BY JOE SHAHEELI/ Distinguishing this summer from Memorial Day through to Labor Day will be the presence of the Pennsylvania gubernatorial campaign on television and online media. That activity will go unnoticed by the rank and file of both political parties, save for the hardcore activists who show up at Brady Beach Party and the Billy Meehan Clambake.
Our sources tell us: Donâ€™t be surprised if Democrat nominee for Governor Tom Wolf makes several dozen appearances in Philadelphia to enthuse voters and remind them of their duty to cast their votes. The same goes for Gov. Tom Corbett, whose campaign team has planned special announcements along Philadelphiaâ€™s industrial and commercial sites, promoting his job-creation efforts.
Donâ€™t be surprised if the normally united Building Trades and other Joint Councils fail to unite behind Wolf as would normally be expected. Look for a split in the ranks.
Based on previous performances and donation records, odds are Local 98 chief John Dougherty may repeat his financial contributions with the same amounts for Gov. Corbett as his PACs did four years ago.
First of the labor unions to cross over to Corbett was Pittsburghâ€™s Laborers District Council, big and politically active, quite similar to its sister LDC in Philadelphia and vicinity.
Much ado was made by anti-Corbett forces, composed of Democrats as well as some disgruntled Republicans, how Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley outvoted Corbett when totals were posted after the primary election. A bit more than 26,868 GOP voters either wrote in another candidate or left the ballot for Governor blank.
Overall, Corbett underperformed Cawley by 7%. His undervote was 7% in his home County of Allegheny, and 9% in Cawleyâ€™s home County of Bucks. In the two counties that saw the highest number of GOP ballots cast, though, Montgomery and Lancaster, Corbettâ€™s under vote was a mere 2%.
But with their spleen vented, where else can Republicans go in November?
Add to Corbettâ€™s favor the fact Americans are generally disillusioned with government.
Polls show less than 10% percent of voters think most Members of Congress have done a good enough job to deserve re-election. While this number has been low historically, 5% is the lowest ever recorded in CBS News polls with, nearly 9 in 10 say itâ€™s time to give new people a chance. There is also a partisan enthusiasm gap: 44% of Republicans say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year, compared to 36% of Democrats.
If Tom Wolf is as savvy as his commercials lead us to believe, he will ignore all the pundits and polls showing Corbett to be a push over.
Would you believe our publisher and editor Jim Tayoun missed all four Democratic gubernatorial candidates who met for breakfast last Friday at the Oregon Diner in South Philadelphia! But he showed up in time to catch Congressman Bob Brady jawing with the press.
Candidates answered invitation to breakfast from Brady for a â€œunity breakfastâ€. Appropriately, Brady joined them as did former Gov. Ed Rendell, US Sen. Bob Casey and Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chair Jim Burn.
Brady and Burn bracketed the group by sitting on both ends. Rendell, Tom Wolf and Allyson Schwartz sat on one side while Rob McCord, Casey and Katie McGinty sat on the other.
The Pennsylvania GOP, as you might imagine, isnâ€™t buying this kumbaya moment. As we told you early on in the primary, the Corbett campaign has captured many quips, charges, etc., all leveled at Wolf by his competitors.
Lt. Gov. Cawley revealed this strategy last week, saying, â€œThe Corbett-Cawley campaign has taken detailed notes of Tom Wolfâ€™s tax-and-spend policies, and we will waste no time pulling back the curtain and introducing Pennsylvanians, for the first time, to the real Tom Wolf,â€ he promised. â€œOnce the true story of Tom Wolf is told, I have no doubt that Gov. Corbett and I will be victorious in November.â€
ALL State Rep.Margo Davidson (D-Delaware) surprised even her enthusiastic supporters by vaulting over her competition to secure her third term as the first African American, first woman, first Democrat to hold the 164th Dist. seat in Upper Darby.
She wisely credited â€œa strong Democratic coalition in Delaware Co. ready to defeat Republicans in November. I was supported and endorsed by Upper Darby Councilwoman at Large Barbarann Keffer, Councilwoman Sekala Coles, Councilman Bob Gwin, Lansdowne Councilman Robert Radich, Millbourne Mayor Tom Kramer, E. Lansdowne Mayor John Dukes and Yeadon Mayor Rohan Hepkins. This coalition of Democrats is going to build the Delaware Co. Democratic party into a winning party. Thatâ€™s why we won.â€
Davidson continued, â€œI was targeted by Democrats trying to twist the truth about my record and I pushed back hard. The Tea Party style politics of former State Rep. Bryan Lentz, Democratic Party Chairman David Landau and Upper Darby Democratic Party Chairman Ed Bradley must be called out.â€
State Rep. Brian Simsâ€™ (D-S. Phila.) effort to support legislative candidates was a total collapse. He went 0 for 5, supporting Jared Solomon against incumbent State Rep. Mark Cohen (D-Northeast); challenger Billy Smith against incumbent Margo Davidson; State Rep. Erin Molchany against State Rep. Harry Readshaw (both D-Allegheny), who had been thrown together by redistricting; State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) for Congress and Allyson Schwartz for Governor.
More he does of this, the more will his list of unfriendlies grow.
A new poll by Zogby Analytics shows the President gaining two percentage points in his approval rating since earlier in May. The new poll, conducted online among 902 likely voters (May 21-22) has the President’s approval at 47%, with 50% disapproving.
A close look at the Zogby pollâ€™s internals reveals some significant areas of improvement. He gained four points among women â€“ 49%, up from 45% on May 2-3 â€“ and voters over 65 years of age, 37%, up from 32%. Obama also improved his standing with Democrats by four points (81%, compared with 77%), liberals (83%, from 79%), and 50-64 year olds (42%, from 38%).
The Green Party of Philadelphia has issued a call for a reform of the voting procedures used in Pennsylvania. At the present time, a candidate for office is able to declare victory and take office without earning the support of a majority of the voters. This happened several times in the Democratic primary and itâ€™s wrong, say the Greens.
â€œThe Pennsylvania system is unjust,â€ said Glenn Davis, a chair of the Green Party City Committee from Hestonville in W. Philadelphia. â€œWe call this a representative democracy, but we insult that name with every ballot cast.â€
â€œDuring the May primary,â€ explained Chris Robinson, member of the GPOP City Committee from Germantown, â€œthe most influential contest in which democracy was flaunted was the statewide primary to choose a Democratic Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor.â€ Mike Stack was declared the winner, even though he earned only 47% of the vote. â€œA total of 394,325 Democrats voted against Stack,â€ noted Robinson.
For the 13th Congressional Dist. nomination, Brendan Boyle earned only 41% of the vote. In the 4th Senatorial Dist., Art Haywood has been called the victor with only 40% of the vote.
The Greens propose that Pennsylvania adopt an instant-runoff method to choose between the top two contenders in cases like these, a system other states now employ.
Republican Council at-Large candidate Matt Wolfe thanked his supporters in an online commentary as to his effort to win that position from victor Councilman-elect Ed Nielson, who should be sworn and on duty today as City Council meets. He cited a poor turnout of the electorate for making his effort an uphill climb on a slippery slope. Wolfe should realize his campaign did him justice as a Republican leader, however. Â
With all city votes in and counted, it was a show of strength that stopped Tom Wolf from running away with the Democratic votes in the primary. Chairman Bob Brady managed to get enough votes to give endorsed candidate Allyson Schwartz a decent showing, bringing her in number two. Five wards brought her in above Wolf. They were John Doughertyâ€™s 1st Ward, John Oâ€™Connellâ€™s 9th Ward, Rondal Couserâ€™s 22nd Ward and John Sabatina, Sr.â€™s 56th Ward.