Last updated on April 6, 2021
Here’s some big news today out of Pennsylvania:
.@JohnFetterman announces he raised $3.9 million in the first quarter for his Pennsylvania U.S. Senate run, through 140,000 contributions.
A big haul of 💰 at an early stage.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) April 1, 2021
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said he raised more than $3.9 million for his U.S. Senate bid in the first fundraising quarter of 2021.
Mr. Fetterman, the former mayor of Braddock, said Thursday that he’s received 140,000 contributions in the first months of the race and has raised a higher total than any candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania ever has.
Mr. Fetterman is pursuing the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat up for election next year. The incumbent, Republican Pat Toomey, is not seeking re-election.
State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia, has not said anything about his fundraising haul yet.
Opting not to back her predecessor, Braddock Mayor Chardaé Jones endorsed state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.
Her choice of a Philadelphia-based state lawmaker over John Fetterman — the former mayor of Braddock who gave up his post in early 2019 to become lieutenant governor — signals a big stamp of approval from a local official who has been a “powerful voice for Braddock families who have been ignored by leaders across Pennsylvania for far too long,” Mr. Kenyatta said.
Ms. Jones said she’s supporting Mr. Kenyatta because the 30-year-old legislator knows what it’s like to live in a community like Braddock and can relate to the working families “who are struggling each and every day.”
“As a North Philly neighbor, he didn’t come to Braddock telling me what we needed but walked around asking people what they wanted,” Ms. Jones wrote on Facebook. “As a millennial myself, I applaud his eagerness, hunger, and a track record of what he’s already doing as a state [representative].”
A man confronted in 2013 by a shotgun-wielding John Fetterman — then mayor of tiny Braddock, now lieutenant governor and running for the U.S. Senate — claims Fetterman has “lied about everything” that happened that day.
But Christopher Miyares, writing from a state prison in Somerset County, also told The Inquirer that incident should not stop Fetterman from becoming a senator.
“Even with everything I said, it is inhumane to believe one mistake should define a man’s life,” Miyares wrote in one of two letters sent to The Inquirer. “I hope he gets to be a Senator.” (That last line was underlined three times.)
The 2013 incident has been long discussed in political circles as Fetterman’s career soared. But it has drawn new attention amid the racial reckoning stoked in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and as Fetterman, a favorite of progressives, emerged as the early Democratic front-runner in a race next year that could determine control of the Senate.
For the 20-or-so organizers present in front of the senator’s office, the creation and demonstration were against Toomey’s lack of understanding for the many crises Pennsylvanian’s endured (and still do) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we the people needed him, when we needed Pat Toomey to stand up for us and to pass this rescue plan, Toomey said no,” said organizer Jeff Garis of The Pennsylvania 99%.
Ashley McBride, the state director of For Our Future, not only called out Toomey for failing to realize the dire situations of his constituents, but also the majority of his Republican colleagues for rejecting the relief legislation.
“His constituents who are struggling to make ends meet are calling upon him and every Republican to be accountable for their actions,” she said.
Also in attendance were state reps Brian Sims and Chris Rabb.
Sims hammered the senator on his previous votes for COVID relief that went to corporations as small businesses shuttered and schools struggled to adjust to virtual learning environments.
Rabb pointed to the unique dire situation presented by a pandemic, and how Toomey still remained largely inactive.
“We haven’t had a pandemic in a century. We haven’t had this massive disarray in generations. And what’s his solution? Nothing,” he said.
Sen. Patrick Toomey is taking aim at the Federal Reserve, expressing concern in a letter Monday about the central bank’s foray into social issues such as climate change, race and health insurance.
Specifically, the Pennsylvania Republican cited research from the Fed’s San Francisco district about a host of issues that he said exceed the central bank’s traditional mandates on employment, inflation and bank supervision.
Toomey warned Fed officials that its independence from political influence could come into question as it pursues issues that government agencies normally handle.
“The Federal Reserve may pursue mission creep or welcome itself to political capture,” Toomey wrote in a letter to San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly. “But such activities are inconsistent with its statutory responsibilities; only Congress has the authority to reform the Federal Reserve or modify its mission.”
He added that while the research “may be meritorious, the Federal Reserve is devoting significant federal resources to efforts that are supposed to be independent and nonpartisan.”
Among the San Francisco Fed essay topics Toomey cited were health insurance and essential service workers in New England. Other areas addressed included race, occupation and Covid-19 infection rates, as well as plans for a virtual seminar on climate economics.
The senator directed the San Francisco Fed to answer a series of inquiries by April 12.
The Erie County Republican Party voted last week to censure Sen. Pat Toomey for voting to convict former President Donald Trump on an article of impeachment.
Toomey, who has announced he will not seek reelection in 2022, was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump for incitement of insurrection following the Jan. 6 riot in which Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol in protest of the Congress’ certification of the Electoral College results.
Verel Salmon, chairman of the Erie County Republican Party, said a majority of the local party’s committee members sought to censure Toomey for splitting with Trump, following other county GOP parties across the state.
“It was a clear majority vote,” Salmon said. “People were so upset by it.”
On a chilly Saturday in early February, I sit in Josh Shapiro’s driveway in suburban Abington next to a firepit as we talk, mask to mask. There’s a basketball hoop and an open garage full of sports equipment, and when I got there, his son Reuben was going long up the snowy backyard for Hail Mary passes from Dad, only to get tackled by their seven-week-old goldendoodle. Shapiro and his wife, Lori, have four kids, ages 10 to 19; as Conservative Jews, they observe Shabbat every Friday at sundown. On their rancher’s front porch is a big sectional couch they bought online last year to give them more room (until it was too cold to hang there), given that all those kids, and even Dad the attorney general, have been stuck at home for the past year.
It’s here, during a nationwide pandemic, sitting on a folding chair in the waning hours of the Sabbath, that Shapiro admits what everyone has long suspected. I tell him that his buddy Senator Bob Casey says Shapiro is running for governor next year. “Did Bob say that?” he asks, surprised. Then he comes clean: “I expect to be a candidate. And if you tweet that tomorrow, I’m going to be very upset.”
Lori joins us for a bit in the driveway. She has never been interviewed over the course of Josh’s two decades in elective office, as state rep, commissioner in Montgomery County, and now AG, which is surprising. Lori and Josh met as high-school freshman in Abington, and save for “a break” when they went off to college, they’ve been together ever since.
Josh has said that “Lori kicks my ass” when it comes to making the hard decisions about, say, running for an office — though at the moment, they’re teasing each other about Lori not giving him the time of day at first in ninth grade, and Josh deciding “I’m not going to screw this up” when Lori got an internship in Washington. Josh had moved there right after college, and that’s where they got back together for good. By the time he was 25, Shapiro was Congressman Joe Hoeffel’s chief of staff.
I have a serious question for Lori:
Does it feel at times that your husband’s energy, ambitions and talents could be put to better use outside the messes of Harrisburg or Washington? Do you ever discuss him getting out of politics?
“I think Josh is really good at solving problems,” Lori says, “and there’s a lot of problems. And we live in this world, and our kids live in this world. There’s no one I’d rather … ” Suddenly she bursts out laughing and turns to Josh, sitting close to her. “This is the nicest thing I’ve ever said about you.”
With that, two things are established: Josh Shapiro has a sweet marriage, and if there was any doubt in his world about the path he’s on, forget it. He wants to be governor, and the home front is all in.
Pennsylvania officials may not release the new redistricting maps for another year, but good government organizations are already rallying supporters to turn up the heat against gerrymandering.
Nearly 700 people tuned in for a Zoom meeting where members of the League of Women Voters, the Committee of Seventy, Draw the Lines PA and Fair Districts PA spelled out the stakes as Pennsylvania prepares to redraw congressional and legislative districts based on the 2020 census data. Over the past 30 years, both Democratic and Republican majorities in Pennsylvania have used their authority to create increasingly noncompetitive maps meant to preserve their power.
Republicans have controlled redistricting since 2000, which coincided with the emergence of mapping software, allowing the GOP to produce computer-generated maps that can maximize advantages. The congressional map Pennsylvania Republicans enacted in 2012 drew national ridicule for its bizarre boundaries, including one district some compared to Goofy kicking Donald Duck.
But reformers believe the same mapping tools could also prove to be part of the solution. Twenty years ago, the software capable of plotting the convoluted maps was expensive and proprietary. Today, anyone with an internet connection can open it up in their web browser. Reformers hope it will help them build on the success a Lehigh County woman achieved a decade ago fighting for fair maps.
“This is the first time in the history of drawing maps that the technology is widely available. Anybody can spend a few hours with the software and draw a map,” said David Thornburgh, CEO of the Committee of Seventy. “It used to be you could control the data. You could control the information. You could control the process. You can’t do that anymore.”
Received this e-mail today from Fair Districts PA:
Prison gerrymandering shifts power and undermines representation. It also contradicts PA election law. Want to learn more about this and help find ways to change it?
You’re invited to the Southwest PA Regional Forum to End Prison Gerrymandering in Pennsylvania.
April 10, 11 am to 12:30 PM. This is a Zoom meeting. Register here.
Individuals and family members most directly affected by mass incarceration and loss of representation will share their stories. Other speakers will include:
- Senator Jay Costa, Senate minority leader and co-sponsor of a bill to address this issue
- Robert Saleem Holbrook and John Rowland of the Abolitionist Law Center
- Jenna Henry of Free the Ballot
Come learn how we can end this practice and bring fair political power back to communities most impacted by mass incarceration in Pennsylvania.
I hope to see you there,
Fair Districts PA Chair
And the Pennsylvania Democratic Party is laser focused on their voter registration efforts. Received this e-mail this week from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party:
Last week, we announced our voter registration plan and set a $10,000 fundraising goal to launch it. This community came through by raising $12,519, and now our campaign is in motion!
I’m about to ask you for $12 more to grow the voter registration fund to $20,000. Before I make that request, let me show you how quickly your contributions add up. ↓
Alone, your $12 donation could make the difference of whether or not a neighbor can vote. That’s no small thing.
And together? Together, we’ll reach and register hundreds of thousands of new voters and turn PA permanently blue!
PA Democratic Party
Also, just received this e-mail today from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party:
Hi, we’re reaching out to you, specifically, because we know that you called, texted, or took action last year to turn PA back to blue!
Tonight, we’re kicking off organizing efforts to register 125,000 more Pennsylvanians by next spring, and we can’t do that without the team that helped us win in 2020. Will you join our 6 PM volunteers call about how to get back in the fight?Voter Registration Campaign Kickoff Call
w/ Sr. Staff of the PA Democratic Party
Thursday, April 1st | 6:00 PM
Our democracy depends on the same folks who led the fight against Trump (that’s you) leading the work to build our party long-term. Joining our kickoff call tonight is a really smart way to get informed and get started.
Sign up here to get the link and join at 6: www.mobilize.us/padems/event/378178/
PA Dems + Back To Blue
Reminder, we also have elections for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court this year so we need to be ready. Click below to donate and get involved with Fetterman or Kenyatta’s campaigns and these Democrats campaigns:
- John Fetterman
- Malcolm Kenyatta
- Maria McLaughlin for Supreme Court
- Carolyn Nichols for Supreme Court
- Timika Lane for Superior Court
- Jill Beck for Superior Court
- Bryan Neft for Superior Court
- Deborah Canty for Superior Court
- Sierra Thomas Street for Commonwealth Court
- David Spurgeon for Commonwealth Court
- Amanda Green-Hawkins for Commonwealth Court
- Lori Dumas for Commonwealth Court
- Brian Sims for Lt. Governor
- Pennsylvania Democratic Party
- Fair Districts PA
- Draw the Lines PA
- Committee of Seventy
- Conor Lamb
- Matt Cartwright
- Susan Wild
- Chrissy Houlahan
- Madeleine Dean
- Dwight Evans
- Mike Doyle
- Mary Gay Scanlon
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