Brady, Meehan lead opponents in campaign fundraising

Here’s a quick look at the most recent campaign finance reports submitted by the four candidates seeking to represent Delaware County in the U.S. House of Representatives. Campaign finance reports were due to the Federal Election Commission on July 15. The cycle documented all campaign money raised and spent from May 1 through June 30.  Links to the candidates’ July quarterly reports are included.

First Congressional District
Incumbent Bob Brady, a Democrat from Philadelphia, has $759,773 in hand after collecting $62,155 in campaign funds during the cycle. Of Brady’s funds, $55,400 came from political action committees. Another $6,700 came from individuals, including $300 worth of unitemized donations. Brady spent $71,064, including $35,889 on operating expenses.

Republican challenger Megan Rath, of Philadelphia, has $14,216 in hand after raising $16,256 in campaign funds. All of her funding came from individual donors and included $4,442 worth of unitemized contributions. She spent $3,040, all on operating expenses.

Seventh Congressional District
Incumbent Pat Meehan, a Republican from Upper Darby, has $1.775 million in hand, having generated $243,600 in campaign funding during the cycle. Meehan raised $211,000 from political action committees and another $31,150 from individuals, including $300 in unitemized donations. He spent $77,602, including $58,602 on operating expenses.

Democratic challenger Mary Ellen Balchunis, of Ardmore, has $9,976 in hand. She raised $15,310 during the last cycle — $14,310 of it coming from individuals, including $4,395 in unitemized contributions. She spent $17,941, all on operating expenses.

… And we’re back

After a few weeks off for a summer vacation out west, I’m back on the politics beat in Delco. So, this blog might start to get a bit more life again. The state budget is finalized, though Gov. Tom Corbett is still seeking pension reform. And there’s a few noteworthy elections rolling around the bend, led, of course, by the gubernatorial race.

In the meantime, here’s a snippet of what I saw during the last few weeks:

Vacations 610

I snapped this photo of elk grazing some 12,000 feet above sea level on a drive through Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Vacations 538

The Garden of the Gods sits in the foothills of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Co. Pikes Peak, not pictured, is off to the left.

 

Checking out a Rockies game from a mile above sea level. A purple strip of seats marks the height at Denver's Coors Field.

Checking out a Rockies game from a mile above sea level. A purple stripe of seats marks the height at Denver’s Coors Field.

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Finally, for all you political junkies, here’s the Colorado Capitol building, located in Denver.

 

Adolph unveils amended GOP budget proposal

State Rep. William Adolph, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, unveiled an amended budget proposal today in Harrisburg.

The $29.1 billion spending plan, proposed as an amendment to House Bill 2328, includes a 1.9 percent spending increase from last year’s budget. It assumes 3.2 percent revenue growth – the same growth as projected by the Independent Fiscal Office, said Adolph, R-165, of Springfield.

The budget will be balanced using a “series of transfers, lapses and other revenue options,” Adolph said when he unveiled the plan.

It also includes increases to public education and human services.

“This is not the end of discussions and I’m sure the Senate will make some changes to this plan,” Adolph said. “But this is an important step forward to getting a fourth, on-time general appropriations budget.”

The budget proposal was approved by the House Appropriations Committee earlier today.

The proposal includes a $323 million increase to K-12 education, including an additional $70 million more for basic education and another $20 million for special education. It also allocates an extra $8.7 to the Pre-K Counts program, which will serve another 1,453 children.

Funding for all higher education programs remains flat, though a new $5 million line item was added to award middle income students merit-based grants.

The budget for the Department of Public Welfare increased by 1.6 percent, which Adolph said was due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other federally-mandated costs. It also commits an additional $10.4 million to the Department of Environmental Protection and increases line items for domestic violence programs by 10 percent.

“This is a solid spending plan that puts the priorities of our citizens firsts and makes sure that we are being good fiscal stewards of taxpayer money,” Adolph said.

 

 

Corbett releases statement on Moulton Report

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett issued a statement saying the Moulton Report affirms that that Jerry Sandusky child molestation investigation “was conducted appropriately and timely.”

The Moulton Report, commissioned by Attorney General Kathleen Kane and conducted by former federal prosecutor Geoff Moulton, examined the handling of the Sandusky investigation. The report, released this morning, did not find any evidence that politics affected the three-year investigation, but faulted police and prosecutors for delaying charges.

Corbett served as the attorney general when the Sandusky investigation was launched in 2009. During her 2012 campaign for attorney general, Kane accused Corbett of delaying the investigation so it would not impact his successful 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Corbett is seeking re-election. He faces Democrat Tom Wolf.

Here is Corbett’s full statement, released by his press office this morning:

“The Sandusky investigation was conducted with a single purpose:  to ensure justice for the victims and families by taking a child predator off the streets. Nothing more. Nothing less.

“As I have said many times, this investigation was conducted appropriately and timely.  Because of the complexity of the case and for the sake of the victims, the investigators were careful to explore all evidence to the fullest extent. As made clear by the Moulton Report, this investigation was never about politics.  It was always about the people victimized by this man.

“I am proud of the hard work of men and women who joined in the effort to support and fight for these victims.  It was, however, difficult to see their motives and professionalism called in to question.  The release of this report reaffirms the integrity of their efforts.  It refutes each aspect of the case that the Attorney General and others have questioned; has found no evidence of deliberate delay; and underscores the importance and appropriateness of the methods used in the investigation and subsequent conviction of a child predator.

“As a prosecutor and now Governor, I have dedicated my life’s work to protect all victims of crime, especially the victims of sexual abuse.  My record and actions attest to that.

“I appreciate Mr. Moulton’s professional approach, thoughtful review and his recommendations.”

 

Here’s what happened at Delaware County Council:

Delaware County Council approved the county’s Department of Human Services 2014-15 plan for the Block Grant Pilot Program, which allocated $43.28 million to various mental health, intellectual disabilities, homeless assistance and children and youth services. The plan was presented for public comment twice earlier this month and detailed on the county’s web site.

Other resolutions approved by County Council included:

  • The issuance by the Delaware County Authority of up to $70 million of its revenue bonds to Villanova University. The university has requested to refinance its 2005 and 2006 bonds.
  • An amendment to an agreement with Gillan and Hartman Consulting Engineers for construction period services required for HVAC renovations at the Juvenile Detention Center at a price not to exceed $32,700.
  • A supplemental allocation of $29,200 to Mother’s Home for shelter improvements, which was granted Community Development Block Grant funding in the county’s Consolidated Housing and Community Development Action plan. Bids for the project came in higher than anticipated, according to Linda Hill, director of the county’s Office of Housing and Community Development.
  • A 2015 Transist Support Program Grant agreement with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission for $114,849. The funding is split between the county, which is paying $27,345 of in-kind donations, and the DVRPC and United States Dept. of Transportation, which is providing $87,504.
  • A 2015 Regional GIS Implementation Grant agreement with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission for $25,000. The funding comes from DVRPC.
  • A 2015 Supportive Regional Highway Planning Program Grant agreement with the DVRPC for $76,000. The funding is split between the county, which is paying $15,200 of in-kind donations, and DVRPC and the USDOT, which is providing $60,800.
  • Appointments of Kate Schramm, of Springfield; Emily Harris, of Edgmont; Caitlin Ganley, of Upper Darby; and Anne Marie Murphy, of Chadds Ford, to the Delaware County Women’s Commission. Schramm was appointed to a term expiring in June 2015. The others were appointed to terms ending in June 2017.
  • Appointments of Kevin O’Donoghue, of Concord; Stephanie Kosta, of Upper Darby; and Mary Sandone, of Darby Township, to the Brandywine Conference and Visitor’s Bureau.
  • Appointment of Robert Kelly Jr., of Thornbury, to the Delaware County Hero Scholarship Fund board for a term ending October 2015.
  • An agreement with HVS for appraisal services at $58,000.

Tom McGarrigle launches ad campaign in state Senate bid

Tom McGarrigle, the Republican candidate for the open seat in the 26th Senatorial District, has launched an advertisement campaign that includes a television spot.

The TV ad, dubbed “Beginnings,” began airing regionally May 30, according to campaign spokesperson Virginia Davis. It features McGarrigle working in his automotive repair shop and discussing the values instilled in him by his mother, who became a widow when she was 34 years old with eight children.

“She taught us honesty, integrity and hard work,” McGarrigle says in the advertisement. “And those are the values I’ll take to Harrisburg.”

McGarrigle, the chairman of Delaware County Council, is campaigning against Democrat John Kane, the business manager of Plumbers Union Local 690. They each seek the state Senate seat being vacated by Republican Edwin “Ted” Erickson, who is retiring.

This television ad coincides with a series of mailers also issued by the McGarrigle campaign. He has distributed four mailers touting his commitment to senior citizens and his record on job creation and public safety.

“This is an opportunity to introduce Tom to voters in areas that are not as familiar with him in Chester County and remind folks in Delaware County of his record and the things he has done on county council,” Davis said.

Rongione nets endorsement from PA State Building and Construction Trades Council

Vince Rongione announced today that he has been endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council.

Rongione, a Democrat, is running against Republican Jamie Santora for the open seat in the 163rd Legislative District. Longtime Republican state Rep. Nicholas Micozzie is retiring at the end of the year.

The Building and Construction Trades Council is made up of 16 regional councils and more than 115 local unions from 15 international building trade unions. The endorsement is the 12th landed by Rongione, an attorney from Upper Darby.

“It’s truly humbling (to) earn the endorsement of the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council,” Rongione said in a statement furnished by his campaign. “This is a huge victory for the campaign. I look forward to working with the State Council to fix our economy, bring jobs to the 163rd and get people in the 163rd working again. We need economic growth that works (for) everyone, not (Republican Gov. Tom) Corbett’s corporate friends and big money interests.”

Rongione also has earned endorsements from the United Steelworkers Local 10-1, Plumbers Local 690 and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1776, among others.

Santora, an Upper Darby Councilman, has earned the backing of four organizations, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 654.

 

 

Santora receives endorsement from IBEW Local 654

Jamie Santora, campaigning for the open seat in the 163rd Legislative District, announced the endorsement of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 654.

Santora, a Republican, is running against Democrat Vince Rongione to fill the seat being vacated by longtime Republican state Rep. Nicholas Micozzie.

Local 654 represents about 700 active and retired members in Delaware and Chester counties. Its members provide electrical work at various businesses, including Boeing, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Kimberly-Clark, Sunoco Logistics and Monroe Energy.

Thus far, it is the largest organization to back Santora.

“I am honored to have the backing of our local electrical workers who play a vital role in keeping so many of our local businesses and employers up and running,”  Santora said in a statement released by his campaign.  “It means a lot to have earned the backing of trade, fire, and police unions, as well as the business community. The diverse endorsements I have received reflect the approach I intend to take in Harrisburg as a consensus builder who works in a bipartisan fashion and brings together diverse coalitions for the betterment of our residents and communities.”

Santora, an Upper Darby Councilman, also has been endorsed by the Delaware County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27, the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association and SEPAC, a business organization.

Rongione, an attorney from Upper Darby, has earned the endorsement of eight trade unions, including several that previously supported Micozzie.

Wolf leads Corbett in first poll

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf leads by incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett by 20 points in the first poll released after the primary.

A Rasmussen Reports poll released Sunday found that 51 percent of likely voters were backing Wolf, a York businessman. Thirty-one percent supported Corbett while 14 percent remained undecided. Another 4 percent said they were supporting some other candidate.

The poll surveyed 750 likely voters via telephone from May 27-28.

 

Following primary, focus shifts to state Legislature open seat races

State Rep. Margo Davidson fended off a close Democratic primary challenge Tuesday, advancing to a general election race that likely will be much less competitive.

Davidson, a two-term incumbent in the 164th Legislative District, took about 52 percent of the vote. Her top challenger, attorney Billy Smith, grabbed about 42 percent. Dafan Zhang, an adjunct professor, gained about 5 percent.

That was the closest an incumbent state lawmaker from Delco came to losing a primary since former state Rep. Steve Freind defeated challenger Ellen Fisher by just 6 percentage points in the 1990 Republican primary for the 166th District.

Yet, Davidson can breathe a bit easier this morning.

She will face Republican Saud Siddiqui in the general election,  but the 164th District is considered a safe Democratic seat, thanks to redistricting efforts that added Lansdowne and parts of Yeadon. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 3-to-1 margin.

With the hotly-contested 164th primary over, much of the local political focus will shift to a pair of open seat races for the state Legislature.

The race for the 26th Senatorial District figures to be one of the most prominent in the state. It is one of six open seat races in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 27-23 majority.

Republicans clearly view the 26th District as critical. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-9, was amid a group of several Republicans who donated to the campaign of GOP candidate Tom McGarrigle. Pileggi contributed $100,000 — nearly a sixth of McGarrigle’s funding. Retiring incumbent Sen. Ted Erickson gave McGarrigle $25,400.

McGarrigle, the chairman of Delaware County Council, is being opposed by Democrat John Kane, the business manager for Plumbers Local 690. Kane mostly has received his campaign funding from unions.

At the May 5 filing deadline, McGarrigle had $558,266 cash in hand compared to Kane’s $360,716.

The other open seat that will receive local attention is the 163rd Legislative District, where Democrat Vince Rongione and Republican Jamie Santora are vying to replace retiring state Rep. Nicholas Micozzie, a Republican.

The state House is expected to maintain its Republican majority.

Rongione and Santora nearly have an equal amount of campaign funding. Rongione gained $74,091 in campaign funds during the first four months of the year while Santora raised $73,122.

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