News & Brews January 20, 2023

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Is McCormick gearing up to challenge Casey in ’24? 

Former Hedge Fund CEO Dave McCormick narrowly lost the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate last year. But many say he’s moving to make another run and challenge Sen. Bob Casey in 2024. According to “GOP insiders,” McCormick “has started interviewing media firms for a potential campaign.” And folks who have spoken to McCormick say that while he “hasn’t made any final decisions,” he’s “clearly laying the groundwork to jump back into electoral politics if he chooses to.”

Shapiro hires ‘loyal allies,’ ‘political veteans’

Spotlight PA gives a rundown of whom Gov. Shapiro is hiring to fill out his executive staff. On the list:

  • Dana Fritz (chief of staff), who’s worked with Shapiro since he was in Montgomery County government
  • Akbar Hossain (secretary of policy and planning), who served as policy director on Shapiro’s campaign
  • Mike Vereb (secretary of legislative affairs), a former Republican state rep. who was willing to back a tax hike.

The story notes “Unlike department secretaries … [Shapiro’s] top staffers won’t need to be confirmed by the state Senate. But they have some of the most important jobs in the new administration, and will work behind the scenes with Shapiro to help him implement his plans as governor.”

Op-Ed: Pa. lawmakers can reverse population decline

Commonwealth Foundation Senior Vice President Nathan Benefield writes in RealClear Pennsylvania that from July 2021-July 2022, Pa. lost nearly 40K residents to other states. Why? “According to data from United Van Lines, the leading reason is to look for a new job. This is no surprise, as the state has yet to recover from payroll job losses during the pandemic, while others states have seen significant job growth.” While the news is grim, all is not lost. With state budget season approaching, “lawmakers must work to reverse the population exodus and restore Pennsylvania as a destination state. Enacting a balanced, fiscally responsible budget and promoting a low-tax environment can help attract workers back to Pennsylvania.”

Working group ponders holding hearings on rules? 

Spotlight PA’s Stephen Caruso reports that according to two sources, House “Speaker Mark Rozzi’s rules work group is considering holding hearings (including outside Harrisburg) and taking expert input on what the chamber’s rules should look like.” Let’s just say if this working group was an attempt to show how to get things done, the experiment is not going as planned. Or is it? As the Commonwealth Foundation’s Nate Benefield tweeted, the move is “also known as delay tactic #64. All in an effort to prevent the House from coming in to vote on Senate Bill 1.” (SB1 is the package of constitutional amendments encompassing voter ID, regulatory reform, and help for victims of childhood sexual abuse.)

Allegheny County Dem DA to face challenge from Left

On Wednesday, Allegheny County Chief Public Defender Matt Dugan announced he will run against six-term incumbent Democrat District Attorney Stephen Zappala, Jr. Dugan’s campaign, the Post-Gazette reports, “is the latest in a series of progressive challenges to incumbent prosecutors across the country,” Dugan says he supports a “modern approach to policing” and “diversion programs that still hold individuals accountable.” Some liken him to progressive Philly DA Larry Krasner, whose tenure has coincided with record homicides in the city.

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