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Former Prosecutors Weigh-In on Mass Shooting in Philly

The 4th of July is a celebration of our country’s founding, a joyous summer holiday. Yet in Philadelphia, it was marred by a gunman who killed five people and wounded others– including two children– the evening before the holiday.

Days later, DelVal residents are still reeling from the senseless act of violence, although there is some comfort that a suspect, Kimbrady Carriker, 40, was arrested and is being held without bail.

At a press conference Wednesday, progressive Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner blamed the state’s gun laws for the carnage.

“Finally, I just want to say this: it is disgusting, the lack of proper gun legislation that we have in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Krasner said. “It is disgusting that you can go to New Jersey and find a whole list of reasonable gun regulation that we don’t have, that you can go to Delaware, and there’s almost as long a list of reasonable gun legislation that we don’t have,”

The DVJournal asked some former prosecutors for their thoughts.

Former U.S. Attorney William McSwain said, “The appalling violence that we’ve seen in Philadelphia – including the mass shooting this past Monday – will stop only once our city leaders, especially the DA and the mayor, stop pretending that anybody other than the criminal is responsible for a heinous criminal act. It is not the fault of the state legislature for not enacting the DA’s and the Mayor’s preferred progressive policies.

“It is not the fault of society. There is never, ever any justification for walking up to somebody and shooting them in the head. What we need in Philadelphia is deterrence and serious punishment for crime. Crime will be deterred only when there are serious consequences for it. By consistently making excuses for criminals, our city leaders have led us down a destructive path. This is rooted in fantasy. Our city deserves better,” McSwain said.

Bruce L. Castor Jr., former Montgomery County DA, now a plaintiff’s attorney, said, “I represent the 13-year-old boy shot in the lower legs (allegedly by Carriker).  From a civil perspective, we are evaluating the conflicting statements concerning whether the killer was a transsexual.  I am interested to know if this is a person transitioning, whether he was properly evaluated for mental health side-effects to the procedure, and correctly counseled concerning the effects transition therapy might affect him and his thinking.”

“From a criminal perspective, it appears the police and DA have charged him such that the death penalty ought to apply–though I am aware that is no longer in vogue since the days when I did those cases,” Castor added.

Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat,  has stated that he will not sign warrants to enforce the death penalty.

Rep. Craig Williams (R-Chadds Ford) called the shooting “an absolute tragedy.”

“The answer of the district attorney, along with the mayor, was to go to the camera and blame Harrisburg for not having passed enough gun reforms. In answer to that the Democrats this week ran a bill that would have taxed every single purchase of a firearm and taxed every single application for a concealed carry permit to pay for street lighting in Philadelphia…Their answer to people being murdered in Philadelphia with firearms is to tax law abiding citizens who are doing nothing wrong, not even living in Philadelphia, to pay for more street lights in Philadelphia.”

Williams offered and amendment to that bill to fund a gun violence tax force with the Attorney General’s Office to prosecute gun crimes and the U.S. Attorney’s office to the DA’s office “and actually go after criminals.”

“If you want to fight back you’re going to have to carry the fight to the streets by way of prosecution,” said Williams.  Williams served as chief prosecutor for the largest base in the Marine Corps. He also served as deputy legal counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He later served as a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice and was also a prosecutor for the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Joe McGettigan,  who has served as first assistant DA for Delaware County and Philadelphia, as well as chief deputy in the Attorney General’s Office, also pointed to a too-liberal justice system.

“Of course, this tragic event,  committed by an obvious lunatic, will bring a hue and cry from the usual political actors. They will denounce ‘mass shootings’ and ‘gun violence’ and call for more ‘common sense’ gun laws, etc., apparently blithely unaware that most laws, common sense or otherwise, are not a great impediment to the lunatic fringe or those who profit from commerce with them,” said McGettigan.

He added, “And mass shootings make up a fraction of deaths by shooting. Now some serious incarceration for those who illegally traffic in guns or who use them, even juveniles, well, that might help. But fear of being accused of calling for mass incarceration, or worse, prevents those sorts of commonsense measures from being implemented.

“Perhaps the lengthy separation of the criminally violent from their innocent prey might help the situation, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for the enlightenment of the progressives. Until that unlikely awakening, prepare for more violence, followed by more rhetoric,” he said.

“Good luck, and protect yourself at all times,” McGettigan warned.

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McSwain Pushes Gas Tax Cut as Area Prices Hit an All-Time High

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain, lagging in the latest polls, is hoping his plan to slash gas taxes will fuel a campaign surge.

At a gas station in Lower Merion last week, McSwain touted his plan to cut the state gas tax in half.

If he is elected governor, the former U.S. Attorney promised to permanently cut the state gasoline tax by 50 percent, saying that temporary solutions are not enough. He also promised to restore “fiscal responsibility” by cutting wasteful government spending and repealing unneeded regulations.

For too long, hard-working families across the commonwealth have had to grapple with uncontrolled government spending and a crippling gas tax,” said McSwain. “This is unacceptable. Why are we as a state punishing our own citizens who are working hard to support their families? As governor, I will permanently reduce the state gas tax by 50 percent and restore a business and family-friendly culture so that our economy can thrive.”

McSwain was introduced by local businessman Bill Heeney, owner of Instant Courier, Inc.

Heeney said, “Pennsylvania businesses have suffered under eight years of the intrusive and controlling policies of Tom Wolf. It’s time for a governor who will support and empower business owners, not stifle them. That governor will be Bill McSwain. Bill is a leader who will stand up in defense of working families and who will implement the pro-business and pro-energy policies necessary to get our economy back on track. There is no one better to lead our commonwealth into a new era of prosperity than Bill McSwain.”

He held a press conference last week to talk about his plan to reduce Pennsylvania’s highest in the country gas tax by 50 percent.

And Delaware Valley gas prices have reached an all-time high. An AAA report released Monday said Pennsylvania’s gas average is $4.50 and it is unchanged overnight and up 15 cents in the last week. And the five-county Philadelphia area gas average is $4.64 Monday, up a penny overnight and up 27 cents in the last week.

McSwain’s campaign faced headwinds after President Donald Trump issued a stinging denouncement last month. The former president is angry the then-U.S. Attorney did not do more to pursue claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

As of this writing, Trump has not endorsed a candidate among the nine Republicans running to be the gubernatorial nominee. Only Attorney General Josh Shapiro, an Abington native, is running on the Democratic side.

McSwain, however, did garner the endorsement of the prestigious Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs. Commonwealth Partners is a free-market advocacy group with a statewide reputation on the political right.

McSwain, 52, is a West Chester native. He graduated from Yale University in 1991, then spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantry officer and commanded a platoon. After his service, McSwain attended Harvard Law School.

McSwain and his wife, Stephanie, have four children.

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McSWAIN: I Will Cut Pennsylvania’s Gas Tax in Half

Over the past few years, the Pennsylvania economy has been ravaged like never before. Oppressive, irrational state mandates have shuttered businesses, closed schools, and forced hard-working families to struggle to make ends meet. Liberal career politicians like Tom Wolf and Josh Shapiro have prioritized their own radical agendas over serving Pennsylvanians, while the quality of life for working families has plummeted.

While Wolf and Shapiro were busy picking and choosing which businesses to destroy during the pandemic, they also failed to address the extremely high tax burden that Harrisburg has placed on the average Pennsylvanian. The most glaring example is our highest in the nation gas tax, whose hefty impact looms over us with every gas station we pass on the road. Wolf and Shapiro have allowed the radical left to dictate policy instead of spending the last eight years working to lower the gas tax in Pennsylvania and harnessing the resources under our feet to make energy costs cheaper for everyone.

This failure is exacerbated by Joe Biden’s disastrous energy policies at the national level, which have left our country reliant on ruthless dictators and enemy nations for oil. As a result, Pennsylvanians have been met with skyrocketing inflation, an unstable state economy, and a crippling gas tax, often forced to make the impossible choice between paying for gas and groceries.

This is entirely unacceptable. While Biden, Wolf, Shapiro, and other career politicians prioritize government programs that take taxpayer money with no return, I know that the real cure to our economic woes is to put the people back in charge.

That starts with a solution to our state gas tax. As governor, I will permanently reduce this tax by 50 percent, which will effectively repeal the gas tax raise enacted in 2013 and put paychecks back where they belong – in the wallets of hardworking Pennsylvanians.

Many of our elected officials, and several of my opponents, have suggested Band-Aid solutions like gas tax holidays or temporary cuts, but this is not enough. Families and small businesses suffer the most when gas taxes are through the roof. Pennsylvanians deserve a permanent reprieve.

Some tax-loving politicians argue the gas tax funds necessary programs and services. Really? The massive gas tax increase enacted in 2013 was billed as a solution to Pennsylvania’s rundown roads and bridges. And, yet, while we pay more at the pump, and our turnpike is the most expensive in the nation, our roads and bridges are still in disrepair.

So, where did the money go? Unsurprisingly, career politicians view their constituents as little more than ATMs and rarely bother to deliver what they promise. In fact, the gas tax increase was just a drop in the bucket of our ever-growing state budget. Pennsylvania’s operating budget has ballooned under the Wolf administration, and, unfortunately, Pennsylvanians have little to show for it. We are long overdue for transparency, accountability, and fiscal prudence regarding state programs and funds.

As governor, I will evaluate the entire state budget and cut areas of wasteful spending. I will stand up to career politicians in Harrisburg who want to tax citizens into oblivion to pay for bigger and bigger budgets. There will be no more gimmicks, no more harmful taxes, and I will end egregious corporate welfare. By reducing the size of government and prioritizing our spending, our commonwealth will retain funding for crucial infrastructures like roads and bridges, safeguard public safety initiatives, and restore a business and family-friendly culture so that our economy can thrive.

This is just the first step in restoring Pennsylvania to a place of national prominence. Pennsylvania has everything it needs to become an energy and economic powerhouse, but it will take a conservative outsider to get us there. As governor, I will be committed to fully harnessing the potential of Pennsylvania’s energy resources. I will fight to shrink the size of government, make sure the people of Pennsylvania have permanent relief at the pump, and work to implement policies that will strengthen our economy by reducing the burden on business owners, families, and hard-working taxpayers. Better days are ahead for Pennsylvania, and I am excited to lead us there.

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GIORDANO: Has Trump Made McSwain an Anathema to GOP Primary Voters?

President Donald Trump really shook up the Pennsylvania Senate race with his endorsement of Dr. Oz, but he also started a temblor in the Pennsylvania governor’s race. By his attack on former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, Trump triggered the Montgomery County Republican State Committee delegation to move past its previous position of not endorsing candidates in the primary to endorse Delaware County businessman Dave White for governor.

Liz Preate Havey, the chairperson of the Montgomery County Republicans, joined me on my radio show and told me Bill McSwain was a prime candidate for endorsement, but Trump’s direct assault on him for what Trump deemed was a failure to pursue voter fraud in the 2020 election aggressively made him radioactive. Havey cited the fact that polling indicated vast numbers of Trump voters would follow Trump’s lead and not vote for him in the primary.

The response of my listeners to all this offers an alternative. In the wake of the Trump attack, my Twitter poll and on-air calls indicate stronger support for McSwain. Listeners seemed to realize that in the aftermath of the 2020 election, McSwain had to follow the directives of Attorney General Bill Barr, who was his boss and someone who chose not to pursue many of the charges of fraud that were raised after the election.

In addition to the difference of opinion between Trump over McSwain, an increasing number of listeners have expressed the fear that Trump might be relitigating the election of 2020 rather than focusing on the elections of 2022 and 2024. The approach I recommend is, rather than dwell on wild and bizarre theories around 2020, to focus on closing off huge sums of money from people like Mark Zuckerberg that were used to drive up Democrat voting using government elected officials and to get rid of mail-in balloting in Pennsylvania.

In addition to her insights as why the Montco Republicans chose to endorse White over McSwain, Havey told me her group did not think state Sen. Doug Mastriano could win the general election for governor. She agreed he often wins most polls and is a powerhouse in the state’s rural areas, but she believes he would be swamped by Josh Shapiro, the attorney general and Democratic candidate for governor.

In addition to Trump’s scrambling of the governor’s race here locally, his endorsement of Dr. Oz in the Senate race really disappointed my listeners overall. They seem to agree that Oz has a good case for winnability in the general election due to his name recognition and financial resources. However, they have deep doubts about his stance on gun rights, abortion, and several cultural issues. In addition, they are not that upset that he did not choose to endorse Dave McCormick but rather that he passed over candidate Kathy Barnette. They see Barnette as the most fervent by far MAGA person in the entire field. The poll I conducted on listener choices after Trump’s Oz endorsement had Kathy with a clear majority of the total votes.

I’d also like to remind readers of the candidacy of Jeff Bartos for the Senate seat. Bartos has been saluted by Tucker Carlson and a host of others for his successful efforts to keep tons of small businesses afloat during the disastrous lockdowns across Pennsylvania. He is a person of distinct accomplishment.

My last thought in all this is that I hope President Trump does not endorse anyone in the Republican primary for governor. This is the most important race in the country to me. I’m convinced that if a Republican wins, we will not see a repeat of the questionable election issues we saw in 2020 and Pennsylvania will fairly decide the election of 2024.

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McSwain Campaign Shows Momentum, But Will It Survive Trump’s ‘Anti-Endorsement’?

With a little more than a month to go until Pennsylvania’s primary election, the only thing GOP voters have decided is that they haven’t decided anything.

In an EagleView poll released Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain has moved into second place in the race for the Republican nomination for governor, while state Sen. Doug Mastriano remains in first place.  The survey of 502 likely GOP voters showed Mastriano with 19 percent and McSwain with 12.7 percent. Former Congressman Lou Barletta dropped to third with 11 percent and Dave White, a former Delaware County councilman and small business owner, was fourth with 7 percent.

However, 44 percent remained undecided and the other five Republican candidates came in at less than 2 percent each.

McSwain’s surge happened before former President Donald Trump delivered his scathing anti-endorsement. “One person in Pennsylvania who I will not be endorsing is Bill McSwain for governor,” Trump said Tuesday. “He was the U.S. Attorney who did absolutely nothing on the massive election fraud that took place in Philadelphia and throughout the commonwealth.”

The question now is, how will Keystone State Republicans react?

“Our GOP poll can serve as a benchmark in the gubernatorial primary, coming as it did just prior to former Pres. Donald Trump’s unexpected smackdown of McSwain,” said Christopher Nicholas, veteran Republican political consultant and president of Eagle Consulting Group. “This poll shows the millions that McSwain and his backers have spent on TV ads is starting to boost his stock in the primary.”

White took advantage of Trump’s broadside against McSwain to release a new TV commercial titled “Never, Ever Vote for Bill McSwain.”


A new Franklin & Marshall College Center for Opinion Research poll also found McSwain in second place with 12 percent, trailing first-place finisher Mastriano with 15 percent of the vote. Barletta is in third place at 10 percent.

The F&M poll also found a large number of Republicans –40 percent — still undecided.

“We have been blessed to be consistently ahead in most of the polls since last May, with the lead growing since this past November, when a Democrat Legislative Committee Poll (DLCC) confirmed my lead two months before my announcement of entering the gubernatorial race,” said Mastriano.  “We are thankful to have the support of the people from around the state.  Several of the other campaigns have spent literally millions of dollars to boost their names, only to remain in the single digits.  What we are seeing in this campaign cycle is breaking all the norms.  This is because of the suffering that we endured over the past year.”

“People are looking for demonstrated and proven leadership, not just more empty talk, and meaningless slogans.  The key difference is that of all the gubernatorial candidates, Doug Mastriano was the only one that stood and fought for people’s families, businesses, livelihoods, and freedoms.  When they hear the hollow promises of others, they walk away saying, where have you been and what have you done?  Our vision for Pennsylvania is to restore freedom, rebuild families and to revive the economy.  We are together looking forward to a new day for PA where we can once again walk as free people,” Mastriano said..

“We are proud to have the support of conservative patriots from across the commonwealth who share Bill’s vision for a safer, freer, more secure Pennsylvania,” said James Fitzpatrick, McSwain’s campaign manager. “Bill’s growing strength among primary voters confirms that Pennsylvanians are ready to nominate a conservative outsider who will fight for them as governor. A McSwain primary victory is just weeks away.”

Only one Democrat is running for governor, Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The F&M poll also included the Democrats vying for the U.S. Senate nomination.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is in first place with 41 percent; Congressman Conor Lamb has 17 percent and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta was at 4 percent. Nine percent of respondents said someone else, 2 percent said none, and 26 percent said they do not know.

F&M U.S. Senate primary poll

Conversely, 43 percent of the Republicans polled said they did not know who they will vote for Senate.

The poll put Dr. Mehmet Oz in the lead with 16 percent, and former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick in second at 15 percent. Commentator Kathy Barnette came in third at 9 percent and former Ambassador Carla Sands was fourth at 5 percent, with Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto at 2 percent.

The F&M poll lists a sample error rate of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

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FLOWERS: Should Voters Care About Trump’s Dump on McSwain?

Tuesday was a great day for Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates not named Bill McSwain.

Voters and casual observers were treated to what must be the very first documented “non-endorsement” in the history of Pennsylvania politics. The Once and Future (as far as he’s concerned) President, Donald J. Trump, delivered a blistering attack on the character of one of the leading GOP candidates for governor. Deprived of a voice on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites, Trump still found a way to make his opinion known by posting the following on his “Save America” website:

“One person in Pennsylvania who I will not be endorsing is Bill McSwain for Governor. He was the U.S. Attorney who did absolutely nothing on the massive Election Fraud that took place in Philadelphia and throughout the Commonwealth. He said Barr told him not to do anything (because Barr was afraid of being impeached by the Democrats) but he should have done his job anyway. Without free and fair Elections, we don’t have a Country. Do not vote for Bill McSwain, a coward, who let our Country down.”

There was more, but you get the gist. And I kept the original punctuation and spelling, with the creative use of capital letters. While the delivery might have been quirky, the impact has the potential to be devastating: Bill McSwain just went from front-runner to question mark.

I am not a political expert, and usually only weigh in on the topics with which I have some familiarity, like voter suppression (of which I was almost a victim), the need for voter ID, and issues of importance to the average conservative. But I think that anyone who witnessed this rhetorical bombshell knows that it created a shakeup in the GOP and has caused people to scramble and reshuffle their own cards.

And that’s the thing that really fascinates me. Donald Trump is no longer in office, and yet he is conducting a shadow presidency — minus the “shadow.” His words, his appearances, and his endorsements carry a weight that far exceeds those of other former presidents, at least with his diehard supporters.

And now we’ll find out how much true political heft Trump has. Will his unequivocal rejection of Bill McSwain doom the former U.S. Attorney’s campaign? Or will it have the opposite effect, inspiring support from Republicans who have left Trump behind and wish he’d disappear into the ether?  I honestly don’t know, but I have an opinion on whether it should.

To me, endorsements are worthless. Having hundreds of opinions of my own, I really don’t care what someone else thinks about a political race, a policy, a candidate, etc. I care deeply about what that candidate says about the things near and dear to me. For example, I will not equivocate on abortion. If you are pro-choice, you will never get my vote.

But I don’t care if someone else says you’re a great person or conversely, the Devil’s spawn. I have too high an opinion of my own ability to judge character, and I don’t need or want confirmation of those views from third parties.

The question is whether I’m typical of Pennsylvanians in general, and Pennsylvania conservatives in particular, or whether people are really influenced by endorsements.

On the other hand, Donald Trump is sui generis, a creature unlike any other. His endorsement is not just any endorsement, and in the case of the McSwain “non-endorsement,” it might have an outsized impact on the folks who think Joe Biden is an illegitimate president. Judging from my own casual research, there are a lot of my fellow Pennsylvanians who feel that way. If Trump says jump, they will. And that could be fatal for McSwain.

I actually don’t feel too sorry for the former U.S. Attorney. While I admire him for being a great foil and balance to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and his deadly impact on the crime rate in my city, McSwain embraced Trump when he didn’t have to. Some of the GOP candidates have been smart enough not to openly criticize the former president, but they haven’t aligned themselves with him too closely, either.

McSwain did the opposite, to the point of issuing that bizarre letter last year that suggested he didn’t investigate voter fraud because Bill Barr told him not to. That was just weird, by any metric.

In attaching himself to Trump, McSwain might have alienated Never Trump conservatives, and even those like me who are Sometimes Trumpers. I am not a fan of everything 45 did, but I have a healthy and authentic respect for some of his exceptional victories, most important among them placing three conservative justices on the Supreme Court. Still, what the former president has to say isn’t really a factor in my vote.

Now, in being spurned like a former lover, McSwain might have been excommunicated from the community of diehard Ever Trumpers, who will not consider a candidate held in such hostile disregard by their de facto political leader.

It’s a shame that candidates have to walk a tight rope like that, something that has nothing whatsoever to do with their intrinsic merit. Perhaps the solution is something that Rhett Butler gave us decades ago when dealing with Scarlett O’Hara. If a candidate is told that someone will or won’t endorse them, he should just reply: Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. And we, as voters, should all agree.

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Trump Blasts Bill McSwain, But McSwain Soldiers On

In a brutal statement Tuesday, former President Donald Trump lambasted Bill McSwain, the former U.S. Attorney for southeastern Pennsylvania who is campaigning in the Republican primary for governor.

McSwain, a West Chester native, has touted his service as a law and order prosecutor in television commercials, and some include him standing by a smiling Trump.

Trump said he would not endorse McSwain in the gubernatorial race because “he was the U.S. Attorney who did absolutely nothing on the massive election fraud that took place in Philadelphia and throughout the commonwealth.”

“He said (U.S. Attorney William) Barr told him not to do anything (because Barr was afraid of being impeached by the Democrats) but he should have done his job anyway. Without free and fair elections, we don’t have a country,” Trump said.

Trump also called the former Marine, “a coward who let our country down” and said McSwain “should be ashamed of himself, as should many Republican leaders who didn’t act.”

However, McSwain is continuing his run without Trump’s support.

“I’m proud of my record as U.S. Attorney. I’ve prosecuted and put people behind bars who committed voter fraud and put rioters and looters in jail. When I’m governor, we’re going to get back to a voting system that everyone has confidence in, and that begins with repealing the unconstitutional mail-in balloting law, Act 77, that Doug Mastriano voted for.”

Mastriano, a state senator representing Franklin County, is also running for governor, as are seven other candidates.

The McSwain campaign is also putting out a new digital ad and microsite focused on law and order, said spokeswoman Rachel Tripp.

McSwain garnered the endorsement and deep pockets of the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, a free-market advocacy group, which continues to support him.

“President Trump’s endorsements (or non-endorsements) have been hit or miss. Bill McSwain’s record of upholding the law and going after criminals speaks for itself,” said Matt Brouillette, Commonwealth CEO.

Republican consultant Charlie O’Neill said, “This was certainly not the news Bill McSwain was hoping to hear, a significant messaging point for his campaign and supporters centers around his appointment as U.S. Attorney under President Trump. I don’t anticipate his backers will abandon his campaign, they knew there was always a risk Trump wouldn’t back him. The forcefulness with which Trump attacks him was probably not something they anticipated, and no doubt puts him on defense. It also raises the chances that other candidates still have a shot at the coveted nod from President Trump, several of whom have personal connections with him.

“In such a large field, no one can ever be counted out, but McSwain will need to work much harder to win over Republicans who overwhelmingly still look toward President Trump as a party leader,” O’Neill added.

Meanwhile, Dom Giordano, WPHT talk show host and a columnist for the Delaware Valley Journal, had endorsed McSwain early on.

Giordano agrees with his listeners.

“They are still very supportive of McSwain and blame William Barr for Trump’s issue on the election, not McSwain.”

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PA Pols Respond to Pain at the Pump

Average gasoline prices in Pennsylvania hit $4.42/gallon last week, an all-time high. That is $1.40 a gallon higher than a year ago, according to GasBuddy. It is not, however, the most costly gas per gallon when adjusted for inflation. That happened when gas hit $4.11 on July 17, 2008 — or about $5.25 in today’s dollars.

The highest nominal price today is under Democratic President Joe Biden. The highest in real dollars was under Republican Presidents George W. Bush. And there were wild swings in gas prices during the terms of Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Fairly or unfairly, presidents tend to get blamed when gas prices rise. According to energy reporter Robert Rapier at, “The macro factors involving oil prices are far greater than the impacts from the decisions a president makes. A president can try to move the markets but those impacts are fleeting.”

But that gives little solace to Delaware Valley residents, who have taken to Facebook to express their feelings about pain at the pump.

“My corner Wawa just went up .26 cents overnight. It is now $4.459 per gallon. Home heating oil is up over $2 per gallon since August 2021. And the president wants everyone to go back (to) working at their office building instead of working at home? He is a joke!” said Philadelphia resident Andy Grant.

Elyse Fels, a Cheltenham resident, said, “It is what it is – I’ll handle it – hopefully it’s not forever!”

“If everyone drove a hybrid we wouldn’t need foreign oil,” said Radnor resident John Fisher.

And Sara Pilling of Bryn Mawr said, “I’m gloating, as I bought a Toyota Prius plug-in, get 125 mpg, yet continue to conserve in my driving!”

Not surprisingly, Pennsylvania’s political candidates are promising to act.

In a recent interview with ABC27, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democratic candidate for governor said, “Energy prices are up this year and will likely keep rising. “I want Pennsylvanians to know that there is help available for everyone and that we are going to do all we can to make sure that these resources remain available to Pennsylvanians over the spring and summer.”

Shapiro proposed elimination of the cell phone tax, expanding real estate and rent tax rebates, and sending gasoline tax rebates to Pennsylvania drivers.

Former U.S. Attorney and Republican candidate for governor, Bill McSwain, agreed the solution is to increase domestic manufacturing, though he blamed the Biden administration for much of our current predicament.

“Sky-rocketing gas prices are a direct result of President Biden’s weak leadership and disastrous energy policies. We should not be dependent on countries that hate us, and it is wrong and immoral for Biden to beg foreign nations to produce more oil rather than increasing production domestically,” McSwain said.

“As governor, I will harness the full potential of Pennsylvania’s energy resgources to eliminate our reliance on foreign oil and create thousands of jobs for hard-working Pennsylvanians. I will also call for a permanent and drastic reduction of the crippling state gas tax put in place by Harrisburg career politicians and supported by many of my opponents in this race.”

Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf has agreed with McSwain that the gas tax should be removed. The question is what should replace it.

Democratic senatorial candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, speaking live from the pump while he was filling his truck said, “People are getting squeezed whether folks want to call it inflation or not…but there is a solution, and it would solve more than gas prices…. We need to use American energy to make American energy cheaper for American workers…We should do more manufacturing right here in America and create more jobs here to drive down prices… It should be common sense that we can lower prices if we make more sh*t in America and here in Pennsylvania. We don’t need to be outsourcing any more jobs to China.”

Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick blamed the Biden administration.

“The record-high gas prices we’re seeing today have been a year in the making thanks to Joe Biden’s terrible energy policies,” said McCormick. “From killing the Keystone XL pipeline to banning new federal natural gas and oil leases to the regulatory blanket he placed across our energy sector that’s chilled capital investment, Joe Biden has hamstrung American energy production which has invited Putin’s aggression and skyrocketed prices at the pump for all Pennsylvanians.”

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Jason Richey Leaves PA Governor’s Race, Endorses Bill McSwain

And then there were nine.

The crowded field of contenders for Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial nomination just got a little less so with Jason Richey’s withdrawal on Thursday.

Richey, a Pittsburgh lawyer, also announced he was endorsing Bill McSwain. McSwain of West Chester, the former U.S. Attorney for Southeastern Pennsylvania, welcomed Richey’s endorsement.

“I am proud and honored to receive the endorsement of my friend Jason Richey, who has been a champion for economic growth, a strong defender of constitutional rights, and an advocate for school choice for all Pennsylvanians,” said McSwain. “Together, we will work to defeat Josh Shapiro and towards a stronger, safer, more secure Pennsylvania.”

Richey said he was “honored” by the support he received during his candidacy.

“My primary goal has never been my own political future, but rather restoring Pennsylvania to our place as the Keystone State that upholds constitutional rights, empowers parents to direct their children’s education, and embraces our energy potential,” Richey said.

“We need a unified party to defeat the disastrous left-wing policies of Gov. Tom Wolf and Josh Shapiro (the Democratic candidate for governor) that have decimated our communities,” he added. “My decision at this time will help unify our party and put us in the strongest possible position to defeat the left-wing Shapiro agenda in the fall and, more importantly, help build a better life for our families here in Pennsylvania.”

In recent days some Republican leaders had expressed concern over the number of candidates for governor, fearing it might lead to a splintering of the vote in the May 17 primary. A divisive primary might leave the GOP nominee too wounded to beat Shapiro in November.

McSwain is known for being tough on crime. If elected, he has promised to “revive Pennsylvania’s economy by cutting taxes for working families, by supporting small businesses, by reducing regulations and cutting wasteful spending. We will promote our energy industry instead of trying to regulate it to death. We will get the government off of your back.”

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McSwain’s Criticism of WCASD ‘Gender-Sexuality’ School Club Sparks Backlash

When Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain called out a student Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club at Fugett Middle School as “leftist political indoctrination,” it sparked a reaction from both sides of the gender-identity debate.

McSwain saw a poster for the club, which meets during school hours while visiting the West Chester Area School District school and he blasted it on Facebook. He later deleted the post.

“Whether it is the hateful and racist critical race theory or the ‘deep social change related to racial, gender, and educational justice,’ training promoted by the GSA network, it is inappropriate for public schools to encourage the progressive social justice agenda,” said Rachel Tripp, McSwain’s campaign spokeswoman. “As governor, Bill McSwain will protect parents’ right to have their children educated free from political indoctrination of any sort, and will end the liberal brainwashing of children in Pennsylvania public schools.”

Some parents were unhappy with how McSwain handled the situation.

“I immediately was like — what is ‘this’? The lives of kids? Places where they can be themselves?” Steph Anderson, whose daughter is part of the club, told The Inquirer. “These are grown adults, these are politicians … who are attacking kids.” She said her daughter learned about the posts while at school and came home “really frustrated and concerned.”

One party activist who asked that his name not be used said, “Even though (McSwain) says he stands by his comments, he seemed to cave in the face of opposition from parents going after him on Facebook.”

Tripp said the message needed to be given in a different way where “liberal trolls” would not be able to mischaracterize it. She pointed out that a recent bill in Florida keeping sexual material out of kindergarten through third-grade classrooms was completely twisted on social media to become controversial when it should not be.

“It’s not about backing down,” she said. Tripp said that parents deserve a school where “children are not indoctrinated.”

Many parents have been complaining about the schools teaching children Critical Race Theory and other Marxist-inspired ideas. McSwain promises if he is elected governor he would root out such dogma.

Anita Edgarian, a WCASD parent said, “It is not acceptable if these clubs are meeting during school hours. This is an extra curriculum activity and should not take time from the education time.”

“We need leaders who will take all sorts of propaganda out of the schools and concentrate on education. Our kids suffered plenty with school shutdowns and lack of online learning,” she said.

Meanwhile, a Chester County resident also saw the GSA poster and alerted the Delaware Valley Journal.

From the GSA website

“I did some research on the GSA and was stunned with what I saw. I then sent the following email to Superintendent Bob Sokolowski and Equity Director Dawn Mader,” he said. He was also concerned that the GSA club met during school hours. And when he checked out the GSA website he saw posters with Marxist imagery with “the clenched fist is a symbol that originated during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and continued to be used in propaganda posters during the Soviet era.”

He also cited the GSA club’s platform:

“We, the National TRUTH Council of 2017-18, draft this document in the radical tradition of creating manifests in order to define our revolution and achieve liberation. The manifesto was inspired by and builds upon the Black Panther Party’s Ten-Point Program, the Young Lord’s 12 Point Program and Platform, and the Third World Gay Revolution.

“We demand abolition! Abolition of the police, abolition of borders and ICE, abolition of the current punishment-based justice system. We demand for our communities to be empowered to take care of themselves, for no borders, for rehabilitation and healing justice. Abolition is a process that we are committed to fight for.

“We Call for an End of the Cisgender Heterosexual Patriarchy.

“We recognize that the current state of the world centralizes the stories of White cisgender heterosexual men. We call for the end of a social structure that separates or determines the value of people on gender expectations from historical Europe. We demand that queer and/or TGNC people no longer be oppressed by these frameworks, institutions, and their enablers.

“We Call for an end to global white supremacy.

“We call for the end of this racist system that profits off of the devaluing of Black people, Indigenous people, and all other people of color. We believe in exposing the history of global white supremacy and its discriminatory practices.”

The resident concluded his letter by saying, “All of this brings me to one overarching question: Why are regular school hours being provided for a Marxist-inspired, anti-capitalist, and anti-American group, with a manifesto that contains revolutionary language and expresses hostility for the police, American capitalism, and straight White people?”

However, Molly Schwemler, a spokesperson for the school district said the local club is not part of the larger group.

“While the GSA club at Fugett Middle School is a student-run club that offers a space for LGBTQ+ and allied youth, it is not affiliated or registered as a club within the larger organization of a similar name, the GSA Network,” she said.

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