Chris Potter

Government & Accountability Editor

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.

And yes, that is his real hair.

He can be reached at 412-930-8006 or at cpotter@wesa.fm.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Donald Trump didn’t unveil any of his famous nicknames for Democratic foes in Erie on Wednesday night. He didn’t need to.

John Bazemore / AP

The executive director of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee has resigned from his post, just weeks after being hired, amid outcry over his social media posts.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Debates organized by the League of Women Voters in at least three local state legislative races -- including one scheduled to take place Tuesday evening -- have been called off. 

The League's Greater Pittsburgh chapter had hoped to host a double-header forum Tuesday night in the 39th and 40th state House Districts at the Bethel Park Community Center. But it sent out notice of the debates without first confirming the participation of the Republicans running in those districts, Michael Puskaric and Natalie Mihalek.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

In an exclusive interview with WESA on Thursday, attorney Michael Avenatti said that an FBI investigation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was an “absolute joke,” because agents did not reach out to his client or witnesses who could help corroborate her allegations.

Congressional portraits

How much election-year drama is Allegheny County seeing? Enough that the League of Women Voters could practically put on its own miniseries this month.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Democrat Lindsey Williams is running for state Senate – an office that, in an ordinary year, would generate little more than local interest. But this is 2018, a time when Democrats are investing unprecedented energy in the midterm elections, and Williams just got the backing of a former President of the United States.

Office of Conor Lamb

The November election is less than two months away, but it was still summertime for Democrats gathered at the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers headquarters in the city’s South Side in mid-September.

Screen grab / Keith Rothfus for Congress

The hotly contested race between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Keith Rothfus has achieved a milestone: Rothfus has aired the first attack ad in the 17th Congressional District. And he's apparently hoping that a mouse will roar. 

Alex Brandon / AP

Senate hearings began Tuesday on the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. And while Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey was well out of the spotlight, he echoed many of the concerns that his fellow Democrats were expressing on Capitol Hill.

“It’s gonna be a critical week,” Casey said of the hearings during a Tuesday interview with 90.5 WESA. “The big issue out of the box is not even a review of his views – that will come obviously as part of the hearing. But the big issue now is the access to information and documents.”

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Three priests in the Diocese of Pittsburgh have been placed on administrative leave in the wake of allegations that they sexually abused minors, the diocese announced Friday afternoon.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro stopped at the University of Pittsburgh to discuss campus safety on Wednesday. But he also made a visit to Holy Family Institute in Emsworth, to check on the plight of immigrant children who have been separated from their parents as a result of Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.  

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Just about two months from the Nov. 6 election, a new Franklin & Marshall College poll echoes previous surveys of Pennsylvania voters: Democratic voters are fired up, and the two candidates at the top of their ticket have comfortable leads over lesser-known Republican rivals.

Gov. Tom Wolf leads his Republican foe, trash-hauling company executive and former state Senator Scott Wagner, by a 52-to-35 percentage point margin among likely voters. Senator Bob Casey enjoys a similar, if somewhat smaller lead, over Congressman Lou Barletta, with a 47-to-34 margin.

Pennsylvania State House Official Biography

The release of a state grand-jury report about child sexual abuse in the Catholic church has brought up painful stories of abuse, and demands for justice.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

Democratic Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey and his Republican challenger, Congressman Lou Barletta, each touted their support of blue-collar workers in Pittsburgh Tuesday.

Cliff Owen / AP

Ordinarily, you wouldn’t expect the chair of the Democratic National Committee to be so excited after seeing his party lose a closely watched special election. 

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

In an effort to shift his U.S. Senate campaign into a higher gear, Congressman Lou Barletta is in Pittsburgh Tuesday and Wednesday, with a bus sojourn his campaign calls the “Red, White and Lou” tour. And as he sought to raise his profile just three months from the election, he answered questions from 90.5 WESA about the campaign, Donald Trump's economic policies, and his ties to a controversial Trump ally.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

City Council voted to approve UPMC’s $400 million plan to expand Mercy Hospital this week -- but one activist plans to continue the fight against Daniel Lavelle, the city councilor who brokered a deal with the health care giant.

Posted on state Rep. Hal English's website.

In a three-way contest this weekend, Lori Mizgorski narrowly won the Republican nomination to replace Hal English, for whom she has served as chief of staff, in state House District 30. 

She will face Democrat Betsy Monroe Nov. 6 in the district, which includes North Hills suburbs like Shaler, Richland, O'Hara and Hampton.

The Republican Committee of Allegheny County announced the result in a Sunday statement that quoted county party chair D. Raja calling Mizgorski "a superbly qualified candidate who will do an incredible job." 

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

Protesters marched Downtown Friday, while criticizing city leaders for new protest policies that limit their abilities to block certain roads. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The city of Pittsburgh issued new rules for protesters late Thursday afternoon – releasing a new policy that seeks to limit protests  that have shut off area streets since the police shooting of Antwon Rose last month.

Office of Conor Lamb

A poll out Tuesday morning shows Democrat Conor Lamb with a double-digit lead over Republican Keith Rothfus in Pennsylvania’s closely watched 17th Congressional District.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The mayor of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania’s auditor general held a joint press conference Thursday, arguing that legalizing the recreational use marijuana could generate more than a half-billion dollars in tax revenue each year.

“The time for Pennsylvania legislators to act is right now,” said state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. “The longer we wait to do this, and the more other states go down on this path, the more Pennsylvania will be a follower. ... The train is pulling out of the station.”

Alex Brandon / AP

In a 45-minute "tele-town hall" with Pennsylvanians Wednesday morning, Pat Toomey made clear -- again -- that he thought the Russians should pay a steep price for trying to shape the outcome of the 2016 election.

At the same time, however, he pushed back on suggestions that there be a cost for the man who won that election, President Donald Trump.  

Keith Srakocic / AP

In one of the country's most closely-watched House Races, western Pennsylvania incumbents Keith Rothfus and Conor Lamb appear to be on even ground financially. 

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke to some 3,000 educators at the American Federation of Labor conference in Downtown Pittsburgh this morning, portraying the labor movement’s struggles as a proof of its importance.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

Hillary Clinton pulled few punches in a fiery 25-minute address to the American Federation of Teachers in Downtown Pittsburgh mid-morning Friday.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

It’s not easy to watch, or listen to, the video recording that captured an East Pittsburgh police officer shooting and killing 17-year-old Antwon Rose last month.

Courtesy of Friends of Turahn Jenkins

Turahn Jenkins announced his bid to challenge Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala on July 2. Less than a week later, some of the progressive activists who initially supported him are calling on him to withdraw, citing Jenkins' ties to a church with deeply conservative views on abortion and homosexuality.

State House of Representatives

In a surprise announcement made the afternoon before the Fourth of July holiday, state Rep. Hal English, R-Hampton, said he's withdrawing from the November election. 

Allegheny County Republicans can replace him on the fall ballot, but for now Democrat Betsy Monroe is the only candidate in the race. 

"I'm speechless," Monroe said, after a five-second pause, when notified that her rival was withdrawing. "I'm as surprised as anyone." 

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld was charged with homicide for shooting black teenager Antwon Rose just last week, and he's already facing a civil suit. 

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