Sunday, February 14, 2016

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.

POSTED: Thursday, August 20, 2015, 8:44 AM

New polling on the presidential race in Pennsylvania shows a mix of good news/bad news for current front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Quinnipiac University's just-released survey of three critical states -- Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida (nobody's won the White House since 1960 without carrying two of the three) -- has Clinton and Trump both easily ahead in the Keystone State for their respective party nominations.

So, good news for both.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 8:41 AM

It might just be an inside-baseball sort of family squabble, but Gov. Wolf, the businessman, is again at odds with arguably his state's top business force.

Last week, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, founded in 1916, the state's largest business association with thousands of members, announced the Wolf administration is ending participation in quarterly meetings on the environment. a series of events the chamber has held for 20 years with administrations of both parties.

The chamber's government affairs manager, Kevin Sunday, wrote in memo, "We believe that the termination of their continued participation is an attempt at retribution against the Chamber for its advocacy on tax, budget and other issues...clearly, we are disappointed, though not surprised."

POSTED: Tuesday, August 11, 2015, 8:55 AM

Not to get all that far ahead of ourselves but (since that's what followers of and players in politics do) who's a good bet to be Hillary Clinton's running mate in 2016?

And, yeah, I know, Bernie Sanders is drawing rock-star-sized crowds and Hillary hasn't locked up anything yet. But, come on, you know she's going to be the nominee.

So who runs with her?

POSTED: Tuesday, August 4, 2015, 8:51 AM

An editorial in Tuesday's York Daily Record notes media obsession with lists (you know, because lists are all-but-certain to draw online clicks) and looks at two recent political lists in the context of Pennsylvania.

Both lists are from something called which identifies itself only as a government data website.

The first deals with governors' salaries and notes America's highest salaried governor is right here in the Keystone State. Nation's sixth largest state. Nation's highest salaried governor. Makes sense, no?

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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