Remember The York County Upsets, Establishment Bosses

Remember The York County Upsets

By Bob Small

Normally, I wouldn’t discuss political goings-on in York County, a hundred miles from Swarthmore and Delaware County.  After all, what could possibly happen there that is meaningful to us in Delco?

However, at this time a very effective rebellion has taken place in York, and two long-term GOP incumbents have been upset.  Both chaired their respective Appropriations Committees and we will discuss Keith Gillespie’s even more surprising loss in an upcoming post.

These losses led York County GOP Chairman Jeff Piccola to resign within minutes of the polls closing.

Remember The York County Upsets, Establishment Bosses
Wendy Fink

The 94th District consists of 14 towns: Chanceford Township, Delta, East Prospect, Felton, Lower Chanceford Township, Lower Windsor Township, Peach Bottom Township, Red Lion, Stewartstown, Windsor, Windsor Township, Winterstown, Yorkana, and parts of Springettsbury Township.  This district had been a GOP stronghold since 1969. Prior to that, seats were apportioned by county.

Representative Stan Saylor was defeated by Wendy Fink, who had 5,408 votes to Saylor’s 4,300. Mike Jones (R-93rd) was one of the most prominent people to support her insurgency. Keep in mind that Saylor served almost three decades in politics and described himself as the “most conservative House Appropriations Chairman in decades”, yet, he was defeated.

“This victory really belongs to the people,” Ms. Fink said. “They came out. They made their voices heard. They demanded change, and I look forward to serving them in any way that I can.”

Piccola had sought to have Mike Jones censured by the party for his endorsement of Wendy Fink. The party, quite rightly, refused to comply.

Wendy Jo Fink, like many state representatives of both stripes, has promised to eliminate school property taxes. If she finds the magic formula to eliminate school property taxes without reducing school funding, we may want her to present her formula in Delco.

Leo Knepper, the political director of the Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania (CAP) said “Just because you have an ‘R’ behind your name doesn’t mean you’re doing the right thing.” 

Citizens Alliance for Pennsylvania took some credit for some of these victories.  See their website for information.

Let me end with the Democratic perspective. Democratic Appropriations Chairman Matt Bradford (D-70)  has said “Compromise has become a dirty word.” He worries that the ideological wing of the Republican Party is growing, while the governing wing is shrinking.”

Incumbent Dem Loses In 194th Primary After Being Outspent 10 To 1

Incumbent Dem Loses In 194th Primary After Being Outspent 10 To 1

By Bob Small

In one of the five most expensive Pennsylvania Democratic State House races, Tarik Khan beat incumbent Pamela DeLissio in the primary after outspending her, 10 to one.

Khan spent $283,705 to Ms. DeLissio’s $27,488. He received 59.9% of the vote to her 40.1%.

Since the GOP did not field a candidate, Tarik will be the next representative from the 194th District.

The 194th includes part of Lower Merion Township and part of Philadelphia, and is traditionally Democrat. Its best known representative ever may have been Herbert Fineman, who was forced to resign.

Incumbent Dem Loses In 194th Primary After Being Outspent 10 To 1
Tarik Khan

Khan is a University of Pennsylvania nursing PhD student. He received his masters degree in nursing from LaSalle University and is employed as a family nurse practitioner at Philly’s Abbotsford-Falls Health Center. He has been a lifelong political activist.

The son of a Pakistani immigrant, Khan speaks of “growing up as a Muslim kid with a Catholic mother in a Jewish neighborhood”.  As a nurse, he is following his mother’s career path. 

The biggest contributors to Khan’s campaign were family, $32,000; the 314 Action Victory Science Fund, $27,500; and Impact PAC Federal,                           $15,000.

Khan said he also “received over 1,000 contributions from about 700 individuals”. One wonders about the current cost to run successfully for public office in this state and, indeed, in this country.

Ms. DeLissio has served as representative since 2011.  She has a record of holding 116 town-hall meetings over the past ten years, and just held her 118th such meeting last week. She chaired the Children and Youth Committee.

Incumbent Dem Loses In 194th Primary After Being Outspent 10 To 1

John Lawrence Pressed On Voting Concerns In Chesco

John Lawrence Pressed On Voting Concerns In Chesco — Good for Carmela Ciliberti who is keeping the pressure on Pennsylvania State Rep. John Lawrence (R-13), especially regarding voter integrity.

She sent the below letter in which she pointed out that Chester County’s Board of Elections provided an insufficient amount of Republican Primary ballots to the West Nottingham precinct and that for hours Republicans were turned away from the ballot box.

“Were these voters notified when more ballots were delivered?” she said. “How many of these voters had the ability to return to cast their ballot?”

She says the cause of the issue is Act 77, a law for which Lawrence voted.

“Prior to Act 77, the county board would have been required to provide 1,100 Republican ballots to the West Nottingham precinct; enough to cover the increased voter participation during the the May 17 Primary,” she said. “However, due to Act 77, the county board was only required to provide approximately 100 Republican ballots thereby preventing hundreds of Republican voters from exercising their constitutional right.”

Carmela ran an unsuccessful challenge to the establishment-favored incumbent in the May primary.

John Lawrence Pressed On Voting Concerns In Chesco -- Good for Carmela Ciliberti who is keeping the pressure on Pennsylvania State Rep. John Lawrence (R-13)
John Lawrence Pressed On Voting Concerns In Chesco

Kazeem KOs Kirkland In 159th Race

Kazeem KOs Kirkland In 159th Race

By Bob Small

For the first time in nearly three decades, there will not be a Kirkland as the state representative for the 159th State House district in Harrisburg. Thaddeus Kirkland served from 1993 to 2016 and was succeeded by Brian Joseph Kirkland, his nephew. Thaddeus Kirkland then became the mayor of Chester after leaving the State Rep job and is now the Director of Public Affairs in the city of Chester

The revised parameters of the 159th are Chester,  Eddystone, Lower Chichester Township, Marcus Hook, Parkside,  Trainer, and Upper Chichester Township.  Chester is the only city in Delco.  Founded in 1682 by William Penn, it is also the oldest city in Pennsy.

Kazeem KOs Kirkland In 159th Race
Carol Kazeem

Carol Kazeem, who ran a grassroots campaign as a citizen-activist, got approximately 56 percent of the vote.  She promises to have “power returned to the people”.  She is employed as a trauma outreach specialist.  She garnered plenty of support during her speech on election night, including that of Chester city-council member Stefan Roots and his campaign manager, Todd Strine, co-owner of the Swarthmorean newspaper.

During the campaign, there was a misstep by Kirkland’s campaign staff, which incorrectly listed the AFL-CIO and PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association) as supporters of Kirkland.  However, PSEA endorsed  his opponent, and the AFL-CIO did not endorse anyone in this race.  Kirkland’s campaign based these listings on prior endorsements and “simply assumed this would be the case again”. This misstep received major play in various media.

Overall, this primary season there were numerous incumbents who lost their races for various offices. Is this perhaps a harbinger of changes to come? I will discuss this in an upcoming blog.

Kazeem KOs Kirkland In 159th Race

8th District Remains Williams Dynasty

8th District Remains Williams Dynasty

By Bob Small

Anthony Hardy Williams won handily on May 17 in the Democratic primary race for the 8th Pennsylvania state Senate  District, with 75 percent of the vote.  

The district consists of parts of southwest Philadelphia; and townships of Darby and Tinicum and the boroughs of Collingdale, Colwyn, Darby, Folcroft, Norwood, Sharon Hill and Yeadon, all in Delaware County.

8th District Remains Williams Dynasty
Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams

Williams has been a tireless advocate for charter schools and the legislation enabling them, including tax credit programs.  He also worked to include Holocaust education in the public high-school curriculum, to prevent public school employees with sexual misconduct issues from transferring from one school to another, and to create a Diversity Apprenticeship Program in the labor movement. 

But let’s put this in context.

Williams has held the 8th District seat since 1999 winning it after his father, Hardy Williams, stepped down. Dad had held the seat since 1983.

Maybe it’s understandable the 65-year-old politician thinks the seat is his birthright. He viewed his first real challenge from Paul Prescod, 31-year-old Philadelphia school teacher whose father immigrated from Barbados, as “insulting“.

Good citizens should find it insulting that a politicians would think a challenge is insulting.

Williams supporters are also problematic. Jeffrey Yass for instance is “a Montgomery County billionaire charter-school advocate who generally supports Republicans”. 

Usually, campaign donors favor one party only, but we may be entering a new era of cross-over political supporters.

Prescod has been supported by groups like Reclaim Philadelphia –which helped select one of my former union compatriots, G. Roni Green, as a candidate for state representative; the Philly chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), known most recently for supporting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; and the Working Families Party, a Democratic Party support group masquerading as a separate party.

Based on the separate negatives of support for each candidate,, the 27th Ward Democrats declined to make an endorsement. 

It turns out the Pennsylvania GOP was too busy to field a candidate, so Anthony Hardy Williams will be running against a real nobody.  That is, unless a Constitution Party, Green Party, Independent Party or Libertarian Party candidate can attain ballot status by November.

8th District Remains Williams Dynasty

Swarthmore Getting New State Rep

Swarthmore Getting New State Rep

By Bob Small

Besides the State wide elections, there were other elections on Primary Day. Some of these elections may actually be just as important to our day-to-day lives.

On May 17, for the first time in four election cycles , not one vote in Swarthmore was cast for Leanne Kruger-Braneky aka Leanne Kruger. The ballot was a matter of shock and dismay for those Swarthmoreans unaware that the last census had caused the Legislative Reapportionment Commission to move Swarthmore out of the 161st District into the 165th.

She was first elected in 2015 as Leanne Kruger-Braneky, but sometime over the past few terms the couple divorced and thus, she lost her hyphenated name. Though originally from New Jersey, she has been granted “unofficial Swarthmore citizenship. “ My experience is that she, or her office, knew what to do for what we call “constituent service”, helping anyone who needed to weave through the labyrinthine government bureaucracy, without it being dependent on “party” or any inside knowledge, which is the way it should be but normally isn’t.  We will miss her for the example she set.

Swarthmore Getting New State Rep
Leanne Kruger no longer in Swarthmore

Leanne will be facing Ed Mongeluzzo in November for her new position.

He is focusing on outreach to veterans. According to his website and Facebook posts, his finances are almost nil.  Hopefully, the GOP  will realize he is running against a Democrat and provide support.

The replacement legislator, now that Swarthmore is the 165th, is Jennifer O’Mara.  Jennifer comes from a blue collar background and  has an inspiring backstory.   She is both a graduate and an employee of the fabled University of Pennsylvania.  Jennifer believes “there is more that unites us than divides us”.

As Chris Freind has pointed out, however, she has a free ride in November.

This would be the same free ride the Congressional Candidates in our congressional, 3, 13, and 14 have this November. 

Wonder how that happened?

Hopefully, someone(s) from the Constitution, Green, or Libertarian Party or even an Independent candidate will  get the requisite signatures to be on some of these ballots.   

Otherwise, why waste the space on the ballot?

Swarthmore Getting New State Rep

Fetterman Benefitted From Poor Lamb Campaign

Fetterman Benefitted From Poor Lamb Campaign

By Bob Small

Despite his hospitalization for a stroke, during Stroke Awareness Month, Lt Gov. John Fetterman won the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate with almost 60 percent of the vote. 

He won because of an inept campaign by his main opponent.  There may have been other factors restricting the vote totals of his other two opponents, such as homophobia and Islamaphobia.

Fetterman Benefitted From Poor Lamb Campaign
John Fetterman

Fetterman’s main opponent, Congressman Conor Lamb (D-17), was widely expected to mount a strong challenge, but not so.

“It’s one of the worst campaigns I’ve ever seen run,” Democratic Party strategist Mike Mikus said in an interview in McClatchy DC.

Lamb received around 26 percent of the vote.

“Voters told the New York Times they saw Conor Lamb as another Joe Manchin,” said political commentator Krystal Ball.  

So much for centrists.

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-181), with 10 percent of the vote, was hoping to be the first Black man and first gay person to be a Pennsylvania senator.

His campaign promised to work towards abolishing the Electoral College and to establish a moratorium on new fracking sites. He often campaigned with his husband, Dr. Matthew Jordan Miller Kenyatta.

There’s a short documentary about Kenyatta’s previous election run called “Going Forward,” created by Seven Knots Productions.

In an interview after his loss, Kenyatta stated that “Allowing any one of these Republicans to become Pennsylvania’s senator will be the canary in the coal mine for democracy dying on our watch,” said Kenyatta in an interview after his loss.

Not quite a centrist.

The fourth and final candidate was Alex Khalil, a Jenkintown councilwoman and a long-time Democratic activist.  She has electrical engineering and law degrees from Temple University, and a library and information technology degree from Drexel.

“We really didn’t have enough help for small businesses in this country,” she said regarding government aid during the pandemic. Another issue of concern to her is the inclusion of more job-training programs for students.

She mentions some really innovative ideas, including “the right to farm”, PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes), which would affect the endowments of colleges and universities, and funding for high-speed rail in Pennsylvania.

Ms. Khalil was hoping to be the first woman elected to the Senate from Pennsylvania, as well as the first Muslim senator. She is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. 

Fetterman Benefitted From Poor Lamb Campaign

Pennsylvania Election Disgrace As Senate Winner Remains Unknown

Pennsylvania Election Disgrace As Senate Winner Remains Unknown — Here we are in Pennsylvania 14 hours after the polls closed and we still aren’t sure who won the most talked about election of this year .

Will Mehmet Oz or Dave McCormick be the Republican who takes on John “Whatcha doin’ joggin’ on my street, boy” Fetterman for U.S. Senate this November?

Pennsylvania Election Disgrace As Senate Winner Remains Unknown
So, did he win? Can’t say yet.

The official Department of State website’s data is thousands of votes behind that of tweeters.

Oh yeah, and did you see were 21,000 mail-in ballots were unscannable in Lancaster County due to a printing error?

Has anybody investigated the broken seal on ballot drop box at the Avon Grove Library in Chester County, or is that just being shrugged off?

The citizen candidates we backed — Mike Miller, Ron Vogel, Carmela Ciliberti and Alex Entin — didn’t win getting between 30 and 40 percent of the vote excepting Vogel who got 20 percent in a four-way race.

None of these people should be embarrassed. Their performance was remarkable considering their lack of money and their establishment opposition.

And none better go away. They are now all veterans with experience and knowledge to be shared.

This is no longer a contest between Republicans and Democrats but between Citizens and Partisans.

Citizens are those who get involved in government to serve. Partisans are those whose motivation in politics is an easy life.

The advantage the Partisan has is investors. The lovers of money are always willing to invest a little to make a lot which is why the Partisan is always going to have money people willing to give him a look.

The advantage the Citizen has is potentially overwhelming numbers. People really don’t like those who take their money just to make their lives harder.

They do have to be woken up, however.

Pennsylvania Election Disgrace As Senate Winner Remains Unknown

Seal Shows Tampering On Ballot Drop Box In West Grove, Pa.

Seal Shows Tampering On Ballot Drop Box In West Grove, Pa. — A security seal has found altered this morning (May 16) on the ballot drop box at the Avon Grove Library in West Grove, Pa.

Carmela Ciliberti has informed the Chester County Commissioners, Voter Services Director Karen Barsoum, District Attorney Deb Ryan and Sheriff Fredda Maddox and provided photographic evidence.

Ms. Ciliberti is seeking to unseat incumbent John Lawrence in 13th State House District in tomorrow’s Republican Primary.

Seal Shows Tampering On Ballot Drop Box In West Grove, Pa.
The seal at 2:34 p.m., May 15.
Seal Shows Tampering On Ballot Drop Box In West Grove, Pa.
The seal at 9:31 a.m., May 16
Seal Shows Tampering On Ballot Drop Box In West Grove, Pa.
The letter informing those charged with enforcing election law.
Seal Shows Tampering On Ballot Drop Box In West Grove, Pa.
%d bloggers like this: