News & Brews April 29, 2024

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Will absent-state-Rep. Boyle still be able to vote?  

When the Pa. House returns to session today, it appears Democrats may still move to have embattled Democrat state Rep. Kevin Boyle (Philadelphia), whose whereabouts remained “unclear” as of Friday, vote by proxy. House Republicans have argued that Boyle should be placed on leave, following similar precedent in the past. But as the progressive Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports, “Losing Boyle’s vote would leave the House evenly divided at 101-101….” Democrats have proposed a new process to “remove incapacitated lawmakers,” but Republicans say they’re complicating what should be a simple process.

Pa. lawmakers react to anti-Israel campus protests

As hundreds of students (joined by some faculty) continue to demonstrate against Israel on Pennsylvania’s college campuses, some lawmakers are backing the protests along with the anti-Israel messages. Democrat state Rep. Rick Krajewski (Philadelphia), for example, tweeted, “Students have always risen up against apartheid and genocide. Today that legacy continues at Penn, Temple and Drexel. Free Palestine!” Across the state, anti-Israel U.S. Rep. Summer Lee also defended protestors, while criticizing Israel. Gov. Josh Shapiro, meanwhile, has taken a different tone. The Inquirer reports, “The governor has …  made clear that universities must keep their students safe and take a stand to combat hate and antisemitism.”

How McClelland won the Dem treasurer primary

The Inquirer takes a stab at explaining how a relatively unknown Democrat from Allegheny County won the primary for state treasurer against state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro of Erie County (incidentally, also relatively unknown among many statewide voters). Per the Inquirer, McClelland’s last name, combined with the fact that she’s a woman and from Allegheny County, probably played a role. Although Bizzarro gained the endorsement of the Democrat party, one Dem strategist observed that relying on that endorsement didn’t work. “Some candidates make it their peril in confusing elites with voters.”

Feds undecided on whether to retry Johnny Doc

After the latest trial of former Philly labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty ended in a hung jury and mistrial, federal prosecutors said Friday that they’ve not yet decided whether to retry the case. Once called the most powerful unelected politician in the state, Dougherty has already been convicted twice in other trials and faces sentencing this summer for bribery and embezzlement. While he was the leader of IBEW 98, he doled out tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions, the vast majority to Democrats.

Two primary races remain undecided

Two state House primary races—one Republican and one Democrat—remain too close to call. In Philadelphia, incumbent Democrat state Rep. Amen Brown is holding on to a 50-vote lead over Cass Green in a three-way primary. BillyPenn reported on Friday that “it appears likely that … Brown will hold onto his 10th District seat by a very narrow margin.” Meanwhile, in Luzerne County, the Board of Elections will continue reviewing ballots today in the GOP primary between incumbent state Rep. Mike Cabell and challenger Jamie Walsh. As of Friday, Walsh held a five-vote lead over Cabell.

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