Commission to redraw district maps

Cam­paign bits

Loc­al state le­gis­lat­ive can­did­ates are work­ing to col­lect nom­in­at­ing pe­ti­tions for the April 24 primary, and party lead­ers con­tin­ue to look ahead to a re­draw­ing of the maps by the Le­gis­lat­ive Re­ap­por­tion­ment Com­mis­sion.

The Pennsylvania Su­preme Court re­jec­ted the maps on Jan. 25 by a 4-3 vote and last Fri­day is­sued its form­al opin­ion.

The maps seemed to set up Re­pub­lic­ans for an­oth­er dec­ade of rule. Even House Minor­ity Lead­er Frank Dermody, a Demo­crat, joined the GOP Sen­ate and House lead­ers and re­tired Su­per­i­or Court Pres­id­ent Judge Steph­en J. McEwen in ap­prov­ing them by a vote of 4-1.

Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Jay Costa op­posed the map, and he was among those ap­peal­ing the plan on grounds that it un­fairly split town­ships, bor­oughs and cit­ies. Loc­ally, there are in­ter­est­ing races brew­ing in the 169th, 172nd and 177th le­gis­lat­ive dis­tricts.

The 169th had been rep­res­en­ted by Re­pub­lic­an Den­nis O’Bri­en, who joined City Coun­cil on Jan. 2. The re­jec­ted map moved the seat to a fast-grow­ing part of York County. Now, that seat could re­main in Phil­adelphia, if only for a short time. On the Demo­crat­ic side, likely can­did­ates are Shawn Dillon, a ward lead­er and vet­er­an of the aud­it­or gen­er­al’s of­fice, and Ed Neilson, dir­ect­or of gov­ern­ment re­la­tions for Chartwell Law Of­fices.

A Re­pub­lic­an primary is set between teach­er John Mc­Cann and Dave Kralle, who worked for O’Bri­en in the House and Coun­cil.

Many GOP lead­ers wanted Anne Mar­ie Coyle to run. A former as­sist­ant dis­trict at­tor­ney, she’s twice run for judge. She’s eye­ing a run for Com­mon Pleas Court next year.

“I want to be a judge. It’s al­ways been my dream, and I don’t want to give up on it,” she said.

Can­did­ates need to col­lect 300 nom­in­at­ing pe­ti­tions by the Feb. 16 dead­line, and com­mit­tee people in the 57th and 66th wards are among those gath­er­ing them for Kralle.

“It’s great news,” he said of party sup­port. “My fo­cus right now has to be try­ing to get on the bal­lot.”

On the cam­paign trail, Kralle will stress con­stitu­ent ser­vice.

“I’d keep the of­fice Denny had,” he said, adding that he’d prob­ably bring along some of the former staffers who’ve joined O’Bri­en’s City Hall of­fice.

Mc­Cann, an eighth-grade civics teach­er in Prin­ceton, N.J. and fath­er of a 2-year-old boy, is in­ter­act­ing with voters as he cir­cu­lates pe­ti­tions. He’d like to garner 600 sig­na­tures to de­ter a chal­lenge to his pe­ti­tions.

Edu­ca­tion is a key is­sue, and Mc­Cann points to his 11 years as a teach­er. He has a law de­gree and be­lieves that will as­sist him in draft­ing and vot­ing on le­gis­la­tion.

Mc­Cann thinks voters will be­ne­fit with a con­tested primary.

“The more the mer­ri­er, fight­ing for North­east Phil­adelphia,” he said.

In the 172nd, long­time Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­id­ent Al Tauben­ber­ger is the en­dorsed Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate.

Three in­di­vidu­als, all from Fox Chase, sought the right to chal­lenge fresh­man Demo­crat­ic Rep. Kev­in Boyle, also of Fox Chase, in a dis­trict that is based largely in May­fair.

A GOP ward lead­er caucus met on the even­ing of Feb. 2 at Smo­keEat­ers Pub. Joe Gaynor, who lost in the 2010 primary, dropped out be­fore the in­ter­views, leav­ing Tauben­ber­ger and Joe Mc­Gar­rity, who was cam­paign man­ager for City Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill’s suc­cess­ful re-elec­tion cam­paign last year. In the end, ward lead­ers Chris Vo­gler and Bob Bar­rilli and rep­res­ent­at­ives of the 58th and 64th wards chose Tauben­ber­ger. Party boss Mike Mee­han was also in at­tend­ance.

“I’m very honored to have the party’s en­dorse­ment,” said Tauben­ber­ger, who has run twice for Con­gress and once each for may­or and Coun­cil at-large.

“Al Tauben­ber­ger loves to run for of­fice,” Boyle said.

Mc­Gar­rity, a 63rd Ward com­mit­tee­man, has in­dic­ated that he will stay in the race.

“I’m cir­cu­lat­ing pe­ti­tions,” he said.

Boyle is con­fid­ent, not­ing that Demo­crats Barack Obama and Rob Mc­Cord in 2008 and Joe Ses­tak in 2010 nar­rowly won the di­vi­sions in the 172nd.

“It’s a lean-Demo­crat­ic dis­trict,” he said.

The 177th is a strong Demo­crat­ic dis­trict on pa­per, but Re­pub­lic­an Rep. John Taylor has been un­touch­able since win­ning the seat in 1984.

This year, two Demo­crats — Will Dun­bar and Rich­ie An­ti­puna — are look­ing to chal­lenge him.

In the 170th dis­trict, Demo­crat­ic Rep. Brendan Boyle could face a chal­lenge from Re­altor George Weiss.

Statewide, Demo­crats are hop­ing that the 2012 elec­tions are held us­ing the cur­rent lines cre­ated in 2001. Re­pub­lic­ans will try to find a way to pass new maps in time for this year’s elec­tions.


U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who had been back­ing Dan Mc­Caf­fery be­fore his ab­rupt with­draw­al from the race, is now sup­port­ing Park­wood nat­ive Patrick Murphy in the Demo­crat­ic primary for state at­tor­ney gen­er­al.

“Patrick Murphy is our guy. He grew up in a North­east Philly row­house and is the son of a twenty-two-year vet­er­an of the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment,” said Brady, chair­man of the Demo­crat­ic City Com­mit­tee.

May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter, who had been neut­ral, en­dorsed Murphy upon Mc­Caf­fery’s de­par­ture from the race.

Murphy, a former con­gress­man, faces former Lack­awanna County As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kath­leen Kane in the primary. Mc­Caf­fery, a former Phil­adelphia as­sist­ant dis­trict at­tor­ney, dropped out two weeks ago, cit­ing an in­ab­il­ity to com­pete with the wealthy Kane and the po­tent fund-rais­ing of Murphy.

The city ac­counts for about 17 per­cent of the total statewide vote dur­ing Demo­crat­ic primar­ies.

Cum­ber­land County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Dav­id Freed is the Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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