Sunday, November 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 7:05 PM

WASHINGTON – Two political groups backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg have thrown their support behind suburban Philadelphia Republican Congressmen Pat Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick.

Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York and a lightning rod for criticism from the right, has vowed to support lawmakers who back tougher gun laws and centrists. Meehan, of Delaware County, and Fitzpatrick, of Bucks County, appear to match both priorities.

Bloomberg’s Independence USA political action committee, which supports centrists, plan to support Fitzpatrick as part of a national $25 million spending burst aiding candidates from both parties, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Fitzpatrick (like Meehan) has voted for several key compromises in the House – including bills to avert the so-called fiscal cliff and end last year’s government shutdown -- helping pass bipartisan deals over the objection of more hard-line Republicans who argued for strictly adhering to conservative principles.

POSTED: Monday, October 6, 2014, 4:18 PM

WASHINGTON – National Democrats have canceled television ad buys in two Congressional races in suburban Pennsylvania, signaling that the races may have slipped out of reach as the party shifts money to other races that appear more competitive.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has canceled ad reservations in the Chester County-based sixth district, where Democrat Manan Trivedi is running against Republican Ryan Costello, and in the Bucks County-based eighth district, where U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.) faces a challenge from Democrat Kevin Strouse, once billed as a star DCCC recruit.

The cancellation, first reported by Politico, comes as Democrats scramble to protect incumbents, rather than trying to gain ground in a year that looks strong for Republicans. The change also arrives as political forecasters say the local races in potential swing districts are looking more and more likely to be won by the GOP.

POSTED: Monday, October 6, 2014, 12:27 PM
Cory Booker and Jeff Bell (Getty Images/AP)

WASHINGTON – New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker leads his Republican challenger Jeff Bell by 15 points among likely voters, according to a Monmouth University Poll out Monday.

The poll gives Booker the largest lead among the public surveys released so far – others had him up by around 10 or 11. Monmouth was closest to the mark last year when public polls had a wide range of predictions for Booker’s race against Steve Lonegan.

Booker, a Democrat, won backing from 53 percent of those polled, while Bell got 38 percent. Others said they would support a third party candidate or were undecided.

POSTED: Friday, October 3, 2014, 11:26 AM

WASHINGTON – Is an upset brewing in South Jersey?

A new poll shows Democrat Bill Hughes Jr., written off by most pundits and national election forecasters, within striking distance of Republican U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a 10-term incumbent.

The survey, commissioned by Stockton College and released Thursday, found LoBiondo with a 6 point lead among likely voters: 44 percent to 38 percent in the second Congressional district, which is based in Atlantic County and includes parts of eight South Jersey counties. When the poll included voters who are leaning to one candidate, LoBiondo leads 47 to 42.

POSTED: Thursday, October 2, 2014, 3:28 PM

WASHINGTON – Democratic Sen. Cory Booker leads his Republican opponent Jeff Bell 51-40 among likely New Jersey voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll out Thursday.

The poll shows Booker with a big lead among women – 55-35 – while men are almost evenly split – 47-45. Only 19 percent of voters told the poll that they are still undecided.

“Thanks to a big lead among women, things are looking good for the incumbent,” said Maurice Carroll, the poll’s assistant director.

POSTED: Thursday, October 2, 2014, 10:16 AM
Mumia Abu-Jamal on death row in the 1990s. He is scheduled to give a recorded commencement speech to students at Goddard College in Vermont this weekend. (APRIL SAUL / File Photograph)

WASHINGTON – Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) on Thursday sent an outraged letter to the Vermont college that will have Mumia Abu-Jamal as a commencement speaker, urging the school to revoke its invitation to the convicted cop-killer.

“Is there any crime so heinous that Goddard would not reward the perpetrator with a spot as commencement speaker?” Toomey asks in his letter to Robert Kenny, the interim president of tiny Goddard College. On Sunday the school is due to have Abu-Jamal address 20 fall graduates in a pre-recorded speech.

“I cannot fathom how anyone could think it appropriate to honor a cold-blooded murderer,” Toomey wrote, calling the invitation a “slap in the face” to the family of Daniel Faulkner, the Philadelphia police officer Abu-Jamal killed in 1981. Toomey's office shared a copy of the letter with the Inquirer.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 1:33 PM
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) (Photo by Mark Wilson (Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) on Wednesday blasted the Vermont college planning to use a taped commencement speech Sunday from convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

“It’s despicable and appalling that a college would want to offer this platform to an unrepentant cop killer,” Toomey said on the Dom Giordano radio show on WPHT. “What have we come to when we think that there’s a college in America that thinks this is a guy that should be addressing their student body?”

Toomey took on another battle involving Abu-Jamal earlier this year when he led the fight to reject an Obama administration nominee who had worked on the killer’s death sentence appeal. The nominee to lead the civil rights department, Debo Adegbile, was blocked by the Senate in March and formally withdrew in September.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 5:52 PM

WASHINGTON – National Democrats on Tuesday pulled down a controversial ad that tied a South Jersey congressional candidate to actions his former company took a year or more after he had left it.

The ad, launched Sunday, rebuked GOP candidate Tom MacArthur over how his former insurance servicing firm, York Risk Services, handled the claims of Phoenix firefighters injured on the job. Eight of them have sued York over insurance denials.

But MacArthur had sold the company and left it entirely in 2010 – nearly a year before York became involved with the firefighters. The MacArthur campaign had threatened a lawsuit over the ad, which had run on cable stations in the Burlington and Ocean County district.

About this blog

Jonathan Tamari is the Inquirer’s Washington correspondent. He writes about the lawmakers, politics and policy that affect Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Tamari previously covered the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL. Before that he worked in Trenton, reporting on the characters and color of New Jersey state government. He lives in Washington.

Reach Jonathan at jtamari@phillynews.com.

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