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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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Early Polls Have Dr. Oz, Former Congressman Lou Barletta on Top With GOP Voters

The Trafalgar Group has consistently been one of the most accurate pollsters in American politics, predicting President Trump’s shocking victory in 2016. And their new poll of the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate GOP primary finds that, at the moment, it’s the Dr. Oz Show.

And former Congressman Lou Barletta holds a narrow 4-point lead over state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) in the governor’s race.

The poll, which has a 2.99 percent margin of error, sampled 1,070 voters likely to vote in the 2022 Republican primary.

The Senate race has Dr. Mehmet Oz in the lead with 27.4 percent of the vote, followed by hedge fund manager Dave McCormick, with 15.9 percent. Former ambassador Carla Sands was third with 14.8 percent, followed by Fox News personality and author Kathy Barnette at 8.9 percent and Montgomery County real estate developer Jeff Bartos at 6.6 percent.

Montgomery County lawyer Sean Gale had 1.9 percent, Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto had 1.6 percent, and investigator Everette Stern garnered 1.5 percent.

However, 21.6 percent of the respondents said they still haven’t decided how they’re going to vote in the May 17 primary.

“Dr. Oz’s no-nonsense, fighter mentality has Pennsylvania Republicans rallying behind his campaign because they know he is on their side, taking on the political, media, and medical establishments to protect their freedoms. Beijing’s favorite candidate David McCormick continues to flounder, despite spending millions on a China-funded smear campaign,” Dr. Oz’s communications director Brittany Yanick said in a statement.

McCormick communications director Jess Szymanski said they aren’t impressed. “The only hall of fame Mehmet Oz is going to join is in Hollywood. He is being rejected by Pennsylvania conservatives and this poll proves it. They see through the fraud of his candidacy and his negative campaign that has already been caught lying. He started with 100 percent name ID and a huge lead and has dropped every single week that he’s been in the race. At this rate, he will be back on TV in China by April.”

“The Trafalgar poll shows Carla well-positioned to capitalize off of her Trump credentials to win the nomination. In an eight-person field, Carla is in a statistical tie with David McCormick for second place behind Mehmet Oz, both of whom have outspent Sands significantly,” said a spokeswoman for Sands. “As McCormick and Oz continue to pummel each other on the airwaves, Carla is fighting for the voters of Pennsylvania and sits perfectly positioned to be a viable third option.”

Kathy Barnette

Barnette came out swinging.

“The people of Pennsylvania have a very important decision to make. It is my hope that we have all learned a valuable lesson over these past two years about what kind of leadership we need in Washington, D.C. We need fighters. We need representatives who will actually represent us and not the will of big money interest. We need to stop picking and rewarding people who have so much money themselves that they don’t need the support of the people, except on voting day,” Barnette said. “Do we really need to send one more rich person to D.C. just because they’re so rich that they can buy an election? How has that worked out for us over these past two years? Which of the three candidates who are reflected in this poll as the ‘top three’ were actually living in Pennsylvania when our schools were shut down, businesses were shuttered, nursing home deaths were exploding, churches closed, rioting and looting filled our streets and our election laws were being unconstitutionally changed?

“The thing about these particular three is that when they lose, we will never see them again. And if they win, we will never see them again. So, choose wisely Pennsylvania. We only get one shot at this,” she said.

Lou Barletta

In the governor’s race, Barletta holds the lead with 24 percent, followed by Mastriano, who garnered 20 percent. Barletta has consistently led in GOP primary polls.

The two leaders are followed by state Senate Pro Tempore Jake Corman at 5 percent; former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain at 4 percent; Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) at 4 percent; someone else at 14 percent; and 29 percent were undecided.

Dave White, the businessman and former Delaware County councilman who won most of the straw polls, was not mentioned. And since the survey was taken, Martin suspended his campaign.

Both Barletta and Mastriano have ties to former President Donald Trump.

“This reflects what we see and shows the success of Lou’s massive grassroots campaign. We are still working hard to earn every vote,” said Jeremy Sheftel, Barletta’s campaign manager.

Mastriano did not respond to a request for comment.

However, Christopher Borick, a professor of political science at Muhlenberg College and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, said it is early in the election season and things could easily change by primary day.

“At this point of the races, the poll results reflect name recognition and some other candidate attributes,” said Borick. “Barletta has run a statewide race before and Oz is a household name. Mastriano has built a substantial media presence and has a strong following in the Trump wing of the GOP.    I would be cautious about making too much of the results at this point because a number of candidates with substantial resources have yet to fully make their ad buys.”

On the Democratic side, Attorney General Josh Shapiro remains the only prominent Democrat running for governor.

In the Senate race, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman showed a commanding lead of 45 percent in an internal poll released on Feb. 1. Congressman Conor Lamb followed him at 15 percent, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta at 12 percent, and Montgomery County Commissioners Chair Val Arkoosh at 4 percent. Arkoosh has since dropped out.


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McSwain: Bring Back Death Penalty for Cop Killers, Let Gov Pick Philly’s D.A.

The death penalty for cop killers. Keep more accused violent felons in jail while they await trial. Let the governor  pick the Philly D.A.

These are some of the ideas to fight crime in Philadelphia GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain pitched at a Tuesday press conference.

“I know that the law-abiding citizens of this neighborhood and throughout Philadelphia feel helpless right now,” McSwain said. “We go to work, raise our families, follow the law, and pay our taxes – only to see our streets get more dangerous, our businesses get robbed, our communities get vandalized, and our families living in fear from the criminals, drug dealers, and gangs who think they run these streets.

“I have a message for them. We run these streets. The good people, the law-abiding people, of Pennsylvania. And we are going to take them back.”

If elected, McSwain also promised to increase funding for local law enforcement and to “hunt down violent criminals by any means necessary, including the use of the State Police and the National Guard.”

He would create financial incentives to recruit new law enforcement officers and ensure financial security for current law enforcement families by giving them more pay and a secure retirement.

“The governor should have the responsibility to appoint the chief law enforcement officer of the largest – and now, the deadliest – city in our Commonwealth. That is how we will rid the city of (DA) Larry Krasner.”

Krasner’s spokesperson did not respond to a request to comment.

McSwain promised to  “stop rioting, looting, sanctuary cities, heroin injection sites, as well as Joe Biden’s ridiculous plan for crack pipe giveaways.”

During the George Floyd riots in Philadelphia in the summer of 2020, when he was the U.S. Attorney, McSwain enforced the law.

“If you start a riot, if you torch a police car, if you push an old lady to the ground, if you loot a business or burn down a building or blow up a coffee shop or an ATM, guess what? You’re going to jail.”

He detailed the case of Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal, 34, “who proudly threw a Molotov cocktail into a police car in broad daylight right in front of City Hall and people on the far left, people who sure do not want me to be governor, they said this lady was an asset to her community. There were people actually lobbying our office lobbying me lobbying the judge to take it easy on this woman. They didn’t want her to be punished. They called her ‘a dedicated community activist.’ Well, not on my watch.”

Blumenthal, 34, awaits trial.

“Now Larry Krasner and (Attorney General) Josh Shapiro, they wouldn’t have done that,” said McSwain. “They would have given her a medal. As governor, I will demand on a daily basis, that the mayor, the district attorney, the attorney general…do their jobs. And when they don’t I will force them to by using all the power of the governor’s office.”

Ann Marie Muldoon

McSwain spoke at a press conference at Avenue Chiropractic in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia, where owner Ann Marie Muldoon said the neighborhood has changed for the worse since Krasner took office.

As a healthcare professional who knew “throughout this pandemic I could keep my patients safe inside but I could not keep them safe outside,” Muldoon said. “I can disinfect what’s in there but we need somebody to disinfect what’s out here.”

When she was growing up the neighborhood was like “Mayberry” and she is amazed there was a recent carjacking. Now her friends and her mother request that she text them when she gets home every night.

“Every day my patients are packing up and moving to the outskirts of Philadelphia,” said Muldoon. “I’m just going to tell you, it’s not going to stop there. How long can we keep running? If you think it’s not going to reach there in a few years, you’re wrong…Once they evacuate Philadelphia, they will move to the suburbs. There are better cars there.  There are better goods there.”

“Today I stand in front of you as a broken-hearted Philly girl,” she said. “Everybody has one ultimate goal at the end of the day. And that’s to get home to their family safely.”

Patty-Pat Kazlowski came to the press conference to thank McSwain for stopping a drug injection site from coming to her Port Richmond neighborhood.

Former Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega, Krasner’s opponent in the 2021 primary, also attended the press conference. Asked afterward if he supported McSwain, Vega said that he was just gathering information and is not sure yet who he will support for governor.

The Delaware Valley Journal asked McSwain whether his proposal would take away the judges’ priority to set bail or decide to hold someone without bail.

“We’re seeing the same people commit the same crimes over and over again. The way you stop that is, the first time they’re arrested they stay in prison until they’re tried and they’re convicted and they’re sentenced,” McSwain said, adding: “What I’m saying is we could have bail reform, a legislative reform that would require pretrial detention. You would take that discretion away from judges.”

Another reporter asked about allowing voters in the rest of the state to impose their will on Philadelphia residents by voting for a constitutional amendment to allow the governor to appoint the Philadelphia DA.

“I think the vast majority of Philadelphians are very upset at the public safety crisis they’re going through right now,” said McSwain, noting that Krasner was elected “by a very small slice of the electorate. About 15 percent of the city approved of Krasner, 85 percent don’t approve.”

Asked about legislation to give the attorney general concurrent jurisdiction in Philadelphia, McSwain said that Shapiro had ignored it when it was previously the law.

“I have no reason to believe he is going to do anything with it now,” said McSwain. “That is him choosing his own political career over protecting the law-abiding citizens of Philadelphia because he doesn’t want to get cross-wise with the radical left of his party.”

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PODCAST: Lou Barletta Says He’s The Trump Guy PA Dems Can Love

In this edition of the Delaware Valley Journal podcast, former Congressman (and mayor of Hazelton, Pa.) Lou Barletta talks to News Editor Linda Stein about his race for governor and why he believes he’s the best candidate to take on Democratic A.G. Josh Shapiro next year.

Barletta makes the case that he’s got both the name ID and the ability to appeal to Democrats that the Republican Party needs to win the general election.

Hosted by Michael Graham.



To Resign or Not Resign While Running for Governor: That Is The Question

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has made it clear he will not resign his office during his quest to become Pennsylvania’s 48th governor. But a chorus of Republican voices says he should, calling the decision by Shapiro, a Democrat, to remain in office during his campaign a conflict of interest.

One voice in that chorus is Bill McSwain, who is seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination and who served as the U.S. Attorney for Southeastern Pennsylvania during the Trump administration.

In a Tweet published Thursday, McSwain cited historical precedent and noted that in 2010 the Philadelphia Inquirer called for then-Attorney General Tom Corbett, a Republican, to give up his office while running for governor.

McSwain’s Tweet said, “I’m calling on @PhillyInquirer to immediately ask for the resignation of AG @JoshShapiroPA, just as they did for Corbett in 2010. What do you say, Editorial Board? Still concerned about an AG mixing politics and law enforcement?”

In an editorial published on July 21, 2010, the Inquirer opined, “It’s nearly impossible lately for the public to separate Corbett’s law-enforcement duties from his role as the GOP nominee for governor. Increasingly, his actions as attorney general are tinged with political ramifications for the November election.”

The editorial continued, “As the independent and elected attorney general, Corbett is under no obligation to seek the governor’s approval. But this constitutional arrangement raises a question of whether the state’s chief executive should be left out of the loop on such big issues. When the players belong to opposing parties and the case is a hot-button issue in the upcoming election, it’s impossible not to view Corbett’s decision as driven partly by politics. And that undermines public support for the attorney general’s role.”

Corbett went on to defeat Democrat Dan Onorato in the general election. Democratic incumbent Gov. Ed Rendell was barred from seeking a third term, as is Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf today.

The Corbett and Shapiro scenarios differ in that Shapiro and incumbent Wolf are both Democrats.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Gerow, a political consultant and business owner, has also called on Shapiro to resign as attorney general while campaigning for higher office.

“Josh Shapiro has never finished a job he asked the voters and taxpayers for and now he’s running for governor just months after being sworn in,” said Gerow. “Josh Shapiro must be honest with the taxpayers who pay his salary and admit that he has no interest in the job he asked for but wants to campaign for another office while staying on their payroll.  He should immediately resign as attorney general.”

However, under Pennsylvania law, elected officials need not give up one office to run for another, although former Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner did resign in 2018 prior to his unsuccessful effort to thwart Wolf’s reelection bid.

Shapiro was elected attorney general in 2016 and was re-elected last year when he garnered more votes from Pennsylvanians than President Joe Biden. Shapiro recently announced he has amassed a war chest of more than $10 million.