The four Democrats running in next year’s primary in the 13th Congressional District all had something to cheer about last week when 2013 second-quarter fundraising figures were released.
Dr. Val Arkoosh, state Sen. Daylin Leach, state Rep. Brendan Boyle and former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies all appear to be on their way to raising enough money to run television commercials.
While Arkoosh has the most cash overall because she began raising money in the first quarter, Leach led the way in the second quarter.
Last week, Leach picked up an endorsement that could lead to campaign contributions from across the country.
U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat with a national following, endorsed Leach, saying he wants him to join his team of “aggressive progressives.”
Grayson put out an email to his supporters urging them to donate to Leach’s campaign. He even gave them an incentive, with all donors entered into a contest to win the original double platinum award for Neil Young’s Harvest Moon album.
Grayson was elected in 2008, but was crushed in a 2010 re-election bid by Republican Daniel Webster, who was labeled “Taliban Dan” in a much-criticized television commercial by the incumbent. After reapportionment, Grayson won a seat in a new district in 2012. He once described a Republican health plan as, “If you do get sick, die quickly.”
The 13th district seat will be open because Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz is running for governor. No Republican filed campaign reports for the congressional seat.
John Hanger, a Democratic candidate in the 2014 governor’s race, is proposing changes to the Pennsylvania marijuana laws.
Hanger, a former secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, said state prisons are bursting with nonviolent people whose only offenses were possession of small amounst of marijuana. He called such incarceration “senseless,” adding that prison space should be reserved for “real criminals.”
The candidate is proposing to permit doctors to prescribe marijuana for treatment of appropriate conditions and illnesses; remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana; and remove all penalties for the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana, if similar laws in the states of Colorado and Washington prove to be successful.
“Prosecuting and jailing people for the nonviolent offense of using marijuana ruins lives, stresses our judicial system and strains our prisons,” he said.
Hanger claims Pennsylvania’s marijuana laws are being enforced in a racially discriminatory manner, pointing to a study showing that blacks are 5.19 times more likely to be arrested for possession than other groups.
Hanger is one of nine likely candidates in the Democratic primary. The others are Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz; U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz; state Sen. Mike Stack; Katie McGinty, a Rhawnhurst native and former DEP secretary; state Treasurer Rob McCord; Tom Wolf, a York County businessman and former secretary of the state Department of Revenue; Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski; and Max Myers, a pastor, businessman and author from Cumberland County.
Terry Tracy, the Republican candidate for city controller, will hold a town hall meeting on Tuesday, July 30, at 7:15 p.m. at Holmesburg Recreation Center, at Rhawn and Ditman streets.
Residents and business owners are invited.
Topics will include schools, economic development and government accountability.
Tracy is challenging incumbent Democrat Alan Butkovitz in the November general election. ••