W. Bush by 5 points in Pennsylvania if the election was to be held today.

This is a critical state for both sides. If Bush wins Pennsylvania, the election is most likely over by 9:00pm EST on election night. If the Democrats can hold Pennsylvania and do well in the Southwestern part of the state, then that portends strength going into Ohio and West Virginia which we need to take in order to win the election. Bush is being troubled by an appearance of weakness on the economy, the steel tariff flip-flop and a looming sense that he is not "with it." However he is still seen as a strong and trustworthy character.

Posted at 09:04 AM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Podesta: Bush will Replace Cheney with Ridge

Posted by DavidNYC

I went to a Q&A with former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta this afternoon. He talked about a wide range of things, but nothing which veered very far outside the conventional wisdom - or at least, far from opinions which you've probably already seen expressed elsewhere. Of course, Podesta brings a level of nuance and insider knowledge few others have, which makes him eminently worth hearing.

Podesta did, however, make one bold statement. I asked about swing states (what else?) - specifically, which ones he thought were most vulnerable, for our team and theirs. He gave the sort of answers you'd expect: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, and so on. He also mentioned he was worried about Pennsylvania, which he said had been trending Republican over the years. But then Podesta dropped his mini-bombshell. He said he thought that Bush would replace Cheney with former PA Gov. and current Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

This would seem to be a smart move for Bush and a potentially devastating one for Democrats. Cheney gets Bush very little - if anything, he may be a net negative. (I'm talking politically - Bush still needs some behind-the-scenes puppet-master, and there's no reason to believe Cheney couldn't continue in that role even if he were not Vice President.) But Ridge, assuming he is still popular among Pennsylvanians, could turn the tide in that state and give Bush a big fat bundle of EVs.

Of course, I don't know whether Ridge is still popular at home. Outside of Karl Rove's bunker, I doubt there have been many polls conducted on this topic. But as I understand things, Ridge was pretty popular when he stepped down to take his current post. And while Bush has taken a lot of hits over his foreign policy, he still gets good ratings when it comes to fighting terrorism. So Ridge's present job as homeland security czar might give him a further aura of goodwill.

Anyhow, it'll be interesting to see how Podesta's prediction bears out. Unfortunately, I didn't get to ask a follow-up about when he sees this happening, but presumably it can't happen too late in the game. In any case, I sure hope it doesn't happen - I want to keep PA, and I want to see Johnny "Sunshine" Edwards wipe the floor with Darth Cheney in the VP debates.

UPDATE: A number of people have asserted that Ridge's apparently pro-choice views make him a non-viable because of the influence of the Christian right in the GOP. I'm not so sure about this. Joe Lieberman was forced to utterly disavow his support for vouchers (admittedly a somewhat less controversial topic) when Gore selected him as Veep, and I didn't hear any Democrats threaten to defect on account of this.

I think Ridge could easily have a similar "change of heart" and toe the administration line on the abortion issue. This sets him apart from, say, Rudy Giuliani, who is out-of-step with the GOP leadership on too many issues and could never be made to shut up.

Posted at 06:57 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (12) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Pittsburgh Employment Situation

Posted by Fester

The state of Pennsylvania is reporting that the greater Pittsburgh MSA has lost almost 12,000 additional jobs in 2003. This is in addition to the 12,000 jobs that were lost in 2002. This is primarily due to continued losses in steel, airlines and retail trades. There have been few start-ups or expansions in ther egion that can absorb the idled or underemployed laborforce.

The jobless rate is artificially low due to increased out-migration and an increased number of people who are leaving the workforce because they can not find a job and do not believe that they will find a job despite their best efforts. This is the economy that Bush has to deal with in a critical swing region in November and it ain't good.

Posted at 10:08 AM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Conditions in SW Pennsylvania

Posted by Fester

This is my first post here on the Swing State Project. I have been asked to write about the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania and how the economy and general sentiment will shape the roll of Pennsylvania as a swing state in November. Culturally this area can be divided into two sections. Urban Pittsburgh and the inner communities of Allegheny County and the rest of the region. The rest of the region is fairly dispersed, still crumbling after the steel industry pulled out, socially conservative and reluctant to embrace tax plans. They are Reagan Democrats and Dean's "guys with Confederate Flag stickers on their trucks." The urban areas of this state are predominately older style ethnic machine Democrats. The city itself is overwhelmingly Democratic and the county has a strong Democratic trend as witnessed by the 60-40 election of Dan Onorato (D) to the position of County Executive.

However the local Democratic Party is not that particulary strong. For instance, the Democrats have been losing seats on the county council for the past two elections, now it is down to an 8-7 margin as the Republicans have been reasonably successful in picking up seats in the northern suburbs. Dan Onorato is working to make the institutional machinery of the county more Democratic but the party is engaged in a minor war with itself between the old school and the new school that wants to change the party on social issues. Mayor Murphy lost two important council elections against members of the new wave of Democrats in the county. Finally the Allegheny County Democrats are slightly suspicious of any of the new activism/ party building activity that has been undertaken by either the Dean or Clark local volunteer supporters.

With this said, Southwestern PA should definatively be in play for the Democrats this year with a slight tilt towards a strong defense of the region. President Bush has successfully managed to piss off the Steelworkers over both the tariffs and legacy cost issues. The senior Steelworker leaderrship is extremely worried about the solvency of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. Any Bush policy proposal towards retirement security, has, from the point of view of the union, been insufficient. The unions and small manufacturers should also be incensed about the dramatic downscaling of the Manufacturing Extension Plan. Bush has not done a good job of selling himself as a good economic policy president, or even as a good disperser of goodies to Southwestern Pennsylvania.

If the Democrats nominate a candidate who has reservations about free trade and relative indifference about gun control, then the Democrats should be able to hold onto Southwestern Pennsylvania and make signifcant gains in Southeastern Ohio and all of West Virginia. The party needs to get its act together and take advantage of the new blood that wants to be used, but the conditions favor the Democrats in this region at this time.

Crossposted at Fester's Place.

Posted at 04:34 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Pennsylvania: Unemployment Figures

Posted by DavidNYC

As I mentioned in the post below about Ohio, I made a mistake when I looked at Pennsylvania's unemployment statistics. I thought I was looking at the seasonally adjusted numbers, and in fact I was - but only for the overall statewide unemployment figures. However, the county-by-county numbers (and the maps that depict them) were not seasonally adjusted. So while I thought that the employment situation had improved in many PA counties (which mostly happened to be Republican ones), I was mistaken.

So I went back and did another comparison. I looked at Jan. `01 vs. Jan. `03 and Aug. `01 vs. Aug. `03. In the latter case, unemployment had worsened in 39 of 67 counties. In the former, unemployment worsened in a whopping 62 counties, and GOP strongholds were among the hardest hit. So no matter how you slice it, the employment situation is tough across all of PA.

Posted at 05:56 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Pennsylvania: Additional Thoughts

Posted by DavidNYC

Based on the comments people made in regard to my last post on Pennsylvania, I'd like to toss in a few more thoughts.

The Rendell factor: Gov. Rendell has been pushing a tax plan which raises income & sales taxes but lowers property taxes. As I understand things, the income tax hike is designed to pay for educational spending, while the property tax cuts will allegedly be made up with revenues from slot machines (which Rendell is pushing to have legalized). In the comments, Jeff in PA says that suburban Republicans who supported Rendell in 2002 (when he won 53-45) are likely to pay the most and benefit the least from these proposals. If these "Rendellicans" turn on the Governor, they may take out their dissatisfaction on the Democratic presidential candidate next year.

Voter turnout: Jgkojak says there is a fear that Dem turnout, which was high in 2000, has "nowhere to go but down". I may be comparing apples to oranges here, but I'm not sure the numbers bear this out. Overall turnout among registered voters in the counties that went for Gore in 2000 was 62%. Overall statewide turnout was... 63%. Perhaps Democrats did turn out in greater numbers than usual - I'm not really sure what the right way to determine this is. (That joint degree at the Public Policy School is starting to look very useful right about now.) If anyone can offer greater clarity on the turnout number-crunching, I'd be grateful.

Steel tariffs: I totally neglected this topic my first time out. CW is that Bush Administration enacted these tariffs to win support among steel workers in states like PA and WV. Well, file this one with the "Hoist by Their Own Petard" Dept. Not only did the tariffs fail to win over unionized steelworkers - the United Steelworkers of America endorsed Gephardt in August - but, unsurprisingly, they've hurt manufacturers who use steel, especially in the swing states of Michigan and Tennessee. Now, almost everyone on the right is admitting that the tariffs were a big mistake. If the Bush Admin. rescinds these them (and it appears they might), this will only further damage the Republicans in WV and PA. At the same time, it may be too late to see the steel-using manufacturers make big recoveries if the tariffs are lifted. (Thanks to praktite for some color on the steel labor scene.)

Unemployment: Seems that the Bureau of Labor Statistics info is, in a way, only so much BS. As you may know, "unemployment" figures only count people who are looking for work. This makes sense in some cases - for example, you wouldn't want to count a stay-at-home mom as "unemployed". But when you figure things this way, you also don't count people who have simply given up looking for a job. In January, 2001, for example, rural Forest County had the worst rate of unemployment in PA - an abysmal 16.9%. In August, the official unemployment rate had sunk to 9.3% - a seemingly stunning improvement.

But if you actually look at the facts on the ground, these numbers seem to lie. Rural Pennsylvania, like the rest of rural America, is hemorrhaging jobs and brainpower. And if you check out the Erie Times-News article, you'll note that even Rep. John Peterson - who's about as conservative as they come - acknowledges that his district is in "serious trouble". The last three elected incumbents who lost (Bush I, Carter and Hoover) all did so in the midst of economic downturns. If otherwise loyal Republican voters are feeling this kind of pain, I can't imagine how Bush will be able to deal with it. And this doesn't even account for the anger of Democrats who have lost their jobs. (Peterson story thanks to seamus.)

Senate race: There's some speculation that Rove is behind Rep. Pat Toomey's right-wing attack on Specter. Whatever the case may be, it looks like things are gearing up for a delightful fratricidal GOP primary battle. I find it amusing that Toomey is using slogans like "too liberal for too long" to describe Arlen Specter - I think George Pataki used to say the same thing about Mario Cuomo, so at least Specter's in good company. Anyhow, if the conservative establishment pushes Toomey to victory, I think the Democrats could definitely pick up this seat if they can find a strong candidate. And even if Toomey doesn't win, Specter's unfavorables will get driven up amidst the negative campaigning (as he tries to cover his right flank), and the True Believers may just stay home on election day if their man Toomey isn't on the ballot.

All this is making me feel a bit more optimistic about PA. I'd say our biggest obstacles are a Rendell tax-hike-related backlash against Dems, plus Bush's natural incumbency advantages. But I think they are outweighed by voter unhappiness with Bush (approve/disapprove: 51/44), coupled with unemployment issues. These should combine to keep PA in Democratic hands in 2004.

Posted at 08:38 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Thursday, October 23, 2003


Posted by DavidNYC

On to the Keystone State.

Electoral Votes: 21 (23 in 2000)

2000 Results:

Gore: 50.60%
Bush: 46.43%
Nader: 2.10%
Buchanan: 0.33%

Pennsylvania, with its 23 electoral votes, was the third-largest state to go blue in 2000 - only California (54) and New York (33) gave us more. Thanks to post-census redistricting, PA had a couple of Congressional seats shaved from its delegation, but its importance to the Democratic nominee is still immense. Nearly everyone agrees that if the Dem candidate cannot win PA, then the odds of him winning the Presidency are virtually nil. It's not just because those 21 EVs would be almost impossible to make up elsewhere, but rather because it would signal that we're out of the running in multiple swing-states. My understanding is that this scenario would come about only if there were a broad surge of pro-Bush sentiment, tipping a wide swath of yellow and green states into red. I don't really plan to explore this potential disaster situation because a) it doesn't pertain to any specific swing state and b) it would rely on utterly unpredictable, large-scale events, such as a turn-around in the economy or rapid progress in Iraq.

So what factors should we look at?

A lot of people have commented about the presence of Ed Rendell, PA's new Democratic governor and former DNC chairman. The conventional wisdom about governors says something like, "A governor can add 1-2% to his party's vote total." I'm a little skeptical of this because I'm not sure what this really means - or rather, how to analyze the validity of this proposition. Since every state has a governor (of course), how can you know what the real baseline is and how much on top of that the governor has added? Comparing polls to actual election-day results seems unsatisfactory to me because not only are polls often incorrect, but there's no reason to believe polls can filter out this alleged "governor effect", either. (You can't exactly ask, "Would you vote Democrat even if Ed Rendell wasn't governor?") This problem aside, Rendell's good connections and long experience may indeed help on the ground here. How much is, of course, impossible to say.

Then there's the Senate race: "Moderate" Republican Arlen Specter, who is running for re-election, is also facing a primary challenge from the right. People often suggest that a contested Senate (or gubernatorial) race can drive more people to the polls. Again I think it's hard to filter out the effects of state-wide races because so many other factors can affect voter turnout. Furthermore, a bitterly contested race may bring out partisans on both sides.

I will say this: If Specter starts faring poorly in the polls, then that is doubtless a good sign, sort of a reverse canary-in-the-coalmine. This may seem ultra-obvious, but I mention it because I think Specter's already showing some weakness. In a recent Quinnipiac poll, Specter is leading "someone else" (the pollster's phrase, not mine) by a mere 5% - 46% to 41%. That's pretty bleak, considering that 74% of respondents say they don't know enough to for an opinion of Specter's likely opponent, Rep. Joseph Hoeffel. And Specter's primary battle is only likely to drive up his negatives. (I don't think anyone ever emerges from a primary fight looking cleaner than when they went in.)

A quick note here on Bush's popularity: Like almost everywhere else, it's been plummeting - and plummeting sharply of late. Bush's immediate post-war approve/disapprove numbers (again from Quinnipiac) were 67/28 back in April. By August, they stood at 60/35, but in the last two months alone, Bush's approval sunk by a whopping 9 points to 51%, while his negatives rose by the same amount. In baseball, they talk of the "Mendoza line" when a player's batting average sinks below the pitiful figure of .200. If 50% approval ratings are the Mendoza line of the political world, then Bush is hovering awfully close to extreme mediocrity in PA.

Finally - and I think most importantly - I'd like to take a look at employment figures, which I did not examine with regard to New Hampshire. I confess this is where my analysis is weakest because my background in quantitative social science is, to be charitable, limited. But I'll forge ahead with a few thoughts in the hope that wiser souls can offer some more guidance in the comments section. (Also, a tip o' the tam o' shanter to MBW at Wampum who first inspired me to look at this topic.)

The seasonally-adjusted employment rate in PA stood at 4.2% in January, 2001 when Bush took office. In August of this year (the last month for which figures are available), the unemployment rate was a full point higher - 5.2%. If we believe the seemingly sensible proposition that this can only be bad news for the incumbent, then naturally this is "good news" for us (though obviously terrible news for PA residents and the country as a whole). I don't think this tells the whole story, though. Take a look at the maps below:

Map of Pennsylvania Unemployment and Voting

The top two maps are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is linked to above. They show unemployment by county in Jan. '01 & Aug. '03. As you can see, unemployment has actually decreased in most PA counties since the start of the Bush administration. (It is possible that the unemployment rate has been "artificially" lowered by people who have ceased looking for work, but I am unable to assess that.)

But take a look at the third map (which is courtesy of Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, a fantastic resource). If you do a quick visual comparison, you can see that the Gore counties are the ones which have been hardest-hit. (Just be aware that Dave uses red for the Dems and blue for the GOP.) I've done a more precise number-crunching, and I can tell you that 10 of 18 Gore counties have suffered an increase in unemployment, while only 12 of 49 Bush counties have. Furthermore, nearly all the sharpest declines (those over 1%) have been in the Gore counties, particularly in the Philadelphia region in southeastern PA.

While I can't imagine that voters in the Republican counties are crediting Bush with a booming economy, it does seem safe to say that anti-incumbent hostility can only have increased in the Democratic counties due to the economic situation. Turnout in these areas (primarily Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) will be crucial, and I think that the sour economy will propel more disaffected voters to the polls on election day. Obviously, a quick turnaround in the economy can negate this analysis, but time is running out for Bush on this count. As you may recall, the economy had already started to recover from the '90-'91 recession when Bush, Sr. was running for re-election in 1992, but the effects of the recovery failed to reach many voters by November of that year.

Ok, so there is one last thing: Fred in the comments section observes that PA has the second-highest proportion of elderly citizens of any state (only Florida has more). (Census Bureau PDF, page 17.) If you saw the recent NYT article, you know that Bush's popularity is declining among older voters. And if you've ever observed politics, you probably also know that the senior citizen demographic tends to vote in very high proportions.

So, all in all, I think we have a pretty decent shot at keeping PA. It's been said that the Pennsylvania is "Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between," and I think the election will come down to voter turnout in those two urban poles at either end of the state. As I noted, I think some factors (like Specter's race & Rendell) are just too fuzzy to gauge, but the anger generated by joblessness is very real - and present. And I think this has the potential to be a major motivating force in the Democratic strongholds of PA and across the country.

But the bottom line is, this is a must-win for us. If you hear Jeff Greenfield calling Pennsylvania for Bush on election night, grab the Jack Daniels, because it's going to be a long four years.

(Also, I'd like to thank everyone who has been contributing in the comments section. Your insights have proven very helpful, even if I haven't been able to cite everyone by name.)

Posted at 11:29 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (15) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Up Next: Pennsylvania

Posted by DavidNYC

Since I'm making a geographical loop of sorts, the next swing state that is physically nearest to New Hampshire is Pennsylvania. If you have any thoughts or helpful links, I would, as always, be appreciative. I'll put together a more authoritative post in a day or two, hopefully.

Posted at 08:28 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (10) | Technorati

Pennsylvania Archive: