News & Brews April 25, 2024

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A closer look at non-Trump/Biden votes in Pa. primary

While President Biden and former President Trump easily won their respective party primaries on Tuesday, there’s another story in the vote counts. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley—who dropped out of the race in early March but whose name was still on the ballot—garnered more than 155,000 GOP votes (nearly 17%). This is almost double the 80,500-vote margin by which Biden defeated Trump in Pa. in 2020. Meanwhile, Democrat Dean Phillips—who, like Haley, also suspended his campaign but was still on the ballot—garnered about 69,000 votes. Added to this, the AP reports, counties “reported about 60,000 for write-in candidates in the Democratic primary,” a much higher total than in either 2016 or 2020.

Incumbents who lost—or whose races are still too close to call

Democrat state Rep. Kevin Boyle (Philadelphia) wasn’t the only incumbent to lose his primary on Tuesday. In Blair/Huntington counties, incumbent GOP state Rep. Jim Gregory was defeated by primary challenger Scott Barger. Gregory, you’ll recall, was the lawmaker who, last year, nominated Democrat Mark Rozzi to be House Speaker. Meanwhile, in Luzerne County, the GOP primary between incumbent state Rep. Mike Cabell and Jamie Walsh remains too close to call, with just eight votes separating the two. Walsh has declared victory, but Cabell said votes remain to be counted. Also too close to call is a three-way Democrat primary in Philly, where incumbent state Rep. Amen Brown leads Cassandra Green by 50 votes.

Shapiro says it’s ‘unacceptable’ if colleges can’t keep students safe

Gov. Josh Shapiro spoke with POLITICO about rising antisemitism and threats on college campuses. “What we’re seeing at Columbia and what we’re seeing in some campuses across America, where universities can’t guarantee the safety and security of their students, it’s absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “If the universities in accordance with their policies can’t guarantee the safety and security and well-being of the students, then I think it is incumbent upon a local mayor or local governor or local town councilor, whoever is the local leadership there, to step in and enforce the law.” He said, “I’m going to continue to speak and act with moral clarity and do my best to be a voice of reason in this moment of tumult.”

(Latest) Johnny Doc trial heads to jury

The extortion trial of former Philly labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty” is now in a jury’s hands. The Inquirer reports that the judge in the case “is expected to deliver instructions to the jury Thursday morning before handing it over to the panel of six women and six men tasked with deliberating the 19 counts of conspiracy and extortion lodged against Dougherty and his nephew Greg Fiocca. Should they convict, their decision could extend the prison time the onetime leader of the state’s most powerful labor union — Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — is already facing after previous convictions on bribery and embezzlement charges.”

D’Orsie & Rowe: ‘A new day in the state House’

GOP Reps. Joe D’Orsie (York County) and David Rowe (Snyder, Juniata, Mifflin, and Union counties) write in Broad + Liberty that the “new day” promised last year by incoming Democrat House Speaker Joanna McClinton hasn’t turned out to be the “fresh start” characterized by “fairness and balance” that some hoped for. Instead, this new day “looks like stifling debate with parliamentary tactics. It looks like ignoring rules and procedure in committees and in the House Hall to limit discussion. It looks like accusations directed at members who merely have a differing viewpoint than the majority party. It looks like countless hours wasted on resolutions that accomplish nothing other than a feel-good photo op.” Unfortunately, it also goes beyond this to much more serious things.

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