CD 15 Endorsement

I attended two of the the debates between Jackson Eaton and Rick Daugherty for the Democratic nomination to face Charlie Dent in the fall.  Neither guy inspired me as a progressive therefore I’m not going to endorse either.  I support and endorse progressives here and coming out in favor of someone not proudly flying the progressive banner isn’t my style.

My issue with Daugherty is mostly around abortion.  He notes he is “pr0 life” which means anti choice.  No person has the right to tell any other person what they may or may not do with their body.  Men, especially, have no idea what it means to be pregnant and raise a child.  He is also a hawk on Iran, the latest effort by conservatives to drag us into an unwinnable war on false pretenses.

Eaton favors cutting Social Security and said he supported the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles Commission to do so.  There were no recommendations from that body.  Someone running for Congress should know these facts before Charlie Dent slices and dices him with them.  He also supported attacks on Iran to protect Israel.  Our strategic national security interests are not those of Israel.

If I had to choose my vote would go to Daugherty on the strength of his support for organized labor but neither guy gets my endorsement.

GOP Can’t Agree on Redistricting

Republicans in Harrisburg are so busy blocking women’s abortion rights, denying the poor, disabled and elderly the right to vote and allowing energy companies to rape our land without consequence they can’t get redistricting done.  None of them can seem to agree on a plan and time is quickly running out.  Candidates cannot announce, organize and fundraise until they know in which district they reside.  This, of course, provides a significant edge to the GOP Congressional majority.  How convenient.

The Party in complete control of the process is fighting over how to redraw the boundaries while eliminating the one seat Pennsylvania lost due to the 2010 census.  While trying, all at once, to force a runoff between Dems Jason Altmire and Mark Critz Rep. Mike Turzai wants to be in that district so he can run for the seat.  That also means making it more conservative.  Guys like Jim Gerlach want more GOP voters but the likes of Joe Pitts, Pat Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick say “not at my expense.”  

It’s become quite a conundrum for Republicans and if that means screwing the voters, the people and their potential opponents all at the same time it appears they’re prepared to do so.  This is why we need an independent, non partisan organization doing Congressional reapportionment.  If there was ever a better argument for taking the politics out of the process this is it.

News & Notes September 22, 2010

Pat Toomey is up by either 4 or 7 points in the latest polls.  I tend to rely on Quninnipiac the most and they have the race as seven.  That means Joe Sestak has his opponent right where he wants him.  I’m betting his powerful biography boosts him over someone who has spent his life shilling for Wall Street.  If Pennsylvania voters opt for Toomey after losing their jobs, homes and retirements to Wall Street they get what they deserve.

In the Governor’s race Tom Corbett is pulling away with a 15 point spread and has a decided cash on hand advantage.  Dan Onorato was a bad candidate from the start but got a jump on everyone and raised enough cash to saturate TV last spring.  No personality, no charisma, no record…  I’ll also bet the AGG is a one term Guv.  Next year’s budget battle is going to be historic because cowardly legislators refused to raise taxes in an election year.  With Corbett’s vow for no new taxes he has George Herbert Walker Bush tattooed on his forehead.

The 15 CD race is also over.  John Callahan self immolated at last week’s debate, or, rather, Q&A session.  I’m not sure I’ve ever watched a worse performance.  The Morning Call has that race at 11 points.  Why vote for the Bethlehem Mayor who wouldn’t even make an impassioned plea for someone who has moved 372 bills through the House this session?  He also failed at go after any of Dent’s lies.

Pat Meehan and Bryan Lentz had a debate last evening in the 7th CD but since Gov. Dean’s office has shut me out of tonight’s event in Wayne I passed on their debate last night.  If you want coverage you have to be more open than this folks.  This isn’t the first time I’ve been dissed by Howard Dean and I’m assembling all my old DFA stuff to burn in the BBQ when I return from New Mexico.  

The Pennsylvania ACLU is suing Pittsburgh for its police state tactics during the G20 summit last year.  Police rounded up peaceful protesters, forced them onto the grounds of the Cathedral of Oppression at Pitt, surrounded them so they couldn’t leave then arrested them for failure to disperse.  This is so Orwellian as to be scary.  Dan Onorato was Allegheny County Dictator at the time.

Jim Powers, the head of the state’s domestic terrorism unit, the one which terrorizes activists, remains in office.  

Pittsburghers are complaining about rising parking rates.  This is one reason, along with traffic, why I have stopped covering events in Philadelphia.  I even skipped President Obama’s event for Joe Sestak yesterday.  Sen. Specter, apparently still playing the sore loser’s role, met Obama at the airport then skipped out on reporter’s questions about why he skipped the event at the Convention Center for the Admiral.

Speaking of dissing the press (again, never a good idea) Pat Toomey is refusing to take time to respond to reporters on his campaign trail.  This is a guaranteed method for getting bad press.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell failed in a Senate cloture vote yesterday as both Arkansas Senators joined Republicans to filibuster the bill.  This means we have no Defense Appropriations bill as yet.  With troops on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan and hundreds of other countries, the Pentagon has no funds.  All this because 43 Senators think its moral and right to destroy the integrity of our armed forces by forcing people to lie about who they are.  Hopefully either the courts will remedy this travesty or the President will finally act by Executive Order.

This is horrible news for Democrats who desperately needed something to close the “enthusiasm gap.  Now liberals and progressives are even angrier at the Party following Obama’s dissing and ridicule in Connecticut last week.  Just when the President needed to say something to motivate progressives to go to the polls he, instead, insulted us.  Again.  Is he tone deaf or just stupid?

The Tea Party announced a $1 million anonymous contribution.  We’ll never know who kicked that insane amount of money (but we can guess) since it isn’t being disclosed.  Karl Rove, meanwhile, is collecting another $50 million to rule the airwaves with propaganda next month.  Thank the Supreme Court and its activist Justices Thomas, Alito, Scalia and Roberts.

Larry Summers is leaving the White House so there is one sigh of relief for liberals.  The appointments of him and Geithner sounded the first alarms to the left wing of the Democratic Party that they’d been snookered by their candidate.  That was the onset of the enthusiasm gap.

Lisa Murkowski announced she will run for re-election tot he Senate in Alaska as a write-in candidate.  Good-bye Joe Miller.

The reaction in Delaware to Christine O’Donnell is so severe rank and file Democrats are actually talking about voting.  This is radical!  Republicans, more and more, are coming out of the closet and proclaiming they want to repeal the New Deal including Social Security and they want to begin executing gays and lesbians.  In the past they only intimated these positions.  

News & Notes June 15, 2010

The DCCC has named Manan Trivedi to its red to blue list.  This means the 6th CD candidate will get additional resources and focus as he campaigns to unseat Republican Jim Gerlach.

The White House announced its 2010 internship program and Emily Fox of Merion, Saurabh Sanghvi of Pittsburgh, Hilary Krase of Elkins Park, Daniel Kessler of Wynnewood and Aaron Zucker of Bala Cynwyd will spend the summer working for their country.  No Monicas.

Republicans are continuing their war on science even as we poison our oceans in our greed for money over a viable ecosystem.  Here’s Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaking June 10th:

Congressman Patrick Murphy is co-sponsoring the Financial Crisis of 2008 Criminal Investigation and Prosecution Act so Wall Street criminals get prosecuted for their crimes.  The bill would authorize the hiring of additional investigators, forensic accountants and prosecutors to go after those who would steal our economic freedoms for their own personal gain.

Pat Toomey is trying to hide his being in bed with Big Oil by claiming Joe Sestak would slash 66,000 Pennnsylvania jobs by putting reasonable regulations on the gas drilling industry.  What Congressman Sestak is urging is a balanced approach to insure the safety of Pennsylvanians, our water resources and worker safety in the light of explosions at several Marcellus Shale locations recently.  As I listen to Toomey extolling the importance of jobs over lives and the drinking water we all rely upon for survival I question his priorities.  Pat Toomey thinks 66,000 jobs are more important than millions of lives.  What good are those jobs if the people doing them have no safe drinking water, if Pennsylvania landowners watch their property values disappear to nothing because there is no access to safe water, and we begin killing off our wildlife because of polluted rivers and streams?  Should we destroy our ecosystem for 66,000 jobs?  Pat’s been drinking the Kool Aid provided by Wall Street for too long, maybe he should begin drinking the water from some of the polluted wells poisoned by gas drillers in Dimmock.

While on the subject of these gas drillers two EOG Resources employees who chased Mike Morrill away from their errant well and threatened to kill him say “maybe he was trying to put something into the creek.”  So they think Mike’s couple of plastic bottles posed more of a threat to that water than the 35,000 gallons of toxic water they spilled?  Have they  yet been charged with terroristic threatening?

As schools begin cutting curriculum and teachers to balance budgets I’m aghast at their refusals to cut sports programs first.  While I acknowledge the importance of athletics the actual school work must be the first priority.  Simply because these school districts have spent millions of tax dollars building elaborate and expensive sports complexes doesn’t justify the continued use of tax dollars to use them when art, music, driver education and even gym are being cut.  Let the kids get their exercise in gym class if need be.  No wonder are chillen ain’t larnin’.

Altmire, Dent Sponsor Bigoted, Unconstitutional Bill

In a ridiculously stupid move Pennsylvania Congressmen Jason Altmire and Charlie Dent co-sponsored legislation enabling a government bureaucrat to revoke a person’s citizenship if they are thought to be engaged in terroristic activity.  One need not be tried and convicted, just suspected so the government may abuse and torture you.  A similar law was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last century.

This is simply a ridiculous knee jerk reaction by men who should know better.  What we learned from last weekend’s attempted car bombing in Times Square is that law enforcement works.  The suspect was run down and detained within 53 hours using good old police work.  The rule of law is working and now we can prosecute him for his crimes.  That is how America works and is what makes America America.  We are the land of the free and depriving anyone of their rights is unamerican.  

What is we applied this law when Tim McVeigh bombed Oklahoma City?  Where would you deport our domestic terrorists? Dr. George Tiller’s assassin would have been tortured and deported…where?  Why don’t Congressmen stop and engage their brains before ramming their right wing tips over our rights?  Dent and Altmire should be ashamed.

Update:  Schuylkill County Democrat Tim Seip hates America too as he co-sponsored this legislation.

Congressmen’s Health Insurance Votes Protested

Protestes against Members of Congress who voted against health insurance reform last weekend were visited by protesters yesterday.  In Bethlehem HCAN organizers gathered people from the Lehigh Valley to let Charlie Dent know how they felt about his vote.  In Harrisburg they gathered at the office of Democrat Tim Holden and in Berks County Working Families Win held an event at Jim Gerlach’s office.  I attended the Gerlach event and spoke to his staffer about the egregious attack on women’s reproductive rights.  The following pictures and video are of that event.  More are at my YouTube page.

Phila Back of Working Families Win addresses the group:

A Gerlach staffer who only identified himself as “Joe” came outside and falsely accused the crowd of blocking adjacent businesses.  Mike Morrill of Keystone Progress had to correct him on case law regarding the premises being public property:

John Meyerson of UFCW and the Southeast United Labor Council also spoke passionately about the issue:

Schnecksville Family Dines With Dent, Bennett

A Schecksville family had dinner with each of the 15th CD candidates for PBS 39.  Kevin and Krista along with their three children broke bread with incumbent Charlie Dent and his challenger Sam Bennett on separate days.  Kevin, a family physician, is a Republican and Krista is a medical education professor.  Both voted in their Party’s primaries and are undecided.

PBS 39 taped the dinners for broadcast and Kevin and Krista will announce their votes on the telecast.  Being able to sit down at their dinner table with each Congressional candidate is a unique opportunity.  Obviously health care questions are important to this family.

“Pasta and Politics” will air on PBS 39 Thursday October 30th at 7:30 pm.

My bet is they vote for Sam Bennett.

“I wish I could sit down with every family over dinner and talk about the issues,” said Bennett.  “Krista and Kevin’s family share some of the same concerns as many hardworking families I’ve met on the campaign trail.  They asked about important issues like education, the economy, energy, Iraq, and health care.  I’d be honored to earn their vote.”

In CD -15 The Electoral Dynamic Is Shifting

This is a guest column by William Tighe:

In CD-15, The electoral Dynamic is shifting……

But whether or not it is enough to unseat Charlie Dent, I don’t know.

Those of us who like to crunch numbers and trends have been puzzled by the viciousness of incumbent Congressman Charlie Dent’s attacks on his challenger Sam Bennett. All things being equal, there was a back channel consensus that Sam Bennett really had an uphill battle to unseat him, and he wouldn’t have to put up much of an effort to keep his seat.

So when Charlie’s team went “nuclear” (Properties of Merit, Anyone?) early and often, and continued the onslaught, there were those observers among us who thought it a tad bit of overkill. I am one of them. I follow the polls, but I have as much faith in their reliability as I do the guy forecasting the weather, which is none. However, like my blogging buddy John Morgan over at PA Progressive, I observe the trends. What we are seeing explains quite a bit about why Charlie Dent is acting like his political life is on the line. Because if the trends hold their course, it is.

There’s never a guarantee that just because a person is registered as a member of a certain political party, that they will vote along party lines. But History shows that party loyalty is stronger among Republicans than it is Democrats, by about 5 to 10 %. It’s around 90 to 95% or better for Republicans, and 85 to 90% for Democrats. If you followed party line thinking, Charles Dertinger would have been our Congressman 2 years ago. But that didn’t happen, because when theory and reality meet, you never know what you will get.

In the 15th Congressional District, in 2006, there were approximately 175,000 registered Democrats, and 140,000 registered Republicans. Those numbers are based on a total of people who had either voted once or registered to vote in that time. When it comes to Independents/Third parties, according to labels and lists, there were about 48,000, with 50.9%  of those folks actually voting in 2006. That was the highest turnout of Independents in the last 4 general elections, surpassing the 44% of 2004.

This year the Voter rolls have grown with new registrants. Morning Call reporter/uber Blogger John Micek posted the county totals over at his Capitol Ideas blog, and he shows the following Breakdown: The Democrats have 109,502 in Lehigh, and 100,158 in Northampton, for a total of 209,660.

The Republicans have 77,209 in Lehigh, and 69,292 in Northampton, for a total of 146,501.

But over at labels and, they have the numbers of registered voters as of September 17th, 2008, and they show almost 400,000 registered total voters in the 15th CD. That’s 146,000 R’s, approximately 200,000 D’s, and 56,000 Everything else.

Now all things being equal, if everybody voted along party lines, and even if every Independent Third party participant voted for the Republican, you would say that Sam Bennett is a shoo in.

That’s Theory. But we live in reality.

In 2006, more than 52%, and in some precincts, close to 60% of the Democrats voted. You would think, if you were a Dem, that you were doing great, and you were. But the Republicans were better. In Some of Lehigh Counties Western Districts, out in the Macungies, Republican turnout exceeded 75 %, and in two districts I monitored, was over 80%.

Charles Dertinger received 86,000 votes, so if you stick with my 85 to 90% loyalty theory,

(175,000 X .52) = 87,500. 8750 X .85 = 74,375 then take into consideration a 45-55 ( in Favor of Dent) split of unaffiliated/third party registered voters (Approx 24,000) and you add 10,800 to that total,you get 84,175, which is pretty close to Charles Dertinger’s actual total of 86,186. The approximate 2000 vote difference could be accounted for as people registered as R’s who voted for Dertinger, which would give Charlie Dent an astounding party loyalty rate of almost 98%.

In 2006 Charles Dent received 106,261 votes. It breaks down this way: Approximately 13,200 ind/3rd parties, plus 13, 215 Dems who split their ticket, and that’s 26,415 votes, meaning 80,246 Republicans voted for him. Playing the numbers, out of 140,000 registered Republicans in the 15th CD, 58,7 % of them voted. Compare that to 52% actual turnout for Democrats, and you see why numerical registration superiority doesn’t mean squat, if they don’t actually cast a ballot.  Republicans do two things well in the 15th CD. They turn out to vote, and they are extremely loyal to their Republican Party candidate. Democrats are not, and those are the two biggest variables in calculating the formula of why the hell the Republicans keep winning seats where they are at a numerical disadvantage registration wise. The overall Conservatism of the Valley does play a role, but that’s not the end all answer.

In 2004, Dent received 170,000 votes, No there was not 100 % Republican turn out either, but 110,000 of the 136,000 registered R’s did. What defeated Joe Driscoll (Who received 114,000 votes by the way) was the perception he was a carpet bagger. It didn’t help that the 21,000 Independents who voted in 2004 went for Dent by almost a 90% margin, and at least 40,000 Democrats split their ticket to vote for Dent.

Now take a minute to process this, In 2004, Democrats turned out in the 15th CD and nearly a third voted against their congressional candidate. That could happen again.

In 2006 Charlie Dent executed one of the best voter turnout operations I had ever seen. He had carpools bringing people to the polls. In the SUBURBS.

I admire the Republican Voter outreach operation. They have taken data mining and voter targeting to a technological level that is astonishing. Democrats are catching up, but the R’s are still ahead. The supposed problem this year is that the Republican base is disheartened. They are not all that enthusiastic for their candidates. They are not motivated, and experts say the polling trends show it.

  I’m not sold completely on that idea. I’ve got my doubts. Where I think things are most unpredictable is the awesome surge in first time voters, the newly registered.

And that’s where the dynamic has shifted, enter all the new, young, first time voters. The Boys at CNN and the Washington Post have a word that sums them up very well: CYNICAL.

These people are not jaded by attack ads. Not from McCain, Not from Charlie Dent. In fact, there is a great deal of evidence that they are IGNORING THEM.

All these new voters know, is that things are fouled up, and the guys presently in charge are responsible. They want a new direction, and Charlie Dent and John McCain aren’t it.

This is the key to victory for Sam Bennett. A few weeks ago, I had my doubts Obama could win, and it is still not set in stone, but the trends in recent years have been right on. McCain surged, but has now faltered. The Domino onset of repeated economic crisis have been his achilles heel.

So for the sake of argument, let’s say Senator Obama carries the Lehigh Valley, much as Senator Kerry did in 2004. (But only by a couple of hundred votes)

     Okay, now what has to change for Senator Obama to carry Sam Bennett to DC with him? Well, if you follow the results of the Dertinger race in 2006, Sam Bennett, to defeat Charlie Dent, will need to get a minimum 120,000 votes.

 (Warning: this hypothesis is based on a 60% voter turnout, I personally won’t be surprised if it approaches 70%, and predict it hits at least 66% among registered voters).

   Charlie Dent won with 106,000 votes in 2006 to Dertinger’s 86,000, and Green Party candidate Greta Browne’s 5800. (All totals approximate)

Where does Sam Bennett get 120,000 votes? It is actually pretty easy. Now easier said than done, but still…

There are now approximately 200,000 registered Democrats in the 25th CD. That’s up from around 175,000 in 2006 She needs a 70% turn out of 140,000 (Comparable to 2004) and she needs to retain 85 % loyalty (119,000). Joe Driscoll’s party loyalty index was tragically low, under 65%, so what Charles Dertinger did in 2006 retaining the base was actually pretty commendable.

The math in 2008 adds up this way for Charlie Dent. There are approximately 146,000 registered Republicans. That’s only up from 140,000 in 2006. 70% Republican turnout for Dent translates into around 98,000. Give him at minimum 98% loyalty, and you have 96,040. So lets say he picks up all 21,000 that peeled off of Bennett, (Remember, this is for the sake of argument, not cold stone facts) That gives him 117,040. that’s a margin of 1960 votes so far for Sam Bennett.

Now I haven’t forgotten about our 3rd party/non affiliated voters. What will they do? Lets take a look at their registration. Since November 2006, there have been at least 7800 new registered Independent/third party voters, raising the total to just over 56,000 from 48,000 in 2006, and data shows 50.9 % of those voted in 2006. So if we stay conservative, and guess that 50 % of the 56,000 Unaffiliated vote, that’s 28,000 votes in play.

National trends say they are 70-30 for Obama. If it is 50-50 locally for Dent/Bennett, we could be in for recount city. Trends say they are leaning in an anti-incumbent mood, due to the economic upheaval. That is really bad news for Charlie Dent. If Bennett gets anything over 50%, from the unaffiliated, the Lehigh Valley gets a new Congresswoman. In 2006 they went 55-45 for Dent over Dertinger. In today’s economic climate, It’s tough to see them going overwhelmingly either way.

My post today is neither an endorsement or disparagement for either candidate, it is a hypothetical assessment of the numbers I have in front of me. we should all remember that a late United States Supreme Court Justice once referred to there being “lies, damn lies, and Statistics.” When it comes to accuracy, I think you can easily add polls to that list, because I’ll be damned if I can say for sure I know what will happen. What I will say is that the trends are eye opening, and explain why Team Dent is so worried.

My bottom line here is that to defeat Charlie Dent, Sam Bennett needs 85%+ party, or brand loyalty. She needs a get out the vote effort like she’s never had to execute before. If the Dems can break the 60% turnout barrier, she wins outright, but anything less leaves it all in doubt.

If for any reason, (bad weather, Apocalypse, Martial Law) the turnout in the 15th CD only hovers around 50-55% overall, Dent will win reelection easily. Conversely, if it gets up over 60%, or even into the 70% range for the Democrats, their chances get better for taking the Congressional seat.

Politics 101. Get more of the people who will vote for you to the polls than your opponent gets people who vote for him there. In Real Estate, it’s Location, Location, Location.

In The 15th CD, It’s Turnout, Turnout, Turnout.

As for Charlie Dent, he has to, at the very least, match what he did in 2006, and that’s going to be tough. The ground is shifting out from under him, his base is still there, it didn’t shrink, but the opposition got much bigger, and the effort that knocked it off last time won’t suffice this go around.

I made my hypothetical analyses (And it is a Crap shoot, to say the least) after analyzing data found at Labels & Lists and published in national media. I also reviewed previous election results and did my own statistical analysis. You are free to disagree. These are my thoughts, you don’t like them? oh well.

With McCain or Not? Bennett Wants to Know

John McCain is coming to the Lehigh Valley this afternoon and Sam Bennett is asking Charlie Dent if he is embracing the smear campaign of the Senator from Arizona.

Will Dent Embrace Republican Ticket?

ALLENTOWN – With more Pennsylvania voters turning off to Republican John McCain when it comes to handling the economy, will Republican Charles Dent join McCain-Palin as their smear campaign runs through the Lehigh Valley?

A top strategist for the McCain-Palin is quoted as saying, “If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we’re going to lose,” according to a NY Daily News article this past Sunday.  This is just the latest acknowledgement from the Republican campaign itself that people want a change from the failed Bush-Dent economic policies that have lead to America’s credit crisis.

“Dent has also been running a smear campaign to avoid talking about the economy,” says Gary Ritterstein, Bennett Communications Director.  “If they do talk about the economy, maybe Dent can explain why he takes $640,000 from Wall Street, and then waits for banks to go under, markets to crash, and $150 billion in pork-filled earmarks before standing up for Lehigh Valley families.”

Amid speculation that his campaign may soon be pulling out of Pennsylvania, McCain will be visiting his office in Bethlehem, right next door to Dent’s campaign headquarters.  With failed Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani last week, McCain-Palin this week, Lehigh Valley voters may be wondering if they’ll soon see Charles W. Dent with George W. Bush.  No word yet on any plans to make that happen.


Charlie Dent’s Hypocrisy

Charlie Dent is running ads and now a website attacking Sam Bennett.  The commercials about her non profit Homes of Merit are effective because they not so subtly remind voters about a mistake Bennett made.

Sam Bennett needs to address the issue and turn in back on Charlie Dent before more damage is wrought by his commercials.  These are very effective and they’re hurting Sam because she isn’t responding.

How to respond?  Sam Bennett took NO compensation from running her non profit for seven years.  None, zilch, nada.  All that while Charlie Dent was taking money from Big Oil.  $75,000 worth of your hard earned money went to Dent so he could keep giving the likes of ExxonMobil more tax breaks.

Guess where that $75,000 came from?  The four bucks a gallon you’re paying at the pump.  Every time you fill up your tank and empty your bank account remember it is Charlie Dent’s compensation which is the issue, not Sam’s.

Sam has to address this issue in the upcoming debates because Dent is getting traction.  He’s cleverly simply reminding voters of the non profit organization because they’ll instantly recall the mini scandal over Bennett’s compensation.  She needs to defuse his line of attack because then he’s left with just his lousy voting record to campaign on until November.

Properies of Merit or Big Oil, which is hurting you more?