Today we begin by taking a cue from Lieutenant Frank Drebin, who, in the original Naked Gun flick, revealed that when he wants to avoid thinking about certain things, he just thinks about baseball. The Chicago Cubs erased 108 years of futility this week, beating Cleveland in World Series Game 7 in what some say could have been The Most Exciting Baseball Game in the History of Baseball Games. Thank you for the brief diversion, MLB.
Sigh. Now for the stuff we didn’t want to think about. Remember that time, months ago, when we all wanted Pennsylvania to be relevant in determining the outcome of the election? As we move into the final four days of the campaign, that’s turning out to be another example of why you need to be careful what you wish for.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will each visit the Keystone State at least once more before Tuesday in a mad scramble for the handful of key states where the election outcome is a toss-up or nearly so. Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina and Florida join Pennsylvania in that category.
The airwaves in the aforementioned states have been filled, mostly, with negativity. It’s almost enough to make a person forgo a weekend of televised sports just to escape the nastiness. Almost.
In the spirit of the Halloween season, FBI Director James Comey this week lobbed a flaming bag of excrement onto Hillary’s porch, alerting Congress to the discovery of additional emails that may or may not be pertinent to the FBI’s earlier email investigation. Because we just can’t get enough of the Clinton email investigation. Ever the hyperbolist, Trump pronounced the development “bigger than Watergate.”
On the nastiness scale, the U.S. Senate race was more of the same. Here is Bloomberg’s take on who has the most to gain or lose in the most expensive U.S. Senate race in history. Of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional races, the most contested is the 8th District, comprising Bucks and part of Montgomery counties, where Brian Fitzpatrick (R) and Steve Santarsiero (D) are vying for the open seat.
Rounding out the individual races, here’s a rundown on statewide row offices, and we encourage you to check your local listings for the state Senate and House races near you.
Adding to potential election chaos is an itty-bitty work stoppage about 100 miles east involving nearly 5,000 SEPTA workers, taking city buses, the Broad Street Subway, the Market-Frankford El, and West Philly and Route 15 trolleys out of service indefinitely. Regional Rail remains in operation. It is the first SEPTA strike since the six-day stoppage in 2009.
On Thursday, a federal judge denied the state GOP’s effort to allow poll watchers from anywhere in the state to monitor precincts anywhere (meaning Philadelphia) on Election Day. State law allows poll watchers to monitor locations only within the county in which they are registered to vote.
PA Secretary of State Pedro Cortes, who would be working pretty darn hard right now anyway, has doubled down on his efforts to assure voters that everything is going to be just fine come Election Day. He said he is happy to report there are 8.6 million Pennsylvanians registered to vote, and we’ll bet he’d be even happier if every darn one of you showed up to cast a ballot.
Our first Shameless Client Plug this week goes out to ES&S, aka Election Systems & Software, the world’s largest maker of election equipment, software and services. The firm produced a video honoring the thousands of election workers whose efforts assure the accurate, timely and decidedly unrigged tabulation of election results. Ain’t no Russians gonna mess with us!
SCP#2 goes to perennial recipient Pocono Raceway, where raceway and state officials joined to observe General Motors’ donation of bat houses made from recycled Chevy Volt battery covers at the raceway’s 25-acre, three-megawatt solar farm.
Going for a trifecta, SCP#3 goes to Lyft, beneficiary of the ride-sharing legislation signed by Governor Wolf just this morning. Ride sharing companies are now permitted to operate throughout the Commonwealth, including in Philly.
Back in Harrisburg, the General Assembly dropped into Governor Wolf’s lap a bill that would delay for 30 days the revelation of the names of police officers who fire their weapons in the line of duty. Supporters say it shields officers from being subjected to hasty public judgment, giving investigators time to sort things out. No word yet on the guv’s inclination.
Wolf did, however, happily sign a package of bills aimed at stemming the state’s opioid crisis. The measures restrict how many opioids that patients can obtain, and add more checks for prescribers.
Also on the good-news side of the ledger, Shell Chemicals said it has already given the “vast majority” of site preparation work to local Beaver County and western PA construction and trade groups, and the company will strive to do the same when construction of the Potter Township cracker plant starts late next year.
Speaking of naked, this week’s We Can’t Make This Up is a home-grown ditty from northeast Pennsylvania, where Shavertown native and Trump supporter Chelsy Zelasko somehow connected posing for cheesecake photos with making America great again. Like we said, we can’t make this up.
So that’s what passes for “news” around here this week! Be sure to check back in for our take on the election outcome and whether humankind will be erased in a hail of poison frogs. If this weekend is to be our last, let’s make it a great one!
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