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Dobbs Decision Spurs Voter Registrations Among DelVal Women

Since the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Pennsylvania women have been outpacing men by 12 percent in registering to vote, according to voter data firm Target Smart. That is significant because both Democrats at the top of the ticket are outperforming their GOP opponents among women, the latest polls show.

A Pew Research Center poll released in August revealed abortion was an essential issue for 56 percent of voters this election — a 10 percent jump since March. While there has been no difference in the importance of the abortion issue among Republican voters since March, the importance among Democrat voters increased to 71 percent — a 25 percent jump since the landmark ruling.

In Montgomery County, female voters registering as Democrats has been six times higher than Republican registration since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Comparing male voters, Democrat registration is around two times greater than Republicans. According to data, 511 women have switched to the Democratic Party, while just 211 women have switched to the Republican Party, according to Kelly Cofrancisco, Montgomery County’s director of communications.

In Bucks County, the shift in women’s voter registration hasn’t been as significant. Four days before the ruling, 19,061 more women were registered as Democrats than Republicans, according to Bucks County voter registration data. On September 6, the gap between Democrat and Republican registrations for women increased only by 559. During the same period, the gap between Democrat and Republican male registrations grew by 336.

Both Chester and Delaware County spokespeople told DVJournal they couldn’t provide complete information about the sex of newly-registered voters. However, since the ruling, the Chester Democratic Party added 1,471 more new voters than the GOP.

U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester) said abortion rights are a priority for her campaign, providing a distinct difference between her GOP opponent, business leader Guy Ciarrocchi.

“On one hand, Chrissy will continue to fight until Roe is the law of our land,” said Shane Wolfe, her campaign manager. “On the other is a candidate who supports the extremists in Washington and Harrisburg trying to pass a nationwide abortion ban without exceptions for rape and incest. Voters need to know where their candidates stand on this key issue. And since the Dobbs decision, we have seen a surge of volunteers, donations, and voter registrations to support Chrissy’s election.”

Ciarrocchi pushed back on Houlahan’s attacks.

“I don’t rely on the media to educate me on ‘what women think,” said Ciarrocchi, the father of two daughters and a son, who has coached girls’ softball for 23 years. “The Inquirer story, unfortunately, continues a pattern of dividing-up Americans into political ‘camps’—based on gender, race, geography, etc. and making generalizations.”

A weak economy, rising crime, and students falling behind are at the forefront of Ciarrocchi’s campaign because those are the issues that unite everyone, he said.

“There have been a lot of twists and turns and news stories during this campaign, but the issues have remained constant,” Ciarrocchi said. “Gas is too expensive, inflation is robbing us of our paychecks and savings, violent crime is on the rise, and too many parents feel powerless as their kids fall behind academically and emotionally.”

EMILY’s List, a pro-choice political action committee, has donated $11,600 during this current election cycle to Houlahan’s campaign according to Open Secrets.

That PAC also donated $34,845 to Rep. Susan Wild’s campaign. Wild also received $8,500 from another pro-choice PAC known as A Woman’s Place. Redistricting led Wild’s seat to lean more Republican, according to the Cook Political Report. A recent poll revealed that 47 percent of respondents would vote for Republican challenger Lisa Scheller and 43 percent for Rep. Wild.

Among Democrat Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon’s top ten donors this election cycle is A Woman’s Place. Thus far, Scanlon (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) has received $10,000. Her opponent, Republican Dave Galluch, is also unfazed by the uptick in voter registration among women, according to campaign manager Joe Luongo.

“From the start of his campaign, Dave has been focused on issues that are hurting families and women,” Luongo said. “Having been raised by a single mother, Dave knows first-hand the impact higher grocery and gas prices have on families, especially single mothers. Dave doesn’t need a poll to know that real leadership would never allow for a shortage of baby formula.”

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GOP Voter Registration Guru Scott Presler Brings His Magic to Bucks County

Conservative activist Scott Presler is hoping to create an army of “professional voter registrars” in his likeness to bring thousands of new Republicans to the polls in the midterm elections in battleground states like Pennsylvania.

The son of a retired Navy captain said he has gotten so good at the gig that he has even done it from the comfort of a hot tub.

Presler was in Bucks County earlier this week hoping to help elect Republicans like Pennsylvania gubernatorial hopeful Doug Mastriano and U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Presler called Bucks County an “all-important bellwether” district that predicted presidential winners in past elections

“I’ve got the information, but I’m one human being,” Presler told the Delaware Valley Journal in an interview. “I want to create more Scott Preslers across the country. So my goal is, when I go out and knock with these members of the community, I want to teach them and train them for when I’m not here, so they can do the work without me.”

Presler’s first stop was the Doylestown Borough and Township Republican Club, followed by a speaking engagement before the Pennridge Area Republican Club in Perkasie.

Presler–dressed in a pink shirt, tight blue jeans, and cowboy boots–was quick to open up the voter-registration playbook with a few trade secrets for dozens of the area’s staunchest Republicans.

Part of his strategy centered on trolling prominent Democrats online.

Whenever President Joe Biden posts on his official White House Facebook page, Presler is quick to comment about how the Democrat’s failed “regressive policies” have hurt Americans.

“If you’re unhappy with Joe Biden, then please register to vote at your current address. I’m happy to assist any and all of you in registering to vote,” said Presler, showing volunteers an example of one of his boilerplate “anti-Biden” attacks that got him 480 “likes and hearts.”

It is a telltale sign to Presler that Americans are dissatisfied with Biden – and Democrats in general.

“That shouldn’t be happening. It should be angry faces,” he said. “I used Joe Biden’s White House Facebook page to register a new Republican voter. It’s so fun.”

Before deciding to enter into the realm of political activism, Presler was a dog walker. He remembers when, at age 24, he watched Barack Obama win re-election in 2012 and felt powerless. Then, in 2019, he was inspired to get involved by then-President Donald Trump’s criticism of Baltimore as a “disgusting, rat-and-rodent-infested mess” where no one wanted to live.

Those remarks propelled Presler to organize a cleanup of the city’s “most dangerous streets.” The event was a smashing success, with hundreds of volunteers helping pick up 12 tons of trash in a single day, Presler said.

He’s replicated the event in virtually every big city in America, from Atlanta to Philadelphia. And now he’s doing the same circuit again, this time focused on voter registration.

For his efforts, the Virginia-born political operative has been both praised and vilified as an “American Patriot” and a “nutty MAGA conspiracy theorist.”

He spoke at CPAC in 2021, and in the same stroke, found himself in the crosshairs of the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. Presler was slammed for serving as a top strategist for ACT for America, which the ADL and SPLC called one of the largest anti-Muslim hate groups in the U.S.

Presler’s speaking engagements in other cities have attracted counter-protestors and some have events been canceled. But not much of the criticism seems to phase Presler, who pushed back against the idea that he’s anti-Muslim by touting his support for Dr. Oz as he seeks to become the first Muslim to serve in the U.S. Senate.

And the political activist’s supporters don’t scare easily, either.

“We’re used to the name-calling, and we know it never amounts to anything,” said Kim Bedillion, president of the Pennridge Area Republican Club. “The Southern Poverty Law Center goes after many conservative, mainstream Republicans and Christian organizations and paints them as difficult. We’re used to that and we’re used to being called names like ‘deplorable’ and ‘Bible-thumper.’ We take that as a point of pride. If the Southern Poverty Law Center is going after Scott Presler, God bless him. We don’t get defensive; we just do the work.”

That work includes mounting voter-registration drives at gas stations, with “Pain at the Pump” signs in tow, ubiquitous Wawa convenience stores, Home Depots, and gun shops–all hubs for Republican voters, as Presler tells it.

He pointed to a “50-50 split” during a recent gas-station drive in a reliably blue part of New York as a potential harbinger for what’s to come.

He told volunteers to think as Democrats do in terms of their target audiences, noting they are likely to be at high schools, nursing homes, and “graveyards,” a riff on the old joke about dead people voting Democrat.

“You’re gonna have a lot of these angry mama bear events. Those people that show up are going to be the doers. Politics needs to be inescapable for the next five months,” he said.

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Dem Organization Floods Chester County Mailboxes With Ballot Applications, Sparking Concerns

Chester County election officials want residents to know the mailings voters are receiving from Democrat-affiliated nonprofits are not official and they are not coming from the county.

“Two political advocacy groups, the Voter Participation Center (VPC) and the Center for Voter Information (CVI), will be conducting unsolicited direct mailings to Pennsylvania residents consisting of voter registration applications and vote-by-mail applications,” a county spokesperson said Monday. “These mailings will reportedly arrive on or about Monday, April 25, and are not endorsed by, or affiliated with, the Chester County Board of Elections or Chester County Voter Services.”

And those groups “bear all responsibility for the mailings, including any mailings that contain incorrect information,” the county said.

Tom Lopach is president and CEO of the VPC and CVI. He said the Washington, D.C.-based group sending mailings to voters statewide wants to register what Lopach calls “the new American majority.”

He said that “majority” is comprised of “people of color, young people and unmarried women.” Those groups tend to register to vote and turn out to vote in lower numbers than other groups. CVI and its sister group, VPC, also help turn out those voters.

“Our mission is to help increase voters in these three groups,” Lopach told Delaware Valley Journal.  He has been involved with the organization since March 2020 and said registering voters is “a proud thing to do” and “very patriotic.”

Lopach is also a longtime Democratic operative who has worked on multiple campaigns. The progressive news organization Pro Publica reported his organizations’ efforts pouring millions of unsolicited voter registrations into mailboxes during the 2020 election created confusion among voters and consternation among election officials.

“It’s not about the good that one organization does,” Jared Dearing, director of Kentucky’s State Board of Elections and a Democrat said at the time. “It’s about the net value for the whole system. If you register one person but create so much anxiety and consternation, how many voters get so turned off they don’t interact with the system at all?”

CPI sent 2.2 million vote-by-mail applications to registered voters in Pennsylvania. Lopach said they use forms that were approved by the state.

According to Lopach’s definition, the “new American majority” includes 5 million people in Pennsylvania or 52 percent of the state’s voting-eligible population. People 18 to 35 years old are about 29 percent of those eligible to vote; people of color, including Blacks and Hispanics, are 18 percent; and single women are 26 percent.

Asked whether his organization had received funding from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, so-called “Zuck Bucks” that some believe helped sway the 2020 election for Democrats, Lopach said his organization does not discuss donors, nor is it required to disclose its donors, who are foundations and individuals.

“We are reminding Pennsylvania voters that voting in primary elections is easy. In Pennsylvania you can vote by mail, early in-person, or in-person on Election Day,” Lopach said. “We are providing more than 2.2 million registered Pennsylvania voters with official vote-by-mail applications, allowing them to sign them and drop them in the mail without ever leaving their homes. So make your plan to vote today and participate in our great democracy.”

“CVI and its sister organization, the Voter Participation Center (VPC), together run the nation’s largest mail-based and digital voter engagement programs,” the groups said in a press release. “In 2020, VPC and CVI helped 4.6 million voters sign up to vote by mail.”

While Lopach insists his groups are nonpartisan, others disagree with that assessment.

According to research by Hayden Ludwig of the think tank Capital Research Center, Lopach’s two organizations were founded by Page Gardner, who was a campaign staffer for former President Bill Clinton. Lopach said he knows Gardner but added he did not realize she had worked for Clinton. Lopach also has a background in Democratic politics. He had previously worked for Democrat Steve Bullock, former governor of Montana, and was executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“Gardner’s groups take advantage of IRS rules allowing nonprofits to engage in nonpartisan voter registration to target the ‘new American majority’—a group that gave more than 60 percent of its votes to Biden in 2020,” Ludwig said.

“The nonprofits are hardly ‘nonpartisan.’ CVI, the network’s 501(c)(4), spent $583,000 directly aiding Biden—but it’s their support for voting by mail that should concern conservatives. Unlike the right, the left is all in on funding groups that do nothing more than voter registration,” according to Ludwig. The mail-in ballots were to “flood key states with tens of millions of mail-in ballots.”

Charlotte Valyo, chair of the Chester County Democrats, said she has not had contact with either group. Chester County Republican Chairman Gordon Eck could not be reached for comment.

May 2 is the last day to register to vote in the May 17 primary. As of April 18, Chester County had 373,975 registered voters. Of those, 150,606 were Republicans and 155,604 were Democrats.

Anyone who receives an unsolicited VPC or CVI mailing who wants to be removed from the group’s mailing list must note a code near the bottom of the letter and email the code to the correct organization, county officials said.

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GOP Hopes Rising Gas Prices Bring More Support For Republicans

Republicans are trying to parley rising gasoline prices into new voter registrations as the midterm elections approach, and they are going straight to the pumps to do it.

Both here in the Delaware Valley and around the state, volunteers have taken their voter contact efforts to gas stations to entice disgruntled drivers to switch parties and register as newly minted Republicans.

“Disappointed families and workers are flipping their registration, as well as registering for the first time, thanks to pain at the pump brought on by the Biden gas hike,” said RNC spokeswoman Rachel Lee. “Pennsylvanians cannot afford more of Joe Biden’s costly war on American energy. As Keystone State families and workers suffer from the Biden Gas Hike, Republicans are registering voters in a mounting red wave ahead of November.”

Republicans reject the Democrats’ claims that rising gas prices are “Putin’s price hike,” as President Biden has put it.

“Before Russia invaded Ukraine, the average cost for a gallon of gas had already risen by $1.14 since Joe Biden became president,” she said. “The average American household could spend up to an additional $2,000 on gas this year because of the Biden Gas Hike.”

One of the volunteers is Bucks County resident Kim Bedillion, president of the Pennridge Area Republican Club.

“Trips to fill up the tank are causing hardships like never before, and as we are talking to voters at gas stations, we’re hearing that from people of all backgrounds. Republicans’ success in registering voters at gas stations shows just how fed up Pennsylvanians are with the Biden gas hike,” said Bedillion.

The Philadelphia GOP is also actively registering voters as the May 17 primary approaches. The final day to register to vote in the primary is May 2.

Shamus O’Donnell registers voters at an event for Sam Oropezo, who is running for the state Senate in Philadelphia District 5.

Its message is, “Streets that everyone feels safe to walk, in every community — meaning not just in elite progressive neighborhoods; providing the tools to everyday Philadelphians to lift themselves up and thrive both economically and socially.

“The freedom for families to choose where to send our children to school, and necessary improvements to our city’s schools — focusing on basic reading and math, not radical curriculum.”

Meanwhile, in Cheltenham, yard signs are springing up all over the township inviting people to join the Cheltenham Township Republican Organization (CTRO).

While registration shows 20,000 Democrats to fewer than 4,000 Republicans, CTRO Chair Myron Goldman hopes to bring more voters into the fold.

“Cheltenham is, in effect, a one-party township, but there is a functioning Republican organization,” he said. The Republicans field candidates and serve as watchdogs over the commissioners and school board.

“We regularly run voting registration drives at various locations in the county and also contact new move-ins to have them register Republican,” said Julia Vahey, executive director of the Montgomery County Republicans.

Felice Fein, vice-chair of the Chester County Republicans said, “The Pennsylvania GOP regional director, John Gavin, and his team are doing an organized voter registration drive throughout Chester County. They do occasional events everywhere from gas stations to restaurants. Currently, they and the Republican Committee of Chester County are focusing on people who recently moved into Chester County and encouraging them to register in time to have their voices heard in the primary election. The Pennsylvania GOP team and the county committee members are knocking on doors and providing voter registration forms as well as mail-in ballot applications if the residents are interested in voting by mail.”

Democrats still have a voter registration advantage in Pennsylvania, but the numbers are significantly narrower than during the 2018 midterms. That year, there were 4,111,325 registered Democrats and 3,270,882 Republicans, with 1,172,291 unaffiliated voters. That was a 25 percent registration advantage for Democrats over the GOP.

In the most recent available data, there are currently 4,003,113 Democrats and 3,434,125 Republicans — an advantage of just 16.5 percent. And historically Republicans have outperformed their registration numbers, which is how they held their majorities in the Statehouse in 2020, as well as picking up the state auditor and treasurer’s offices.

With predictions of a red wave — and President Biden’s approval rating down 20 points since he took office just over a year ago — Pennsylvania Republicans feel optimistic.

“Thanks to the RNC’s permanent, data-driven ground game, the voter registration gap in the Keystone State continues to narrow,” Lee said. “Republicans have closed the voter registration gap by over 200,000 registrants in the last two years. In just the last two weeks, Republicans have shrunk the gap by over 2,700 registrants.”

“Killing American energy is a promise Joe Biden has actually kept,” Lee added. “On his first day in office, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, killing 11,000 jobs.”


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