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POSTED: Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 8:47 AM
FILE - Gov. Corbett concludes his fourth budget address in the Capitol, Tuesday, February 4, 2014. Corbett is running for re-election. ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )

New polling and national rankings on Pennsylvania politics sure make things look bleak for Gov. Corbett's reelection chances.

There's that National Journal offering that says Corbett's the nation's number one governor likely to lose among 15 state races looked at.

There's a new Quinnipiac University poll saying every Democrat in the Commonwealth beats Corbett in head-to-head competition.

POSTED: Monday, February 24, 2014, 9:09 AM

Northeast Philly community activist Jared Solomon, who is challenging long-time incumbent Democratic state Rep. Mark Cohen in the May 20 primary, says if elected he will not accept taxpayer-funded expenses known as per diems.

This is a full-frontal attack on Cohen's long established (and reported) record for being at or near the top of expense-grabbing lawmakers for most of his tenure in Harrisburg.

As of May, Cohen will have served in the state House 40 years.

POSTED: Thursday, February 20, 2014, 9:26 AM
Jay Paterno is a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. (Laurence Kesterson/File photo)

If you've ever wondered how the name Paterno would do on statewide Pennsylvania ballot, it now appears you'll get a chance to see.

A new website,, says Jay Paterno, son of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, is a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

Jay Paterno, who served under his father as PSU quaterbacks coach (and played for Penn State 1986-90), isn't new to politics. He was a surrogate speaker for the Obama campaign in 2008 and again in 2012, and campaigned with Vice President Biden.

POSTED: Thursday, February 20, 2014, 8:46 AM
Former state Auditor General Jack Wagner is running for Pennsylvania governor, according to a longtime aide.

A long-time top aide to former state Auditor General Jack Wagner of Pittsburgh says he and others are circulating nominating petitions for Democrat Wagner's bid for governor.

Rob Teplitz, now a first-term Democratic state Senator representing Dauphin County, tells the Daily News that after speaking with Wagner last weekend he and other Wagner allies this week began circulating petitions on Wagner's behalf.

Teplitz was Wagner's chief counsel and policy director during Wagner's eight years as auditor general and also worked for Wagner during the time Wagner was a state Senator.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 8:32 AM

You know how state rankings and national surveys on stuff like economic development, job growh, great public schools and excellent quality of life usually find Pennsylvania way down the list?

Well, there's now evidence that maybe the state's been focused on other things.

A friend just sent me a recent item from the Huffington Post that says Pennsylvanians post more porn to an amateur porn website than all but one other state, California.

POSTED: Monday, February 17, 2014, 8:50 AM

There's an interesting U.S. map offered by The Washington Post showing each state's personal income tax rate.

You can see it here.

It suggests that among states that have income taxes, Pennsylvania has the nation's lowest rate at 3.07 percent.

POSTED: Thursday, February 13, 2014, 9:24 AM

Pennsylvania politics and government sometimes can get hard to follow.

Take the case of who runs the Pennsylvania Farm Show and Expo Center, reported in some detail by the Harrisburg Patriot-News.

(You can read the full story here.)

POSTED: Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 8:55 AM

Political blogs and the online news service are reporting that House Speaker Sam Smith will not seek reelection this year.

The 14-term Republican held GOP leadership spots since 2000 and is among only a few legislative leaders never charged nor publicly implicated in various legislative criminal investigations during his tenure.

Smith, of Punxsutawney, served as House Majority Whip, Majority Leader and is in his second term as Speaker.

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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