News & Brews February 1, 2023

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Culver wins special Senate election 

Republican state Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver handily won the special Senate election to replace former Republican Sen. John Gordner, who resigned to become counsel to Senate President Pro Trempore Kim Ward. Culver secured nearly 70 percent of the vote to defeat Democrat Patricia Lawton. The district, which spans Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and Luzerne counties, is heavily Republican. Culver’s win means there will be another special House election—in a seat that also leans heavily Republican.

Shapiro ‘on a GOP charm offensive’

The Washington Post notes that Gov. Josh Shapiro’s “early overtures” to Republicans are “rare bipartisan moves” that “are drawing cautious praise from Republicans and optimism from Democrats.” Will it last? Folks are watching.

Shapiro signs executive order on licensing wait times

Gov. Josh Shapiro yesterday signed an executive order intended to reduce wait times for individuals applying for professional licenses. The AP reports that under the order, “state agencies will be held to firm timelines to review license applications or repay applicants for the costs of fees.” As for what those timelines will be, agencies “have 90 days to review all licenses, certificates, and permits and submit recommendations for timelines to the governor’s office.”

A look at $$ in the Allegheny County executive race

The Public Source notes, “With a large field of candidates, a rare opportunity to shape county governance and a lack of contribution limits, the upcoming campaign for Allegheny County executive is shaping up to be a test of the influence of money on local elections.” Incumbent County Exec Rich Fitzgerald is term-limited, so the race is wide open this year.

Democrats endorse McCaffery for Supreme Court

The state Democrat Party has endorsed Superior Court Judge Dan McCaffery for an open Supreme Court seat. McCaffery was first elected to Superior Court in 2019. He is a former Philadelphia District Attorney. Republicans will meet this weekend and could also endorse in the race. Democrats hold a 4-2 majority on the court, with one seat vacant following the death of former Chief Justice Max Baer.

Rozzi hopes to keep Speaker’s job

Democrat Mark Rozzi, the surprise pick for Pa. House Speaker, “is saying he hopes to keep the job even after three vacant Democratic-leaning seats are filled in special elections next week.” It appears he has no plans to easily cede the seat to Democrat Joanna McClinton, whom Democrats previously said would become Speaker. According to the AP, “The Capitol is now rife with speculation that McClinton or some other candidate may soon try to evict Rozzi from the speaker’s rostrum.”

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