State Rep. John Sabatina Jr. last week officially kicked off a re-election campaign that could see him face a fellow lawmaker in the May 20 primary.
Sabatina (D-174th dist.) has been in office since winning a special election in 2006 to replace fellow Democrat Alan Butkovitz, who left to become city controller.
Rep. Ed Neilson (D-169th dist.) won a special election in 2012 to replace Republican Rep. Denny O’Brien, who left to join City Council.
A redistricting committee planned to move the 169th district to York County, so Neilson knew he’d have to challenge an incumbent to remain in office. His home was placed in the 174th.
The new 174th includes divisions new to both lawmakers. The district is home to more of Sabatina’s constituents than Neilson’s. Sabatina has more than $205,000 cash on hand.
“I’m optimistic,” he said of the possible showdown.
Sabatina, a former assistant district attorney, announced his candidacy at his campaign headquarters at 7718 Castor Ave. in Rhawnhurst. He was joined by representatives of the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters, Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, the Carpenters Metropolitan Regional Council of Philadelphia & Vicinity and the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 157-Keystone.
The legislator spoke of his opposition to a proposed reform school at Rhawn Street and Dungan Road and a proposed methadone clinic at Grant Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard. Both proposals died after community opposition. He plans to seek more funding for public education and vote for legislation that would boost small businesses at Roosevelt Mall and along Castor Avenue, Bustleton Avenue, Welsh Road and Grant Avenue.
“I have the experience, seniority and the drive to represent the 174th district,” Sabatina said.
Sabatina said he has no interest in replacing City Councilman Bill Green, who is resigning Thursday to chair the School Reform Commission.
One way for him to avoid a primary is for Democratic ward leaders to choose Neilson to run in the special election to replace Green.
State Rep. Brian Sims, of Center City, endorsed Jared Solomon, who is challenging Rep. Mark Cohen (D-202nd dist.) in the primary.
“Philadelphia has lost its voice in the Capitol, and if we are going to get it back, we must elect energetic leaders like Jared Solomon to the state House,” Sims said.
Solomon said he plans to emulate Sims’ hard work and integrity to overcome the status quo.
“From Castor Avenue to the Capitol building, I intend to work with Brian to get Pennsylvania on track,” he said.
Sims will hold a free community dinner on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Nick’s Roast Beef, at 2212 Cottman Ave.
Dan Savage, a regional coordinator for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and a former city councilman, remains a likely challenger to state Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-2nd dist.) in the primary.
“Due to the code of conduct of my job, I cannot announce my candidacy or take any public endorsements,” he said.
Savage, of Northwood, serves as Democratic leader of the 23rd Ward.
A third possible candidate is Tomas Sanchez, husband of City Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez. She beat Savage for the seat in the 2007 primary and won a rematch four years later.
Almost one-third of the district is new based on the recent redistricting.
U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland was in Bristol on Saturday to support Kevin Strouse, a Democratic candidate in the 8th Congressional District.
Hoyer pivoted during his speech to talk about former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies, who is one of four Democrats running in the 13th Congressional District.
Margolies served in Congress in 1993-94, and cast the deciding vote for President Bill Clinton’s economic plan, which was opposed by Republicans and some Democrats because of its tax hikes.
Hoyer recalls GOP members saying, “Bye-bye, Marjorie,” as she cast the vote. Indeed, Marjories lost her re-election race.
In Hoyer’s view, the plan led to an economic boom. If John F. Kennedy were writing his book Profiles in Courage today, Hoyer said, Marjories should be included in it.
“I’m for Marjorie,” Hoyer said. “Marjorie Margolies has shown as much courage as I’ve ever seen from a member of Congress. She had the courage of her conviction.”
MoveOn.org endorsed state Sen. Daylin Leach in the Democratic primary in the 13th Congressional District.
In a vote of MoveOn.org members who live in the district, Leach received 55 percent of the vote, followed by Marjorie Margolies (17 percent), Dr. Valerie Arkoosh (15 percent) and state Rep. Brendan Boyle (13 percent).
“This resounding vote confirms that Daylin Leach is the clear choice of progressive voters in Pennsylvania’s 13th district,” said Ilya Sherman, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action, which claims more than 16,000 members in the district.
Dr. Val Arkoosh hired David Madsen as her field director.
Madsen is the political director for the National Young Democrats Black Caucus, chairs the Pennsylvania Young Democrats Minority Caucus and is president of the Dauphin County Young Democrats. He had been chief county coordinator for John Hanger’s campaign for governor.
“Dr. Arkoosh is in the unique position to reach the most voters in this race,” Madsen said. “I’m looking forward to running a robust field and outreach campaign that shows every voter why Dr. Arkoosh is the right candidate to represent the Pennsylvania 13th.”
Arkoosh raised more than $935,000 in 2013 and had $643,000 cash on hand at the end of last year. Those figures outpace her three opponents.
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a Democratic candidate for governor, criticized Gov. Corbett’s budget proposal, contending it cannot make up for what she said is his lack of sufficient funding for public education and the state’s stagnant job growth.
Schwartz also faulted him for not backing a severance tax on natural gas drilling.
“Next year’s budget speech will be very different, because Pennsylvanians are ready for a new governor,” she said. “As governor, I will bring a different kind of leadership and break through the stale politics of inaction in Harrisburg to build on the great assets of Pennsylvania to grow and expand our economy, to make sure Pennsylvania benefits from the Marcellus Shale with a moderate 5-percent severance tax, and to make record investments in public education and universal pre-kindergarten.”
Meanwhile, Schwartz collected endorsements from Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia and Bucks County state Reps. Steve Santarsiero, John Galloway and Tina Davis.
Santarsiero cited her commitment to public education, particularly universal pre-kindergarten for 4 year olds.
Galloway pointed to her support of a severance tax on natural gas drilling to invest in public schools and transportation infrastructure. ••