Monday, May 25, 2015

POSTED: Monday, April 20, 2015, 5:19 PM

One of President Obama’s closest confidantes will come to Philadelphia Tuesday to join Mayor Nutter to promote the city’s paid sick leave law, reinforcing how the president has turned to friendly mayors, rather than a hostile Congress, to advance some of his top priorities.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to Obama and one of his closest aides, will hold two events with Nutter to talk up a city law signed in February and effective in May requiring businesses with 10 or more employees to give workers at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.

Jarrett’s visit is part of a national tour by her and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez highlighting cities that have taken action on paid sick leave, an issue pushed by the president but with little chance of clearing a Republican-controlled Congress.

Jonathan Tamari @ 5:19 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, April 17, 2015, 3:57 PM
File: Mary Ellen Balchunis visits the polls in Valley Forge with daughter Lauren Harris. (Michael Gressen/For the Daily News)

WASHINGTON – La Salle political science professor Mary Ellen Balchunis will launch a second campaign for Congress Saturday, aiming to take on U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan (R., Pa.) by criticizing the way his Delaware County-based district has been re-drawn.

“This tour represents how gerrymandering negatively impacts the voters’ interests because now rather than the voters choosing the representatives, the representatives are choosing the voters,” Balchunis said in a news release.

The oddly bifurcated district, which includes portions of Berks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster and Montgomery counties, is often cited by independent analysts as a poster-child of partisan redistricting. Balchunis plans to stop at all five counties in the district Saturday. 

Jonathan Tamari @ 3:57 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, April 17, 2015, 12:26 PM

WASHINGTON – Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski launched a run for U.S. Senate Friday, playing up the “story” he has to tell from his years leading Pennsylvania’s third-largest city.

The announcement was made on Facebook and social media, and via a press release e-mailed to reporters.

“I look forward to listening to voters and sharing with them the story of success we’ve had in Allentown in solving real problems for real people," Pawlowski said in his release. "We didn’t wait on others to solve the problems for us. We rolled up our sleeves and made things happen.”

Jonathan Tamari @ 12:26 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2015, 11:48 AM
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawloski will seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate against Joe Sestak.

WASHINGTON – Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski plans to run for Senate, setting up a contested Democratic primary. An announcement is scheduled for Friday.

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D., Pa.), the Philadelphia Democratic chairman, said Pawlowski has told him he plans to run.

A Pawlowski campaign consultant, Mike Fleck, Thursday that an announcement on Pawlowski's Senate plans is expected Friday. Fleck would not say what the announcement will be, though Pawlowski has been openly weighing entering the Democratic primary.

Jonathan Tamari @ 11:48 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2015, 6:00 AM
Sen. Bob Menendez speaks at a press conference on April 1, 2015, in Newark. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – More than half of New Jersey voters say Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) should give up his office in the wake of an indictment on federal corruption charges, according to a poll out Thursday.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that 52 percent of voters think Menendez should resign, against 39 percent who say he should stay in office -- though Menendez allies say the framing of the question skewed results against him.

The survey also shows steep drops in the way the public sees the senator.

Jonathan Tamari @ 6:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 9, 2015, 6:57 PM
Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro. (File Photo: Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)

WASHINGTON – Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro has fielded calls from Democratic leaders urging him to jump into the race for U.S. Senate, according to an Associated Press report.

Shapiro has spoken with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) – who is set to become the Senate’s top Democrat in the next Congress – and Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.), who is leading Democrats’ 2016 Senate campaign efforts, AP reported.

So far former Congressman Joe Sestak is the only Democrat running in the race to take on Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.). But many Democrats are wary of the unconventional Sestak in a race that will be critical to the party’s hopes of taking back the Senate.

Jonathan Tamari @ 6:57 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, April 7, 2015, 3:45 PM
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) reacts as he exits the podium after speaking to the media during a news conference in Newark, New Jersey April 1, 2015. (Eduardo Munoz / Reuters)

WASHINGTON -- As he battles the weight of the U.S. Department of Justice, Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) is pushing back with a team that includes one of Washington’s most high-powered lawyers, a communications chief who has worked on presidential campaigns, a crisis consultant who was once held a high-ranking post at the justice department, and a longtime New Jersey insider.

Together, the group has vast experience in high-stakes political affairs. Now they will be charged with picking away at the feds’ 68-page indictment, countering criticism, building support, and advancing Menendez’s message as he tries to withstand a deluge of negative press and public pressure.

The indictment unveiled last week alleges that Menendez accepted bribes, in the form of numerous flights on private jets, luxurious stays in Paris and the Dominican Republic and more, in exchange for using his office to help the personal and business interests of Salomon Melgen, a South Florida eye doctor and major campaign donor.

Jonathan Tamari @ 3:45 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, April 6, 2015, 11:57 AM

WASHINGTON – Joe Sestak just finished walking 422-miles across Pennsylvania -- and slipped three points further behind Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), according to a Quinnipiac University poll out Monday.

Toomey (R., Pa.) holds a 13 point edge over Sestak, a Democrat, in a potential 2016 match up, according to the survey. It found that 48 percent of voters would back Toomey in a head-to-head match up, against 35 percent for Sestak.

A Q Poll in February -- before Sestak's walk began -- gave Toomey a 10-point lead.

Jonathan Tamari @ 11:57 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
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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