POLS ON THE STREET: Record Low Turnout Predicted For Tuesday

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POWER brokers stand behind candidacy of Danny Savage for State Senate in the 2nd Senatorial Dist. include Mark Sheppard, Fred Santarelli, Shannon McClure, Savage, former City Councilman; Hon. Gene Cohen; and labor and Ward Leader John J. Dougherty. Photo by Maria Merlino

POWER brokers stand behind candidacy of Danny Savage for State Senate in the 2nd Senatorial Dist. include Mark Sheppard, Fred Santarelli, Shannon McClure, Savage, former City Councilman; Hon. Gene Cohen; and labor and Ward Leader John J. Dougherty. Photo by Maria Merlino

BY JOE SHAHEELI/ We hope we’re wrong, but all the signs point to the fact almost 90% of you voters will not be casting your ballot next Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Don’t tell me I’m full of whatever, but based on the signs of voter interest evidenced by applications for absentee ballots, we could see a record low turnout, between 9 to 11%.

That’s the feeling shared by Acting Superintendent of Elections Tim Dowling, who has been doing double duty at the helm of the Registrations Division of the City Commissioners. His office has mailed out 4,940 absentee-ballot applications to eligible voters overseas. Another 1,209 applicant requests were turned in by locals. As of last Friday, only 572 absentee ballots were turned in.

Dowling said, “I’m hoping I am wrong and maybe a surge will come in the next few days, but unless the general media hypes up this election, we are heading for a record low turnout.”

DOC’S PANZER DIVISIONS READY FOR PRIMARY WAR

A turnout at the Palm for a fundraiser in honor of former Councilman and Ward Leader Dan Savage was promoted by Business Mgr. of IBEW Local 98 John J. Dougherty, also a ward leader. It was a declaration of war for a primary seat that normally would not be challenged.

Dougherty made it obvious Savage would be challenging State Sen. Christine Tarta­glione (D-Kensington) for the 2nd Senatorial Dist. seat. Sen. Tina will be seeking her sixth four-year term in the coming primary. Though wheelchair-bound by a freak boating accident, she has not been hindered in her work in the Senate and her district. Tartaglione will now face her toughest challenge in 20 years if party leaders cannot get Savage out of the race.

Tartaglione’s diverse 2nd Dist. stretches from Kensington north to Bustleton. She is responsible for legislation boosting minimum wage in the State in 2007, long before the Feds got around to it. Savage presently works for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Dougherty admits he used his financial resources and man power to deny City Commission Chairlady Marge Tartaglione her seat in 2011. That was because she supported Marty Bednarek against Bob Henon, his choice in the 6th Dist. Council race, which Henon won.

MEMBERS of General Assembly can be seen here welcoming ladies of Penna. Federation of Democratic Women for their annual Ladies In Blue conference. Seated is State Sen. Tina Tartaglione. Phila’s Gwendolyn Collins is president of group. Photo by Dave Fetter

MEMBERS of General Assembly can be seen here welcoming ladies of Penna. Federation of Democratic Women for their annual Ladies In Blue conference. Seated is State Sen. Tina Tartaglione. Phila’s Gwendolyn Collins is president of group. Photo by Dave Fetter

Savage, Democratic leader of the 23rd Ward, won a special election for City Council’s 7th District seat in 2006 with support from his fellow ward leaders. But Maria Quiñones Sánchez beat him in the primary a year later and again in the 2011 primary.

Dougherty will be heavily involved in the 174th Legislative seat primary which pits State Rep. Ed Neilson against State Rep. John Sabatina, Jr. (both D-Northeast). Neilson is like a blood brother to Doc and blood will run in this battle. Unless, of course, the powers to be come up with a settlement – a seat for one, a plum for the other.

The third arena requiring his attention dovetails with the Sabatina-Neilson battle, since he is reportedly pushing State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Northeast) to take the 13th Congressional Dist.

Those who know Johnny Doc best believe he’ll lend help where needed to friends who may be facing surprising opponents in the next primary. So far, his stretch of winners continues to marvel those who study the political arena. Of the three in which he is involving himself, any two of them could be his Waterloo or his being crowned kingmaker.

In the Tartaglione arena, Dougherty will find a huge array of labor unions united and committed to the Senator. He will have his work cut out for him in trying to separate them from her long record of service.

PRESS BLACKOUT ON ASHER FUNDRAISER

We are not able to bring you photo coverage of what obviously was a major turnout of Republican backers for the event held by Bob Asher, Rob Gleason and State Rep. John Taylor in honor of GOP District Attorney candidate Danny Alvarez at Union League. When our staff arrived, we were politely told, “no pics”.

Whatever Asher does, he does well, as you can see by his candies flying off shelves around holidays. So we believe some of the money may be going to fund a television blitz. Then, of course, there is the need for street money, and the GOP is fielding a stronger force election day then they have in past years.

QUEEN of the night Donna Aument and daughter Marnie Aument-Loughrey welcome Congressman Bob Brady with Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and judicial candidate Timika Lane. Photo by Bill Myers

QUEEN of the night Donna Aument and daughter Marnie Aument-Loughrey welcome Congressman Bob Brady with Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and judicial candidate Timika Lane. Photo by Bill Myers

KNOX IS IN MAYORAL RACE FOR REAL

Maybe this is Tom Knox’s time to take a run at winning the Democratic primary for Mayor. He’s learned from past mistakes. He’s taking the time to learn how to better project in front of a television audience, how to be more of a smoothie in crowds and to develop a warmer personality than he has projected. His campaign team is already on board. Money seems to be no object and veteran campaigner Attorney George Bochetto is one of his campaign consultants. With the public tired of ever-hiking fees, higher taxes, and poorer services, the electorate could be led to believe, with a clever television campaign, it’s time to put a businessman at the helm of city government. However, word on the street is he’s going to have fierce competition, from frontrunners City Controller Alan Butkovitz and State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams. Both have been traveling around the city and addressing various groups, in the performance of their duties.

GROUP SINGLES OUT CASTILLE FOR ‘NO’ RETENTION VOTE

State-government reform advocates are pressing for a “no” vote on retention of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille in the Nov. 5 general election. Castille, who is 69, will be required to retire at age 70 if he is retained.

Rock The Capital, a nonpartisan, voter-education organization that was founded in 2005 in reaction to the controversial passage in the General Assembly of pay raises for its members as well as for statewide judiciary, is carrying on its website a plea for voters to deny Chief Justice Castille. It was written by Tom Potts, who helped found another anti-establishment group, Democracy Rising PA.

Watchdog Potts excoriated the Chief Justice as having “distinguished himself for poor judgment, legal sleight-of-hand, intemperance, double-standards of conduct, and allowing corruption in our courts to flourish.” Potts cited Castille’s decision that his own pay raise was constitutional in 2005 as one reason for a “no” vote. He also criticized Castille for having overlooked warning signs in the Luzerne Co. “cash for kids” juvenile-justice scandal and for steering the new $200 million Family Court building to a contractor represented by an attorney he was friends with.

RELAXING at suave dinner dance in Germantown were State Rep. Rosita Youngblood, left, with many loyal backers, among them Cynthia Parker, Charles Carn and Carletta Mason.

RELAXING at suave dinner dance in Germantown were State Rep. Rosita Youngblood, left, with many loyal backers, among them Cynthia Parker, Charles Carn and Carletta Mason.

Normally judicial retention votes are a sure thing for incumbents. But Castille’s fellow Philadelphian Justice Russell Nigro was actually turfed by voters in the November 2005 election as punishment for endorsing that notorious pay increase. That was eight years ago, however. It remains to be seen if voters’ memories will stretch that far back in Castille’s case.

STACK IS BUSY BEE IN LT. GUV RACE

Only a man with the stamina of State Sen. Michael Stack (D-Northeast) can make it happen. But this past week he attended three ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Now that he has declared for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor, see him to be doing more traveling outside his senatorial district. In one day, he opened Klein JCC Dental Center, followed by ribbon-cutting at Pulaski Park for the Delaware River trail, and a final kickoff for a Wills Eye Hospital facility.

STRETTON FILES BRIEF FOR T.C. JUDGES

Attorney Sam Stretton, fresh from a victory ordering restitution for former Traffic Court Judge Michael Lowry, who now will be paid his full salary while he fights criminal charges, has filed a brief on behalf of the three Democratic Traffic Court candidates who were nominated for that court this spring, only to have the Supreme Court wipe it out. He contends this is a violation of separation-of-offices power, the SC usurping the authority of the legislature.

In our eyes, those who won those seats should now be running for office in the Nov. 5 general election. Then they should sit in Traffic Court hearing cases until their duly elected terms run out.

COUNCILMAN David Oh, right, joined platoon of veteran groups at Paddy Whacks on South Street in lively fundraiser for Medal of Honor winner Jon Cavaiani, a Vietnam War veteran who was recently diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disorder.

COUNCILMAN David Oh, right, joined platoon of veteran groups at Paddy Whacks on South Street in lively fundraiser for Medal of Honor winner Jon Cavaiani, a Vietnam War veteran who was recently diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disorder.

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