Politics

Democrats Banking On Suburban Discontent In 2018

Mar 23, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

From the old steel communities around Pittsburgh to the lakefront communities of Chicagoland, Republicans are facing an increasingly clear reality: They've got trouble in the suburbs.

Virginia Alvino Young/Conor Lamb campaign / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s congressional hopefuls now have a little more certainty about the May 15 primary election.

The newly drawn congressional district map was upheld after being challenged in court, and the deadline has passed for major party candidates to get on the ballot.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA


Most of the candidates who intend to run in Pennsylvania’s newly drawn 14th Congressional District to the south and east of Pittsburgh don’t actually live there.

Matt Rourke / AP

The majority leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is quitting elective politics, blaming his aborted candidacy for the U.S. House on a new map that put him in the same district as an incumbent congressman from the same party.

Republican state Rep. Dave Reed of Indiana County said Tuesday he made the decision because he doesn't want to challenge GOP U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson.

Reed's in his eighth term and isn't seeking re-election to the state House.

He says he doesn't have plans for a new job but has eight months to figure that out.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

As an elementary school choir sang inside the Capitol rotunda on Friday, a group of men and women clad in military fatigues, carrying walkie talkies and AR-15s, gathered just outside.

“We live in a society where we give lazy kids who come in eighth place trophies,” shouted one man, who left before giving his name. “Alright? It’s not a gun problem, it’s a mental problem.”

Christian Yingling wore a patch on his camouflage jacket declaring him part of the Pennsylvania Lightfoot Militia.

He’s from Westmoreland County, and on most days, works as a machinist.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

A Pennsylvania official said no "legitimate claims or complaints" of voter fraud have come up since Tuesday's closely contested U.S. House race in the state, countering several false stories that cited invalid votes and a court decision throwing the election results out.

The website Daily World Update said in a story circulating on social media that a judge identified as Marshawn Little of the 45th Federal Appeals Court of Westmoreland County cancelled the results because they were "tainted beyond reproach."

Democrat’s Dilemma: An Energized Left V. Moderation

Mar 16, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania's Conor Lamb and Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, the new miracle men of the Democratic Party, offer a clear model for how to run in Republican territory: Focus on economics, not guns, immigration or President Donald Trump.

But that won't be easy when much of the party is whipped into a fervor over those topics.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Google Maps


In the wake of Tuesday’s special election in the 18th Congressional District, attention has quickly turned to the district that could soon replace the 18th – the 14th District.

District 18 Race Suggests Almost No GOP Candidate Is Safe

Mar 15, 2018
J. Scott Applewhite

The message to Republicans from the Pennsylvania special election was simple: Almost no one is safe.

Rattled Republicans were hit with a day-after reality check Wednesday after the startlingly strong performance of a fresh-faced Democrat deep in Trump country.

Just five months ago, almost no one in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District knew Conor Lamb's name.

But since quitting his job as a federal prosecutor to run for a vacant House seat, the 33-year-old has spent a lot of time introducing himself to people.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state House has moved to change the commonwealth’s constitution and drastically reduce the size of the legislature.

However, there’s no guarantee voters will see the amendment on their ballots come election day.

Pennsylvania has the largest full-time legislature in the country—and for years, lawmakers have sought to change that.

Supporters of the proposal say cutting the number of representatives would make government more efficient—and probably save money.

And, bill sponsor Jerry Knowles noted, the ultimate decision will be up to voters. 

Ryan Dickey / Flickr

A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation that could have parents footing the bill if their child bullies another kid at school.

State Rep. Frank Burns' bill gives parents three strikes. The first time a child bullies someone, the school is required to inform his or her parents how the school handled the situation. Parents would have to take a class on bullying and attend a bullying resolution conference the second time. The third time, parents would receive a court citation and pay up to a $500 fine.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives / legis.state.pa.gov

Abuse allegations against Delaware County Representative Nick Miccarelli have put state Capitol law enforcement in a somewhat unprecedented situation.

Two weeks ago, the Philadelphia Inquirer and L&P’s The Caucus reported that two women who dated Miccarelli accused him repeated abuse.

Late last week, one of those women went public.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Drawing national attention and serving as what many consider an early indicator for the 2018 midterm election cycle, today all eyes are on Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone, the candidates vying for a seat in the 18th Congressional District. 

#PA18 Live Blog: District 18 Special Election

Mar 13, 2018
Sarah Kovash/Keith Srakocic / 90.5 WESA/AP

Follow 90.5 WESA's live blog throughout the day for continuing coverage of the District 18 special election. 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's governor wants to ban gifts to all elected state officials and to suspend pay for himself, lawmakers and their top aides when they have not fully enacted a budget by the annual deadline.

Gov. Tom Wolf, a first-term Democrat seeking re-election, will outline a government reform proposal on Monday that also includes better campaign finance disclosure and a requirement that lawmakers provide receipts when seeking reimbursement for expenses.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

A fraught redistricting battle in Pennsylvania has taken a small step forward.

A panel of three federal judges heard arguments Friday in a case over whether the commonwealth’s Supreme Court violated the federal constitution when it redrew congressional maps last month.

Both the plaintiffs and defendants acknowledged, the case doesn’t have any direct precedent.

Lawyers for two Republican state Senate leaders and eight GOP congressmen contended that the state court usurped the legislature’s power.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Voters head to the polls Tuesday in the special election to fill the empty seat in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District south of Pittsburgh.

Trump: Don't Fall For Democrat Lamb's Moderate Talk

Mar 10, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

President Donald Trump told western Pennsylvania voters Saturday night that his new tariffs were saving the steel industry and urged them to send a Republican to the House so he can keep delivering those kinds of results.

The president lent his weight to Republican Rick Saccone in the final days of a surprisingly competitive special election outside Pittsburgh that could reverberate nationally ahead of the November midterm elections.

Pennsylvania Democrats See Surge Of Legislative Candidates

Mar 9, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Democrats hoping to claw their way out of a deep minority in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives got some good news this week when their candidates filed petitions to get on the ballot in 180 of the chamber's 203 districts.

The flood-the-zone strategy, inspired in part by a surprising showing for their party in Virginia in November, is designed to put more of the chamber in play and ramp up pressure on Republicans to defend their 121-82 majority.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA


Just days away from the March 13 special congressional election between Republican Rick Saccone (Elizabeth) and Democrat Conor Lamb (Mt. Lebanon), volunteers are knocking doors, calling voters and distributing campaign literature in an effort to get out the vote in the 18th District south of Pittsburgh.

Matt Rourke / AP

Republican state lawmakers wrapped up three weeks of annual budget hearings by tearing into Governor Tom Wolf’s administration for several hours straight.

 

The crime, as they see it?

 

Making what the GOP alleges is an unconstitutional deal to close this fiscal year’s budget deficit.

 

White House Gears Up Campaigning For District 18 Special Election

Mar 8, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

Fighting to stave off another special election embarrassment, the White House is strengthening its final-days offensive in western Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

As more states begin creating work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients, calls to do the same in Pennsylvania are building.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania lawmakers are trying to figure out a better way to pay for state police.

Alex Brandon / AP

State elections officials say Democrat Bob Casey and three Republicans filed petitions before Pennsylvania's deadline to get on the primary ballot for U.S. Senate.

The Republicans who filed by Tuesday night's deadline were U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta of Hazleton, state Rep. Jim Christiana of Beaver County and perennial candidate Joe Vodvarka of suburban Pittsburgh.

Tom Wolf / Flickr

Three weeks after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 dead, there seems to be some momentum for action on gun reform bills in Congress and in the legislatures of states, including Florida and Pennsylvania.

Emma Lee / WHYY

Pennsylvanians won't be lacking for choice when they select general election candidates for lieutenant governor.

Pennsylvania's state elections officials reported receiving paperwork from seven Democrats and five Republicans by Tuesday night's deadline.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

The battle over how to handle Pennsylvania’s congressional maps has even political families divided.

 

Former governor Dick Thornburgh has filed a brief to the United States Supreme Court arguing a new congressional map drawn by the state Supreme Court should be invalidated.

 

But the governor’s son, David, has called that map an “improvement” on the old one.

 

Wolf Says New Map Should Be Used For Congressional Elections

Mar 6, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's governor told the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday it would cost millions of dollars and confuse voters if the justices stop current plans to hold congressional elections this year based on a new district map imposed last month by the state Supreme Court.

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