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
Bartos, Fetterman stand by their running mates in follow-up lieutenant governor debate

Bartos, Fetterman stand by their running mates in follow-up lieutenant governor debate

A week after the top of the tickets clashed for the one and only time, lieutenant governor candidates Jeff Bartos and John Fetterman ventured to Pittsburgh for what turned out to be a cordial debate on the commonwealth’s issues, from marijuana to gun control.

For 30 minutes, the two, who differ in political background and wardrobe, only shared a willingness to defend their running mates in a debate moderated by WPXI’s Katherine Amenta.
Monday, October 8, 2018/Author: Atiya Irvin-Mitchell
Categories: News and Views
Running as a reformer is easy, but making a difference is a separate matter

Running as a reformer is easy, but making a difference is a separate matter

Eric Epstein is no stranger to the halls of Harrisburg.

Whether handing out screeds on nuclear waste concerns or firing up outraged Pennsylvanians over midnight pay hikes, he’s been a common sight at the Capitol since the early ‘80s.

But now, with green door hangers promising gift bans, regular town halls and a salary level from decades ago, he’s trying to win his way into the building full time as a Democrat holding the “radical center” ground.

“Saturdays we’re divided by Penn State, Notre Dame, Pitt. Sundays we’re divided by Steelers and Eagles. But we come back together,” Epstein said one overcast weekend while knocking doors in Colonial Park. “We gotta do that with politics again.”
Friday, October 5, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
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