The American electorate elbowed its way through an unusually spirited “off-year” election this week, and there were casualties. This Festivus-like Airing of the Grievances produced several noteworthy results. The punditry largely awarded victory to the Democrats and losses to divisiveness generally and President Trump specifically.
Nowhere was this more evident than in Virginia, where there seems to be a strong desire to put Charlottesville in the rear-view mirror. Voters elected a Democratic governor by a comfortable margin, and first-time delegates include an Asian-American woman, two Latina women and a lesbian nurse who campaigned with her partner.
But perhaps the biggest story of the night was the defeat of Delegate Robert Marshall, self-described “chief homophobe” and author of the state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, whose 26-year run was halted at the hands of openly transgender candidate Danica Roem. Karma, or coincidence? You decide.
The results were attributed in large part to the Democrat-ization of the D.C. suburbs of northern Virginia. The Keystone State has its own equivalent in suburban Philly, where it is believed that more Democrats were elected Tuesday than since before the Civil War (we refer to the first Civil War, fought in the 1800s, as opposed to the one many fear has been brewing of late).
Not all PA Dems were pleased. Philly City Council President Darrell Clarke was disappointed that PA voters missed an opportunity to elect Dwayne Woodruff, who is Black, to the state Supreme Court, and the “turnout in majority Black neighborhoods in North Philadelphia was nothing to brag about.”
So, with the victory of Sallie Mundy over Woodruff in the SupCo race, the Dems did not improve their 5-2 majority on the high court. In other PA judicial races, Republicans held onto majorities in Superior and Commonwealth courts.
Finally in election news, voters were characterized as delivering a “mandate” to eliminate property taxes as they approved a ballot measure on Tuesday… because they would rather pay for stuff with a… well, DIFFERENT other tax??? Oh, here come those darn details again…
From election news we turn to… CAMPAIGN NEWS! State Sen. Scott Wagner and Philly-area Republican Jeff Bartos announced they will run as a pair for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. In doing so, Bartos drops his quest for a U.S. Senate seat, paving the way for Congressman Lou Barletta to seize the opportunity to challenge U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.
The PA Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a lower court’s ruling that would have put on hold a challenge to the way in which congressional districts were redrawn six years ago. Plaintiffs now have a chance to get their gerrymandering challenge heard and decided in time to redraw the maps for the 2018 elections for Pennsylvania's 18 congressional seats. Earlier in the week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to delay a federal lawsuit challenging those same congressional districts.
While we’re on this court thing, a federal appeals court on Monday halted work on the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project, then on Wednesday denied a motion for a stay, letting construction resume. The project has had almost as many fits and starts as Ezekiel Elliott’s football season.
If the maxim “it takes money to make money” is true, then the City of Brotherly Love surely has a leg up on the 237 other competitors vying for Amazon’s HQ2, having spent a cool $245,000 on its sales pitch. According to City & State PA, Philly’s pitch included videos, interactive maps, testimonials from business leaders and a lengthy written proposal.
Some communities tremble with anticipation while others shudder with dread over the prospect of hosting one of the 10 new mini-casinos created to help keep the state budget on track. The PA Gaming Control Board must hold the first blind auction for a license by Jan. 16, but municipalities have until Jan. 1 to pass a resolution prohibiting one.
For the first time ever, Exelon took TV cameras inside the gates of the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant to show up close how it generates its highly reliable, carbon-free electric energy. Pennsylvania is in danger of losing at least one of its nuclear plants, which account for 93 percent of Pennsylvania’s carbon-free power.
Although he wouldn’t say how he’ll fill the $300 million gap in the current state budget, Governor Wolf said this week it won’t be with transportation funds. The General Assembly stopped short of identifying which specific off-budget funds should be tapped, dumping it into the guv’s lap instead.
In case you, um, FORGOT to vote on Tuesday, our Kirstin Snow advises why you should’ve. Ignore her helpful advice at your own peril.
And in case we run out of Shameless Client Plugs (not likely), you may wish to set some of these aside for later.
For this week’s We Can’t Make This Up feature, we present to you a report on the bowel habits of Canada geese. Did you know that an adult goose can produce two pounds of excrement per day – twice as much as your typical adult human? Nah, that didn’t really surprise us, either. But for cryin’ out loud, who on earth thought up this dandy little research project, and did it involve any tax dollars???
So, that’s the straight poop for this week. From all of us here at Triad, happy weekend, and join us as we take a gander at what happens 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