May 7: More than money

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The best story

1. Money won’t be enough to support Republican candidates hope to take back the Senate

“Frustrated by the seemingly endless money flowing to Democrats, Republicans eager to take back the Senate have rallied around candidates with plenty of their own money.

The goal is to neutralize Democrats’ roughly 2-to-1 financial advantage, one of the few bright spots for a party defending twice as many Senate seats as Republicans this year. But it also carries the risk of fielding untested candidates who may not be prepared for the scrutiny often associated with fierce Senate campaigns.” (AP)


Dickinson College withdraws invitation to commencement address at Smerconish following comments. “Two weeks before commencement, Dickinson College withdrew its invitation to national radio and television host Michael Smerconish to speak at the ceremony.” (PoliticsPA)

  • Michael Smerconish responds that Dickinson College removed him as commencement speaker. (Questioner from Philadelphia)
  • Michael Smerconish responds after Dickinson College canceled his commencement address. (PennLive)

White House announces novel steps to combat anti-Semitism, including on college campuses. “Additional steps include new guidance from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for all school districts and colleges nationwide, including examples of anti-Semitic discrimination and other forms of hate that could result in investigations for violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” (Hill)

Koch-backed PAC spends half a million dollars on Mackenzie’s successful GOP campaign for Congress. “Ryan Mackenzie’s successful campaign to win the Republican nomination in the 7th Congressional District got a boost his opponents didn’t have – nearly half a million dollars in outside spending from an influential conservative political action committee with ties to billionaire David Koch and his company Koch Industries. ”(Lehigh Valley Chair)


2. Where Pennsylvania has executed Democrats since 2008 and what that means for the November election

Fading Democrats in Wisconsin • Wisconsin Examiner

“For the first time in at least 16 years, the Democratic and Republican parties in Pennsylvania are within half a million registered voters of each other.

Since 2008, Democrats’ registration advantage over Republicans has steadily declined, from a 12% advantage in April 2008 to an approximately 4% advantage in April 2024, according to a Spotlight PA analysis of Department of State data.

The number of people registered as independent or subject to a third party has also increased, from 11% of all registered voters in 2008 to 15% this year.” (PA reflector)


Senate proposes ‘historic’ tax cuts to counter Democrats’ spending plans. “Investing three billion dollars means different things to different people. For Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman, this means giving money back to Pennsylvanians in exchange for new Democratic spending.” (PoliticsPA)

PA Equal Pay Act Revision Clears House. “Amendment to Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Act — amending the statute to include race and ethnicity, pay history protections, tougher penalties and more — passed the state House on Monday on a party-line vote.” (PennLive)

The PA House of Representatives Committee is presenting a bill to cut health insurance costs as part of budget negotiations. “On Monday, House Democrats introduced a bill that would make it easier to implement a key part of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget plan and potentially lower health care costs for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.” (PennLive)

Medicaid Obligation Bills Doula Services, Clear PA House Blood Pressure Monitors. “Doula services and blood pressure monitors will be covered by Medicaid as part of a targeted legislative effort to improve maternal health outcomes in Pennsylvania, especially Black mothers.” (CNHI News)

The criminalization of xylazine has landed on the governor’s desk. “Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer that is entering the illicit drug market, will soon face more restrictions as Pennsylvania tries to combat overdoses and the social impacts of drug abuse.” (Central Square)

PA Senate passes bill allowing utilities to bypass state agencies to obtain construction permits. “This is the latest attempt by Republican state lawmakers to speed up permitting by allowing third parties, rather than state agencies like the Department of Environmental Protection, to review applications.” (WESA)

Around the Republic of Poland

3. Luzerne County Court judges will decide six mail-in ballots that could change the outcome of the House race

HD-117 GOP Candidates Mike Cabell, Jamie Walsh

“A panel of Luzerne County Court judges will soon decide whether six contested absentee ballots in the 117th state House District will count.

Meanwhile, the final fate of 14 uncounted provisional ballots also remained undetermined on Monday. The District Electoral and Registration Commission found the 13th valid on Friday, but a court appeal could change that. (WVIA)


Candidate Jamie Walsh in court demanding six absentee ballots be thrown out because they are past due. “Republican state representative candidate Jamie Walsh appeared in Luzerne County Common Pleas Court on Monday, asking judges to throw out six absentee ballots in his race because voters failed to write the last two digits of the year on the outer envelope.” (Leader of the Times)

York County Elections Director Resigns, Meaning Third Official to Leave as of 2020. “York County needs a director of elections – for the third time since 2020 and six months before the presidential election.” (Shipment from York)

Despite the lawsuits, Pennsylvania counties exploit different standards to reject mailed ballots. “Montgomery County Senior Assistant Solicitor John Marlett said approximately 474 primary voters in Montgomery County returned ballots with the wrong date.” (DV Journal)


4. What do you mean

  • Whether it’s rioters at the Capitol or occupiers on campus, the rule of law must prevail. (Kyle Sammin)
  • Don’t trust politicians and the media when they glorify employees. (Greg Walker)
  • How Pittsburgh can become a cold city (Keith C. Burris)
  • The 2024 electorate is more compelling than either candidate. (George Will)
  • Inflation is destroying Pennsylvania businesses. (Lowman Henry)
  • Campus protests shine a airy on failed policies, our failed education system, and anti-Semitism. (Guy Ciarrocchi)
  • What the Chester County Post-Covid-19 Analysis Doesn’t Say (Beth Ann Rosica)
  • Why do the USGA and Oakmont Country Club need state money for the US Open? (Grandstand overview)
1 item

5. Life is trashy

Recipe for Philadelphia cheesecake

“After eating the thousandth cheesecake Jim Pappas found himself at a crossroads. There have been milestones and media attention in what he called his Cheesesteak Adventure – a self-assigned mission to eat and rate 1,000 cheesesteaks across the region – including coverage of his 275th, 500th, 999th and most recent conquests. At one point, there was even an offer to participate in a television program.

It all aligned with what Pappas believed he was pursuing: a late-life career change.” (Billy Penn)

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