Updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 4:59 PM
Have you noticed?
The Keystone State and particularly Philly — where reaction to politics regularly ranges from “you can’t make this stuff up” to “why do we keep electing these people?” — is in a wild, windblown moment.
There’s our gerrymander case, with huge implications for state and maybe national politics. There’s our globally watched special congressional election promising mind-bending postrace spins and ironies.
There’s the Philly sheriff (why does Philly even have a sheriff?), who’s also a political consultant. A state rep who wrecks state cars. And a growing conga line of elected officials accused of sexual harassment or abuse.
This against the backdrop of a GOP gubernatorial primary in which presumed front-runner Scott Wagner is a self-described “garbage man;” and a Democratic lieutenant governor primary that incumbent Mike Stack, who wasn’t picked, isn’t wanted, and was disciplined by Gov. Wolf, could win – unless Stack runs for Congress.
Speaking of which, School Reform Commission guy Bill Green wants to run for Congress, maybe in violation of state law.
And those are just highlights.
If there’s another state in as nutsy a place as Pennsylvania right now, I’m hard-pressed to name it.
The gerrymander case is costing taxpayers millions of dollars and could either be settled this week or lead to election-year chaos, costing taxpayers millions more.
Imagine if the U.S. Supreme Court stays the state Supreme Court’s congressional map. A whole new MapQuest? Postponed primaries?
Yes, the betting is the high court will stay away from state business, as is its norm. But, with all that’s going on, nothing feels normal.
And if the court allows new maps, a special congressional election March 13 in Western Pa. — touted as a referendum on President Trump — promises to continue. For both candidates, in different districts.
That race, between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb, is reportedly costing $15 million to put one of the two in Congress for nine months.
The winner gets to serve out the term of Tim Murphy, a married pro-life Republican who resigned last year after getting caught urging a woman he was having an affair with to seek an abortion.
(Oh, and the woman in question, Shannon Edwards, recently announced she’s running for Congress in a new, adjacent district. I am not making this up.)
When the Saccone-Lamb race is done, national spin will have Trump either roundly rebuffed or on the rebound. He’s scheduled to campaign there Saturday.
And, after the race, because of the new maps (if they stand), Saccone and Lamb both will be in different districts. That means each can, and likely will, run in May primaries (if there are any), and again in November. So, both could end up in Congress next year.
Take a breath.
Now think about being from a sane state, looking at ours.
Philly.com reports Sheriff (and Democratic 16th Ward Leader) Jewell Williams, whose public salary nears $130K, made another $34K last year advising judicial campaigns.
Philly’s merit selection of judges? Or just more street money for everybody?
The opening of a recent Philly.com news story on a Delco Democratic state House member tells a lovely tale: “Pennsylvania State Rep. Margo Davidson has been charged with driving and crashing a taxpayer-funded car while her license was suspended not once, but twice, in the last month.”
Hey, if at first you don’t succeed.
And, of course, we’re keeping up with all the #MeToo stuff.
Our guys, so far, include: GOP Congressman Pat Meehan; State Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montco); State Rep. Tom Caltagirone (D., Berks), State Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R., Delco), and, lest we forget, the aforementioned sheriff.
All, to varying degrees, proclaim innocence.
I suppose there are states just as wacko or worse than ours. I’m personally rooting for Louisiana, recently ranked (by U.S. News & World Report) worst state in the nation AND (by WalletHub) worst state for women.
Pennsylvania’s only worst in the Northeast. Gotta make ya proud.
Meanwhile, citizens, take heart. Storms pass. Weather calms. Sometimes even in politics.
Read full story: Pa. politics is in a freaky bomb-cyclone moment | John Baer