We begin this week’s missive by temporarily suspending the customary snark, and we’ll pass up the psychoanalysis and knife-twisting in noting the resignation of Attorney General Kathleen Kane following her conviction on perjury and other charges this week. For the moment, the baton has been passed to First Deputy Bruce Castor, former Montgomery County DA/former Republican AG candidate. Sentencing is next month, and Kane’s attorney says her conviction will be appealed.
Governor Wolf subsequently nominated Inspector General Bruce Beemer to serve the remainder of Kane’s term. Beemer, a former OAG first deputy, must be confirmed by the Senate, and he was immediately endorsed by Senate Republican leaders. There was no immediate word on when a confirmation vote will occur. A new attorney general will be sworn in in January, and Beemer said he’ll return to the inspector general slot. May the healing process begin, for the hundreds of capable and dedicated OAG staffers and all other residents of the commonwealth.
Snark back on…
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is basking in the warmth of increasing leads in several key states, including ours. A poll out this week by Quinnipiac University showed Clinton ahead by double-digits in Colorado and Virginia, and edging Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Iowa as well.
Trump hit the reset button on his campaign – again – this time demoting his top adviser and bringing on two new guys with absolutely no campaign experience whatsoever. Sure, that should work. It’s a couple of pals who supposedly encourage his bombastic persona, so don’t expect anything resembling presidential temperament anytime soon. Deposed campaign chair Paul Manafort took the Trump hint and resigned rather than wait around for the dreaded Trump words, “You’re fired.” Conservative pundit Charlie Sykes won the internet with his tweet, “Trump's campaign has now entered the Hospice Phase. He knows he's dying and wants to surround himself with his loved ones.”
Clinton appeared twice this week in the Keystone State, once again signifying the importance of Pennsylvania in the presidential contest. Monday was in Scranton, with Scrantonian/Vice President Joe Biden, and Tuesday was in West Philly at a voter registration rally.
Trump, in Altoona the previous Friday, asserted that fraud is the only thing that could possibly derail his victory in this state, and he – here comes that phrase again – doubled down the next day by recruiting supporters nationwide to become election monitors to assure that fraud is not committed. Some experts believe he may have violated a prohibition against voter intimidation that applies to the Republican Party.
Pennsylvanians have been treated to a hefty dose of Clinton TV ads for a couple of months, and as today dawned, Trump has launched a sizeable media buy, here and in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. It marks the first ad blitz of the General Election for him.
What does Penn State have in common with Harvard and Princeton? Well, for one thing, the college Republican organizations at all three universities have decided not to endorse Trump. The PSU group’s announcement said the decision was supported by 72 percent of its members. Another student group protested the vote, saying in essence that it was rigged.
In undercard news, incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey reversed his earlier position and said he would not endorse the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations. His Democratic opponent, Katie McGinty, called it a “ridiculous flip-flop” following an “entire career pushing bad trade deals and policies that ship Americans jobs overseas.”
And just when we thought we couldn’t stand all this madness any longer, the commonwealth comes through! Yes, friends, beginning this week, we all have enhanced access to beer, wine and liquor, and there’s nothing like a beverage or two to take the edge off of all the nattering. Specifically, it means flexible hours and pricing for Pennsylvania's more than 600 Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores, direct shipping from wineries to consumers and – our personal favorite – liquor sales beginning at 7 a.m. on Groundhog Day!
A bill introduced in the Pennsylvania House would amend the state's constitution to create an independent "citizens’ commission" to oversee drawing of legislative and congressional boundaries, thus reducing the practice of gerrymandering. Constitutional amendments must be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions before the final okie-dokie by a majority of the electorate.
For our We Can’t Make This Up feature, we traipse on down to Rio de Janeiro, where Ryan Lochte, the world’s second-most-famous male swimmer, got the next phase of his life off to an inauspicious start as he and his swimming pals concocted a tale about an armed robbery to cover up for busting into a gas station restroom on their way back from a party. Among athletes, you’d think swimmers would have a keener sense of where not to pee – you know, like in the pool. Well, perhaps not by breaking into gas stations either, not to mention all over one’s own potential endorsement earnings.
So that’s where things stand as we trudge through the Dog Days of August. From your friends at Triad, have a great weekend, and check back in with us next week!
The Triadvocate is a publication of Triad Strategies, LLC, a bipartisan lobbying, public affairs, strategic communications, grassroots advocacy, issue management consulting firm located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh