Saidel Concedes

Jonathon Saidel conceded the Lt. Governor’s election this afternoon before committing the state to a $500,000 expenditure to conduct a recount.  With only 2000 absentee and provisional ballots yet to count he concluded there are not enough votes to change the outcome.  Half of the absentee and provisional ballots have been counted and they haven’t altered the differential among Saidel, winner Scott Conklin and former Judge Doris Smith-Ribner.  This race was neck and neck all election night among the three contenders.  Conklin entered the race lat after determining that the two Philadelphia area candidates would split that vote (which happened) leaving an opportunity for someone from outside southeastern Pennsylvania to win.  His strategy worked and he will share the ticket with Dan Onorato the Democratic nominee for Governor.  What this does though is insure there is no balance on the ticket since Onorato is from Allegheney County and Conklin is from Center County.

I met Mr. saidel and Mr. Conklin on the campaign trail and like both men.  I thought Jonathon was the more progressive candidate and he had broad support from organized labor.

Pike Concedes, Saidel Asks for Recount

The news continues pouring in this afternoon.  I took a short nap to catch up on lost sleep and here’s the latest:

Doug Pike has conceded in the 6th CD.  Manan Trivedi eaked out a win with overwhelming support from his home county to win even though Pike was on TV and he wasn’t.  Congratulations to Dr. Trivedi, son of immigrants and an Iraq War veteran.

“Today I spoke by phone with Dr. Manan Trivedi and congratulated him on winning the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 6th District of Pennsylvania.”

“Manan would be a much better member of Congress than Republican Jim Gerlach,  a career politician who has let working families down again and again. I endorse Manan Trivedi — a doctor and veteran who served on the front lines in Iraq — and I urge my supporters to unite behind him.”

“To the hundreds of people who worked their hearts out to send me to Congress:  I will always remember and appreciate your dedication. Today is the end of our campaign, but it’s not the end of my service to others – and I know it’s not the end of yours.  Thank you.”

In the race for Lt. Governor Jonathon Saidel is asking for a recount.  This is another close race.

I want to take this opportunity to extend my deepest gratitude to the voters who participated in yesterday’s election and honored me their votes and to congratulate my opponents on a race well run. Our democracy is the greatest system ever devised to choose those who lead and govern us. As we await the final results of yesterday’s election, it appears more than 70 precincts have not been included in the vote count for Lieutenant Governor leaving the final outcome in question.  As we understand it, it is the prerogative of the Pennsylvania Secretary Sate to proceed with a recount. State election law provides for a process that will guarantee every vote is counted and tallied correctly. We have every confidence Secretary Cortes will proceed in an appropriate manner and we will do all we can to bring about an expeditious and accurate conclusion to the primary election.

.

Other statements flooding my inbox:

From Sen. Williams:

“We knew from the beginning that this would be a difficult climb, given our time frame. But the issues were so great, speaking to the needs of real people in need of real jobs, better schools, lower taxes and streets safe from illegal gun trafficking, that it was worth the effort.

“I’m proudest of the fact that Pennsylvanians from across this great Commonwealth came out, listened, and helped us carry this message forward. While we didn’t get enough votes in this race, we know we helped impact the dialogue. And that’s a win for everyone in this state. I remain committed to serving the people of this state and will continue to fight for their cause.”

From TJ Rooney:

Last night was a phenomenal night for Pennsylvania Democrats. We had a great field of candidates this year all across the Commonwealth – a true testament to the strength of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania.  Dan Onorato and Joe Sestak emerged from their respective primaries well positioned to take on Tom Corbett and Pat Toomey in the fall.

In the 12th Disctrict, Mark Critz beat back national republicans hell bent on proving that they could be competitive in a race with these unique dynamics. Again, they were sorely mistaken as Tim Burns and his empty campaign were soundly rejected by the voters of the 12th District.

Going forward, we will be holding the do nothing Republicans accountable each and every day. Just this morning we released the video in order to highlight the Wall Street past of Pat Toomey. We look forward to an exciting summer and victory in the fall. Please click here to view the video.

Here’s the video already launched against Pat Toomey:

From Jack Wagner:

Thank you to our friends and supporters across the Commonwealth.  We appreciate your hard work and dedication.  We will never forget your many contributions to our campaign.

As Auditor General, I will continue to fight for Pennsylvania families and taxpayers and to bring fundamental reforms to state government.  I look forward to working with all of you in that effort.

Gregg Kravitz:

I announced my candidacy less than four months ago, and in a relatively brief period of time, we accomplished a great deal.  I am forever grateful for all the support that we received from so many.  It was a rainy, cold election day, and despite the weather, we had a dedicated army of supporters who helped us cover all 47 polling locations for every minute that the polls were open – this was no small feat.

Many of you invested your time, energy, money, and resources on our behalf.   There will be a return on your investment.  Last night’s results do not change the need for meaningful reform for our community and government, and your investment helped address those needs by allowing us to start conversations that needed to be had – and will one day lead to changes in public policy that will improve our Commonwealth.

jim Gerlach’s campaign already attacked Manan Trivedi and he had this to say in response:

“Jim, on March 20, 2003, while you were comfortably sitting at home after you supported the lies George W. Bush told about why we needed to take our eye off the ball in our fight against Al Qaeda, my boots were some of the first on the ground in Iraq.   I was working to save the lives of the Marines you sent into a needless war.

“Well I didn’t back away then and I am not going to back down now in my commitment to improving the lives of the people I grew up with.  This is my home.  This is where my family lives.  And this is going to be an election about changing our future and building a better Pennsylvania.”

Wrapping Up

I was wrapped up in the U.S. Senate election last night since that was the top of the ticket but there were other important races.  For Governor my friend Joe Hoeffel faired poorly with little money to get his message to voters.  We saw what money can do in a state where wholesale (as opposed to retail) politicking is essential:  Dan Onorato used his warchest to sweep to victory in the four man field.  Jack Wagner ran a strong second and Tony Williams rode millions of dollars sunk into his campaign for school vouchers to become the poster guy for campaign finance reform.

Scott Conklin won the Democratic race for Lt. Governor in a tight race against Jonathon Saidel and Doris Smith-Ribner.  The former Judge ran very strongly considering her campaign had no presence outside Philadelphia.  Conklin and Saidel campaigned extensively and I didn’t see Smith-Ribner once, anywhere.  At one point there were rumors she had dropped out.  This fall it is Onorato/Conklin versus Corbett/Cawley.  

Tom Corbett cruised to victory over Tea Party favorite Sam Rohrer who refused to concede the election.  One reporter Tweeted (sorry I forget who it was in a sea of Tweets last night) that the Dark Side had taken over Sam’s campaign with its total and complete lack of class.  I saw that at the polling place yesterday when the rude and obnoxious Tea bagger refused to turn off his Rush show.  I related that story with a reporter last night who was shocked that anyone working the polls would so disrespect the voters in that way.  Getting in people’s faces by playing Rush Limbaugh may be the worst polling place behavior I’ve ever seen.  Sam Rohrer deserves such ignominy.

Mark Critz, a crooked Democrat whom we exposed earlier this year as a tax cheat and liar won the special election for Jack Murtha’s Congressional seat.  The people of the 12th CD believe Critz will continue the gravy train Murtha built but doing so with no seniority and no clout will be impossible.  One by one those defense contractors and consultants dotting southwestern Pennsylvania will pull up roots and disappear.    Jack Murtha and his extraordinary influence in Washington brought those jobs and they’ll die along with the Congressman.

Tim Holden held off Sheila Dow-Ford’s challenge but came out fatally wounded.  His despicable conduct will boomerang as the die hard Republicans who supported him before in Schuylkill County now have their own, actual Republican for whom to vote in Dave Argall and progressive Democrats burned by Holden’s votes and his treatment of Dow-Ford will never support him again.  Without Dauphin County especially this seat will go red 9officially) this fall.  Tim Holden deserves what is about to happen to him.

The fierce primary for the 6th Congressional District was so tight last night, oops, this morning, when I hit the sack it hadn’t been called.  Manan Trivedi was leading by about 800 votes when I got home.  looking at the final returns Berks County carried native son Dr. Trivedi to victory.

Former House Speaker Bill DeWeese squeaked out a primary win against primary opponent Pam Snyder and faces a stiff re-election fight while under indictment.  I keep thinking he can’t win after all the corruption but voters return him to Harrisburg.  Democracy is funny, sometimes you get what you deserve.

Harrisburg Democrat Ron Buxton won a fight for his State House seat against Karl Singleton.  In a high profile race in the 182nd Babette Josephs won rather handily with 60.6% of the vote over Gregg Kravitz.

Jonathon Saidel Speaks in Cambria County

Jonathon Saidel and Jack Wagner both spoke at the Cambria County Democratic breakfast in addition to Congressman Sestak.  I apologize for the people walking back and forth in front of the camera, some folks have no manners.  The Wagner video was so bad from one man repeatedly walking back and forth I deleted the file.  All of the speakers paid respect to the late John Murtha as one would expect with a visit to the late Congressman’s District.  The event was held in Ebensburg which lies north of Johnstown and west of Altoona.

Endorsements

The Pennsylvania Democratic primary election is two weeks from today so I will announce my endorsements for this election.  I am an independent liberal and cannot vote but I can explain why I support the liberals and progressives who all happen to be Democrats in these races.  There hasn’t been a liberal Republican in Pennsylvania since, perhaps, Hugh Scott so my endorsements for office are either Democrats or Greens.  

For United State Senate I endorse Joe Sestak.  The Congressman from PA-7 is someone I came to know covering events he held for his constituents and someone for whom I have great respect for his courage, integrity, core values and principles, energy and commitment.  He will fully represent working people in Washington and no one will ever doubt where he stands or how he will vote on key, critical issues for working people.  He is also young enough we do not have to worry if he can survive a six year term.

For Governor I endorse Joe Hoeffel.  If Arlen Specter wins a new Senate term our next Governor may well be the person to appoint his replacement should he not be able to complete another six year term.  Specter has had two bouts with cancer just in this last term so this is an important aspect of choosing our next Governor.  I’ve known Hoeffel since he ran against Arlen six years ago and have worked with him since then.  He is a committed liberal with the core values and beliefs we need in Harrisburg.  He unapologetically says he supports a woman’s right to choose, equal rights for everyone and reform of schools funding so every child has an equal opportunity for a good education.  He supports health care for all, the minimum wage and the rights of workers to organize.  Joe is the only progressive running for Governor on all the issues and he is deserving of your vote.

For Lt. Governor I endorse Jonathon Saidel.  We elect our Governor and Lt. Governor candidates separately in the primary and then they run as a team in the general election.  Jonathon was City Controller in Philadelphia where he did an amazing job with the city’s finances and left office with a surplus.  He is steadfast for working people and is endorsed by the AFL-CIO.

In Congress we have several primaries.  In the 12th CD (Jack Murtha open seat) I endorse Ryan Bucchianeri.  The Pennsylvania Progressive led the way exposing Mark Critz as Murtha’s bag man and revealed that as CFO of Parkins Concrete the firm neglected to apy their taxes.  Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to vote for a tax cheat.  Bucchianeri is a true progressive and is worthy of our support.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette agrees.

In the 17th Congressional District I heartedly endorse Sheila Dow Ford.  This is my own District and I have refused to vote for Tim Holden because he is an elephant in a donkey suit.  He voted for the Iraq War, the Bush tax cuts, torture and to shred our Bill of Rights.  Dow Ford is a progressive who also knows her core values and beliefs and will support working people, protect our constitutional rights and fight for jobs and economic growth in the District.

In the 6th CD Manan Trivedi is my endorsed candidate.  I interviewed Dr. Trivedi for a national PAC last December and was impressed with his progressive credentials.  He is also an Iraq War veteran and will support working people.  Doug Pike strikes me as an empty suit who will say anything to get elected.  He cannot even be truthful about his personal biography.

I digress from my liberal and progressive values in the 11th CD.  There I endorse incumbent Paul Kanjorski.  I understand he isn’t pro-choice and I understand he is no liberal.  However Congressman Kanjorski sits as the Chair of a critically important subcommittee and has been working tirelessly to reform Wall Street and our financial markets.  His knowledge and expertise on these issues is unparalleled in our state delegation and we cannot afford to lose him in the midst of a serious recession.

For State Senate I endorse Chris Doherty in the Scranton area for Bob Mellow’s open seat.  As Mayor of Scranton he made enormous progress and is a bright star for Democrats in Pennsylvania.  This year’s state legislative races are even more important because these are the lawmakers who will decide how we will implement health insurance reform on the state level.  Will one of our exchanges offer a public option?  Would a Gov. Corbett attempt to veto this legislation?  We need good people in the House and Senate and Chris Doherty is the person.

The State House race in Center City Philadelphia is receiving national publicity because of questions about one candidate’s sexual orientation.  I don’t usually think anyone’s sexual orientation should be an issue but there are claims that a man is pretending to be part of the LGBT community, a large portion of the constituent base in this district, and is not.  I don’t know what Gregg Kravitz is but I do know Babette Josephs.  For 25 years Babette has served in Harrisburg with distinction with only a few questionable votes for which she readily admits were mistakes and correctable.  She has the power and influence to do so and that is tremendously important.  So important it trumps any other consideration.  Rep. Josephs is our friend, our supporter and is deserving of our loyalty in return.  This about issues and qualifications and not about sexuality.

Saidel Hammers Corbett on Orie Case

I’ve been waiting for the Gubernatorial candidates to attack Tom Corbett for his negligence regarding the Orie investigation but Lt. Governor candidate Jonathon Saidel is first to blast the Attorney General for his non role in the scandal.  Will Corbett open an investigation into Justice Joan Orie Melvin?  She used a full time taxpayer funded Senate staffer as her campaign driver.  Are we to believe she didn’t know she wasn’t paying this man?  This screams for an investigation.  Saidel’s statement today:

Statement from Jonathan A. Saidel, Democratic Candidate for Lt. Governor

If Attorney General Tom Corbett was on trial for politicizing the office that the people of Pennsylvania entrusted him to hold, he would be looking a guilty verdict square in the eye. The latest partisan outrage perpetrated by Mr. Corbett manifested in the indictment of Republican State Senator Jane Orie and her sister, Janine Orie, an indictment that would never have happened if Mr. Corbett had his way. While I believe that Senator Orie and Janine Orie are innocent until proven guilty, it was Tom Corbett’s job to pursue the truth in the matter regardless of the political affiliation of the accused.

I speak for all Democrats when I say that political corruption must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law regardless of party affiliation. Attorney General Corbett had the opportunity to boldly show his non-partisan credentials by taking up the case against Senator Orie, a high profile Republican leader from his home county.  Instead, he did nothing to give us faith in his impartiality. The statue of Lady Justice in Tom Corbett’s office is only blind in one eye.

When the Attorney General was contacted with clearly credible accusations alleging Senator Orie was engaging in the same kind of political corruption for which he has been vigorously prosecuting Democratic State Legislators, he took a pass leaving it to the Allegheny County District Attorney and an Allegheny County Grand Jury to seek justice.  Jane Orie and her sister now face serious charges, charges that Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett wanted nothing to do with.

It is time for Tom Corbett to resign from the office of Attorney General. It is clear that he cannot keep partisan political considerations from influencing the serious work the Attorney General has to do for the people of our Commonwealth.

Just two weeks ago we saw further evidence of Tom Corbett’s shameless partisanship when he became the only Attorney General north of the Mason Dixon line to join a frivolous law suit seeking to overturn healthcare reform passed by congress on constitutional and states’ rights grounds. Every serious constitutional scholar in America said the suit was merely a shallow partisan stunt without merit or any opportunity of success.

These highly partisan political decisions on the part of the Attorney General bring in to question the political motives of every action the Tom Corbett takes. It is time for him to resign the Attorney General’s office so the people of Pennsylvania can once again have confidence in the office charged with enforcing our laws in a fair and non-partisan manner.

News & Notes March 8, 2010

There’s lots of news other than the 12th CD and we need to do some catching up.  I attended the President’s speech on health insurance reform (their term) this morning at Arcadia University in Glenside.  The crowd was electric, more energized and enthusiastic than any I’ve seen and this is my seventh Obama event.  I’ll have more on that event separately (I need to edit and upload the video).  How many of you were there?  I saw Kevin Shaw of Montco DFA.  Here are a few pictures:

Jonathon Saidel filed his nominating petitions today for Lt. Governor:  “I am excited to make the campaign official today and, in a case of perfect timing, I am equally excited to thank the Allegheny County Labor Council for becoming the first local labor council in Pennsylvania to make an official recommendation to the Pennsylvania State AFL-CIO for an endorsement in the Lieutenant Governor election,”

I had a minute to say hello to Congressman Joe Sestak today.  We both ducked out quickly Sestak was endorsed by the UFCW today in a big endorsement.  The United Food and Commercial Workers is a major union and they represent thousands of workers in SE Pennsylvania alone.

Citing Joe’s consistent support for labor issues and tireless advocacy for working families, Local 1776 President Wendell W. Young, IV and Local 23 Director of Public Affairs Kevin Kilroy, representing Local 23 President Tony Helfer, delivered the endorsement on behalf of their combined 37,000 members and the 1.3 million workers represented by UFCW. Pictured from left to right are: Kevin Kilroy, Congressman Sestak, Wendell W. Young, IV, Al Vincent (Director of Region 2 for UFCW International) and John Myerson (Director of Legislative and Political Action, UFCW 1776)

“The UFCW is proud to endorse a true Democrat for the United States Senate, a candidate who will work as hard for Pennsylvania as the men and women we represent,” said Young, who spoke at Joe’s field office in Philadelphia.

“Our members know we can count on Joe Sestak to stand and fight for the issues that matter to working men and women, issues such as the Employee Free Choice Act, ensuring fair wages and benefits, and passing real health care reform. Over the last 30 years, Arlen Specter has repeatedly let us down when it matters most, waffling on the public option, delivering a crippling blow to card check, casting the deciding vote for the Bush tax cuts, and letting Wall Street gamble away our savings and pensions.”

Sixth District Congressional candidate Doug Pike issued an interesting statement today.  In it he pledges to run a “clean campaign” and makes the following promises:

1) Focus my campaign on policy differences with Gerlach and the Republicans.

2) Discuss policy differences between myself and Manan in a respectful manner.

3) Never question Manan’s motivation or qualification to serve.

4) Never attack Manan’s character or family.

5) Never use Manan’s name or likeness in paid campaign communications.

6) Make clear to my staff, volunteers and supporters that they must abide by these same guidelines.

7) Call Manan personally if I hear of an attack before responding.”

Pike’s Democratic opponent is Manan Trivedi, a physician from Berks County who served in Iraq.

Ryan Bucchianeri also filed his petitions today for the 12th Congressional District.  “It is official.  Our campaign to bring about change to southwestern Pennsylvania and more importantly, change to Washington is now a choice that voters will have in this primary election,” said Bucchianeri.  “We filed with 1640 signatures today.  While I may not have the most, we accomplished this goal through an all grassroots effort.  I am very grateful to everyone for all their hard work and am honored that they have joined our campaign to bring about new ideas and new leadership,”

I couldn’t watch all of the Oscar’s due to this morning’s early alarm clock.  I did love Neil Patrick Harris however.  When he sang that line about the soap I almost died.  As usual I didn’t see any of the movies so for me it’s simply a matter of enjoying the spectacle.  Kirk and I did go see “Alice in Wonderland” this afternoon in Imax 3D.  Wow, what an experience!  It was a quick trip from Glenside back to Reading.  I swear I didn’t speed!  (Much….)  I thought I could exit before the President but lost the race.  I think he got a better parking space…

Bob Cesca, Berks County’s most famous blogger, hit the nail on the head about the Tea Partiers in this HuffPost article.  They were out in force today.  I was sorry I couldn’t get more fascinating video interviews of them..  Considering these people were invisible during thirty years of massive budget deficits, the shredding of our rights and the choice of the last President to lie us into war their motivation boils down to one issue:  race.

Lois Herr, running in the 16th CD against Joe “He’s The” Pitts, attacked the Congressman for voting against last week’s jobs bill.  Pitts has become the poster boy for The Party of NO:  “On both his official website and his campaign website, Joe Pitts says that lowering taxes on small business is the best way to create new jobs.  But today he voted against a bill that directly cuts taxes for small businesses that create jobs,” Herr said.  “We already knew that Pitts doesn’t make sense for the 16th District, but now he’s stopped making sense to himself.”

The Governor’s Race Gets Interesting

Things have gotten very interesting in the Governor’s race.  As another of Tom Corbett’s BonusGate trials unravels on allegations of perjury and prosecutorial misconduct Mike Veon may get off just as did Sean Ramaley.  Chris Doherty’s wife sent an email promoting an Onorato/Doherty ticket before anyone thought of the consequences.  Such a screwing of Philadelphian Jonathon Saidel would have guaranteed a Corbett victory in November.  No Democrat can win without Philadelphia and Dan Onorato, a Pittsburgh native (and we all know much the ‘Burghers hate Philly) forgot the AFL-CIO is squarely behind Saidel.  Lose both organized labor and Philadelphia and Dan might not beat a Green Party candidate.  That would have been a legendary mistake.

So now we have a five party race in the Democratic Party as Sen. Tony Williams launched his campaign on the eve of the state endorsement meeting.  With a half million war chest he threatens Joe Hoeffel as a liberal candidate from southeastern Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile Jack Wagner has been rolling up key endorsements for weeks.  He has the momentum and rumors swirling around Onorato’s screwing of past statewide Democratic candidates might negate his advantage in money.  Of course these are the same Democrats who have sudden amnesia about how Arlen Specter screwed Democrats for thirty years.  Perhaps the average age of State Committee persons is having an effect on their memories.  Clairol and Just For Men could sponsor these meetings and make a fortune.

Saidel Makes it Official

Having a bit of fun with friends and supporters “good guy” Jonathon Saidel made it official yesterday and launched his campaign for Lt. Governor.  The former City Controller spoke to a packed house in the Mayor’s Reception Room in Philadelphia City Hall and said why he’s running.  So successful as Controller he left the embattled City with a $200,000 surplus he joked about wanting the money for his campaign.  Saidel is a very good natured man who isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself, something you rarely see in the rarified air of statewide politics.

I was a little late getting to the event but made it in time for the main event.  Parking in Center City is a b*tch and finding my way into City Hall was worse.  I’d never been in the building before though I probably drove around it a hundred times.  Finding an entrance, much less the correct one for the Mayor’s offices was very time consuming.  At one point I walked around a homeless person sleeping on some steps.  It served as a stark reminder of why we need good people in public service, those in it to serve and care for the poor, the downtrodden and the homeless.  Jonathon Saidel is in it for those people, for those reasons.

More video below the fold…