Tuesday, June 30, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, June 30, 2015, 9:01 AM

Sen. Pat Toomey's reelection campaign went public Tuesday with a TV ad focused on his efforts to force schools to ID sex offenders who work or could end up working with kids.

The freshman Republican seeking a second term next year was to air the ad in Pittsburgh then possibly expand it to other state markets, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The early offensive points to two things: Toomey's campaign warchest is fat and he can afford it; Toomey is rightly concerned about running in a presidential year in a state that's gone Democratic for a quarter-century.


John Baer @ 9:01 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, June 24, 2015, 8:30 AM
Jim Kenney speaks after receiving an endorsement from AFSCME District Councils on Tuesday, March 31, 2015. ( STEPHANIE AARONSON / Staff photographer )

Former City Councilman and likely next Mayor Jim Kenney was in Harrisburg Tuesday for a full day of meet-and-greets with state leaders who determine and control the flow of tax dollars to Philadelphia, especially when it comes to public education.

He met with Gov. Wolf and other top administration officials, House Republican leaders including Speaker Mike Turzai, Majority Leader Dave Reed and Appropriations Chairman Bill Adolph.

And he stopped in to say hello to the House Democratic Caucus.

John Baer @ 8:30 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, June 22, 2015, 8:59 AM
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

In case you haven't noticed, there are some similarities and one big difference between the Republican field for president in 2015 and the GOP field back in 2011.

First the similarity.

Then, as now, there was an obvious choice for the nomination but a lot of noise about whether Mitt Romney could survive a year-long primary battle with a crowd of opponents targeting him. Of course, he did before then losing the General Election to President Obama.

John Baer @ 8:59 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, June 19, 2015, 8:39 AM

State Rep. Daniel McNeill, D-Lehigh County, has one of those recurrent good ideas that go to die in Harrisburg.

The former Ironworkers and building trades official this week said he's introducing a bill to stop lawmakers' pay and per diem expenses if the state budget due June 30 is late.

His measure would also prevent retroactive pay and expenses once a late budget is passed. This compensation docking also would apply to the governor, the lieutenant governor and the cabinet.

John Baer @ 8:39 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 8:43 AM

Despite Hillary Clinton's Pennsylvania roots, presumed inevitability and past success (she beat Barack Obama here in the 2008 Democratic primary), a new poll shows she's got work to do in the Keystone State.

In fact if the election were today, she would narrowly lose the state to Marco Rubio and Rand Paul and would only just edge out neighboring Gov. Chris Christie.

Worse news for the former First Lady, former Senator, former Secretary of State: a majority of Pennsylvania voters (54 percent) say she's not honest; and a lesser majority (51 percent) say she doesn't care about their needs and problems.

John Baer @ 8:43 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, June 15, 2015, 8:52 AM

The two most obvious candidates for president -- Hillary Clinton, with her experience, money and vast connections; Jeb Bush, with his vast connections, money-raising ability and name -- are showing some political signs of the times and making what sounds like similar pitches.

Clinton drew a great new look from The New York Post following her rally in New York on Saturday.

Check out her front-page treatment, complete with wardrobe, as "Rodham Hood," and note her own little "Little John" down in the corner.

John Baer @ 8:52 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, June 12, 2015, 9:07 AM

Just like in campaigns for political office we now are seeing outside money pouring into the fight over the state's annual budget.

The online news service PA Independent reports that mailers attacking Republican lawmakers who oppose Gov. Wolf's tax and spending plans are showing up in voters' mailboxes in those lawmakers' districts.

You can read the report here.

John Baer @ 9:07 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, June 11, 2015, 8:58 AM

I don't want to say Gov. Wolf's having a bad week.

No, wait, that's exactly what I want to say.

It started Monday when the Senate roundly rejected his nominee for State Police Commissioner. Such rejection is rare. The Senate normally allows any guv to live (or suffer) with people he chooses for his cabinet.

John Baer @ 8:58 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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