News & Brews November 1, 2023

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POLITICO: How Pa. Supreme Court race could impact 2024

Underscoring the importance of Pennsylvania to national politics, POLITICO looks at how next week’s state Supreme Court race could impact the 2024 elections. Notably, the court—where Democrats currently hold a 4-2 majority with one seat vacant—has deadlocked on some election related cases, so the new justice could potentially be a tiebreaker on some cases. The story also reveals how the Philadelphia Inquirer spread misinformation regarding Carluccio’s position on the 2020 elections by “chopping up” one of her quotes and misleading readers. (Shocker there).

Jury selection in Johnny Doc trial set to begin today

Jury selection is set to begin today in the second felony trial of former Philadelphia union leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty. Once called the most powerful unelected politician in the city, Dougherty faces charges of embezzling more than $650,000 from his union. The Inquirer reports, “Prosecutors say he spent the money on home renovations, pricey dinners, concert tickets, and groceries for himself, his family, and friends — enriching them all at the expense of his union’s members even as he held himself out as a tireless advocate for their interests.”

House passes funding for state-related universities

Yesterday, the House voted 145-57 to provide about $643 million in funding to Pennsylvania’s four state-related universities: Penn State, Temple, Lincoln, and the University of Pittsburgh. The funding, which requires a two-thirds vote, had been held up over concerns with transparency as well as fetal tissue research. On Monday, the House passed legislation increasing transparency for the schools. And the AP reports, “A proposal to require the universities to freeze tuition for the 2024-25 academic year was a late addition to the [funding] bill.” The measure now heads to the state Senate.

Innamorato, Rockey ‘make final pitches’ to Allegheny County voters

Democrat Sara Innamorato and Republican Joe Rockey are both airing new ads this week in their quest to become the next Allegheny County executive. Innamorato is seeking to make the race about abortion and election ‘extremists,’ while Rockey is focusing on “crime, property taxes, and jobs.” The ads come as Innamorato is facing criticism from the Post-Gazette editorial board for ‘skirting’ campaign finance laws.

Republicans push mail-in voting in Pa. 

The Inquirer reports that despite earlier hesitation around mail-in voting, “Pennsylvania Republicans, led by national party leaders, are trying a different course of action — encouraging vote by mail in next week’s critical state Supreme Court race, with an eye toward the benefit it could bring in next year’s presidential race.” As to whether mail-in voting increases overall turnout or benefits one party over another, the data is inconclusive. But so far in Pa., Democrats far outpace Republicans in utilizing mail-in voting.

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