Some local candidates and ward leaders joined Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith last week during a campaign stop at SmokeEaters Pub, at Frankford and Sheffield avenues.
Smith, a former coal company owner, is one of five Republicans vying for the nomination in the April 24 primary. The others are decorated Vietnam War veteran and veterans’ advocate David Christian; Malvern businessman Steve Welch; former state Rep. Sam Rohrer; and attorney Marc Scaringi.
Welch has been endorsed by the Republican State Committee.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. faces a primary challenge from Joseph Vodvarka, a small-businessman from Allegheny County.
Among those joining Smith at the Holmesburg tavern were Mike Tomlinson, the Republican candidate in the 5th Senatorial District, and ward leaders Bill Pettigrew, Jim Louis, Chris Vogler, Al Taubenberger, John Stalmaster, Tom Matkowski, Karen Brown and Lee Buchanan. Taubenberger is also the GOP candidate in the 172nd Legislative District.
A Mummers group greeted Smith, who described himself as “an old farm boy” from Armstrong County. He lives on the same farm on which he was raised. He is married with seven children and eight grandchildren, with a ninth on the way.
Smith called for the repeal of the health care law known as “Obamacare” and faulted Casey for voting for it.
The candidate also favors construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast. Supporters say it would create jobs and lower gas prices. Environmentalists oppose it, and President Barack Obama has refused to approve the project.
Smith is running to, among other things, control the growth of government.
“We’ve got to get this deficit spending under control and bring that debt down,” he said.
Smith applauded voters for giving control of the U.S. House of Representatives to Republicans in 2010.
“In 2012, we will vote out the big spenders in the U.S. Senate,” he said.
Meanwhile, the tri-state Independence Hall Tea Party Political Action Committee board of delegates endorsed Smith.
“There’s no doubt that Tom Smith is on a mission to restore economic growth by reigning in government spending and abolishing costly government regulations that are choking the economy and preventing the private sector from creating jobs,” said PAC president Don Adams. “As an employer in the energy field, he understands what drives the economy.”
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 has endorsed challenger Dan Collins over incumbent Democrat Kevin Boyle in the 172nd Legislative District.
Collins, a public school teacher and 64th Ward committeeman, is a lifelong Northeast resident who serves as CYO basketball coach and a member of Mayfair Town Watch and the Mayfair Civic Association. He is married with two young daughters.
“We need someone who is going to lead the fight for our neighborhoods in Harrisburg. That man is Dan Collins. Dan’s an active member of our Northeast community, and he will serve us well as state representative,” said John McNesby, president of FOP Lodge 5.
The FOP backed Boyle over Collins and another candidate in the 2010 race. Boyle went on to defeat incumbent Republican Rep. John Perzel, who was facing corruption charges.
This year, Collins is back for a rematch after declining overtures from Republicans that he run on the GOP ticket.
The Republican candidate is Al Taubenberger, president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of Americans for Democratic Action has endorsed both challenger Numa St. Louis and incumbent Mark Cohen in the Democratic primary in the 202nd Legislative District.
St. Louis is happy with the decision, having already been endorsed by the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women.
“I am the only true progressive Democratic candidate in this race,” he said.
Cohen was first elected in 1974.
No Republican is running.
Patrick Murphy, who is in a heated Democratic primary for state attorney general with Kathleen Kane, last week won the endorsement of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Allegheny County Sheriff William P. Mullen.
Murphy, 38, is a former congressman and Parkwood native. Kane, 45, is a former assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County.
The editorial noted that Kane has not been a prosecutor since 2007.
The newspaper describes Murphy as “well-rounded.” It points to his service as a judge advocate in the U.S. Army, including his Bronze Medal for meritorious service in Iraq. He supervised the administration of military justice in battalions and companies during combat operations and coordinated the investigation of alleged crimes. He tried Iraqis in Baghdad’s criminal court and prosecuted felony court-martial cases. He also served as a convoy commander.
The Republican candidate is Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed, 41. The GOP has won every race for attorney general since it became an elected office in 1980.
The 62nd Ward Republican Committee will hold its second annual spring cleanup on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The group will meet at the Dunkin’ Donuts at Torresdale and Harbison avenues. The cleanup will take place on adjacent streets.
Ward leader John Stalmaster welcomes volunteers. He can be reached at 267-528-2256 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stalmaster will also team with Bill Pettigrew, Republican leader of the 23rd and 54th wards, for a joint fund-raiser on Wednesday, April 18, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Quaker City Yacht Club pavilion, at 7101 N. Delaware Ave.
The cost is $35, which includes food, beer and the music of keyboardist Mike Goldman. Candidates will be in attendance. Call 215-609-4535.
More than 60 groups have joined forces to educate citizens about the state’s new voter identification law.
The coalition is seeking thousands of volunteers to blanket Philadelphia’s 1,687 polling divisions on the day of the primary.
The law requires people to show photo identification every time they vote. It goes into effect in November.