Pennsylvania voters elected a new governor yesterday, opting to replace the Republican incumbent, Tom Corbett, with Democrat Tom Wolf.
Despite their decision to send Corbett packing, voters also increased the GOP’s majorities in both the state House and state Senate. So don’t expect Wolf to waltz into Harrisburg and quickly push across his agenda.
The Republican majority in the state Senate grew by three votes, giving the GOP a 30-20 edge. That came despite a Democratic push to regain control of the chamber for the time since 1994. That played out prominently in Delaware County, where Republican Tom McGarrigle won the open seat in the 26th District, a $4 million race in which he topped Democrat John Kane by four points.
The GOP majority in the state House — which was never in jeopardy — grew by eight votes. Republicans now hold 119 seats to the Dems’ 84.
Here’s a recap of what happened yesterday among Delaware County’s state lawmakers:
26th Senatorial District
Tom McGarrigle, R, 44,870
John Kane, D, 41,544
159th Legislative District
Michael Ciach, R, 3,793
Thaddeus Kirkland, D, 8,827
160th Legislative District
Stephen Barrar, R, 13,058
Whitney Hoffman, D, 7,850
161st Legislative District
Joe Hackett, R, 12,612
Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D, 9,916
163rd Legislative District
Jamie Santora, R, 11,362
Vince Rongione, D, 9,963
164th Legislative District
Saud Siddiqui, R, 3,011
Margo Davidson, D, 12,164
165th Legislative District
William Adolph, R, 15,293
Charles Hadley, D, 8,382
166th Legislative District
Sarah Armstrong, R, 8,007
Greg Vitali, D, 13,814
Results are unofficial.
Election Day is nearly one week away. The Daily Times has begun rolling out preview stories for each local race. Here’s a recap of what’s run.
First Congressional District: Democratic U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, of Philadelphia, is being challenged by Philly Republican Megan Rath, a health care professional.
Seventh Congressional District: Republican U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, of Upper Darby, seeks to secure his third term in Washington in a race against Democratic challenger Mary Ellen Balchunis, a political science professor.
161st Legislative District: State Rep. Joe Hackett, a Republican from Ridley Township, seeks to a protect his seat from Democratic challenger Leanne Krueger-Braneky, a businesswoman from Swarthmore.
164th Legislative District: State Rep. Margo Davidson, a Democrat from Upper Darby, hopes to win a third term in a race against Republican challenger Saud Siddiqui, the president of the Upper Darby Caring Foundation.
166th Legislative District: Longtime state Rep. Greg Vitali, a Democrat from Haverford, is being challenged by Republican Sarah Armstrong.
More election preview stories will continue to be published this week.
Former Gov. Ed Rendell jumped into the fray of the 26th Senatorial District race this morning, reiterating Democratic and union criticism regarding a Tom McGarrigle campaign ad that negatively portrayed his Democratic opponent, John Kane, as a union boss.
Union leaders from the Philadelphia Building Trades Council blasted McGarrigle and Delaware County Republicans last week for airing the ad, which they called a smear campaign for portraying Kane as sympathetic to intimidation tactics.
Kane, the business manager of Plumbers Union Local 690, accepted $7,500 from Ironworkers Local 401 last year. Ten union members, including business manager Joe Doughtery, were indicted in February for allegedly using violent intimidation tactics to force construction contractors to hire union ironworkers.
McGarrigle, the Republican chairman of Delaware County Council, accepted a $500 contribution from Local 401 in 2009, but donated the money to charity after learning of the indictments.
Speaking at a press conference organized by Katie McGinty, chairwoman of Tom Wolf’s Campaign for a Fresh Start, Rendell restated the stance of the union leaders — that the donation is on behalf of the union’s entire membership, not an indicted leader.
Here is a video snippet of his remarks:
Union leaders threatened to cease funding future Delco Republican candidates, saying it was hypocritical of Republicans to accept union contributions and then attempt to tarnish Kane’s reputation as a union leader.
The McGarrigle campaign is standing behind the ad, saying last week that it is “truthful and obviously effective.” The campaign criticized Kane for failing to condemn the violent actions of indicted ironworkers.
The Delaware County Daily Times covered the union criticism and the McGarrigle campaign’s response at length last week.
A Haverford native was selected today to become the new head of the Secret Service.
Joseph Clancy, 59, was tapped by President Barack Obama to replace Julia Pierson, who resigned as director Wednesday as criticism mounted regarding multiple security breaches. The most prominent breach occurred Sept. 19, when a knife-wielding man scaled the White House fence on Pennsylvania Avenue and made it into the executive mansion before being stopped. Revelations also surfaced this week that Obama had shared an Atlanta elevator with an armed guard who was not authorized to be around him.
More on Clancy’s selection here.
Of course, election season is in full swing and there’s been a plethora of election news over the last couple days. I’ve spent much of that time in training sessions for a new computer program we’re using, but here’s a recap of what’s gone on:
Delco Republican Party Chairman Andy Reilly and Delco Democratic Party Chairman David Landau joined Daily Times editor Phil Heron last night for Live From the Newsroom, where they broke down the general election. Catch a replay of it here.
State Rep. Bill Adolph, R-165, of Springfield, hosted a panel discussion on college affordability Wednesday at Villanova University. Education is among the hottest issues this election season and has been a major talking point in Adolph’s re-election bid against Democrat Chuck Hadley. More on the panel discussion here.
The Senate Democratic Campaign Committee filed a complaint against state Senate candidate Tom McGarrigle regarding his campaign magnets. The SDCC claimed the McGarrigle campaign violated election code by distributing magnets that did not include fine print noting who had financed or authorized them. More on that here.
Gov. Tom Corbett and his Democratic challenger, Tom Wolf, squared off in their second debate yesterday morning. Once again, education was a key subject. Corbett also addressed the pornographic videos and images his employees allegedly exchanged while he was the state attorney general. Details here.
Lastly, a Republican candidate for the open 28th Senatorial District wants state Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, out as majority leader. That news is here. Meanwhile, Pileggi told a Delco business group that a bill eliminating property taxes is unlikely to become law and also appeared alongside Corbett to praise the passage of David’s Law, which seeks to combat heroin overdoses.
State Senate candidate Tom McGarrigle announced today that his campaign has knocked on 12,000 doors and called 22,000 voters since the Republican formally declared in February.
McGarrigle is campaigning against Democrat John Kane for the open seat in the 26th Senatorial District. Current state Sen. Edwin Erickson, a Republican, is retiring.
“I am committed to meeting with as many voters as possible between now and Election Day,” McGarrigle said in a statement. “I want to know the priorities and concerns of residents across this district and I want them to know my views as well. While there are many social media tools that we use to reach voters, there is no substitute for grassroots campaigning.”
The McGarrigle campaign also announced it has raised more than $1 million in campaign donations and expects to double that amount in the final six weeks of the race, which is expected to be among the most expensive in the state.
State House candidate Chuck Hadley, a Radnor Democrat, is seeking to debate his opponent, state Rep. William Adolph, R-165, of Springfield. In a press release this morning, Hadley suggested holding a series of four debates moderated by a nonpartisan organization. He wants to hold one in each of the communities that comprise the 165th Legislative District.
Lastly, today is National Voter Registration Day. The League of Women Voters of Delaware County is holding a voter registration event at Delaware County Community College. The nonpartisan organization has several more registration events planned before Oct. 5, the deadline to register in time for the Nov. 4 general election.
A new television advertisement for Republican state Senate candidate Tom McGarrigle is expected to begin running today.
The ad praises McGarrigle for the role he and Delaware County Council played in saving jobs when three regional refineries, including two in Delaware County, were faced with closure in 2011. It features Andrea Devenney sharing the uncertainty she felt in the months leading to their impending closures.
“When I first found out the refineries were closing, there was fear,” Devenny says in the ad. “How am I going to pay the bills? Will my husband find another job? Because of leaders like Tom McGarrigle, thousands of people are back to work.”
A bipartisan group of local, state and federal officials helped find buyers for the former ConocoPhillips refinery in Trainer and the former Sunoco refinery in South Philadelphia. A buyer was never found for Sunoco’s former refinery in Marcus Hook, which awaits a possible future involving Marcellus shale.
McGarrigle, the owner of an auto repair shop and the chairman of county council, is running against Democrat John Kane for the open seat in the 26th Senatorial District. Kane, the business manager of Plumbers Union Local 690, debuted his first television ad on Wednesday.
The new McGarrigle ad, dubbed “Thanks for Believing,” is the second aired by his campaign. He launched his first ad in late May. It featured him working in his auto repair shop and discussing the values instilled by his late mother.
McGarrigle, of Springfield, said he met Devenny last winter at the 75th Anniversary party for IBEW Local 654. Devenny thanked him for helping save her husband’s job, McGarrigle said.
“I think it shows that the rank and file know who went out there and helped and who marched down Market Street,” McGarrigle said, referencing a November 2011 march through Marcus Hook by union workers facing job loss.
McGarrigle said he did everything he could on his behalf for the refinery workers.
“I’m not telling voters what I plan to do,” McGarrigle said. “I have a record and the record is clear.”
Kane campaign spokesman Aren Platt issued a statement in response to McGarrigle’s new ad.
“Tom McGarrigle knows that there are dozens of politicians and community leaders who played a bigger hand in keeping the refineries open than he did,” Platt said. “But, like a typical politician, he’s taking credit for something he didn’t do to try to win an election. If he wants to go toe-to-toe with John Kane about who has created more working and middle class jobs, bring it on — as a business manager, John Kane has literally created thousands of jobs across the region.”
State Senate candidate John Kane has launched his first television advertisement, a 30-second spot that features his family explaining his educational values.
Kane, the business manager of Plumbers Union Local 690, is running against Republican Tom McGarrigle, the owner of an auto repair shop and the chairman of Delaware County Council, for the open seat in the 26th Senatorial District.
The ad notes Kane’s support to tax natural gas drillers to fund education. Specifically, Kane pledges to “put back the billion dollars Corbett cut from education and make sure corporations and natural gas drillers pay their fair share.” He also mentions his intention to close the Delaware loophole, which allows companies to avoid paying state corporate taxes by incorporating in Delaware.
The Kane campaign said the ad will be broadcast on both network and cable television. It also will be used online.
“I am incredibly proud of this ad, and so happy that my family was able to join me in making it,” Kane said in a statement furnished by his campaign. “As I cross the district, knocking on doors and talking to voters, I hear over and over again that people are angry that their schools are not getting the funding they need and their property taxes are going up, while corporations and shale drillers are getting sweetheart deals.”
McGarrigle launched his own television ad campaign May 30. His ad, dubbed “Beginnings,” featured him working in his auto repair shop and discussing the values instilled in him by his late mother. His campaign has not aired a followup ad.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, referenced in the ad, has refuted claims that he cut the state education budget by $1 billion in 2011, noting the funding cuts resulted from expired federal funding. He has refused to impose an extraction tax on natural gas drillers, but approved an impact fee.
Corbett is facing Democrat Tom Wolf in a re-election bid in which polls cast him as a heavy underdog.
State Reps. Joe Hackett, R-161, of Ridley Township, and William Adolph, R-165, of Springfield, heralded Pennsylvania’s job creation statistics Wednesday, claiming hard work and smart decisions made by both the public and private sector has sparked job growth.
Led by the booming natural gas industry, Pennsylvania has gained 123,321 jobs since 2011, Adolph said, citing numbers prepared by the House Appropriations Committee. Delaware County has gained 6,900 jobs.
The state unemployment rating stands at 5.7 percent — a 2.4 point drop from Jan. 2011, according to statistics from the state Department of Labor and Industry. Delaware County’s unemployment rate is 5.5 percent — a 2.6 point decline.
“It didn’t happen because it happened,” Adolph said. “It happened because good legislation was passed. Four straight budgets with no tax increases.”
Adolph pointed to legislation that reformed workers compensation by eliminating regulations that forced shipbuilders to pay for duplicative insurance policies for employees. He noted the Inheritance Tax Elimination bill, which exempted from the tax all assets of family-owned businesses being transferred to another family member. He also heralded the reduction of the state’s capital stock and franchise tax.
“You didn’t even have to make a profit and you were still paying a heavy tax,” Adolph said. “Slowly, but surely, we are phasing that capital stock tax out.”
The state lawmakers — who are each up for re-election — held their press conference at East Coast Contractors, a Ridley Township pipe and metal fabricating company that severely cut its workforce in 2011, when two Delaware County refineries were threatened with closure. The company reduced its staff to six full-time employees, but has since rebounded to employ about 35 full-time workers.
“While there was direct involvement in bringing these plants back to life, sound state fiscal policy and reasonable spending by state government has helped to make Pennsylvania and Delaware County an attractive place to do business,” Hackett said. “Our commonwealth is making world headlines on the energy front with the production of Marcellus Shale’s natural gas exploration in our state. This fact has played a role in the resurrection of the refineries in our area and contributed to the success story of East Coast.”
Hackett, a former police officer, is running for his third term in Harrisburg against Democrat Leanne Krueger-Braneky, a Swarthmore businesswoman.
Adolph, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was first elected in 1988. Earlier this month, he gained a new Democratic opponent in Charles Hadley, a retired venture capitalist who replaced Jeremy Fearn on the ballot.
Hadley, of Radnor, and Krueger-Braneky each released statements critical of Pennsylvania’s job growth and the education policies of incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. They pointed to statistics, compiled by Arizona State University, that ranked Pennsylvania 42nd in job growth — down significantly from its No. 7 ranking in January 2011.
“If Rep. Adolph thinks Pennsylvanians should be happy with abysmal job growth, a billion dollars less funding for our schools and higher property taxes and gas taxes for motorists to boot, he should get out of the Harrisburg bubble,” Hadley said. “Because that equation doesn’t work for Delaware County.”
Krueger-Braneky’s statement blamed state Republicans for underfunding schools, causing property taxes to increase.
“This didn’t have to happen,” Krueger-Braneky said. “Hackett and Corbett chose to support the gas drillers over our schools. … If Joe Hackett stopped wasting time on smoke-and-mirror press conferences, maybe he could stand up to Corbett and help middle class families in Delaware County.”
Unlike Corbett, who opposes an extraction tax on natural gas, Hackett has said he would support a 5 percent extraction tax if it enabled senior citizens to freeze their property taxes. Adolph also has said he supports an extraction tax.
Democrat Tom Wolf holds a 25-point advantage over Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in the gubernatorial race, according to the latest poll released by Franklin & Marshall College.
The poll, released today, shows Wolf beating Corbett, 49 percent to 24 percent. That marked a two-point increase from the last F&M poll, released in June.
The poll also showed that 61 percent of Pennsylvania voters believe the state is on the wrong track. Only 26 percent of those polled found Corbett to be performing sufficiently well enough to deserve re-election in November.
To view the poll, click here.
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.