Saturday, April 25, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 8:53 AM

And now comes news that in Tom Wolf's lean and leaner plans for serving in office it could be a long time before he gets, well, an office.

You likely already know that the incoming Democratic governor is foregoing his state salary and benefits, choosing not to the live in the Governor's Mansion in Harrisburg and planning to drive his Jeep to and from work in the Capitol from his York County home 22 miles away.

Well, the Harrisburg Patriot-News now is reporting there's a possibility a long-planned renovation of the Governor's Office, actually a suite of offices on the third floor, south-end of the Capitol, could displace Wolf for up to a year.

John Baer @ 8:53 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, November 13, 2014, 8:56 AM

A little-noted result of the 2014 elections puts Pennsylvania in an interesting, maybe even unique position with regard to political power in a state that often seems electorally schizophrenic.

Think about it. We routinely vote Democratic in presidential elections and lately (and increasingly) Republican in legislative elections. And overall we currently split the difference in terms of public clout.

All three statewide row offices are held by Democrats: Attorney General Kathleen Kane; Auditor General Gene DePasquale; Treasurer Rob McCord (remember him?).

John Baer @ 8:56 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 8:42 AM

Even in an election year when PA did something different -- oust an incumbent governor for the first time ever -- it also managed to do a couple of things the same.

It once again voted below the national average. And it once again voted below the rate of most states (32 states did better), according to preliminary data on eligible voters compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

You can see the turnout rates of all states here.

John Baer @ 8:42 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, November 10, 2014, 8:54 AM
Gene Stilp and Sue Helm. (Photos via Facebook)

And now we have the case of a race in suburban Harrisburg. It's a race that just ended but that over last weekend got a little post-Election Day bump over, well, race.

The Harrisburg Patriot-News reports that Gene Stilp, arguably Pennsylvania's best-known gadfly (he of the pink pigs and protests), aimed his latest protest at a local chapter of the NAACP.

Seems Stilp showed up at a Greater Harrisburg NAACP awards dinner to protest the chapter's choice in honoring Republican state Rep. Sue Helm.

John Baer @ 8:54 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, November 6, 2014, 8:40 AM
IBEW Local 98 members, who didn't want to give their names, hold up large photos of Tom Wolf's face outside Famous 4th Street Deli in Philadelphia on Election Day on November 4, 2014. ( (David Maialetti)

Even though results of Pennsylvania's 2014 governor's election offered no real surprises, they did present just a few fun facts.

For example, the percentage of victory for Tom Wolf (54-45) is the same victory spread Tom Corbett enjoyed in 2010 over Pittsburgh Democrat Dan Onorato (54-45).

Also, Democrat Wolf lost his home county (York) to Corbett, and Corbett lost his home county (Allegheny) to Wolf.

John Baer @ 8:40 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 8:50 AM

Outside the cavernous Utz Arena, part of the sprawling York Fairgrounds, a "Union First" AFL-CIO sound truck blared Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" as friends, supporters and wannabe better friends of Tom Wolf filed inside for an election night party.

They were not disappointed. Not only did their guy, a first-time candidate and Democratic newcomer to statewide politics, easily unseat incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett, he also showed he can toss off a self-congratulatory gala.

There were the obligatory huge Wolf signs and giant American flag.

John Baer @ 8:50 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 8:47 AM

A new national ranking of states based on competitiveness in business taxes is out -- and Pennsylvania is down.

The annual rankings are offered by the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation, a respected think-tank founded in 1937.

They include state-to-state comparisons in areas such as corporate taxes, sales taxes, property taxes and income taxes to measure how each state's tax system appeals to, attracts or deters business growth.

John Baer @ 8:47 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 8:49 AM
Republican Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley (left) and Democratic State Sen. Mike Stack

It's always heartening to find a public official with a sense of humor.

So allow me share an example of same offered by incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley.

The former Bucks County Commissioner seeking reelection next week as Gov. Corbett's running mate shared a sample of his wit in an email about my Monday column on his Democratic opponent Philly state Sen. Mike Stack.

John Baer @ 8:49 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

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

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