News & Brews October 24, 2022

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Pa. Supreme Court to hear undated mail-in ballots case

On Friday, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear a case brought by the Republican National Committee, the PA GOP, and several voters asking the court “to clarify the issue of undated ballot envelopes,” the AP reports. The story notes, “The court agreed to fast-track consideration of the ballot envelopes issue, a matter that became complicated earlier this month when the U.S. Supreme Court deemed moot a 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision saying that despite a provision in state law, the dates aren’t mandatory. That means the … [lower court ruling] can’t be cited as precedent.” Separately, the Pa. Supreme Court allowed counties to continue the process of “ballot curing,” in which they contact voters to fix mistakes on mail-in ballots.

‘High stakes’ for Fetterman at tomorrow night’s debate

The Hill calls tomorrow night’s debate between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz “a potential make-or-break moment” for Fetterman, as he continues to attempt to show that he is up to serving in the U.S. Senate following a May stroke. “For Republicans, the main fear heading into Tuesday night centers on the expectations game, as questions have proliferated for months over whether Fetterman can literally speak coherently on stage. If he does clear that low bar, the night may be considered a success for Democrats and their chances to pull out this race.” Read more here.

Outside groups spend about $1.3 million against Mastriano

Even as Democrat Josh Shapiro spends millions of dollars in his race against Republican Doug Mastriano, outside groups are chipping in some money of their own in an attempt to defeat Mastriano. Spotlight PA reports that since the start of 2022, 13 ‘independent expenditure’ groups have spent $2.5 million in the governor’s race. About $1 million of this was pro-Shapiro while $1.3 million was anti-Mastriano. “The majority of that anti-Mastriano spending — about $850,000 — was for ads (including on television, YouTube, and Facebook) by the Republican Accountability Project’s eponymous super PAC.” The PAC, despite its name, is heavily funded by Democrats.

Pa. unemployment rate drops, but fewer people in workforce

Pa. Secretary of Labor & Industry Jennifer Berrier said September’s 4.1% unemployment rate—down one tenth of a percent from August and the lowest rate Pa. has had since April of 2020—”serves as a testament to Pennsylvanians’ resilience – their ability to bounce back from a crisis, provide for their families, and tackle the economic challenges of today and tomorrow.” But the rate doesn’t tell the whole story. The Commonwealth Foundation’s Nate Benefield explains, “Unfortunately, Pennsylvania and the nation have seen a significant increase in workers who dropped out of the labor force. Overall, Pennsylvania still has about 100,000 fewer people working than pre-pandemic levels, whereas states with more economic freedom have not only fully recovered those lost jobs, but seen substantial job growth in the last 20 months.” City & State PA has the story.

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