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Lower Merion High School Conservative Club Discusses Midterms, Trump

What do you do when you’re a high school kid whose political views aren’t the same as most of your liberal classmates?

You form a club of like-minded friends. Students at Lower Merion High School began the Conservative Club last year to meet and discuss, what else? Politics. While two of the founders, Jack Shapiro and Henry Bard, have since graduated, senior and founding member Andrew Coyne is the president.

The group was all male the day that Delaware Valley Journal visited.  But sometimes girls do come by, said Coyne.

Since it was their first meeting after the midterms, the students discussed the election.

“What happened to the big ‘Red Wave’?” Coyne asked the group.

(from left) Jack Kartsonis, Xavier Archawski, Gil Dori, Daniel Dennis (sitting), Cole Fisher, Andrew Coyne, Tommy McCarthy (sitting), Luke Lachenmayer

Dan Dennis thinks the problem may been candidates who were too extreme and who were endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

“A lot of people don’t like Trump,” he said. “The candidates presented for the Republican Party throughout the country, especially for Pennsylvania, weren’t really the ideal candidates.”

Coyne agreed that extremism was a problem.

“I thought Oz did a great job with his campaign and I think he would have won, if Shapiro wasn’t running against Mastriano. Fetterman completely ran on Shapiro’s coattails,” said Coyne. “He really got carried throughout the entire election. And the Democrats did a good job keeping him away from the cameras, too much. They did a good job not showing him a whole lot. And by the time they did the debate, they already had a ton of mail-in ballots in. So Fetterman had already gained his edge by the time they had the debate so the debate didn’t matter as much.”

Cole Fisher said, “I hate to admit this but the Democrats did a great job campaigning. Shapiro, with his commercials, he pointed out how extreme Mastriano is.  And the goal is to win as many moderate voters as you can. And plugging extremism into that…I think extremism scares in many of those voters.”

Thomas Swope, a teacher who sponsors the club, asked them, “Are they actually extreme or are they just labeled as extreme?”

Dennis said Mastriano “supported Trump on Jan. 6 and that the election was rigged. He’s very hard on abortion, very anti-abortion. So that’s why they said he was extreme.”

Fisher said, “A lot of younger woman voted for Fetterman and Shapiro due to the fact they’re pro-choice.”

“You saw a ton of split of split tickets. Mastriano lost by a ton and Oz didn’t get crushed. He was close. A lot of people voted Schapiro and Oz,” said Coyne.

Xavier Archawski said that Oz had changed his positions from those he espoused in the past.

“People started to realize this guy is not a good candidate for Pennsylvania,” said Archawski.

Coyne noted that Mastriano was the Democrats’ choice for the Republican to run against Shapiro and had funded commercials for him in the primary. “They knew Shapiro could beat him.”

“Did they really?” asked Deborah Volk, an instructional aide, who attends the meetings because she finds them interesting.

Asked what Republicans need to do better in the future, Luke Lachenmayer said they need to find the right candidates and fund those candidates’ campaigns.

“That’s what it really comes down to because Doug Mastriano had the Democrats flipping his campaign,” he said.

Coyne said someone more moderate than Mastriano might have had a better chance since they “wouldn’t have scared away more moderate voters. And that’s what we have here in PA.”

Asked if Trump was still the base of the Republican Party several members said no.  Several people said they would support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over Trump in the 2024 presidential race if DeSantis runs. They questioned why Trump would slam DeSantis. Trump recently calling him “DeSanctimonious.”

“I think overall Trump running again would be more divisive to the Republican Party,” said Lachenmayer.

Dennis said DeSantis is not so extreme on various issues so American voters will say “I can live with him and go with him rather than (President) Biden.”

“I want someone younger and energetic who is going to be around for a long time,” said Coyne.

Dennis said Trump was strong on foreign policy and America’s enemies feared him.

“I don’t think the Ukrainian situation would have happened with Trump in office,” he said.

The group also discussed mail-in ballots and fair elections.

Some said mail-in ballots were fine.

“I think there’s an issue with mail-in ballots just getting mailed to everybody,” said Volk. “I heard this one guy say he got four ballots mailed to his house, one for him and the three previous people. So it’s an issue these ballots are going to people that don’t live there or died and these are getting abused. Even with COVID, you could still have absentee ballots…I still think it should be on request only. Otherwise you have all these ballots floating around that aren’t going to the right people.”

Coyne said, “Why do we not have voter ID? That never made any sense to me. You need an ID for everything you do. You don’t need an ID for voting? It’s ridiculous.”

“I know,” said Volk. “You never hear of drinker suppression because someone needs to show an ID at a bar or traveler suppression because you have to show ID at an airport.”

The club meets weekly during lunch. In addition to discussion, they have guest speakers and attend events. They were recently guests at the Montgomery County Republicans’ Fall Dinner.

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GRAHAM: The Story of the Midterms: The Cult vs. The Cause

“He who has a ‘why’ to live for can bear almost any ‘how,’” wrote philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, and this midterm election suggests he was on to something.

Nietzche’s point was that people are willing to sacrifice material comforts and their personal well-being in service to a cause greater than themselves.

One of the most common cliches of pre-midterm punditry was, “This election will be about kitchen-table issues.” A close runner-up: “People vote their pocketbooks.” They are “how you live” issues. Paying the bills. Personal economic comfort. Cash in your pocket.

And the cliches were completely wrong. Yes, Republicans won a majority among voters who said the economy was terrible. But those voters were already more likely to be Republicans.

The problem is that, among those who described the economy as “not so good,” Democrats won by 24 points according to exit polls.

The same with the 1o percent of people in New Hampshire who “somewhat disapproved” of Biden. Typically, the party out of power would win those by 20 points. Instead, they went by about 10 points for Democrats.

And as Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics noted, “The biggest stunner was independent voters, who went for the incumbent party by two points, 51-49, after four straight midterm cycles of breaking in favor of the out-party by double digits.”

Truly astonishing numbers, reflecting the fact most voters agreed Democrats are not getting the job done and a majority voted for them anyway.

Because they weren’t voting on the “how,” they were voting on the “why.” Their beliefs. Their cause.

When the final numbers are in, it is likely that voters under age 30 turned out in unusually high numbers, and that they dominated the same-day registrations. They didn’t show up to cast a vote on inflation policy or a rebuke of excessive government spending. These younger, more idealistic voters were motivated by the Democrats’ message to cast a vote to save America.

They voted to save women from a “Handmaid’s Tale” future, to defend our democratic system from MAGA “semi-fascism,” as President Joe Biden put it. They showed up not to save money on their energy bills but to save democracy itself.

They were voters with a cause and they overwhelmingly voted Democrat.

Other voters may roll their eyes and dismiss their alleged ‘cause’ as ridiculous. Overturning Roe sent the abortion issue back to the states, not Congress. And the record turnout is a rebuke to the “democracy in danger” charge. So, how did Democrats convince those voters that the fate of our republic was at stake?

The Democrats didn’t convince them. The Republicans did.

Despite their party winning a majority of the popular vote nationwide by around four percentage points, Republican candidates for U.S. Senate lost nearly every swing state. In other words, there were plenty of GOP votes to draw from. Governors like Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) and Chris Sununu (R-N.H.) won big victories while Senate candidates lost badly or were forced into runoffs.

It turned out that nominating Trump-backed candidates who wholeheartedly embrace ludicrous theories about stolen elections or have messy personal lives isn’t just embarrassing to Republicans. It also drives Democrats to the polls in droves.

Because many GOP primary voters insist on embracing the cult of Trump because they mandate candidates show fealty to him — and prove it by publicly embracing his most ludicrous claims — the party was represented by candidates like Pennsylvania’s Doug Mastriano and Arizona’s Blake Masters. Those candidates in turn drove up turnout among Democrats, guaranteeing their own doom.

In New Hampshire, the GOP’s fringe candidates also depressed GOP voting. While 97 percent of Granite State Democrats backed their party’s nominees, just 89 percent of Republicans did the same for their party’s picks. As a result, the state’s Republican governor won big, but so did all three Democrats running for re-election for federal offices.

Sununu has reduced the 2022 election results to a single sentence: “The voters want to fix policy, but they voted to fix ‘crazy’ first.”

The long-term challenge for Republicans, particularly in federal races, is that many parts of America are so affluent they can afford to vote on issues like abortion and election integrity and other abstract concepts, even when the economy is lousy. Voting their “why” doesn’t require much of a sacrifice from their “how.”

Nominating Trumpian Republicans and arguing that voters will accept their eccentricities in exchange for low taxes, more GDP growth, and “owning the libs” hasn’t worked since 2016. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) won a huge victory in a swing state, and he did it without Donald Trump.

Governors like DeSantis, DeWine, Kemp, and Sununu show there are plenty of Americans willing to vote Republican. The job of the GOP is to give them Republicans they can vote for.

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Montco Republicans Hoping for ‘Red Tsunami’

Some enthusiastic Republican candidates running for state representative and senator came to a get-out-the-vote gathering in Blue Bell on Saturday hosted by Congressional candidate Christian Nascimento.

Nascimento said he had talked so much he was getting laryngitis but added, “I’m losing my voice because I’m trying to give you yours back.”

“For too long, we’ve dealt with a Washington, D.C. that is pushing regulation, taxes, overreach on each and every one of us throughout the United States of America. I think this is the year, this is not just a red wave that’s coming. This is a red tsunami.

Jessie Bradica and Rep. Tracy Pennycuick

“And that is because people are sick and tired of having the far-left government reach into every crevice of their lives,” he said. “When I go out and knock on doors, when I speak to people, I ask one question, ‘Are you better off today, when you were two years ago?’ Are your streets safer? Are groceries more affordable? Is gas more expensive?”

Nascimento is challenging U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery/Berks).

“Volunteers are the key to this race,” said Rep. Tracy Pennycuick, who is running for the state Senate seat that is being vacated by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Bucks/Berks/Montgomery), with his endorsement.  “You’re awesome. You’re why we’re going to win.”

His opponent is Jill Dennin, a former Boyertown Area School Board member.

“It’s about the grassroots and knocking on those 40,000 doors, meeting voters and getting a lot of blowback about why you’re a Republican and don’t want abortion and going against all the negatives…But at the end of the day, we are on the right side of his fight,” said Pennycuick. “And I know I’m on the right side because now I have a group, Democrats for Tracy. They said to me, ‘Your opponent is bat**** crazy.’ Excuse my French. And they cannot vote for her and they’re in her party. And they’re worried that if she wins, the woman who has never had a full-time job—”

Someone called out, “Sounds like Fetterman.”

“That’s what we’re facing. These crappy candidates they’re putting up with these crazy social agendas that don’t work for 99 percent of our population,” said Pennyvuick, a former Army helicopter pilot.  “If you want to be that transgender activist, that’s great. But don’t push it on my children.”

She urged people to get out to vote and bring their friends.

“And when we are veto-proof, let the games begin,” said Pennycuick.

Jessica Bradica, who is running for state representative in District 61, pointed to a Wall Street Journal article that said suburban women are turning toward Republicans. Bradica had previously run for the North Penn School Board to fight to keep schools open.

“District 61 is a seat we can flip,” said Bradica. “And we can try to have a veto-proof legislature…We have to make sure we protect our commonwealth from Josh Shapiro. He is not a moderate.”

Jennifer Sodha, who is running to represent the 53rd District, said she wants to “bring back the American spirit, where we work hard and play hard” rather than the lingering “fear and discord” from the pandemic. The Hatfield resident has knocked on 12,500 doors and “people have resonated with my platform: fiscally conservative, socially moderate.”

(From left) Rob Davies, Fran O’Donnell, Jennifer Sodha, Angelina Banks, Jessie Bradica, Christian Nascimento, Rep. Tracy Pennycuick, Beth Ann Mazza, and Art Bustard.

Rob Davies, who is running for state Senate in District 12, said, “Our current state Sen. Maria Collett (D-Bucks/Montgomery), is a radical progressive who really doesn’t represent the district. And she doesn’t really care about what parents think about what’s going on in the schools. She called it ‘horse****’” in the Huffington Post.

“I’m running because our economy is a mess and we have a wave of crime running through Montgomery County that doesn’t get the kind of coverage it deserves,” said Davies. “Last night in my neighborhood someone had a pumpkin thrown through their window. There were two cars stolen from my neighborhood. The gas station down the road from me was the victim of an armed robbery.”

“The number one issue is definitely the economy,” he said.  “The cost of groceries about doubled in the last few years. It’s ridiculous…There is a red wave building. You can feel it when you know on the doors.”

Fran O’Donnell, a real estate agent with a small business background, was a write-in in the primary for state representative in the 148th in Whitemarsh, Narberth, and West Conshohocken. He learned that no one was on the ballot and he said, “Wait a minute. We’re not going to show up at the playground? I got 732 votes. I was only given four days.”

Beth Ann Bitner Mazza is running for her friends, family, and community to represent the 150th district of Collegeville, Lower and Upper Providence, Skippack, and part of West Norriton.

“This is my home. My family and my friends live here,” said Mazza, a small business owner. She worked in emergency services for Montgomery County for 20 years as an EMS and decided to run because the policies of the Wolf administration have negatively impacted “all parts” of her life.

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McGARRIGLE: Why Voters Should Vote For Republicans

EDITOR’S NOTE: For another view, see “Valyo: Vote for Democrats to Preserve Democracy.”

 

This November, voters in Delaware County, and all across Pennsylvania and the United States of America, should choose the Republican candidates when they cast their vote in this year’s General Election. The Republican candidates are the only ones who have been consistently focused on the issues that are impacting our day-to-day lives; inflation, energy cost, crime, education, and restarting our economy. Additionally, many of these issues we are facing can be directly tied back to Democrat-championed policies and initiatives.

For example, the steadily-rising crime and murder rates we are seeing in Philadelphia are a direct result of Democratic officials, like District Attorney Larry Krasner, choosing to embrace criminals and turn their back on crime victims. We also saw many Democrats who hold local, state, or federal offices calling for policing to be “reimagined” and for the police to be defunded.

As a result of that, criminals now feel emboldened and empowered because they know there will be little-to-no consequences if caught. We have also begun to see the crime begin to spill over into Delaware County from the city of Philadelphia, something that Republicans have warned about for years.

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you’ve probably noticed you are paying more for fewer items. Inflation is hitting everyone’s wallets, and without electing fiscally-responsible Republican candidates inflation will only continue to grow worse. The Democrat’s belief that “if we spend more money, inflation will go away,” has been proven wrong time and again. Once again, inflation has not gone away, and without a change in how we address the problem, it will only continue to get worse.

The increased cost of gasoline and other energy sources can be directly tied to the Democrats’ unwavering war on energy. Democrats believe that this is a zero-sum game: you can either have a clean and healthy environment, or you can have a society that depends on fossil fuels. Republicans on the other hand understand that we can use fossil fuels while also protecting our environment, with the use of sensible regulations and incentives for using alternative energy, not burdensome regulations and fees for using fossil fuels.

Republicans are also committed to ensuring that every child gets a quality education, and most importantly, that they have the choice to attend a school that best suits them. Education is not a “one size fits all” issue, which was made even clearer by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our children are still feeling the negative educational, developmental, and social impacts of the lockdowns, and numerous studies have been released detailing the true impact of these closures.

The issues at stake in this year’s election are too important for voters to stay home. If you are tired of paying high prices for gas and food, feeling unsafe in your community, and being concerned about whether your child is getting a quality education, then I implore you to find out about the Republican candidates in your area and to get out and vote for them.

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Hearing on Quinn Open Primaries Bill Held at Villanova University

Should Pennsylvania join the states with open primaries where people with no party affiliation can vote to nominate Democrat or Republican candidates?

That was the question considered at a House State Government Committee hearing Tuesday at Villanova University. State Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Media) is the prime sponsor of a bill that would allow open voting.

“I want all Pennsylvanians to have a role in our democracy and play a part in our primary elections,” said Quinn. “For this reason, I’ve introduced HB 1369, better known as the Open Primaries Bill. As Pennsylvania becomes more and more politically polarized, partisanship has become more relevant than ever in our politics. Primaries are the marquee election that determines who represents us in Washington, Harrisburg, and in our local communities.”

Nearly 1.2 million state residents cannot vote in the primaries because they are registered independent and not affiliated with one of the two major parties, he said.

Reps. Chris Quinn (left) and Craig Staats

John Opdyke, president of Open Primaries, a group that lobbies to convert cities and states to open primaries, was among those who testified. He said the traditional image of independent voters being less engaged is wrong.

“Their levels of engagement are very high,” he said. A recent Arizona State University study analyzed social media and found independent voters are just as engaged as Republicans and Democrats but have more politically diverse networks as far as their contacts, he said.

“I think that giving independents the right to vote in primaries is not just an issue of fairness; in some ways, it’s like laying down a red carpet for those voters that I believe have a really important role to play in American politics right now, given how polarized it’s become, given how divisive. And how the temperature has gone up in many ways. Bringing independents into the equation I think creates much more opportunity of bridging the partisan divide at both the legalization level and the community level.”

Closed primaries decrease turnout in the primaries and decrease turnout in the general election by 20 percent, according to a University of Southern California study, he said.

“This is the norm around the country,” he said of open primaries. Pennsylvania is one of only nine states with closed primaries. However, voters can change their party up to 15 days before a primary to vote in it. And according to an Associated Press poll, 69 percent of voters favor open primaries.

He noted that in 35 percent of Pennsylvania districts only a Democrat or Republican is running in the general election. So the primary determines who represents the voters.

Former Republican State Chairman Alan Novak and T.J. Rooney, former Democratic State Chairman, both testified in favor of the bill.

“From a party perspective, it’s a smart thing to do,” said Novak. In Chester County, where he lives, 18 percent of the voters are independent, with 12 percent statewide. “The swing voters today are independent voters.” And those voters decide close elections. He says he believes candidates should start communicating with them earlier in the process.

Reps. Paul Schemel (left) and Jared Solomon

Rooney said it would be “healthy for democracy” to allow independent voters to vote in primaries.

Jack Wagner, with Ballot PA Vets and Pittsburgh Hires Veterans, also spoke in favor of open primaries, along with Army veteran Marilyn Kelly-Cavotta with Ballot PA Vets, who is also the executive director of veteran and military services at Moravian University. Both said open primaries would benefit veterans.

Wagner, a former Marine who also served as state auditor general said, “I don’t know of any issue in a democracy that is more fundamental than the right to vote.”

Because many veterans identify as Americans rather than as Democrats or Republicans, they tend to register as independent, which prevents them from voting in the primaries, he said.

“How about the veteran who shows up that lost both legs in Iraq or Afghanistan? In a wheelchair and shows up thinking they can vote on the primary election day and they find out they can’t. They’ve just given part of their body to their country by serving their country,” said Wagner.

Wagner added, “The country called on them to serve the country, and they did so. And now they’re being excluded from voting 50 percent of the time (as independents).”

Rep. Paul Schemel (R-Franklin Co.) asked, “If they don’t want to be with either party, why do they want to select that party’s nominee? The general election is to select who serves in the office.” Schemel does not believe it’s the government’s responsibility to fix this problem, but rather it should be up to the political parties.

Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) said he does not have a Republican opponent. “Maybe my unaffiliated voters like me, maybe they don’t…So independents have no say. They have zero say in the process,” said Solomon.

The Open Primaries bill will be taken up by the House State Government Committee before going to the full House for a vote. In the last session, the state Senate passed a similar bill.

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Dissident Republican PAC Raises Money for Dem Shapiro

A group of Republicans led by Craig Snyder, a consultant and the former chief-of-staff for the late Sen. Arlen Specter, is opposing the GOP nominee for governor, state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

And that group, which includes former Bucks County Congressman Jim Greenwood, has now formed a political action committee (PAC), Republicans4Shapiro, to raise money for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The PAC’s website claims Mastriano, a retired Army colonel, is “radical” and “not a Republican.”

Mastriano, an outspoken, pro-Trump candidate did not respond to requests for comment.

Snyder, a one-time U.S. Senate candidate himself, acknowledged he is on the moderate-to-liberal side of the GOP, hardly a surprise given he worked for liberal Republican Arlen Specter — who ended his career as a Democrat. Polls show most Pennsylvania Republicans are sticking with Mastriano rather than following the Republicans4Shapiro lead.

“Of course, the Montgomery County Republican Committee supports the Mastriano-DelRosso ticket,” said MCRC chair Liz Preate Havey. (State Rep. Carrie DelRosso is the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor).

“Shapiro–the top cop in Pennsylvania–watched our cities be looted and rioted and did nothing,” Havey added. “He and his party are more concerned about ‘woke’ policies than they are about providing safe communities and solutions for our hard-working families who are struggling to put food on the table because of the soaring inflation and gas prices.

“Doug Mastriano will lift executive orders that have destroyed businesses in Pennsylvania, rescind job-crushing regulations that killed our energy sector in Pennsylvania, and, in Doug’s words, ‘fight like hell to fully fund the student and give kids everywhere access to fair and equal education.’”

Some area Republicans told the Delaware Valley Journal they support Mastriano, who was also endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Philadelphian Elliott Tessler said he knows some people think Mastriano is “too extreme.” But he added, “I’m going to vote for him.”

Abington resident Carol Gash was surprised to hear about the group of Republicans supporting Shapiro.

“That’s crazy,” she said. “That’s what I think. I don’t understand why they would do that.” Gash supports Mastriano’s pro-life stance. “I stand with him on that so (saying it’s too extreme) doesn’t move me one bit.”

Charlie Gerow, a Republican consultant who ran for governor, said, “These are the same [Republicans] who asked us to vote for Joe Biden. How’s that working out? The simple truth is that there are always people who, for a variety of reasons, support candidates of the opposite party.

“Undoubtedly, Sen. Mastriano will have some Democrats who support him,” said Gerow.

Snyder said, “I’m receiving a steady stream of contacts from Republicans, from rank and file voters to folks who have credentials as party stalwarts for many years, who want to join this effort.”

But he also has abundant critics within the GOP.

“As expected, the pro-Mastriano camp is calling us ‘RINOS’ and lots of unprintable epithets as well,” said Snyder.

John Featherman, a decidedly moderate Republican who ran for mayor of Philadelphia, said, “Republicans4Shapiro is less about endorsing Shapiro and more about stopping Mastriano and his right-wing, extremist views. These moderate Republicans support abortion rights, gay rights, and clean elections. Many Mastriano supporters will label them ‘RINOs’ (Republicans in Name Only) in an attempt to marginalize them. But the PAC has money and it will run commercials that will be damaging to Mastriano’s campaign.”

 

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PA House GOP Committee to Investigate Progressive DA Krasner

Pennsylvania Republican House members are stepping up their impeachment process against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved a resolution creating the Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order. The resolution, announced by Rep. Josh Kail (R-Beaver/Washington) as part of the ongoing effort to impeach Krasne, now goes to the full House for consideration.

It comes after Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) invited crime victims to come to the capital and tell their stories. Several family members spoke passionately about their loved ones who were murdered in the city, and about their dissatisfaction with the district attorney.

White also blasted Krasner over the city’s crime rate. Violent crime in Philadelphia has increased dramatically since he took office in 2018. Krasner, a progressive Democrat, has espoused an approach that includes dropping gun charges against some defendants and not prosecuting minor crimes. The number of shooting incidents in Philadelphia is up over 7 percent, and the number of shooting victims is up almost 5 percent over last year.

“Since the beginning of the effort to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, we have heard from countless Pennsylvanians, business owners, and families who are fed up with the absolute lawlessness in Philadelphia,” Kail said.

“While DA Krasner has been transparent in his willful dereliction of duty to enforce the law and should be removed from office, it is imperative the House takes a comprehensive approach to holding Philadelphia officials accountable with a full airing of the facts, a comprehensive record, and vetted recommendations as we move forward to ensure state law is respected and enforced in our largest city,” he said.

According to the resolution, the Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order will consist of five members selected by the Speaker of the House—three Republicans and two Democrats—and have subpoena power.

Those members will be appointed after the resolution passes, officials said.

The committee will examine the effect Krasner’s alleged failure to enforce criminal laws in Philadelphia, how state public safety funding for Philadelphia has been used, and whether victims’ rights are properly protected, officials said.

In addition to impeachment and other methods of removal from office, the committee is also empowered to recommend potential legislative or policy changes that could ensure public safety is guaranteed.

“The problem of unchecked crime and violence in Philadelphia is a statewide concern requiring strong and deliberate state action,” Kail added.

“The investigative Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order will take a deep dive into this issue and offer real remedies to ensure local officials like Larry Krasner are held accountable for their refusal to enforce state law and our cities are once again safe,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Krasner did not respond to a request for comment. However, Krasner’s defenders, including Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia), noted Philadelphia voters have elected him twice.

“We can’t go backwards,” Kenyatta said on Facebook. “We have a DA who cares about justice, safety, and accountability. We can’t elect someone who would take us the other way. I’m proud to support Larry Krasner for DA because he’s unabashedly led the charge (to) reform a broken system by building a big winning coalition.”

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New Poll Makes Mastriano Frontrunner in GOP Governor’s Race

With just a week to go before the May 17 primary, state Sen. Doug Mastriano is far ahead of the others in the GOP race for governor.

A Trafalgar Group poll put the Franklin County, Pa. Republican at 27.6 percent, followed by former Congressman Lou Barletta at 17.6 percent. Delaware County businessman Dave White was in third at 15 percent, and former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain was fourth at 14.4 percent. The other candidates were in the single digits while 11.3 percent remain undecided.

The poll of 1,080 Republican voters had a 2.99 percent margin of error. It was conducted May 6-8. The Trafalgar Group is rated by the data analysts at FiveThirtyEight as one of the most accurate polling firms in the country.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro is running unopposed.

GOP consultant Charlie O’Neill said, “The only poll that matters is on Election Day. With a very large field, this race is still anyone’s game. I also have noticed that enthusiasm on the ground doesn’t always seem to match these polls. Candidates like Charlie Gerow are attracting lots of attention and attendees at campaign events–much higher than this poll would indicate.”

Before Mastriano became a state senator, he served 30 years in the Army and retired as a colonel.

“The recent Trafalgar poll has our campaign with a double-digit lead over all the other candidates is evidence that the people do not want to settle,” Mastriano said. “The people want a fighter. Someone who stood with them through the dark times of the shutdown. It’s a clear choice between proven leadership or more of the same. We will win next week, and we will win on November 8 to restore freedom.”

But the Barletta campaign said not to write them off yet.

“Lou Barletta has run the biggest and best grassroots campaign in Pennsylvania history and the data that we see shows that Lou is the best candidate to beat Josh Shapiro,” said Barletta advisor Tim Murtaugh. “Shapiro is running TV ads trying to boost the Republican he knows he can beat [Mastriano] and we must not let a Democrat interfere to choose a candidate we know will lose in November.”

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Rep. Craig Williams Campaigns With Senate Candidate Dave McCormick

Republican state Rep. Craig Williams teamed up with U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick to knock on doors Saturday in the Garnet Valley neighborhood of Chadds Ford.

Williams said he enjoys meeting his constituents in person and typically knocks on more than 2,000 doors during his campaigns.

“My favorite part (of campaigning) is knocking on doors,” said Williams.

McCormick also enjoys talking to potential voters and has made in-person campaigning, whether knocking on doors or pressing the flesh in diners and American Legion halls, a trademark of his campaign.

Rep. Williams and Dave McCormick, along with volunteers pose with a Harley Davidson motorcycle. A TV commercial shows McCormick riding his Harley Davidson Fat Boy. And when the weather is nice, he often rides it around Pittsburgh.

“I love it, I mean, I love it,” said McCormick. “If you knock on 10 doors and talk to one or two people, you get the connection.”

McCormick likes to hear voters’ opinions, telling him what they like or hate.

“It’s perfect,” he said. “I love it. I love being with (Williams). He’s a great guy. This is a great part of Pennsylvania that I need to spend more time in. I’m really devoted to spending time here in the southeast. It makes sure my message is out there.”

And it was a family affair, with McCormick’s wife, Dina Powell McCormick, who was a deputy national security advisor to former President Donald Trump, accompanying him and Williams’ 12-year-old son, Cole, also along, as well as campaign volunteers and staff.

McCormick, who is vying for the lead in the Republican Senate primary race with television celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz and commentator Kathy Barnette, also has ads blanketing television screens, either from his campaign or a Super PAC that supports him. A former hedge fund CEO, he comes across as a down-to-earth, regular guy.

“I hope to get your vote,” he says to homeowners after a brief exchange and introduction from Williams, who has an app that tells him which houses belong to registered Republicans. Only Republicans or Democrats can vote for their respective candidates in the May 17 primary.

“We’re still really undecided,” homeowner George Kent, told the Delaware Valley Journal after shaking hands with Williams and McCormick and listening to their pitches.

Dina Powell McCormick, Cole Williams, Rep. Craig Williams and Dave McCormick.

His wife, Debbi Kent, said, “He keeps saying, ‘the stakes are high,’ and we agree. We want the best person in the Senate, and I was very unhappy (with Sen. Pat Toomey). I want to learn more.”

She was “surprised but appreciative” that McCormick came to her door. “That shows he’s serious and wants to meet the people.”

Another resident, Joe Dailey, said that he was from Bloomsburg but did not know McCormick, who went to high school there when his dad was president of Bloomsburg University and chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.  The family also owns a Christmas tree farm nearby that has been featured in McCormick’s TV commercials.

McCormick, 56, graduated from West Point, where he was on the wrestling team and served in the first Gulf War with the 82nd Airborne. He also served in several positions in the George W. Bush administration, including as Under Secretary of the Treasury, and he holds a Ph.D. in international relations from Princeton. In the private sector, McCormick was CEO of a software company in Pittsburgh and most recently held the CEO post at Bridgewater Associates.

During a talk at a VFW Post in Bensalem, McCormick said the Biden administration’s botched handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal led to his decision to run for the Senate.

“I’ve seen his ads,” said Dailey. “I’m a big fan of his. I like what he has to say. And Craig (Williams) is the best guy we’ve ever had here. Good luck to you guys. I will vote for you.”

Williams (R-Chadds Ford) also served in the military. He spent three decades in the Marines, retiring as a colonel.  The two candidates bantered about which of their rival branches of the service was best as they walked the neighborhood.

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Republicans Working to Get Out the Vote Prior to May 17 Primary

Today, May 2, is the last day register to vote or to change parties. And the Pennsylvania Republicans are gearing up for a Red Wave this fall.

Their Pennsylvania Victory Team has made more than 1 million voter contacts made this cycle, according to Rachel Lee, Republican National Committee northeast regional communications director.

Volunteers across the state gathered for Operation Red Wave on April 23rd to get out the vote ahead of the May 17 primary. Working with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, the RNC has been on the ground since 2016 and never left, said Lee. This has paved the way for increases in voter registration and volunteers.

“Ahead of the Republican primary, the RNC’s permanent, data-driven ground game is mobilizing activists, registering voters, and multiplying our efforts in the commonwealth every day. Keystone State Republicans are fired up and will not be outworked to turn out in force at the polls in May and, ultimately, deliver victories up and down this ballot this November,” said Lee.

One of those volunteers is Liz Preate Havey, who chairs the Montgomery County Republican Committee and the secretary for the Republican State Party.

I grew up with a father (former Attorney General Earnest Preate Jr.) who was involved in Republican politics,” said Havey. “Conservative values, I just grew up in. I’m pro-life, and I believe in limited government. I’ve never wavered for that, even though I went to University of Pennsylvania Law School, which is extremely liberal.”

“One of the reasons I decided to take a step up and lead in Montgomery County has to do with my children,” said Havey. “It’s so one-sided where I live in Lower Merion. It’s so progressive and woke. And they’re in the public schools, and they only get one side. I thought they needed to see that it was important to stand up for what they believe in, even if it means they get negative pushback. I get it from people that live in Lower Merion. They’re nasty to me. I wanted them to know if you believe in something important, you’ve got to stand up and fight for it.”

Her kids are 19, 17 and 13.

“I’ve been volunteering as a committee person since before they were born,” she said. “I took on leadership roles in the last eight years. And this one was a bigger step up.”

“It is fulfilling. I’ve met so many incredible people and had interesting experiences that I would have never had if I didn’t volunteer,” said Havey. “I’ve learned a lot about the region, driven to all parts of the county. I’ve had an awful lot of fun with some nice people who share my values.”

Robin Medeiros also volunteers for the Republican Party, and she’s passionate about it.

Robin Medeiros

While she’s been volunteering for years, “it’s taken off in the last two years,” she said. “I dedicate quite a lot of time to the Republican Party at this point.”

A real estate agent who lives near Scranton, she is president of the Margery Scranton Council of Republican Women and the Pennsylvania Federation of Republican Women. We rally for all of the candidates. Any free time I have is now dedicated to that.”

She and her husband moved to the Scranton area from Massachusetts 30 years ago, following his job in the munitions industry.

“We’ve done so many things from petition signings to get everyone on the ballot to doing the door-to-door knocking,” said Medeiros. “Last weekend alone, just on Saturday, we had a call to action, Operation Red. We touched with over 50,000.” “People come to candidates’ events, and say, ‘I want to volunteer,’ and we reach out to them, and they join the group of volunteers.”

“In the last two years, we’ve switched and 200,000 voters (statewide), and young people are getting involved,” she said. “And that’s awesome. People are switching from Democrat to Republican.”  However, as of April 18, there were 4 million registered Democrats and 3.4 million registered Republicans in Pennsylvania, according to the Department of State.

She hears that folks are concerned about the economy and gas prices.

“People are suffering out there,” she said. “And the border. That’s such an issue with the influx of people coming over the border and the fentanyl that’s coming into the country through the border because it’s insecure, and we’re losing a lot of our younger people to fentanyl…And it’s not just drug addicts. It’s recreational. People are trying it one or two times, and they’re dying because it’s laced with Fentanyl.”

“America’s in real trouble here,” she said.

Meanwhile, in this election cycle, the Pennsylvania Victory Team has held more than 1,400 Republican Leadership Institute trainings with nearly 9,000 people attending and has recruited or activated more than 38,000 volunteers. For Operation Red, the RNC contacted more than 50,000 voters.

The party also hosted a Black business expo, showcasing 15 local small businesses for 80 attendees held at the RNC’s Black American Community Center in Philadelphia.  Some of the people who came to that event also changed their party or registered to vote for the first time.

Meanwhile, the RNC has more than three dozen staff on the ground in the state with more on the way.

They also opened an Allentown Hispanic Community Center for strategic engagement as well as the Philadelphia Black American Community Center for strategic engagement.

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