News & Brews December 12, 2022

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In battle for House majority, GOP leader sues over special elections

On Friday, House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler filed a lawsuit against the Department of State, acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman, and the Allegheny County Elections Board, asking the Commonwealth Court to issue an injunction against the special elections called by Democrat Leader Joanna McClinton. The lawsuit says McClinton, who effectively declared herself House speaker despite Republicans holding a numerical majority in the chamber, does not have the authority to issue the writs of election. (Click here for more background on the saga.)

Lawsuits cost Americans > $3,600 per household

The Wall Street Journal has an editorial on the eye-popping study from the Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform showing that “[t]he total economic cost of the U.S. tort system in 2020 was $443 billion…. That’s 2.1% of GDP, and it works out to $3,621 per household.” The Ed Board writes, “We always knew trial lawyers were filling their pockets, but it’s still a surprise to learn how much they’ve been emptying ours.” How does this relate to Pa.? Well, you’ll recall the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas just made the list of ‘judicial hellholes‘: “Plaintiffs from across the country flock to the Court of Common Pleas because of its reputation for excessive verdicts and its ‘open door’ policy to out-of-state plaintiffs.”

As Army-Navy leaves Philly for a time, city aims to lure the legendary game back

On Saturday, Army bested Navy 20-17 in a nail-biter of a double-overtime game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. (Go Army, Beat Navy! 🙂 But the game, which Philly has hosted 90 times out of more than 130 games played, isn’t scheduled to return to Philly until 2027, “causing Philadelphia to miss out on millions of dollars in economic impact and tens of thousands of visitors annually.” NBC Philadelphia reports that it will be the job of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau “to prove to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the Naval Academy that the game should stay here.” Indeed, it’s a great honor for Philly to host the game where “everyone playing on the field is willing to sacrifice their lives for everyone watching.”

Pa. governor’s race broke state campaign spending records

The AP reports, “Spending in Pennsylvania’s 2022 gubernatorial race blew past the record set eight years ago, topping $110 million largely because of Democrat Josh Shapiro’s powerhouse fundraising in a race that took on national significance. That beat the $82 million spent in the 2014 election in Pennsylvania.” Of this $110 million, Shapiro’s side spent $73 million, while Republicans spent $37 million, most of it in the primary election. Of the GOP amount, Doug Mastriano reported spending about $7 million.

Profile: Pa.’s next attorney general

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles Michelle Henry, who is currently Pennsylvania’s first deputy attorney general and “will automatically assume the top job when her boss, Josh Shapiro, is sworn in as governor on Jan. 17.” The story notes, “Historically, acting attorneys general, as well as those appointed to fill a vacancy, have declined to run for the statewide office when their term ends, as Mr. Shapiro’s will in 2024. If Mr. Shapiro nominates Ms. Henry, she’d go into a Republican-controlled Senate confirmation process having worked for one Democratic attorney general and having sent another [Kathleen Kane] to prison — and with a history of not running political campaigns to win office herself.”

Nominees picked for vacant seats

Democrats selected Joe McAndrew as their candidate to run for the House seat left vacant by the passing of Rep. Tony DeLuca. Republicans are slated to select their nominee this weekend. This election is set for Feb. 7 (sort of — see first item above). Separately, Republicans picked state Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver as their nominee for the Senate seat left vacant when Sen. John Gordner resigned. Meanwhile, Democrats pickedColumbia County speech language pathologist Patricia Lawton as their nominee. This special election is scheduled for January 31.

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