Politics

Matt Rourke / AP

With the state House and Senate both back in Harrisburg, lawmakers are turning their attention to a number of gun control and school safety bills.

The effort comes in the wake of a Texas school shooting that killed ten last week—the nation’s largest since the Florida shooting that killed seventeen in February.

When House lawmakers finish up a series of public hearings on gun control, House GOP Spokesman Steve Miskin said a number of stalled bills will start moving—likely in the “first week or two in June.”

Not All GOP Candidates Want Trump To Stump

May 21, 2018
Evan Vucci / AP

He is the Republican Party's most powerful political weapon. Yet as the GOP fights to defend its delicate House and Senate majorities, President Donald Trump is not welcome everywhere.

AP

State House Republicans are increasing Representative Nick Miccarelli's punishment after deciding his actions constitute retaliation against two women who accused him of physical and sexual abuse--fellow GOP representative Tarah Toohil and another woman who has remained anonymous.

However, they're not moving to expel Miccarelli.

And meanwhile, in a memo detailing the latest sanctions, House GOP leaders included a pointed message to the Democrats in the chamber.

YouTube

The race for governor is only a few days in, but the negative ads are already starting.

Only minutes after Scott Wagner clinched the Republican nomination for governor, the Wolf campaign sent out a press release calling the York County Senator “the worst of Harrisburg.”

They also released an ad deriding Wagner as a bully, and included footage of various speeches in which he used violent-sounding metaphors.

Bibiana Boerio for Congress / YouTube

Republicans got most of the attention in Tuesday’s primary in the 14th Congressional District, where state Senator Guy Reschenthaler scored an 11-point victory over state Representative Rick Saccone. But Democrat Bibiana Boerio of Unity Township won by an even larger margin – 19 points – in a primary that featured a total of four candidates.

 

Women Win U.S. House Primaries, GOP Makes Picks For Gov, Senate

May 16, 2018
Matt Slocum / AP

Pennsylvania Republicans picked a tough-talking state senator and a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump to be their party's nominees for governor and U.S. Senate, as a big splash in U.S. House primaries made it more likely that women will break the all-male hold on Pennsylvania's congressional delegation.

scanlonforcongress.com

Mary Gay Scanlon has won a 10-way Democratic primary in a southeastern Pennsylvania congressional district that's likely to flip to the Democrats following a court-ordered redrawing of the state's political maps.

She will face Republican Pearl Kim in November's general election. The 5th Congressional District, which now leans Democratic, has an open seat following the resignation of Rep. Pat Meehan amid allegations he used taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment allegations by a former aide.

Trump Supporter Barletta Wins GOP Nod To Take On Sen. Casey

May 15, 2018
Susan Walsh / AP

Four-term U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump who first got national notice as a small-city mayor for his attempted crackdown on illegal immigration, on Tuesday won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.

Barletta had paid little attention to his Republican rival, state Rep. Jim Christiana, during the primary campaign. Instead, he focused his attacks on the candidate he hopes to unseat in the fall, two-term Democratic Sen. Bob Casey.

Summer Lee for PA

Summer Lee of Swissvale has won the Democratic primary as a newcomer to the 34th State House District in a wide victory against incumbent Paul Costa.

 

It’s a win for local progressives who have set their sights on unseating Democrats they say have become listless from multiple terms in office.

 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Republican and Democratic voters are heading to the polls today to select their champions for November's general election, and Mark Wolosik, who heads Allegheny County's elections department, is expecting light turnout for today's primary. 

"We're predicting about 20 percent on both sides -- 20 percent Democratic and 20 percent Republican registered voters," he says.

Voters Cast Ballots In Pennsylvania's New Congressional Districts

May 15, 2018
Susan Walsh / AP

Tuesday's primary elections will begin to settle swing state Pennsylvania's chaotic congressional landscape after a court fight ended with redrawn districts just three months ago.

Pennsylvania primary voters will also decide the fate of President Donald Trump's pick for U.S. Senate. Idaho voters are set to pick their Republican gubernatorial nominee, while heavily Republican Nebraska and Democratic-leaning Oregon are also holding primaries Tuesday.

A look at some of the key races:

PENNSYLVANIA SCRAMBLE

Live Blog: Primary Day 2018

May 15, 2018
90.5 WESA

Check in throughout the day for 90.5 WESA's continuous coverage of the Primary Election. 

Matt Rourke / AP

Of all the crowded races in Tuesday's primary election, perhaps none is odder than the one for lieutenant governor.

Usually, a sitting LG is in a pretty safe spot once primaries roll around.

But no less than four Democratic challengers are giving incumbent Mike Stack a run for his money.

For Stack, a former Democratic Senator from Philadelphia, the trouble seemed to really start with a press conference.

Primary Will Help Set Stage For Next Crop Of State Lawmakers

May 14, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

This year's legislative races in Pennsylvania have drawn extremely high levels of interest, with reports of activists swamping normally quiet organizational meetings and an unusually large number of candidates making it onto the ballot.

On Primary Day, Both Parties Agree New Congressional Map May Cause Confusion

May 14, 2018
Joseph Kaczmarek

Days before Pennsylvania’s primary election, about 25 Democrats gathered for a meeting a few blocks away from the border of two recently reshaped congressional districts in North Philadelphia.

On a table with campaign literature, flyers that said, “re-elect Congressman Dwight Evans” were neatly tucked away and replaced with others that support Congressman Brendan Boyle.

Courtesy of Lindsey Williams for PA, Friends of Stephanie Walsh, Friends of Jeremy Shaffer, and Friends of Randy Vulakovich

One of the most competitive local races in Tuesday's primary is for state Senate in the 38th District, which includes North Hills suburbs, Allegheny River communities and some Pittsburgh East End neighborhoods.

Republican incumbent Randy Vulakovich, of Shaler, is facing a spirited challenge from Ross Township Commissioner Jeremy Shaffer, also a Republican.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Call it a tale of two Costas.

In campaign-season mailers being sent to Democratic voters in the 21st state House district, state Rep. Dom Costa boasts of his success at “Moving Pittsburgh Forward.” 

Matt Rourke / AP

With less than a week before the primary elections, GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner is voicing his support for a restrictive abortion bill.

The stance is in line with a recurring theme in the race—the York County Senator’s apparent battle with rival Paul Mango over who is farther right politically.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

It's a Tuesday evening in early May, and an elaborately-decorated lobby in Malvern is swarming with Republicans.

A number are state officials, or officers for the Pennsylvania GOP. Many more are members of the Chester County Republican Party--the group behind this particular dinner.

But the keynote speaker, and the name on most of the signs, banners, and lapel buttons, is a guy who still describes himself as a political outsider, even after four years in the state Senate.

Cliff Owen / AP

A group that's plunging money into a Republican congressional primary contest in southwestern Pennsylvania is getting most of it from the campaign account of the now-resigned U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy.

Federal Election Commission reports show the group Conservatives for PA is paying for TV and radio ads and direct mail to help state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler in his 14th Congressional District primary race against state Rep. Rick Saccone.

Laura Ellsworth Campaign video via YouTube

After being outspent and outshouted for months in the Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial primary, Laura Ellsworth is getting air time, endorsements, and — she hopes — a surge toward the finish line.

Ellsworth, a Pittsburgh attorney, never had the personal wealth to compete with state Sen. Wagner and Pittsburgh businessman Paul Mango, each of whom invested millions in their own campaigns.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

A new non-partisan commission will investigate how to better secure voting machines, voter registration, and other elements of Pennsylvania's electoral system. 


Voters Eye Pennsylvania’s Wide-Open, Crowded U.S. House Races

May 7, 2018
Marc Levy / AP

Like his seven Republican rivals before him, Stephen Bloom had delivered all the conservative bona fides to the crowd at the social hall in rural southern Pennsylvania when he offered a sweetener: He will visit often if he's elected to Congress.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

The close-knit homes of Pittsburgh’s Morningside neighborhood could almost be the backdrop for the opening credits to 1970s sitcom "All In the Family." But when Sara Innamorato is out knocking doors, the first-time Democratic candidate can see at least one way she’s changing the landscape.

“It’s just a bizarre, bizarre thing to see your name on a sign,” she said.

Matt Rourke / AP

Several state lawmakers are trying to boost a proposal that would qualify women with postpartum depression for support through Pennsylvania’s Early Intervention program.

Jacqueline Martin / AP

Pennsylvania will fill the empty seat of resigned U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan in a special election on Nov. 6, the day of the general election.

Wednesday's announcement by Gov. Tom Wolf also will apply to the expected resignation of U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent.

That would leave a special election winner just two months in office before a successor picked in the general election takes over for a full two-year term in Congress.

Meehan and Dent, both Republicans, were facing a hostile electorate in 2018 in increasingly liberal eastern Pennsylvania districts.

Matt Rourke / AP

It’s almost time for lawmakers to start work on the state budget.

But after several cycles of tortuous negotiations made more difficult by persistent revenue shortfalls, it looks like this year might be smoother sailing.

Thanks to last year’s weak revenue collections, lawmakers were faced with a nearly $1.5 billion hole.

They finally filled it through—mostly—borrowing. But it took until late October, three months past the deadline.

This year, the shortfall is much smaller.

Matt Rourke / AP

In recent weeks, proponents of overhauling Pennsylvania’s redistricting process with an independent citizens’ commission have been frustrated as their bills have been repeatedly gutted by the Republican majority in a prominent state House committee.

But now, those advocates may be getting an unexpected new ally in House GOP Leader Dave Reed, who told reporters Tuesday, this is an issue he wants to address before he departs the legislature at the end of this year.  

Currently, congressional redistricting is done by the legislature, and the governor signs off on it.

Matt Rourke / AP

For the second time this month, a state House panel has stripped a bill that would have established an independent redistricting commission made up of citizens, and replaced it with language that gives the legislature even more power over the process.

Wagner As Governor Spurs Question Of Business Conflicts

Apr 30, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

If he wins the race for Pennsylvania governor, Scott Wagner would become the state's only chief executive in at least a half-century who took office with a deep financial interest in a business heavily regulated by the state.

Wagner, 63, the Republican Party's endorsed candidate to take on Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in November, maintains he will be focused strictly on a business-friendly platform of cutting spending and regulations, not helping the York County-based waste hauler he owns.

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