As election nears, Senate race tightens

Tom Smith, the Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate for U.S. Sen­ate, holds a press con­fer­ence on THursday, at Tor­res­dale Flower Shop. (Maria Pouch­nikova)


Re­cent polls have shown a tight­en­ing in the race between Demo­crat­ic U.S. Sen. Bob Ca­sey Jr. and Re­pub­lic­an Tom Smith, and both men are spend­ing a lot of money on tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials.

Liber­tari­an Ray­burn Smith is also on the bal­lot.

Ca­sey leads in polls, and last week he un­veiled a com­mer­cial that de­rides his op­pon­ent as “Tea Party Tom Smith.”

The in­cum­bent con­tends that Smith’s eco­nom­ic plan would cut taxes for mil­lion­aires and raise them on middle-class fam­il­ies.

The chal­lenger, who held a “Wo­men for Smith” event in a May­fair flower shop two weeks ago, has cri­ti­cized Ca­sey in ads for sup­port­ing ear­marks, op­pos­ing a bal­anced budget amend­ment and for the fact that no bill that Ca­sey has sponsored has be­come law since he joined the Sen­ate in 2007. Smith la­bels Ca­sey a “ca­reer politi­cian.”

Smith, tout­ing his ex­per­i­ence as a former coal com­pany own­er, said he is the can­did­ate who can best ad­dress is­sues such as spend­ing, debt and jobs. He vowed nev­er to vote to raise the debt ceil­ing.

The Re­pub­lic­an’s plan in­cludes sim­pli­fy­ing the tax code, keep­ing spend­ing at 20 per­cent of the gross do­mest­ic product, lessen­ing reg­u­la­tions on busi­ness, build­ing the Key­stone XL Pipeline Pro­ject that would de­liv­er crude oil to Amer­ic­an re­finer­ies, al­low­ing con­sumers to buy health in­sur­ance from com­pan­ies out­side the state, im­ple­ment­ing tort re­form to end frivol­ous law­suits against health care pro­viders and re­peal­ing and re­pla­cing the health care law known as “Obama­care.”

Ca­sey, son of a former gov­ernor, is a former aud­it­or gen­er­al and state treas­urer. He routed Re­pub­lic­an Sen. Rick San­tor­um in 2006. In 2002, he lost the Demo­crat­ic primary for gov­ernor to Ed Rendell.


In­ter­na­tion­al As­so­ci­ation of Fire Fight­ers Loc­al 22 last week en­dorsed Al Tauben­ber­ger, the Re­pub­lic­an chal­lenger to state Rep. Kev­in Boyle (D-172nd dist.).

Tauben­ber­ger de­scribed fire­fight­ers as her­oes who put their lives on the line.

“I’m very honored to have that en­dorse­ment,” he said.

If elec­ted, he will join the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives fire­fight­ers caucus to pro­mote is­sues of in­terest to Loc­al 22 mem­bers.

When Tauben­ber­ger met with a Loc­al 22 pan­el mem­bers two weeks ago, he thanked them for their ser­vice. He cri­ti­cized May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter for ap­peal­ing a bind­ing-ar­bit­ra­tion rul­ing between the city and the uni­on and for tem­por­ar­ily clos­ing some fire sta­tions.

“One of the reas­ons I’m run­ning is to give us all the ser­vices we are en­titled to and paid for,” he said.


State Rep. John Taylor and his of­fice have been in con­tact with Sam­antha Pawlucy, the Port Rich­mond high school sopho­more cri­ti­cized by a teach­er for wear­ing a Mitt Rom­ney/Paul Ry­an shirt on dress-down day.

Pawlucy, who at­tends Charles Car­roll High School, at 2700 E. Au­burn St., wore the shirt on Sept. 28. Geo­metry teach­er Lynette Gay­mon told her Car­roll was a “Demo­crat­ic” school.

Gay­mon, who is black, also likened the stu­dent’s ward­robe choice to the teach­er wear­ing a KKK shirt.

Richard and Kristine Pawlucy on Fri­day vis­ited their daugh­ter’s school to file a com­plaint. Some stu­dents hurled ob­scen­it­ies at them from classroom win­dows.

Taylor said he is most con­cerned about the girl’s safety, adding that she should not have been singled out for ri­dicule. His of­fice has been in con­tact with the school dis­trict’s safe schools ad­voc­ate, School Re­form Com­mis­sion chair­man Pedro Ramos and Su­per­in­tend­ent Wil­li­am Hite. The law­maker blames Car­roll of­fi­cials for let­ting the situ­ation get out of con­trol.

“They’ve mis­handled this from minute one,” he said. “That could have been a teach­ing mo­ment.”

Wil­li­am Dun­bar, a Port Rich­mond res­id­ent and Taylor’s Demo­crat­ic op­pon­ent, said the teach­er could have used the epis­ode to con­duct a mock de­bate of is­sues.

“The win­dow was open to teach those young im­pres­sion­able stu­dents about free­dom of speech,” he said.

Pawlucy re­turned to the school on Tues­day.


Former Gov. and Phil­adelphia May­or Ed Rendell has en­dorsed Dun­bar.

“Pennsylvania needs a pub­lic ser­vant who will not only listen to the needs of the people, but works to make sure those needs are ful­filled,” Rendell said. “I am not only con­vinced that Wil­li­am is the best per­son to do it, but con­fid­ent that he will do it.”

In oth­er news from the cam­paign, Dun­bar is happy that a Com­mon­wealth Court judge de­cided to delay im­ple­ment­a­tion of the state’s voter iden­ti­fic­a­tion law un­til next year.

“The right to vote is a fun­da­ment­al right. For­cing someone to have to show an ID places an un­due bur­den on that right,” Dun­bar said.


John Feather­man, the Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate in the 1st Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, was among those who ap­peared at a news con­fer­ence out­side a Cen­ter City hotel where former Pres­id­ent Bill Clin­ton was at­tend­ing a fund-raiser.

Feather­man, a Re­altor, talked about the stag­nant hous­ing mar­ket.

Con­ser­vat­ive policy ana­lyst and writer and former White House of­fi­cial Mi­chael Johns dis­cussed health care is­sues.

Par­ti­cipants pushed back against Clin­ton, who last month told Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion del­eg­ates that the na­tion is bet­ter off after four years of Pres­id­ent Barack Obama.

“Really? Here’s the real Obama eco­nom­ic re­cord,” said Teri Adams, co-founder of the In­de­pend­ence Hall Tea Party Polit­ic­al Ac­tion Com­mit­tee.

Adams cited a de­cline in me­di­an house­hold in­come, an in­crease in the num­ber of people in poverty, a per­sist­ently high un­em­ploy­ment rate, mount­ing debt and gas­ol­ine prices that have more than doubled un­der Obama.


Phil­adelphia voters will de­cide on four bal­lot ques­tions next month. Here is the word­ing on each of the ques­tions:

Shall The Phil­adelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to al­low for the es­tab­lish­ment of an in­de­pend­ent rate-mak­ing body for fix­ing and reg­u­lat­ing wa­ter and sew­er rates and charges and to pre­scribe open and trans­par­ent pro­cesses and pro­ced­ures for fix­ing and reg­u­lat­ing said rates and charges?

Shall the Phil­adelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to au­thor­ize the cre­ation by or­din­ance of re­quire­ments for ad­di­tion­al in­form­a­tion to be sub­mit­ted with the an­nu­al op­er­at­ing budget, an­nu­al cap­it­al budget, and cap­it­al pro­gram, in­clud­ing, but not lim­ited to, in­form­a­tion about the cost of per­form­ing spe­cif­ic func­tions, the ef­fect­ive­ness of such func­tions, and the costs versus be­ne­fits of pro­posed ex­pendit­ures, and to re­quire the Fin­ance Dir­ect­or to provide such in­form­a­tion?

Shall the Phil­adelphia Home Rule Charter — which al­lows for a pref­er­ence in the civil ser­vice reg­u­la­tions for the chil­dren of Phil­adelphia fire­fight­ers or po­lice of­ficers who were killed or who died in the line of duty — be amended to fur­ther al­low for a pref­er­ence for the grand­chil­dren of such fire­fight­ers or po­lice of­ficers?

Should the City of Phil­adelphia bor­row One Hun­dred Twenty Three Mil­lion Six Hun­dred Sev­enty Thou­sand Dol­lars ($123,670,000) to be spent for and to­ward cap­it­al pur­poses as fol­lows: Trans­it; Streets and San­it­a­tion; Mu­ni­cip­al Build­ings; Parks, Re­cre­ation and Mu­seums; and Eco­nom­ic and Com­munity De­vel­op­ment? ••


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