The April 24 primary appears likely to take place on schedule as the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission did not take any action on new maps during a meeting last week.
The commission will meet again on Friday afternoon, but even if a new map passes, citizens could appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, delaying a final decision until early May. Legislators could vote to hold the presidential primary as scheduled on April 24 but delay the legislative primary until the redistricting issues are settled.
The original maps were rejected by the state Supreme Court as unconstitutional. The court cited the splits of townships, boroughs and cities.
Meanwhile, a number of candidates have had their nominating petitions challenged.
The list includes Nathan Kleinman, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th dist.) in the primary; David Christian, a Republican contender for U.S. Senate; Dan Collins, who is challenging state Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-172nd dist.) in the primary; and George Weiss, the Republican challenger to state Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-170th dist.).
The 169th Legislative District was supposed to have moved to a fast-growing part of York County after Denny O’Brien was elected to City Council, but the Supreme Court’s ruling keeps the seat here, for now.
The Republican candidates are Dave Kralle, an aide to O’Brien in his House and Council offices, and teacher John McCann.
The Democrat is Ed Neilson, a former political director of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and a former deputy labor secretary and special assistant to the secretary of the Department of General Services under Gov. Ed Rendell.
Today, he is director of business development and government relations for Chartwell Law Offices. He’s also active as a sports coach and Boy Scout leader.
Neilson submitted more than 2,500 nominating petitions — the minimum is 300 — and boasts a major war chest.
The candidate, a married father of five, also plans to open a campaign headquarters in the Grant Academy Shopping Center, next to Soccer Post. It’ll also have state forms, since O’Brien’s office closed at the end of December.
“It’s about the neighborhood. This district has been split up to five state reps,” he said.
So far, he’s been endorsed by the building and mechanical trades unions and has raised about $100,000. Over the years, he’s managed many pro bono electrical projects, including the Alberta Morris Pool, Penn-Crisp Gym, Glen Foerd on the Delaware, Parkwood Boys Club and Lighthouse Soccer Field.
O’Brien is supporting Kralle, though Neilson said he’s worked with the lawmaker for 25 years.
Neilson is keeping a busy campaign schedule despite being unopposed in the primary.
“I’m running like the election is tomorrow,” he said.
To challenge a nominating petition, one must be a member of the same party.
The challenge to Weiss comes from Anastasia Lodise, mother of Brendan Boyle’s chief of staff, Dan Lodise. It centers around a residency issue.
Meantime, Boyle released a poll on Sunday that showed him with a lead over Weiss of 64.25 percent to 17.80 percent.
The incumbent led even among Republicans and conservatives.
Municipoll surveyed 413 likely voters from Feb. 19-21.
Sharron Angle, the Republican challenger to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2010, last week endorsed David Christian in the GOP Senate primary.
Christian is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who has long been active in helping returning veterans find work and make the transition to civilian life. He is president of DacVal, a Holmesburg-based defense manufacturing company that builds ground-support equipment for U.S. Navy aircraft carriers.
In a letter, Angle criticizes Gov. Tom Corbett and the Republican State Committee for endorsing Malvern businessman Steve Welch, contending that he was chosen, in part, because he could self-finance the campaign. She also pointed out that Welch once donated money to then-Rep. Joe Sestak and voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 Pennsylvania primary.
Angle, of Nevada, called Christian a “Ronald Reagan Republican.” He worked in the Reagan administration, creating job-training programs for returning Vietnam veterans.
“As a result, tens of thousands of our veterans have found meaningful jobs,” Angle wrote.
Reagan recruited Christian to run for Congress in 1984 and ’86, but he lost both times to Democratic Rep. Peter Kostmayer.
Angle, who has a large Tea Party following and has advocated “Second Amendment remedies” for dealing with a Democratic Congress, also asked people to donate $20.12 to the Christian campaign.
“David’s election will be a key defining moment in defeating the Obama agenda and reining Obama in and ending the current national nightmare we see every day in Washington, D.C.,” she said in the letter.
Christian and Welch are joined in the primary by Tom Smith, a wealthy former coal company owner and Tea Party leader from Armstrong County; former state Rep. Sam Rohrer; and Perry County attorney Marc Scaringi, a former aide to Sen. Rick Santorum.
The winner will face first-term Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr., who ousted Santorum in 2006.
Jimmie Moore is calling on U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D-1st dist.) to debate him.
Moore, a former Municipal Court judge, suggested that Brady does not have much of a legislative record to promote. He also challenged the Democratic City Committee chairman’s political influence, pointing to high poverty, school dropout, unemployment and crime rates in the 1st Congressional District. Brady has been in office since 1998.
The Republican candidate is Center City Realtor John Featherman.
Usually, it is challengers such as Moore calling for debates.
However, state Rep. Tony Payton (D-179th dist.) is asking primary opponent James Clay for seven 90-minute debates.
“I’ve been around for five years and have a record I’d like to talk about,” he said.
Clay is the son of Frances Clay, a former president of the Frankford Civic Association who died in 2010.
No Republican filed in the district.
The Service Employees International Union Pennsylvania Council has endorsed former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Democratic primary for state attorney general.
The union cited Murphy’s campaign promise to protect middle-class people and senior citizens from financial scams and his work to save 1,100 jobs at the Bensalem office of Express Scripts, a national pharmacy benefit manager.
Murphy faces former Lackawanna County Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Kane and former Auditor General and U.S. Rep. Don Bailey in the primary.
The Republican candidate is Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed. ••EndFragment