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PODCAST: George Bochetto Is Ready to Battle in U.S. Senate Primary

On this edition of the Delaware Valley Journal podcast, Philadelphia attorney George Bochetto talks about his fight to win the GOP nomination in the U.S. Senate primary. Bochetto tells DVJ News Editor Linda Stein about how growing up as an orphan has influenced his view of politics and leadership, and the life lessons he’s learned from boxing.

Bochetto believes the Pennsylvania GOP wants a nominee who’ll mix it up with the Democrats on political and cultural issues, and he explains why his fight to save the Columbus statue was about far more than a holiday.

Hosted by Michael Graham.



DelVal Candidates Tout Favorite Local Romantic Getaways

Valentine’s Day—a day where even hard-charging politicos take a breather from the campaign trail to enjoy some time with their significant other.

The Delaware Valley Journal asked some local candidates to share their favorite romantic spots in this area.

“Hiking in the Pennypack Preserve near our home in Bryn Athyn,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate. “We talk about family, food, faith and fun (and yes, politics) while watching the theatrics of nature all around us.”

Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto, who is also running for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate, said his idea of a romantic date with his wife, Christy, is “a boat cruise up and down the Delaware River.”

Longwood Gardens

The Spirit of Philadelphia offers scenic dinner cruises along the river.

“I have had many enjoyable strolls at the impressive outdoor gardens at Longwood Gardens,” said James Jones, a Hatboro resident who is running for lieutenant governor.  “Let your love bloom at Longwood Gardens. Spend a few hours strolling the impressive outdoor gardens as well as four acres of conservatories, historic Peirce-du Pont House, Webb Farmhouse & Galleries, the Terrace, and the visitor center. Inside the glass-enclosed conservatories, you’ll find tranquility among the plants and waterfalls.”

Main Street Clock in New Hope

Horsham’s Clarice Schillinger, who is also running for lieutenant governor, said, “For a statewide candidate, the most romantic place to be is at home! In all seriousness, my husband and I love visiting New Hope where we go to watch plays, ride the train, visit the shops, and have a fantastic meal at the many restaurants to choose from.”

“Josh’s favorite romantic spot in the Delaware Valley is the Pennypack Trail, where he and his wife Lori like to go on walks, said Will Simon, a spokesman for Democrat Josh Shapiro.  Shapiro, now serving as attorney general, is running for governor.

Another Republican candidate, Guy Ciarrocchi, who has taken a leave from the Chester County Chamber of Business to run for governor, said, “This year, the most romantic spot is anywhere that Chris & I can go to be alone and away from the campaign—so that we can just be ‘Chris and Guy.’ We enjoy going to places that we’ve been to before to relive memories of then and now—but our favorite restaurant in Lancaster and our favorite restaurant in South Philly both closed. So, time for a new memory place. Any suggestions?”

Amy Bohr, with Visit Delco PA, suggests Chanticleer in Wayne as “one of the most romantic places in Delco.”

Bridgeton House Deck

“Admittedly, it will not be open for Valentine’s Day,” she said. “This intimate, romantic ‘pleasure garden’ is truly a feast for the senses. Orchards, wildflower meadows, and verdant woodlands surround the historic Rosengarten family estate.”

Not to be outdone, Alexa Johnson with Visit Bucks County said, “I would say it’d have to be one of our quaint B&B’s – the Bridgeton House on the Delaware, Inn at Bowman’s Hill or Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm.”


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PA State GOP Fails to Endorse but DelVal Candidates Welcome Open Primary

The Pennsylvania Republican State Committee wrapped up its meeting in York last weekend without making any endorsements for governor or U.S. Senate. And the biggest loser from that decision may be the Delaware Valley.

Two local Republicans, Dave White in the governor’s race and Jeff Bartos for Senate, have dominated the regional straw polls thus far and were believed to be the most likely to get the state committee’s backing. Instead, with large fields in both primaries, the state party decided to sit out the primary.

Albert Eisenberg

Political consultant Albert Eisenberg with BlueStateRed, said, “The election is a long way away. In 2015 and 2016, everybody thought the Republican primary was a clown show that would kneecap the party and the Democratic coronation would mean a stronger general election showing. People who claim to know how a busy primary with no central endorsement will wind up could show a bit more humility and let the process play out.”

Does the lack of official endorsement from the state GOP present a stumbling block for a campaign’s momentum?

Bartos’ campaign manager Conor McGuiness brushed aside any concerns, citing Bartos’ wins in the regional GOP straw polls, where he secured 41 percent of the votes. He was followed by Dave McCormick at 30 percent, Kathy Barnette at 14 percent, and Dr. Mehmet Oz and Carla Sands, who each had less than 1 percent.

Jeff Bartos

“These straw polls have been the only votes cast in this election – and the results are clear: Republicans prefer an actual Pennsylvanian, an actual conservative to slick TV ads from out-of-state pretenders,” said McGuinness. “Jeff is proud to have the support of Republican state committee members by an overwhelming margin. While others try their best to campaign to D.C. insiders, we’re focused on our fellow Pennsylvanians – and we’re winning.”

Bob Salera, White’s campaign manager said, “Dave appreciates all the support he has received from members of [the] state committee, winning four out of five caucus straw polls, but from the beginning of the process he has called for an open primary as it’s his belief that voters should choose the Republican nominee. We look forward to continuing to speak to Republican primary voters about why Dave is the best candidate to take on far-left socialist Attorney General Josh Shapiro in the fall.”

And how about other Delaware Valley contenders, who also failed to get the nod that might give them a boost in the crowded May 17 primaries?

Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto, who is running for the Senate said, “I was delighted by the vote at [the] state committee to keep the U.S. Senate race open, and not to endorse, even though many members assured me they would vote for my endorsement. That the voters will have a wide-open perspective on just who the best candidate is (and) what is most important. The backroom politics of yesteryear are no longer cutting it, and the voters today are way too smart to buy into that bygone process. I am happy for and support the decision by [the] state committee not to endorse.”

GOP consultant Charlie Gerow, who grew up in Warminster and is running for governor, said, “We were pleased that the state committee did not endorse. As an elected member of [the] state committee, I’ve always voted against endorsement because I believe the voters should decide.”

Similarly, Guy Ciarrocchi, who is on leave from his job as president of the Chester County Chamber of Business while he runs for governor said, “Reality told party officials what they had to do—support an open primary. In a field of a dozen candidates, any attempt to hand-select one candidate would’ve been misguided and harmful. Candidates should talk directly to voters; share their message and make their case to turn around Pennsylvania—and, beat (presumed Democratic nominee) Josh Shapiro. So, I happily return my focus to talking to real voters about ‘kitchen table’ issues—and, offering common-sense solutions.”

And Rachel Tripp, a spokeswoman for Bill McSwain, the former U.S. Attorney who is running for governor, said, “Bill looks forward to continuing to grow his momentum, impact, and support across all 67 counties and among state committee members, and respects the committee’s decision to leave the nominating process in the hands of primary voters.”

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Four GOP Senate Candidates Debate in Western PA

Four Republican candidates running for the U.S. Senate faced off in a debate Wednesday evening in western Pennsylvania.

Kathy Barnette, an author and Fox commentator; Jeff Bartos, a Montgomery County businessman; Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto; and Elk County deputy sheriff and business owner Martin Rosenfeld fielded questions at the event in New Castle. The seat, being vacated by incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, has been called one of the most likely to flip to the Democrats.

Candidates Dr. Mehmet Oz and Carla Sands, a former ambassador, did not attend. Oz’s spokesman said he had another commitment. And hedge fund CEO David McCormick entered the race on Thursday.

Rosenfeld said he would not support any bills that limit 2nd Amendment rights or impair the economy, including gas, coal and agriculture.

Kathy Barnette at the first GOP Senate debate

President Joe Biden spoke about “a winter of death” from COVID, but Pennsylvania ranks number four in overdose deaths and murders have spiked to record numbers in Philadelphia, Barnette said.

“Critical Race Theory is being taught in our schools, and our nation is more divided than we have ever been in our life,” Barnette said. “Our borders are open. We should be talking about economics…Our nation is in trouble and we all know it. We all know there is something fundamentally wrong with how our nation is being governed…The America that allowed a little black girl who grew up on a pig farm to climb the economic ladder–that America is fast coming to a close.”

Bartos said, “Being a lifelong Pennsylvanian is a distinguishing characteristic in this campaign for the United States Senate in Pennsylvania. And now, with the four of here, I think I can add, finding Lawrence County and showing up for you is another distinguishing characteristic…” Bartos is running because Main Street Pennsylvania is “being crushed” by record-high inflation, mandates and crime waves.

“Our number one export is our children,” he said. “It should be energy, but it is our children who are fleeing our commonwealth for better opportunities elsewhere.”

Jeff Bartos

As a child, Bochetto lived in an orphanage and “grew up fast.” He appreciates our democracy that allows people to become successful “no matter where they come from.”

Rosenfeld’s priorities would be to get people working again and impose term limits for elected officials. And he’d like to see immigrants properly vetted.

“Every state is a border state, and we have immigrants unlawfully transported into our state under cover of darkness,” said Barnette. And as for foreign affairs, “China is our number one threat. We hear Joe Biden and (Secretary of State Anthony) Blinken telling us they are just another competitor. They are not. They are our number one enemy…They just entered an unholy alliance with Russia…They smell weakness, not just in the White House but in our legislative branch as well.”

Bartos said, “We need to win this seat to hold and take back the United States Senate and make sure the filibuster survives the threat imposed right now. This seat could decide whether “disastrous legislation (Democrat-sponsored voting bills) sees the light of day…Rest assured, every Democrat running for this seat will blow up the filibuster on day one.”

He called for funding for school choice and an amendment to ensure that only American citizens are allowed to vote in U.S. elections, citing 800,000 noncitizens now being permitted to vote in New York City.

Bochetto agreed but said none of those objectives would be accomplished if something is not done about rampant crime.

George Bochetto

“We can’t worry about the filibuster with people out there who want to kill us,” he said. He said progressive district attorneys are not upholding their oaths of office. “We can’t worry about growing Main Street if millions of thugs are looting stores…The priority has to be a return of sanity to our public safety…We have to get rid of these mayors…and these liberal, left-wing, crazy policies and get back to our core values.”

Asked about draft methane regulations that will add billions to energy costs, Bochetto said we were energy independent under President Trump. Biden took office and shut down the Keystone Pipeline.

“Shutting down our ability to go for the gas that we have under our feet,” he said. “We have the richest deposits right here in Pennsylvania…The people that are here can actually make this county energy independent. Instead, we have a radical, misguided president who believes everything has to be judged by his radical climate change plans…You cannot shut down the American economy.”

Bartos said Pennsylvania is “sitting on a Saudi Arabia’s worth of natural gas.”

“All of the businesses in all 67 counties benefit from downstream production,” said Bartos. Any senator from Pennsylvania has a “critical duty” to fight for the state’s energy industry, he said.

“How many of you know that Joe Biden is not king?” Barnette asked. While “Democrats do what Democrats do,” the current elected Republicans “are allowing Joe Biden with a phone and a pen…to just make up edits as he goes.”

And people are not investing money into drilling new oil and gas wells because “Joe Biden has created a very hostile environment in the energy industry.”

Martin Rosenfeld

Rosenfeld said, “Elk County is one of the largest methane producers in Pennsylvania. We supply New York City with all of their methane gas. The fight to get those gas wells back on line, they weren’t just shut down by President Biden. They were also shut down by our governor, Wolf. And that’s where the four of us are so strong, to get Pennsylvania back online and supporting our governor candidates…The fight is against our government. It’s not against our people.”

Asked if the U.S. should participate in the Olympics in China and if China should be allowed to purchase thousands of acres of American farmland, Rosenfeld said that was not a positive development and recommended boycotts. As far as the Olympics, “we need to stand up and win.”

“China is our number one threat,” said Barnette. And China and Russia are in “an unholy union.”

“These people are not playing with us,” she said. “It is bigger than beef. It is much bigger than the Olympics. China as a superpower is not going to be so conciliatory, as benevolent as America has been.” She is concerned about shipping in the South China Sea and a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which produces 93 percent of our semiconductors.

Trump awakened the U.S. to the threat of the Chinese Communist Party, Bartos said. Jobs that were chipped from the U.S. to China are now “powering” its economy and those jobs need to be brought back to Pennsylvania.

Bochetto does not support banning our athletes from competing in the Chinese Olympics. He pointed to the example of Jesse Owens who was in the Olympics (in Berlin before World War II) when “we had another existential threat to this world.”

“And he did more good for our country and our image by being there and showing the worth of an American than by not being there…what we need is real strength on China,” he said.


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Philly Lawyer George Bochetto Joins GOP Race for U.S. Senate

Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto, who was the Pennsylvania Boxing Commissioner from 1995 to 2002, did not pull any punches against his opponents during a recent interview about his decision to enter the crowded GOP U.S. Senate primary race.

The well-known local attorney is joining a field that includes a celebrity doctor, a former ambassador, a wealthy hedge fund executive, a Montgomery County businessman, and a Fox News commentator—and that’s just on the Republican side. Another large group has also lined up seeking the Democratic nomination.

Bochetto, 69, called Dr. Mehmet Oz “an individual who has gotten rich off selling magic coffee beans to little old ladies on daytime TV.”

Bochetto is putting up $1 million of his own money to launch his campaign. He says he will have enough money to “get my message out.”

“I don’t need to raise $30 million to run a primary campaign,” he said. “And if Oz and (David) McCormick and (Carla) Sands think they can just buy the election, they ought to go talk to Mike Bloomberg.”

Bloomberg, one of the wealthiest men in America, spent millions in a failed bid to win the Democratic presidential primary in 2020.

Bochetto most recently garnered headlines for his defense in court of Philadelphia’s Christopher Columbus statue from those would like to tear it down. He said one reason he is running is to prevent the country from falling to left-wing “woke” mobs.

“I’m all for an Indigenous People’s Day but not canceling Christopher Columbus Day to do it,” said Bochetto. “Why can’t we do both? We have St. Paddy’s Day.”

“I’m running to stand up to these crazy movements that are really tearing down the values and the cultures of our country,” he said.

“The woke mob and the left are truly taking this country on a disastrous course,” said Bochetto. For example, “The murder rates are sky high. We have George Soros-backed DAs who refuse to carry out their oaths of office.”

And since President Joe Biden took office, inflation has gotten out of control.

“Inflation hurts the middle class the most,” he said. “They’re the ones who have to go to the grocery store and buy their food. They’re the ones who have to pay for their own fuel at the filling station. They’re the ones who have to do their own home repairs and pay for them. And the skyrocketing inflation hurts them the most.”

“If we can get a Republican-controlled Senate we can start passing sensible legislation as a group,” he said. “We can start rejecting all these inflationary spending policies that the Biden administration and the Democrats are currently engaged in. Their solution to how to pay for $3.5 trillion in giveaways is to just print more money. Printing more money is highly inflationary. Paying people to stay home instead of working is highly counterproductive, highly inflationary. These are policies that must be rejected,” Bochetto said.

“And we’re only going to reject them if we elect people like myself to go to Washington and take control of the situation and make sure our fundamental values and our fundamental principles of American government are implemented.”

Asked about foreign policy, Bochetto said, “China absolutely represents the greatest existential threat to the United States. And we cannot be electing anybody to the Senate from Pennsylvania who is business partner with the Chinese Communist Party,” (a swipe at McCormick, who has been CEO of Bridgewater Associates, which has investments in Chinese businesses).

Temple University Professor Robin Kolodny, who chairs the political science department, said the large field of candidates with no decisive frontrunner tends to draw more people into the fray.

“As of now, our window for candidates to file petitions to get on the ballot (2,000 signatures) opens on February 15 and closes March 8,” she said. “It is one thing to put out a press release saying you are running.  It is another thing to have all the paperwork in by March 8. Candidates who do not win a major party nomination will still be able to petition to get on the ballot for November as an independent.”

A December poll found Oz 10 points ahead of Fox News commentator Kathy Barnette, who was in second place. However, that poll, by the Trafalgar Group, showed nearly 51 percent of Republican primary voters were undecided.

Kolodny pointed out the last time Republican voters nominated a celebrity it did not end well in the general election. That was in 2006, when Ed Rendell beat Pittsburgh Steelers football legend Lynn Swan and was re-elected governor, with 60 percent of the vote to Swan’s 40 percent.

“Here’s the issue with non-political celebrities: Are those who know them also consistent voters?  It turned out not to be that way for Lynn Swann who invested heavily in advertising on ESPN,” said Kolodny.

Local lawyer and pundit Christine Flowers praised Bochetto.

“Having grown up in the Philadelphia legal community and surrounded, as a child, by legendary lawyers (including my own father Ted Flowers), I have an instinctual sense of what greatness in the profession means,” Flowers said. “To me, there are very few living Philadelphia attorneys who are worthy of the title ‘Philadelphia Lawyer’ in the tradition of Andrew Hamilton, but I have no hesitation in saying that George Bochetto is one of them.

“He took on the City of Philadelphia with its bigoted crusade to silence the Italian American community and rob us of our history, in Columbus,” said Flowers. “He took on all of those who believe that certain cultures and communities can be silenced, at a time when silencing is a popular tactic. And he has been extremely successful. George Bochetto is everything a Philadelphia lawyer should be, and once was.”


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