Monday, July 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Thursday, May 29, 2014, 9:04 AM

You know about mid-term elections, right?

Low turnout. Bad for the party that holds the White House. It's what we call a trend. And it's likely to repeat this year.

But the other trend apparently getting ready to repeat is this: no competition.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 8:26 AM
Tom Corbett (seen here) might be rated America's most vulnerable governor, but he's got history on his side as he prepares to face the Democratic nominee, Tom Wolf. MATT ROURKE / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The first public poll since last week's Primary Election shows Gov. Corbett still facing an uphill path to a second term.

The poll, conducted for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute, shows fewer than one in three likely voters (30.8 percent) hold a positive view of the incumbent Republican.

The, um, "good news" is that number's up since the last Morris poll in February when just 29.4 percent of voters held a favorable impression of the Guv.

POSTED: Thursday, May 22, 2014, 8:49 AM

I guess now we'll see whether state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler County, arguably the Legislature's most conservative lawmaker, is about politics or principle.

You may recall that Metcalfe called for -- and actually held a legislative hearing about (he's chairman of the House State Government Committee) -- impeaching Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane for her refusal, announced last July, not to defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Well, now that a fellow-Republican, Gov. Tom Corbett, has also declined to (further) defend the ban after it was struck down this week by U.S. District Judge John Jones, I guess Metcalfe will schedule another impeachment hearing.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 8:55 AM

Gov. Corbett, riding low in public polls, facing reelection and controversial on the subject of education funding, including funding for higher education, didn't exactly draw a full card of requests for commencement addresses this season.

According to his office, he got four: Valley Forge Military Academy & College; Yorktowne Business Institute in York; Penn Dental School; and Esperanza Charter School in Philly.

He's schedule to speak only at Esperanza's graduation, June 6.

POSTED: Thursday, May 15, 2014, 8:48 AM

Not that anyone needs another example of how Pennsylvania's lowly legislature displays disdain for taxpayers, but its leadership is offering another example anyway.

This time, the issue is lawmakers' questionable slush fund, tax dollars it hoards on an annual basis no matter the state of the state's finances.

It's sort of a larger version of how lawmakers give themselves annual pay raises no matter the state of the overall economy and no matter how well, if at all, they provide public service.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 8:35 AM

Sometimes, especially from a distance, readers can get different takes on the same political contest.

Take recent coverage of the Pennsylvania race for governor in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Last Sunday, The Times carried a piece under the headline "Pennsylvania Governor Faces an Uphill Battle for a Second Term." It included a picture of a grim-faced Corbett.

POSTED: Thursday, May 8, 2014, 8:35 AM
State Rep. Mark Cohen.

So I run into Jared Solomon on JFK Blvd. near 17th and he says, "why aren't you writing about our race?"

Solomon, a Northeast Philly native, is a Swarthmore College and Villanova Law School grad, a community activist and Army Reserve officer who's running againt veteran state House Democratic incumbent Mark Cohen in the May 20 primary.

And when I say Cohen's a veteran, I mean a veteran in the sense that nobody in the 253-member Legislature has been in office longer. He was elected in 1974. He's best known for legally using the perks of office at staggering rates.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 8:29 AM
Gov. Corbett (right) is handed another legal loss on voter ID, but a national poll on President Obama (left) suggest possible good news with voters.

Gov. Corbett, whose legal wins and losses look like the Sixers' final regular season record (19 wins, 63 losses), was just handed another loss Monday.

Commonwealth Court refused to reconsider its ruling that the state's voter ID law is unconstitutional. The Guv's lawyers say they're reviewing the ruling for a possible appeal to the state Supreme Court.

You can read coverage of the ruling here.

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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