Sunday, March 29, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, March 26, 2015, 1:16 PM

Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Rand Paul top the field among likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, but 43 percent say they are undecided, according to a new poll from Boston’s Suffolk University.

Asked to name their first choice for the GOP nomination, 19 percent chose Bush, the former Florida governor; 11 percent picked Walker, the Wisconsin governor, and 7 percent named Paul, the Kentucky senator.

Six percent backed businessman Donald Trump, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who announced his candidacy Monday, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie each drew about five percent. Sixteen other potential candidates got fractional support.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 12:08 PM
FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2014 file photo, Donald Trump speaks in Des Moines, Iowa. Trump announced plans Wednesday to form a presidential exploratory committee. "I am the only one who can make America truly great again," the Republican businessman and reality television star declared in a statement announcing the move. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Maybe he’s serious this time.

Donald Trump, the real-estate mogul and reality television personality, Wednesday announced he was forming a committee to explore a candidacy for president. On Thursday, he is scheduled to attend a classic meet-and-greet at the home of a state representative in New Hampshire, the first primary state.

“Americans deserve better than what they get from their politicians --- who are all talk and no action!” Trump said in a statement. “I have built a great company, created thousands of jobs and built a tremendous net worth with some of the finest and most prestigious assets in the world - and very little debt!”

POSTED: Saturday, March 7, 2015, 2:04 PM
A protestor interrupts New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as he fields questions from Bruce Rastetter at the Iowa Ag Summit on March 7, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Christie was saying that the federal Environmental Protection agency was engaged in “overreach” with plans to regulate pollution of groundwater by agricultural chemicals when a heckler stood up and began shouting.

“I’m from New Jersey also!” Joe Mangino, of Beach Haven, yelled as he stood up. He unfurled a banner calling on Christie to finish the job of Sandy recovery, noting he as had to move his family three times since 2012 and his home still is not restored.

“I will not shut up,” Mangino said, as Des Moines Police officers closed on his position and began escorting him out. This wa a reference of course to Christie’s famous command to another Sandy protestor on the boardwalk in Belmar at an event last October.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 9:09 AM
In this Feb. 26, 2015, photo, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gestures while speaking during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md. Wisconsin’s governor recently leapt into the top-tier of the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential class. In the weeks since, Walker has stumbled under the bright lights of his newfound status. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Seeking to bolster support among social conservatives, Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he would soon sign a state law that bans abortions after 20 weeks.

In an open letter to the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, the likely presidential candidate also said he would support similar legislation stalled in Congress.

“As the Wisconsin legislature moves forward in the coming session, further protections for mother and child are likely to come to my desk in the form of a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks,” Walker wrote. “I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk…I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life and I will always fight to protect it.”

POSTED: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 3:06 PM
FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2015 file photo, Ben Carson speaks in National Harbor, Md. Carson has created an exploratory committee to run for president, becoming the first high-profile Republican candidate to formally enter the 2016 presidential contest. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The doctor is in.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson announced Tuesday he had formally created a presidential campaign exploratory committee, the first potential Republican candidate to take such a concrete step toward running in 2016.

Carson, 63, will be able to use the committee raise money to hire staff, travel and conduct other activities related to gauging support for a possible run. The money can be transferred to an eventual Carson campaign, should there be one.


POSTED: Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 10:11 AM
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a leading Republican contender for the White House in 2016, said Saturday that he doesn't know whether President Obama loves his country. ( Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has shot to the early lead of the Republican presidential field in Iowa, with 25 percent support of likely caucus-goers, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

That’s nearly double his closest competitor, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has the support of 13 percent. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee each have 11 percent, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has 10 percent. No other candidate breaks 5 percent, and 9 percent say they are undecided.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie garnered the lowest favorability rating in the poll – 54 percent have a negative view of the combative governor, to 30 percent who have a positive view. Twenty six-percent say they would not consider voting for Christie at all.

Tom Fitzgerald @ 10:11 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 10:54 AM

As expected, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Kevin Dougherty announced Tuesday he was running for the Democratic nomination for state Supreme Court.

Dougherty, administrative judge of the trial division for the largest county court system in Pennsylvania, released a video that includes endorsement cameos from District Attorney Seth Williams and Alba Martinez, former commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services.

Dougherty, brother of the politically juiced electricians’ union leader John J. Dougherty, has been a Common Please jurist since 2001. He was for nearly a decade the administrative judge of Family Court – where backers say he was tough on juvenile crime but also compassionate in helping turn around the lives of vulnerable youth.


POSTED: Thursday, February 5, 2015, 5:28 PM
Former Pa. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

It happened all the time in early 2012, wherever former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum traveled in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination: “How’s Bella?” people would ask him. Or they’d mention they were praying for the little girl, or press gifts into his hands for her – teddy bears, rosary beads.

Bella, the youngest child of Rick and Karen Santorum, has a rare, genetic condition called Trisomy 18 that is usually fatal at birth. Among other things, children who live with the condition are susceptible to life-threatening infections; Santorum had to leave the trail when Bella, then 3, was hospitalized with pneumonia.

The girl who inspired the senator’s supporters is now 6 years old – defying all expectations - and the star of a newly published book by her parents, “Bella’s Gift."

About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald blogs about national politics.

Reach Thomas at tfitzgerald@phillynews.com.

Tom Fitzgerald
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