Politics & Government

We cover politics and government with an eye to providing to voters clear, in-depth, nonpartisan information. 

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's Republican candidate for governor has released a video of himself saying he wants to stomp on the sitting governor's face with golf spikes.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's 44th District is made up of neighborhoods north and west of Pittsburgh, including Moon Township and some prosperous Ohio Valley communities. For the last 15 years, it has been led by Republican Mark Mustio, who decided to retire earlier this year.

Two first-time candidates are running to replace him.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

As the Nov. 6 midterm election fast approaches, Lyft and Uber are trying to make getting to the polls a whole lot easier. In addition to casting ballots in local, state and congressional races, Pennsylvania voters also will elect a governor.

Boerio campaign/PA Senate

Health care is one of the dividing issues between Guy Reschenthaler and Bibiana Boerio, the two candidates hoping to become the U.S. Representative in the new 14th Congressional district.

Wolf Leads Wagner In Large Donations In PA Governor’s Race — A Breakdown

Oct 11, 2018
Emma Lee / WHYY

About a month before Election Day, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has raised significantly more money than Republican challenger Scott Wagner.

Wolf has raised $15 million, compared to Wagner’s $8.5 million.

Wolf’s edge is especially pronounced based on the number of large donations that he has received.

New Map Gives Democrats Hope In More Pennsylvania Districts

Oct 11, 2018
Marc Levy / AP

Scott Perry has won his conservative district by no fewer than 25 percentage points on his way to three terms in Congress, but a sweeping redraw of Pennsylvania's House district boundaries has forced several Republican congressmen into newly competitive seats, Perry as much as anyone.

Now, Perry — a member of the Freedom Caucus, a particularly conservative group of House Republicans — is battling for his political life in conservative central Pennsylvania, and the state has emerged as a keystone for Democrats aiming to recapture a House majority.

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.

House Votes To End District Judge Re-Election Petition Rules

Oct 10, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania lawmakers are voting to repeal the requirement that incumbent district judges must collect signatures when running for re-election, a measure prompted by security concerns.

The House voted 128 to 65 Wednesday to eliminate the need for sitting district judges to collect 100 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

District judges set bail, preside over lower-level criminal and civil matters and preliminary hearings for more serious charges.

They don't have to be lawyers, and many are former police officers.

Don Wright/AP, Conor Lamb for Congress

A new poll shows U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D - Mt. Lebanon) maintaining a double-digit lead over U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R - Sewickley) in the closely-watched race for Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District.

Ted S. Warren / AP

A measure that would reduce penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana has passed out of a House committee. 

It almost certainly won’t get through the full legislature before the session ends next month—but its backers still see this as an important step forward.

Matt Rourke / AP

In the waning days of the legislative session, House lawmakers are hurrying to push priority bills out of their chamber and on to the governor.

The latest bills queued up to likely become law include revamped graduation readiness standards and an anti-hazing measure.

The hazing bill has been in the works since March—about a year after Penn State Student Tim Piazza died following a hazing ritual at a campus fraternity.

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.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Millennials are credited with killing the hotel industry and the automotive industry. They aren’t investing in stocks. They don't even eat cereal. Criticism can make for a common refrain, but those headlines don’t paint a full picture of the world's largest living generation.

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.

Matt Rourke / AP

The clock is winding down for Pennsylvanians who want to register to vote or update their voter information in time for the Nov. 6 General Election.

The last day for Pennsylvanians to get on the voting rolls in time to participate in the midterm election is Tuesday.

Voters in the state will choose a governor, lieutenant governor, United States senator, members of Congress and most of the state Legislature.

An-Li Herring, 90.5 WESA

During their first debate in a closely watched Congressional election, Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Keith Rothfus spent much of their time treading carefully on a number of hot-button issues, and appeared intent on separating themselves from hardliners in their own parties. But differences did emerge on some bread-and-butter economic concerns including Social Security. 

Wolf Runs 'Ball-Control' Campaign In Staying Ahead Of Wagner

Oct 8, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Tom Wolf was in the midst of telling a Democratic Party dinner crowd last month how important it is for Democrats to tell voters what they stand for in this mid-term election campaign when he interrupted himself.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A state House committee plans to vote this week on a bill that could offer some help to people who allege they've been cheated out of royalty money from natural gas companies, but the measure falls short of what many landowners had hoped for.

Don Wright/AP, Conor Lamb for Congress

On a recent Sunday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D - Mt. Lebanon) made the rounds in a sunny park pavilion packed with supporters. It was a family-friendly meet-and-greet, with a balloon artist and giant checker board for the kids. For the Democratic congressman, it was a familiar scene.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

Democratic Braddock Mayor John Fetterman and Republican businessman Jeff Bartos met at WPXI on Saturday for the first and only scheduled debate between the candidates for lieutenant governor.

AP/90.5 WESA

Republican Jeff Bartos and Democrat John Fetterman are scheduled to debate this weekend in Pittsburgh. The two candidates for lieutenant governor will participate in a debate Saturday which will air 7:30 p.m. on WPXI-TV.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

The outrage over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court returned to Pittsburgh on Thursday evening. Dozens of protesters gathered in Oakland to demand that Kavanaugh’s nomination be rescinded.

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.

Gerry Broome / AP

President Donald Trump is making another visit to Pennsylvania, this time to Erie where one of his staunch supporters in Congress is facing his toughest re-election battle yet.

Trump's campaign said Wednesday that the president will hold a rally at Erie Insurance Arena on Oct. 10. Four-term U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly and Lou Barletta are expected to attend, and Trump will headline a fundraiser for the men while there.

Kelly is facing a challenge from Democrat Ron DiNicola while Barletta is mounting an uphill campaign to unseat two-term Democratic U.S. Bob Casey.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

The state Senate voted to protect domestic violence victims and strengthen Protection From Abuse orders on Wednesday. But there was opposition from some Western Pennsylvania legislators.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

There are hundreds of semi-official government entities in Pennsylvania that use taxpayer money, introduce legislative agendas and work closely with outside interest groups, but these groups are largely unregulated and operate under no obligation to publicize their meetings or answer questions about their memberships.

Carrie Antlfinger / AP

Officials who oversee voting in Pennsylvania are promoting ways for state residents living overseas to obtain absentee ballots after some encountered computer barriers set up to prevent meddling with elections.

The Department of State outlined new procedures Wednesday, the same day The Philadelphia Inquirer reported instructions for overseas voters had led to an online dead-end.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania state government's tax collections are running ahead of estimate through the fiscal year's first quarter, and state officials point to strong corporate profits.

The state Department of Revenue said tax collections for the three months through Sunday were $210 million, or 3 percent, ahead of the official estimate.

Total collections of $7.6 billion for the state's general operating account are 10 percent higher than last year at this point.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

A bill that would end Pennsylvania’s frequent use of mandatory life-without-parole sentences has hit a wall in the state Senate.

The night before the bill was set to be voted out of committee, sponsor Sharif Street—a Democratic Senator from Philadelphia—got word it didn’t have enough support.

The committee didn’t ultimately hold a vote.

Mark Humphrey / AP

President Donald Trump is set to promote his new North American trade agreement and the nation's economic performance in Philadelphia on Tuesday, a day after he heralded the agreement in a Rose Garden press conference.

Trump is traveling to Pennsylvania to address the National Electrical Contractors Association Convention.

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