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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 01:53 PM
Number of posts: 41,277

About Me

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

Journal Archives

Who will be Pennsylvania House speaker come next week? No one is quite sure

It seems no one knows whether Democratic leader Joanna McClinton will replace Mark Rozzi as speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives after special elections take place on Tuesday for three Democratic-held constituencies—including Rozzi or McClinton themselves. The Philadelphia Inquirer says that the chamber has traditionally required a two-thirds vote to recall a speaker, though Rozzi, who won the post in a surprise last month, could voluntarily choose to step aside.

But it doesn't seem like he's eager to do so. Rozzi, a moderate who remains a registered Democrat a month after he pledged to run the chamber as an independent, told the Associated Press this week that he wants to keep his gavel and wouldn’t commit to stepping down to support McClinton, who'd been the chamber's speaker-apparent after Democrats won a majority of seats in November. The Inquirer also recently asked McClinton, who would be the first Black woman to run the state House, if she anticipated becoming speaker “any time soon,” to which she responded, “The answer is, I don’t know.”

Republicans began the week with 101 members in the 203-person House compared to 99 for Rozzi and the other Democrats, with those three blue constituencies vacant. (Democrats won a 102-101 edge in November, but Republicans have still enjoyed a small advantage in membership.) Republicans, though, will lose a representative for a few months because state Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver won a Tuesday special election to the state Senate: Schlegel Culver defeated Democrat Patricia Lawton 70-30 to hold a district that Trump took 67-31, and the contest to fill her comparably red House seat likely won't take place until May 16, the same day as Pennsylvania's regular statewide primary.

Until then, assuming they successfully defend all three seats next week in the Pittsburgh area, Democrats would hold a 102-100 majority. It's likely they will: A prominent conservative organization said in December it was “evaluating opportunities” as far as those three races go, but so far, Republican outside groups don’t appear to have deployed any serious resources in any of these contests.

The most competitive race on paper is for House District 35, a 58-41 Biden seat that Democrat Austin Davis won in November before resigning to become lieutenant governor. (Pennsylvania allows candidates to run for the legislature and another office at the same time.) This race pits Democrat Matt Gergely, who serves as finance director for the community of McKeesport, against Don Nevills, the Republican who lost to Davis 66-34 last year.


PA-HD34: Former police officer, attorney face off in special election to replace Summer Lee

A special election is less than a week away to fill Congresswoman Summer Lee’s former Pennsylvania House seat, which is split between affluent Pittsburgh suburbs like Edgewood and less affluent ones like Braddock.

Pennsylvania Democrats need to sweep three special elections in Allegheny County next week to win a majority in the House. Of the three, the easiest place to win could well be the 34th district. Democrat John Fetterman received more than 82% of the vote there in his 2022 Senate race – about 30 percentage points more than his statewide average. Turnout for special elections is typically low – a factor that could play a role in shaping the outcome.

The Republican, Robert Pagane, is a former police officer and he said he would focus on attracting more funding and try to hold judges more accountable when they provide lenient sentences. Pagane said that a lack of police officers is a more pressing issue than police accountability and that more people would want to become officers if the public stopped second-guessing the police so much.

The Democrat, Abigail Salisbury, has pushed to make police hiring in Swissvale borough more open – and to include more discussion of how to avoid police shootings. She thinks the small municipalities in Allegheny County will have to begin to share police resources more in order to beef up their ranks.


PA-HD32: Voters in District to elect new state representative after Tony DeLuca's death

PENN HILLS, Pa. (KDKA) - Next Tuesday, Feb. 7, is election day for about 200,000 people in Allegheny County. One of the three special elections will be to replace the late Rep. Tony DeLuca of Penn Hills.

For the first time in 40 years, voters in the east suburbs will elect a state representative whose name is not the late Tony DeLuca -- it's the 32nd District in Penn Hills, Oakmont, Verona, and half of Plum -- and the candidates are Democrat Joe McAndrew and Republican Clayton Walker.

"I'm a firm believer that a representative has to speak for the people, not the party. Unfortunately, a lot of times when politicians get settled into a particular office, they lose sight of what got them there to begin with," Walker said.

Walker, a Republican who has lived in Verona and Penn Hills for the last two decades and works in health care customer service, is also a local pastor. He says high taxes, voter integrity and the cost of health care are top among people's concerns, adding, "I have a very good insight into what issues and challenges are in this district. Number one: lack of business opportunities, lack of development. There's an increase in crime that's taken place over the last couple of years."

Democrat McAndrew of Penn Hills worked in the state legislature in Harrisburg and was executive director of the Allegheny County Democratic Party. He's on the Penn Hills Planning Commission and is chair of the Oakmont Chamber of Commerce.


PA-HD32: McAndrew, Walker face challenges as they vie to succeed state Rep. Tony DeLuca

While Walker and McAndrew each have little time to get voters to know who they are, or that there even is an election, McAndrew enjoys the benefit of running in a district where Democrats hold a more than 2-to-1 voter registration advantage over Republicans.

Both men have mounted campaigns that include social media and knocking on doors.

“We are working diligently and as quickly as possible to get to as many residents as possible to inform them about the election and ask them for their vote for me to represent them,” McAndrew said. “I’m a big believer in going and meeting people at their homes and understanding the issues in their neighborhoods. A lot of people are going to see my face in their neighborhood.”

Walker said he and McAndrew are equally unknown among the general public.

“It’s an even playing field in that regard,” he said. “We’re working hard to get the message out. A lot of people don’t know there is a special election, let alone who is running for it.”

The results of the election, along with special elections the same day for the state House’s 34th and 35th districts, will determine which party controls the chamber. Democrats are favored to win all three and will need to do so to have a majority in the House.

“This seat is pivotal to the House of Representatives and will decide the future of the state and the Shapiro agenda,” McAndrew said. “This special election will decide the direction that Pennsylvania is going to go for working people and families.”


Milwaukee County Executive: David Crowley to order special election for 14th supervisory district

MILWAUKEE, WI – On Tuesday, February 14, County Executive David Crowley will formally call for a special election to fill the vacancy in the 14th Supervisory District. According to state statute, signatures to appear on the ballot cannot be collected until the formal call is made.

“As a county, it is important that we do all we can to ensure that all residents are fairly, justly, and equitably represented on the County Board of Supervisors,” said County Executive David Crowley. “Calling a special election ensures that the seat is filled this year and that the constituents of the 14th do not have to go an entire year without a democratically elected representative serving as a voice for their interests on the County Board.”

The special election primary to replace recently retired County Board Supervisor Dyango Zerpa will be part of the General Elections on April 4, 2023, with a special general election held on May 2.

Individuals interested in running for the vacant seat in the 14th Supervisory District must complete and turn in nomination papers to the Milwaukee County Election Commission by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7, 2023.


Trump's Attacks on Early Voting Worry Some in GOP Over Turnout

When Donald Trump attacked early voting in New Hampshire Saturday, he was speaking to an audience who was excited to hear the message. Others aren’t so sure.

Republican officials in the state, one of only four that don’t offer early in-person voting, applauded after Trump lamented its expansion since 2020, vowing that “someday” the US would “be back to doing it the way it’s supposed to be: one-day voting.”

But everywhere else in Trump’s 2024 campaign travels, Republicans are more wary. They worry that his attacks might persuade GOP voters to avoid early in-person voting, hampering turnout in general elections, and leaving the party more vulnerable to Election Day snafus like those in Arizona and Pennsylvania last November.

“When you stick all of your eggs in the basket of in-person voting on a single day, you set yourself up for problems,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.


IN-SEN: Trump endorses Jim Banks for Indiana Senate seat

Former President Trump on Wednesday officially endorsed Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) in the Indiana Senate primary, another sign that the GOP is coalescing around his candidacy in the race.

“Jim Banks is running for the United States Senate from the Great State of Indiana. I know Jim well, have seen him tested at the highest and most difficult levels, and WIN!” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “Strong on the Border, Crime, our Military and our Vets, Jim will fight for low taxes and regulations, Sanity in Government, and our under siege 2nd Amendment.”

“Jim Banks is respected by all, will never let you down, and has my Complete & Total Endorsement!” he added.

The move comes a day after former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) announced that he would not run for the seat and the National Republican Senatorial Committee officially endorsed him.


Hogan giving 'very serious consideration' to White House bid, says Trump won't be GOP nominee

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Wednesday said he is giving “very serious consideration” to running for president in 2024 and added that he does not expect former President Trump to become the Republican nominee.

Hogan said in an interview on Fox News Channel’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” that he was willing to “stand up” and say when he disagreed with actions Trump took as president. He said he agrees with many of Trump’s policies but does not believe the former president would be the GOP’s strongest nominee to win the general election in 2024.

Hogan said the Republican Party needs a candidate who can appeal to a “broader audience of people” and win swing voters after the party suffered defeats in the 2018 midterms, the 2020 presidential race and the 2022 midterms.

Many in the Republican Party blamed Trump for the party’s performance in the November 2022 midterms, in which many of the candidates he endorsed during the primaries went on to lose in key races for the House and Senate and in gubernatorial contests.


Former Nashville mayor mulls comeback five years after stepping down following scandal

Former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has expressed interest in running this year to regain the post she left in 2018 following a scandal, a move that came shortly after incumbent John Cooper unexpectedly announced he would not seek re-election. Barry became one of the most prominent Democrats in Tennessee following her 2015 win, but she quit three years later as part of a plea deal for felony theft related to an affair with the former head of her security detail.

Barry’s hardly the only person, though, who is mulling running in the August nonpartisan primary: Axios’ Nate Rau responded to Cooper’s retirement by tweeting, “I have never fielded the crush of gossipy phone calls like have poured in since Mayor Cooper's announcement. It's bonkers out there folks.” Davidson County Assessor Vivian Wilhoite says she’ll form an exploratory committee, while Rau and Nashville Banner’s Steve Cavendish have each rounded up statements from other would-be candidates who are showing some interest:

- Attorney and 2015 candidate Charles Robert Bone
- State Rep. Bob Freeman
- Businessman Jim Gingrich
- Register of Deeds Karen Johnson
- 2022 congressional nominee Odessa Kelly
- Juvenile Court Clerk Lonnell Matthews
- Metro Councilmember Bob Mendes
- State Sen. Jeff Yarbro


Kansas Supreme Court Hears Lawsuit Over Voter Suppression Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Kansas Supreme Court heard oral argument regarding an appeal in a lawsuit challenging Kansas voter suppression law House Bill 2183 for violating the state constitution. Although the lawsuit challenges multiple provisions of H.B. 2183, the specific provisions at issue in this appeal — hereinafter referred to as the “false representation provisions” — make it a felony for an individual to knowingly “[r]epresent[] oneself as an election official, engage[] in conduct that gives the appearance of being an election official or engage[] in conduct that would cause another person to believe a person engaging in such conduct is an election official.” In their amended petition, the pro-voting groups behind this lawsuit allege that the false representation provisions are both vague and “inherently subjective” since there is no way to tell whether individuals will mistakenly believe that members of civic and voter engagement organizations with whom they interact are “election officials.” They also argue that these pro-voting organizations are especially at risk under these provisions since many of the voter registration and engagement activities that they undertake often “overlap with actions that election officials may take.”

On July 15, 2022, the Kansas Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s decision denying the petitioners’ motion for a temporary injunction seeking to ban the enforcement of the false representation provision and wholly dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims against the provision, finding that the pro-voting organizations that brought lawsuit lacked standing (meaning capacity to sue). As a result, the false representation provisions of H.B. 2183, among others, currently remain in effect. In today’s oral argument, the Kansas Supreme Court heard from the parties over whether to affirm or reverse the lower court’s decision to dismiss the claims against these anti-voting provisions. The Kansas Supreme Court is comprised of seven justices, but one justice — Justice Daniel Biles — recused himself from today’s argument, meaning that only six of the justices will participate in deliberations and ultimately issue a decision on the appeal.

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