Democrats need one Senate pickup to break the supermajority. Will it come from the southeast?

Democrats need one Senate pickup to break the supermajority. Will it come from the southeast?

If Marguerite Quinn wins in November, she knows it’ll be by a whisker.

The six-term state representative is running on her resume to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks). But the reliably Republican district is the focus of massive Democratic energy to finalize a liberal trend that can be traced back years, according to some state politicos.

Quinn, a moderate Republican who proudly asserts her ability to save taxpayer money and work in a bipartisan fashion, is running on her resume—underlined by the passage of HB 2060 to limit domestic abusers' access to firearms early in October.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Heavy lies the crown come November, as leadership record becomes campaign fodder

Heavy lies the crown come November, as leadership record becomes campaign fodder

The last time Mike Turzai, Jake Corman and Frank Dermody all faced challengers was 2010, when the House members were their caucuses’ whip, and Corman headed Appropriations.

Eight years later, all three have climbed to the very top of leadership—and are facing challengers channeling discontent with the status quo to try and knock them off.

“It doesn't matter if you’re Republican or Democrat. When we look at the issues, the same cast of characters aren’t working,” Joshua Nulph, Dermody’s 21-year-old challenger, said.

Monday, October 29, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Guns, weed and unions all in play in coal country

Guns, weed and unions all in play in coal country

When he was the first Republican district attorney in Washington County, Steve Toprani concealed a Smith and Wesson .45 on his hip.

“I’ve done that for years to protect my family—especially when criminals were after me, and they were,” Toprani said.

His term in the office was a decade ago, when he ran a hard-fought grassroots campaign to unseat a 20-year Democratic incumbent under FBI investigation.

Now, he’s on the campaign trail again. But this time, it’s as a Democrat in the Monongahela Valley’s rolling hills and old factory towns, running on a platform that blends positions from the right, left and center—for unions, against new gun laws and legalizing recreational marijuana.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
In the Pittsburgh suburbs, a bitter battle breaks out for a Senate seat

In the Pittsburgh suburbs, a bitter battle breaks out for a Senate seat

Among the Paneras, LA Fitnesses and frozen yogurt outlets in the northern Pittsburgh suburbs, an autumn crop of political signage is in full bloom. Every busy intersection bristles with placards emblazoned with oversized Ts, red swishes and green outlines of the commonwealth for races up and down the ballot, from governor to Congress to state rep.

Democrats have effectively no shot of flipping the state Senate, but a race for the body in the area looms large particularly in the 38th Senatorial District, as just a single blue flip would break the Republican supermajority.
Monday, October 22, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Republicans question residency of top Democratic senate candidate

Republicans question residency of top Democratic senate candidate

A lawsuit filed by two district residents, including the chair of a local Republican committee, alleges that a Democratic candidate for state Senate is ineligible to run or be seated if she wins.

The suit, filed Monday, claims that Lindsey Williams, the Democratic candidate in Allegheny County’s 38th Senatorial District, missed the state’s four-year residency requirement by about two months.

Williams, a former teachers’ union official, is running against Republican Jeremy Shaffer, a local township commissioner who beat incumbent Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) in the May primary.

Monday, October 15, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
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