Monday, February 27, 2012

Those that live in glass houses....

Let me start this post off by saying I think it is a real shame that two incumbent Democrats have to run against each other. I think that both Congressman Altmire and Congressman Critz are good Democrats. Yes, they have conservative voting records because they represent conservative districts. However, I would rather have a Congressperson that is with me a majority of the time than a Republican like Melissa Hart, Rick Santorum, or Keith Rothfus who I only agree with about 10% of the time.

Readers of my blog know that I favor Altmire and believe he is the only Democrat that can win in the 12th District this year.

Sadly, it appears that the Altmire/Critz race is getting nasty. I've spoken out about petition challenges before. While I respect the letter of the law, when candidates go after technicalities it is an insult to the hundreds of people that have signed petitions to help candidates get on the ballot. My sources have told me that this petition challenge most likely will be thrown out and Altmire will stay on the ballot. Lawyers that I have spoken with have told me these cases mostly depend on the judge and in cases of challenging residency the burden of proof falls on the challengers.

I expected the Critz campaign to release a strongly worded statement about the petition challenge and it was pretty standard.

The Altmire camp released a strongly worded statement in response.

Apparently, the Altmire press release really upset Critz's campaign campaign manager Mike Mikus because his response appeared angry and accusatory:

“The problem with Washington is that too many politicians like Jason Altmire have a sense of entitlement. Everyone knows the rules to get on the ballot and those rules even apply to Members of Congress like Jason Altmire.

The evidence shows that petitions were likely forged and petitions were circulated by ineligible circulators, among other violations. Instead of issuing over the top public statements, perhaps Congressman Altmire should be explaining why his campaign failed to follow the law."

This comes to the point of this post. When someone that works for your campaign is the mouthpiece and makes statements that accuses a candidate of forgery he or she better be squeaky clean. Doing a little google research on some of the other campaigns that Mike Mikus has been involved with and you will find this article about Mike Mikus being fired in 2001 by Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Bob O'Connor for fraudulently switching his address to vote in the Primary without being a resident of the city of Pittsburgh.
So the spin that the Critz campaign is putting on this petition challenge that Altmire is a shady, entitled politician is tough to take serious when the person giving the quotes for the Critz campaign has a shaky background in regards to a very similar subject.

Petition Challenges in Allegheny County - UPDATED

Here is a breakdown of the petition challenges in Allegheny County races. I have spoken out about petition challenges before. I think in general they are undemocratic and are usually based on technicalities of the circulators, notaries, or signers that fill out their address/name incorrectly. It is an insult to those that sign the petitions trying to get candidates on the ballot.

See the whole list here: 2012 Petition Objections

PA Congress:

12th District: The Mark Critz campaign is challenging Jason Altmire's petitions.

PA State House:

2oth District: The petitions of David Schuilenburg (Dem) are being challenged. The challenger's name is Robert Wilson and is the father of 2011 city council candidate Bobby Wilson. It appears to be the work of the Purcell campaign. Purcell has gone after candidates' petitions in the past.

22nd District: The petitions of Stephanie Crossey (Dem) and Shawn Lunny (Dem) are being challenged. Sources tell me that this is the Molchany campaign trying to setup a 1 on 1 race between her and Martin Schmotzer.

24th District: The petitions of Rep. Joe Preston (Dem), William Anderson (Dem), and Todd Koger (Dem) are being challenged. Looks like the Ed Gainey campaign is putting on a full court press.

33rd District: I read the Department of State's petition challenge incorrectly and thought that someone was running in the 33rd District for State House, but it was actually the 33rd District for State Senate. My apologizes to Rep. Frank Dermody for accusing him of challenging someone petitions when he had nothing to do with it.

45th District: The petitions of Maribeth Taylor (Dem) are being challenged by Rep. Nick Kotik. Rep. Kotik has also done this before against the same candidate.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Altmire wins Westmoreland County Democratic Endorsement

Congressman Altmire was expected to win the Beaver County and Allegheny County Democratic Endorsements, but there are few that predicted that Altmire could win endorsements in parts of the new 12th district that Critz currently represents. I mentioned before that Altmire would do well in the Allegheny Kiski Valley (AK Valley) because he grew up there. Someone in familiar with Western PA campaigns said that Altmire's former high school football star status alone could get him the vote in the AK Valley. People in Western Pennsylvania take high school football very seriously.

Here is the full release from the Altmire campaign:

Critz Freefall Continues as Altmire Wins Westmoreland County Endorsement in Runaway

U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire today won the endorsement of the Westmoreland County Democratic Committee with 64 percent of the vote. Altmire has now won all three head-to-head county endorsement votes over his primary challenger Rep. Mark Critz.

In total, Altmire has won an astonishing 74 percent of the vote combined in the democratic endorsements in Allegheny, Beaver and Westmoreland Counties. Today's Westmoreland County vote is a particularly painful blow to the Critz campaign given the fact that three-quarters of the democratic voters in the Westmoreland portion of the new 12th district are current Critz constituents. The three counties together account for 75 percent of all democratic primary voters in the new 12th district.

The endorsements come on the heels of the release of a recent Critz internal poll showing Altmire leading the race by double-digits.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rep. Adam Ravenstahl crushes Mark Purcell for Democratic Endorsement

PA State House (20th District)

Adam Ravenstahl 111 (84.09%)
Mark Purcell 21 (15.91%)

Wow. I think those numbers speak for themselves. That is a huge victory for the Ravenstahl campaign. I have been told that Purcell sent two negative mailers against Ravenstahl. I don't have a copy of them, but I have been told that Purcell called out 7 Allegheny County Democratic Chairs, State Rep. Dom Costa, and State Rep. Frank Dermody for being 'self-serving.' This is a bold move since so many Democratic Committee members have good relationships with their committee chairs. Plus it would tough to go to Harrisburg and serve with the majority leader after you called him 'self-serving.'

To take a whipping like this on endorsement day and add in the fact that Purcell has been rejected by the votes of the 20th district in the 2006 and 2010 Primary, this has to just be demoralizing to a campaign.

On another note, I was contacted by Dave Schuilenburg the other day saying that he is running for the 20th State House seat. Mr. Schuilenburg ran for the City Council Special Election to fill Luke Ravenstahl's council seat as an independent against Darlene Harris. Schuilenburg ran for the Democratic endorsement as a Democrat in the 2007 Primary against Darlene Harris. According to my sources, Darlene Harris was Mayor Ravenstahl's pick to fill his council seat back in 2006. (Funny how that relationship has changed in a few years). Schuilenburg than ran against Harris as a Independent in the General Election and got 25% of the vote. A very impressive number for an independent running against a Democrat.

Altmire gets Allegheny Dems nod

Last Sunday, the Allegheny County Democrats held their endorsement meeting where they vote for their endorsed candidates. If you saw my post from the other day, there were no surprises. I was a perfect 5 for 5 on my predictions.

While I am not someone that believes the Democratic Committee endorsement is ridiculously important, I do believe it can prove if candidates have any real staying power depending on the effort/money that the candidate put into the endorsement.

PA Congressional District 12:

Jason Altmire 122 (65.95%)

Mark Critz 63 (34.05%)

A lot of progressives were watching this vote closely and trying to prove that Altmire wasn't 'liberal' enough to be a Democrat. Word on the street is that Critz went all out for this endorsement vote. I was told by a Democratic Committee member that there was 2 large sized color post cards, multiple letters, multiple robocalls, and a lot of big screen TV's were given away by the Critz campaign. Estimates are showing that Critz spent more money per vote then Rick Perry did in Iowa. haha.

At the end of the day, this is a pretty big blow to the Critz campaign since they put so much effort into this vote. I saw the Critz campaign spin of the rsults that they got 1/3 of the vote in just 6 weeks. I think Critz could have not sent a single piece of mail and he would have received 50 votes from the far left of the committee that are upset with Altmire.

North Hills Exposure: Are Ross Twp taxpayers footing the Health Insuranc...

Check out this blog post by North Hills Exposure. I still can't believe how much Ross Township Commissioners get paid for their part time gig, let alone get healthcare coverage.

North Hills Exposure: Are Ross Twp taxpayers footing the Health Insuranc...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Allegheny County Democratic Endorsements

Everyone that closely follows politics in the Pittsburgh area will be waiting for the results of the Allegheny County Democratic Endorsement meeting. The bloggers, politicos, and political reporters pay more attention to the endorsement than voters. We have seen plenty of candidates without the endorsement win the Primary, so I don't know how effective getting the endorsement is. However, it is important to the candidates and their campaigns as a momentum swing leading into the Primary.

Here is the list of candidates going for the endorsement:

I've been told that there have been some mailings sent out in the Altmire/Critz race, but no one sent them to me this year. One comment from a reader was that Critz appears to be spending a lot of money for the endorsement.

My predictions for the endorsement vote in contested races:

Doyle over Brooks
Altmire over Critz
Ravenstahl over Purcell
Schmotzer over Frank and Lunny
Gainey over Preston

We'll see the results on Sunday.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Congressman Mark Critz isn't as liberal as you think

I've been contacted by a lot of progressive people asking me how I can continue to support Congressman Jason Altmire over Congressman Mark Critz in the Primary. Many people point to the health care vote as why Altmire shouldn't have the backing of Democrats. My argument is that Mark Critz was also against the health care vote, he just wasn't elected to Congress yet to cast a recorded vote.

So if you issue with Altmire is his health care vote, you might want to check the health care facts straight from Congressman Critz's mouth:

So I have been trying to find some other contrasts between Altmire and Critz and I came across some information from Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has listed Congressman Critz as a 'chump.'

Planned Parenthood has been the focus of recent funding cuts, and I found it interesting to see that Congressman Mark Critz voted to defund Planned Parenthood. I personally can handle that some Democrats are Pro-Life even if I'm not. I can't handle the pandering to the right by saying that all the good things that Planned Parenthood does is erased by performing abortions.

Also in my research, I found out that the Congressman Critz voted against the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. This is a policy that I don't understand why the 'get the government out of my life Republicans' are in favor of. Even worse, Mark Critz told his constituents that he would be in favor of lifting the ban when he was running for election, but then turned around and voted against it.

So if you are a Democrat who is upset with Congressman Altmire's health care vote, what does Congressman Mark Critz bring to the table that makes him 'more of a Democrat' than Congressman Jason Altmire?