Thursday, October 8, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, October 8, 2015, 8:54 AM

On one hand, Gov. Wolf got slammed by the state House on Wednesday when lawmakers, including some members of his own party, handily rejected his proposal to raise taxes in order to get more more for state spending.

The vote was 127-73 against the Guv.

On the other hand, Wolf got himself more money at a campaign fundraiser Wednesday evening where ticket prices ranged from $1,000 to $10,000 each.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 8:55 AM

With the presidential primary races focused on "outsiders" in both parties, namely Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, there's a new ad on Joe Biden that could well be a clue that the ultimate "insider" will indeed join the fray.

The 90-second ad (which you can watch right here) is an emotional trip through the personal loss the Vice President has suffered since elected to office in 1972.

It uses audio from a speech Biden gave at Yale this year just weeks before his son Beau died of brain cancer. Biden talks about the death of his first wife and daughter in a car crash that also severely injured his two sons shortly after his 1972 victory.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 8:48 AM

Not that things in the presidential race aren't already muddy enough.

But, geesh, The New York Times might just be stirring in a new component.

The Times on Wednesday features an article on the different thinking of President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry on the ongoing conflict in Syria.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 8:43 AM

In her first response to a unanimous state Supreme Court decision Monday to suspend her law license but not her title or position, Attorney General Kathleen Kane reminded all of her assertion all her problems are due to her efforts to "root out" bad-boy behavior in her office, law enforcement and the judiciary.

The first statement was issued just before 2 p.m.

Here it is:

POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 9:00 AM

And in the category "you can't make this stuff up," a very large category in Pennsylvania politics, now comes the tale of how the long-time mayor of our capital city was evidently so taken with the vampire-hunting kit he bought for inclusion in his planned but never built wild west museum that he bought another such kit for himself.

I know, I know.

And yet there it was during a preliminary hearing Monday for former Mayor Stephen Reed who's facing hundreds of criminal charges tied to bond deals, finances and his penchant for buying historical artifacts, allegedly by diverting public money, during his 28-year stint as Harrisburg's Democratic mayor.

POSTED: Thursday, September 10, 2015, 9:02 AM

In this season of multiple, ongoing political polls now comes a poll of preferences for a whole bunch of stuff not really related to politics.

Harper Polling this week released results of Pennsylvania's favorite in-state city, home-grown athlete, private university, fast food joint and more.

Its latest Commonwealth Poll shows nearly one-third of state residents (30 percent) pick Pittsburgh as the city they'd most like to live in. Philly finished second at 19 percent and Lancaster placed third at 12 percent.

POSTED: Thursday, August 27, 2015, 8:51 AM

There's a fascinating item in Thursday's Washington Post that looks at how the make-up of state legislatures changed since President Obama was sworn into office.

If you guessed Democrats lost ground and Republicans gained ground, you guessed right.

In fact, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Democrats lost power in nearly every state Senate and nearly every legislature since 2009.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 8:50 AM

Top Pennsylvania incumbent pols are doing pretty well, according to findings of a new Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday morning.

Well, except, that is for incumbent state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Kane, facing a criminal trial on charges related to a grand jury leak, only has a 20-percent approval rating; and 49 percent of state voters think she should resign.

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

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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