The race is on

With Election Day a few weeks away, the Northeast Times takes a look at several hotly contested races.

  • Marjorie Margolies

  • State Sen. Daylin Leach

  • Dr. Val Arkoosh

  • State Rep. Brendan Boyle

  • The Democratic candidates in the 13th Congressional District are state Rep. Brendan Boyle, Dr. Val Arkoosh, state Sen. Daylin Leach and Marjorie Margolies.

Pennsylvania voters will be go­ing to the polls in less than three weeks, and some loc­al races are hotly con­tested.

In the May 20 primary elec­tion, voters will nom­in­ate can­did­ates for the state Sen­ate and House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives, the U.S. House and gov­ernor.

In ad­di­tion, Phil­adelphia voters will choose a new at-large City Coun­cil mem­ber. They will also de­cide on three pro­posed changes to the Home Rule Charter.

Be­low is a look at the latest on the cam­paign trail.


State Sen. Daylin Leach, a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate in the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, has filed a com­plaint with the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, con­tend­ing that one of his three primary op­pon­ents, Mar­jor­ie Mar­gol­ies, spent gen­er­al elec­tion cam­paign funds after ex­haust­ing avail­able primary funds in the first quarter of 2014.

Leach said Mar­gol­ies “broke the law” by spend­ing more than $71,000 in gen­er­al elec­tion funds from Jan. 15 through the end of the re­port­ing peri­od on March 31. In that time frame, un­til March 30, Leach said the Mar­gol­ies cam­paign failed to main­tain more cash on hand than the sum of gen­er­al elec­tion money in its ac­count.

“This is cheat­ing,” he said at an April 24 news con­fer­ence at his Elkins Park cam­paign of­fice.

The pay­ments, Leach said, were to con­sult­ants and vendors, cit­ing her fin­an­cial re­ports.

In a let­ter to the FEC’s Of­fice of Gen­er­al Coun­sel, Leach wrote that the Mar­gol­ies cam­paign en­gaged in “blatant, sig­ni­fic­ant and re­cur­ring” vi­ol­a­tions of fed­er­al cam­paign fin­ance laws. He de­scribed the al­leged breaches as “re­peated” and “will­ful” as her cam­paign struggled to build a cam­paign warchest. He main­tains that Mar­gol­ies holds voters and the law in “ut­ter con­tempt.”

Ken Smuk­ler, a seni­or ad­viser to Mar­gol­ies, re­jec­ted Leach’s claims.

“We have nev­er dipped in­to gen­er­al elec­tion funds to pay for primary ex­pendit­ures,” he said. “We be­lieve Daylin Leach’s com­plaint is totally without mer­it.”

Smuk­ler cited what he called an “identic­al” case from the 2008 elec­tion sea­son. Jen­nifer Horn, a Re­pub­lic­an run­ning for a House seat in New Hamp­shire, was ac­cused of us­ing gen­er­al elec­tion money dur­ing the primary. The FEC re­jec­ted the com­plaint.

Smuk­ler likened Leach to a rodeo clown, but said he is more “sad” than “funny.” He did ac­know­ledge that there is no down­side for Leach to file the com­plaint.

“It’s an easy way to at­tack the fron­trun­ner,” Smuk­ler said.

Leach denied he filed the com­plaint to de­rail Mar­gol­ies, adding that he does not be­lieve she is the fron­trun­ner, based on her struggle to raise and main­tain cash. Leach would rather hear from Mar­gol­ies than Smuk­ler on the com­plaint. He said her si­lence is “deaf­en­ing.”

“Why isn’t Mar­jor­ie talk­ing about this?” he asked.

The FEC is not ex­pec­ted to rule on the mat­ter un­til after the primary.


Mean­while, Leach launched his first ad that is run­ning on broad­cast and cable TV and on the In­ter­net.

The ad fo­cuses on Leach’s up­bring­ing, when his moth­er could no longer af­ford to keep him, and he tem­por­ar­ily stayed with foster fam­il­ies in the North­east.

Leach talks about how his child­hood ex­per­i­ences gave him the drive to take on “bul­lies” such as Gov. Tom Corbett and the NRA.

“I am in­cred­ibly proud of this ad,” Leach said. “When we star­ted this cam­paign, a little over a year ago, it was al­ways my in­ten­tion to tell my story, to let people know who I am and where I came from, and how that af­fects everything I have done in the state Le­gis­lature. I needed help once, and I fight for those who need help now, which is why I take on Tom Corbett and the NRA, and in Con­gress will hold the big banks and Wall Street ac­count­able for wreck­ing our eco­nomy.”


State Rep. Brendan Boyle, an­oth­er Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate in the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, has been en­dorsed by nine of the 14 ward lead­ers in the Phil­adelphia por­tion of the dis­trict.

Back­ing Boyle are Alan Butkovitz, Bob Del­lavella, Mike Stack, Pat Par­kin­son, Lor­raine Bed­narek, Shar­on Lo­si­er, Shawn Dillon, Ber­nice Hill and Danny Sav­age.

“We need rep­res­ent­a­tion in Wash­ing­ton that will fight for fam­il­ies in com­munit­ies across Phil­adelphia,” said Lo­si­er, Demo­crat­ic lead­er of the 61st Ward. 

Mar­gol­ies has been en­dorsed by ward lead­ers Bill Dol­bow, Janice Sul­man, John Sabat­ina, Mike McAleer and Elaine Tom­lin.


Dr. Val Arkoosh, who also is seek­ing the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion in the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, re­cently was se­lec­ted for the “Game Changers” ini­ti­at­ive as part of the Wo­men’s Cam­paign Fund.

The ini­ti­at­ive is a na­tion­al push to high­light 40 wo­men run­ning for of­fice across the coun­try at all levels. Vis­it­ors to the or­gan­iz­a­tion’s web­site are en­cour­aged to make dona­tions to the can­did­ates. The WCF en­dorsed Arkoosh in April 2013.

“Part of what makes Val such a game changer is her unique back­ground. First, she isn’t a ca­reer politi­cian. She is a phys­i­cian, par­ent of three and a com­munity lead­er. As a prac­ti­cing ob­stet­ric an­es­thesi­olo­gist, she has helped thou­sands of wo­men of all ages, in­comes and back­grounds,” said Clare Bres­na­han, polit­ic­al and pro­grams dir­ect­or for the WCF.


The Phil­adelphia Chapter of the Na­tion­al Or­gan­iz­a­tion for Wo­men Polit­ic­al Ac­tion Com­mit­tee an­nounced its en­dorse­ment of Jared So­lomon in the 202nd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict.

So­lomon, pres­id­ent of the Take Back Your Neigh­bor­hood civic as­so­ci­ation, is chal­len­ging Rep. Mark Co­hen, who has held the seat held for 40 years, in the Demo­crat­ic primary.

“Jared So­lomon is un­equi­voc­al in his sup­port for wo­men’s rights — es­pe­cially about eco­nom­ic em­power­ment and craft­ing mean­ing­ful le­gis­la­tion to quell do­mest­ic ab­use and sexu­al as­saults,” said Nina Ahmad, NOW’s loc­al pres­id­ent. “Giv­en the cur­rent re­press­ive en­vir­on­ment in the Pennsylvania Le­gis­lature and its ‘War on Wo­men,’ Phil­adelphia NOW is fo­cused on en­dors­ing can­did­ates, such as So­lomon, who sup­port wo­men’s rights without re­gard to polit­ic­al ex­pedi­ency. As a law­yer and com­munity or­gan­izer, So­lomon has a re­cord as an ad­voc­ate for more ac­cess­ible health­care, sound edu­ca­tion­al re­form and im­mig­rant rights.”


Mean­while, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO has en­dorsed Co­hen for re-elec­tion.

“I am honored and proud to have the sup­port of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. I have ded­ic­ated my ca­reer to im­prov­ing the lives of work­ing fam­il­ies throughout Phil­adelphia and the en­tire state. The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO stands up for the val­ues of eco­nom­ic justice that I so deeply be­lieve in,” Co­hen said.

Co­hen is push­ing for the min­im­um wage to be in­creased to $11.50 an hour.


U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate for gov­ernor, held a con­fer­ence call with re­port­ers to ex­press her pride in Pres­id­ent Barack Obama’s Af­ford­able Care Act and called on Tom Wolf and oth­er Demo­crats in the race to openly em­brace the law.

Schwartz is one of the few Demo­crats in the coun­try to pro­act­ively ad­vert­ise on what she sees as the suc­cess of the Af­ford­able Care Act.

“I am the only Demo­crat in the race that helped write the Af­ford­able Care Act, worked with Pres­id­ent Obama to pass it and now am cam­paign­ing on the suc­cess of the law,” she said. “I have the ex­per­i­ence and proven lead­er­ship to take on Tom Corbett to ex­pand Medi­caid for 500,000 Pennsylvani­ans and im­ple­ment the Af­ford­able Care Act to be­ne­fit Pennsylvania fam­il­ies in en­sur­ing af­ford­able health cov­er­age.

“Tom Wolf and the oth­er Demo­crats in the race have been evas­ive in their sup­port of and pride in the Af­ford­able Care Act.”

Wolf, the lead­er in the polls, has said that the Af­ford­able Care Act is a “good start,” and in a re­cent in­ter­view with the York Daily Re­cord did not ad­dress the law and its im­pact on Pennsylvania and Amer­ica. Mean­while, Schwartz’s cam­paign re­leased a new tele­vi­sion ad high­light­ing her lead­er­ship role in help­ing write and pass the Af­ford­able Care Act.

“I am proud to have worked with Pres­id­ent Obama to write and pass the Af­ford­able Care Act, land­mark le­gis­la­tion that is help­ing 8 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans get af­ford­able, qual­ity health cov­er­age,” she said. 

Mike Bar­ley, cam­paign man­ager for Corbett, re­leased the fol­low­ing state­ment re­gard­ing Schwartz’s ad and MS­N­BC ap­pear­ance, fully em­bra­cing what he called the Obama­care “le­gis­lat­ive dis­aster.”

“Des­pite can­celled policies, skyrock­et­ing premi­ums, lost doc­tors and jobs, Con­gress­wo­man Allyson Schwartz has turned her back on Pennsylvania for good,” Bar­ley said. “Con­gress­wo­man Schwartz has em­braced an ex­treme lib­er­al agenda in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and the dis­astrous health-care takeover she helped to write and force upon hard­work­ing Pennsylvani­ans. Now, Con­gress­wo­man Schwartz hopes to bring those failed budget-bust­ing Obama policies to Har­ris­burg, prov­ing just how out of touch she is with the people of Pennsylvania.” 


Matt Wolfe, the Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate for an at-large City Coun­cil seat in the May 20 spe­cial elec­tion, is cri­ti­ciz­ing Demo­crat­ic op­pon­ent Ed Neilson for com­ments he made at a re­cent for­um at Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln High School that was in­ten­ded to en­cour­age 18-year-old stu­dents to re­gister to vote.

Wolfe said Neilson was play­ing class war­fare when he said Demo­crats fa­vor the “have-nots” and Re­pub­lic­ans sup­port the “haves.”

Wolfe noted that he lives in a West Phil­adelphia row­house while Neilson “lives in a single fam­ily home on the edge of the sub­urbs.” He also poin­ted out that Megan Rath, the Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate in the 1st Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, lives in a 600-square-foot walk-up apart­ment on the edges of North Phil­adelphia while Demo­crat­ic Rep. Bob Brady “resides in sprawl­ing single home that abuts the Main Line.”

“Tell me again who are the haves and the have-nots,” Wolfe said. ••

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