Pennsylvania’s primary election is May 18 and, third-party romantics aside, from it will be chosen the candidates who will be the people who lead this state.
A little over a million of Pennsylvania’s 8.4 million registered voters will not participate in this choice because they have registered as something other than a Republican or Democrat. Pennsylvania is one of 14 closed primary states. The actual breakdown of labels is 36,473 Libertarians; 484,597 “no affiliation”
and 490,526 “other voters.
All but two of those running for governor this year have expressed support for Pennsylvania becoming an open primary state in which one can vote in whatever party’s race regardless of what his registration happens to be.
The dissenters are State Sen. Anthony Williams, a Democrat who represents the 8th Districtthat includes a large part of Delaware County and state Rep. Sam Rohrer, a Republican who represents the 128th District in Berks County.
Williams would like to eliminate primaries altogether and just have a general election.
Rohrer would like to encourage independents to join a major party, which is a reasonable thing. If one is part of a group not choosing its candidate on primary day registering with a major party would give one two shots at how the state would be run. Ironically, Rohrer’s non-establishment campaign would likely be boosted by an open primary.
For the record, there are 4.3 million Democrats and 3.1 million Republicans in the state.
The latest Rasmussen Poll has endorsed incumbent Arlen Specter with just a two-point lead over Congressman Joe Sestak (D-Pa7) to be the Democrat nominee for the Pennsylvania senate race.
The primary is May 18.
Specter is ahead 44 to 42 percent with 10 percent undecided and 4 percent wishing they could vote for someone else, a wish, btw, that will not come true now that Sestak has knocked everyman challenger Joe Vod Varka off the ballot.
Last month Rasmussen had Specter preferred to Sestak by Democrat voters 48-37 percent.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled today that Joe Vod Varka failed to get the 2,000 valid signatures required to be on the May 18 ballot for the Democrat Party senate primary election.
Vod Varka, a small business owner from Allegheny County, shocked the political establishment by appearing to get the signatures last March.
He describes himself as a
conservative Democrat. He is against ObamaCare and has been an NRA
member for 36 years.
The action came after a challenge by Congressman Joe Sestak (D-Pa7) and the ruling leaves the race between him and party-endorsed incumbent Arlen Specter.
Specter responded with this statement: The people, specifically Democratic Primary voters, should have decided
whether Mr. Vodvarka was worthy of support, not Joe Sestak and the court
system. And Cong. Sestak was happy to pay big bucks to his lawyers to knock a
regular guy like Joe Vodvarka off the ballot, but he’s not willing to
pay the minimum wage to his own campaign employees.
The man expected to be the Democrat nominee to replace Joe Sestak to represent Pennsylvania’s 7th District in Congress tried a bush-league trick to force the Republican nominee from the race which could have been seen as doomed to fail by a first-year law student.
Actually, it could have been seen as doomed to fail by anyone who caught five minutes of a rerun of an old Ally McBeal but that didn’t keep state Rep. Bryan Lentz (D-161) a.k.a. The Man Who Would Be Joe from giving it a whirl.
The Republican — former U.S. Attorney and Delaware County DA Pat Meehan — caught some signatures on his nominating petition that he thought forged and turned them over to the proper authorities.
Lentz basically said “hey, if those are forged then everything is forged” and filed a challenge to disqualify 2,624 or so of the 3,623 signatures obtained by Meehan knocking beneath the 1,000 required to be on the ballot.
On Thursday, Commonwealth Court Judge Rochelle S. Friedman ruled as expected that Lentz’s challenge had no merit. Lentz had spent tens of thousands of dollars in his strange attempt to stop an election in the 7th District.
He could have spent that money advertising his positions instead but for some strange reason he chose to fight over trivia and technicalities.
Maybe there are Democrats with some sense. One of the four seeking that party’s nod for governor in the May 18 primary is being strongly backed by school choice advocates. This means he actually cares about children and is willing to oppose those whose goal is to collect a fat paycheck and bennies for pretending to which, of course, is the usual Democrat constituency.
The candidate is state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams who represents the 8th District which covers southwest Philadelphia and southeast Delaware County.
Williams has been given $1.5 million by Jeff Greenberg, Arthur Dantchik and Jeff Yass who are the founders of the Bala Cynwyd investment firm Susquehanna International Group, and who are major school choice advocates. The money was funneled to Williams via political action committees supporting school choice and charter schools.
A strong school choice proponent is running on the Republican side as well. Underdog candidate state Rep Sam Rohrer, who represents the 128th District in Berks County, authored the EducationalImprovement Tax Credit Program, which may be the most successful school choice program in the country and is something he would like to expand.
Rohrer, who is the representative for the 128th District in the State House and Republican chairman for the House Finance Committee, faces party-endorsed state Attorney General Tom Corbett in the May 18 primary.
Mrs. Bachmann met Rohrer in 1998 when Rohrer went to Minnesota to describe federal mandates regarding schools. She says it was he who inspired her to run for office as a state senator.
Rohrer will speak 7 p.m., April 5 at West Chester Christian School, 1237 Paoli Pike.
It won’t be the most entertaining night of your life but it will certainly be educational and it’s education you should quickly acquire unless it is your desire to live in poverty and servitude.
Congressman Chris Carney, who represents Pennsylvania’s 10th District, made his first visit to the district since his vote to socialize our health care system, throwing pieces of silver at favored organizations in a way he hoped might redeem himself in the eyes of his constituents.
In the end, though, the “pro life” Democrat is likely to hang himself on the vote.
That apparently frightened Carney who did not, strangely, express any concern regarding President Obama’s direction that “if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” given in Philadelphia on June 13, 2008 while a candidate as was pointed out by David Madeira who is among those seeking the GOP nomination for Pa10.
Carney ought to be putting his effort into keeping Nancy Pelosi out of the 10th District, someone who is hopefully going to be brought up on a consistent basis by either Madeira, Malcolm Derk or Tom Marino this summer and fall.
Neither Republican candidate had a problem releasing their income tax returns to the Philadelphia Inquirer as reported in yesterday’s story, and while Democrats Jack Wagner and Joe Hoeffel released their 1040s both balked at releasing supplementary forms.
Democrats Dan Onorato, the Allegheny County executive and State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, who represents the 8th District which includes large parts of southwest Philadelphia and southeast Delaware County, did not release their forms although they both said they eventually will.
Republican Tom Corbett and wife, Susan, made $215,568 in 2008 almost all of it from his salary of $145,529 as auditor general and her salary as vice president for development at the Gettysburg Foundation which works to preserve the battlefield. They gave $3,270 to charity.
Republican Sam Rohrer and wife, Ruth Ann, earned $83,650 in 2008 most of it from his $71,112 in salary as state representative for the 128th District, making him by far the lowest-earner on the ballot. The Rohrers are also the most generous reporting $16,187 in charitable donations in 2008. Other 2008 income for the couple showed $17,213 in capital gains from the sale of a family farm and $1,012 in dividends and interest. Wagner and wife, Nancy, showed an income of $132,548 in 2008. Wagner, the state auditor general, has a salary of $141,565 put retirement contributions put his reported income as less. The form he provided showed no charitable giving
Hoeffel and wife, Francesca, a nurse, reported $156,630 in income in 2008. Hoeffel was paid $86,000 by Montgomery County where he serves as a county commissioner. The returns also showed $12,499 in tax-exempt interest and $1,145 in dividends. As noted, he declined to provide information as to the source of the investment revenue. The Hoeffels reported giving $3.958 to charity in 2008.
Sam Rohrer took his underdog gubernatorial campaign to the auditorium of the Delaware County Christian School in Newtown Square Pa., Friday night. He spoke for about an hour and a half to crowd of about 50 then gave detailed answers to any and all questions, then mingled in the lobby with those attending.
His talk was dry, in fact it was often downright dull, but the details he provided — whether on budgetary, educational, constitutional or on energy matters — were done extemporaneously and effortlessly, and with respect to cold reality. For any Obama fans reading this, that means there were no teleprompters. Rohrer very well might be what Pennsylvania is looking for right now.
Rohrer, who represents the 128th District in the State House and is Republican chairman of the House’s Finance Committee, is challenging party-endorsed Tom Corbett, the state attorney general, for the Republican nomination. The primary election is May 18.
After introducing his wife, Ruth Ann, and his two youngest sons — the Rohrers have three other sons and a daughter — Rohrer gave the audience a dose of cold water.
“The challenges facing the next governor will be the greatest in Commonwealth history,” he said. He noted the state is nearing bankruptcy and is expected to take in $4 billion less than the $28 billion it has budgeted. He also pointed out the looming pension crisis.
He said the budget crisis could be traced to the Casey administration when a choice was made to deal with a budget deficit by increasing spending and for which we now must pay.
He then noted that Pennsylvania is a horrible place to start a business.
“We are not unfriendly to business but downright hostile,” he said.
Rohrer said The Keystone State’s business problems come down to taxes, regulations and labor. He said Pennsylvania has the highest business taxes in the nation. He said, in fact, that if the state were a nation it would have the highest business taxes in the world.
With regard to regulations, he said the state regulators go out of their way to place obstacles in front of entrepreneurs. He said a permit for a new coal mine that cost $1,000 a few decades back was now six figures. He, said, however that was easiest problem to fix due to the regulatory outlook largely being the result of direction set by the governor.
He said biggest hurdle for business was the labor environment. Pennsylvania is a “union shop” state which means that all employees at a business with a union must pay dues to the union. Rohrer said Pennsylvania is losing jobs yearly to “right to work” states such as North Carolina that don’t have that requirement.
Rohrer supports the state’s Open Workforce initiative that was introduced in the legislator in November.
In the good news department, Rohrer brought up the natural gas waiting to be tapped in the Marcellus Shale, which cover a good part of the state. He said it has not been widely reported but an additional layer has been found in the formation which possibly doubles the amount of gas it holds. He said some now estimate it as meeting the nations energy needs for the next 100 years.
Rohrer’s next topic was education and property taxes which fund most of Pennsylvania’s public schools. He said he was the author of Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program which he describes as the most successful school choice program in the country and provides assistance to 50,000 children a year. He wants it expanded.
Rohrer said that 30 percent of the school districts in the state are insolvent.
Regarding the property tax, Rohrer wants to get rid of it.
“How many of you own your home?” he asked the audience. “I used to think I did too.”
Rohrer said the property tax is among the cruelest tax and disproportionately affects the poor. He said that 70 percent of those below the poverty line in Pennsylvania are home owners. If they fail to pay their taxes for two straight years the state is likely to take their home.
If you want to see what your child’s teacher made in 2009, btw, visit here.
Rohrer’s plan is to replace the property tax by expanding the sales tax to things such as labor; getting fees from Macellus Shale; and casino money. He noted that food and utilities would remain exempt and the tax would remain at 6 percent.
He noted he could easily cut each department in the state budget by 10 percent to more than cover any left over shortfall.
Rohrer final, and maybe most important, point involved ethics. He said the mistrust many hold for government comes from their elected officials unwillingness to tell the truth and to humbly consider themselves as public servants.
Corbett ought to keep his eye on the rear-view mirror. Rohrer is clearly playing to win and is getting a lot of help from the Tea Party groups.
“Seventy percent of those polled said they would support a Tea Party endorsed candidate over a party-endorsed candidate,” Rohrer said.
Long-time Delaware County activist Rick Lacy backed up that point when he introduced him.
“This year for the first time in 25 years of being involved in politics, I will not be voting for the lesser of two evils,” he said.
Rohrer was scheduled for a stop in Scotland, Pa. in Franklin County. 9 a.m., Saturday.
The uncontrolled mouth of Congressman Joe “The Fink” Sestak (D-Pa7) may send his master down muck creek sans motor.
The Drudge Report and CBS News are now reporting that the top Republican — Darrell Issa (R-Ca49) — on the House Oversight Committe will call for a special prosecutor if the White House does not address Sestak’s claim that he was offered a job to drop his Senate challenge to party comrade Arlen Specter, the incumbent.
Sestak made the claim in mid-February on “Voice of Reason”, a Comcast Network cable news show hosted by veteran anchor Larry Kane.
Sestak said he could not comment that the job was Navy Secretary but did confirm it was “high up”.
If true, the offer would be a violation of federal anti-bribery laws, along with laws prohibiting government officials from interfering in elections and using federal jobs for for political reasons.
Violation of each provision is punishable by up to one year in jail.
Will Sestakgate become a new word? Well, yes it seems. Remember Mr. President, it’s the cover-up not the crime that gets you in trouble.
Meanwhile, Specter, showing the loyalty to friends and benefactors for which he has become famous, said it sounds like bribery to him and basically double-dog dared Admiral Joe to name names and dates.