Talking the talk
David Freed, the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania attorney general, met local newspaper reporters last week at the Aramingo Diner in Port Richmond.
State Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.) arranged the visit.
Freed has gotten to know Taylor and other state lawmakers in his capacity as district attorney of Cumberland County, a mid-size county of about 240,000 people not too far from Harrisburg. As district attorney of a county near the state capital, he has advocated to the legislature on various issues.
“Freed seems like a good guy,” Taylor said.
In the Nov. 6 election, Freed will face Democrat Kathleen Kane and Libertarian Marakay Rogers.
Kane is a former assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County. In the primary, she defeated former Bucks County congressman Patrick Murphy, thanks in part to an endorsement from former President Bill Clinton.
Freed believes the difference between him and Kane is his tenure as district attorney.
“Executive experience makes me most qualified for the job. Once you take the oath of office, the wins and losses are on you,” he said. “I have the ideas and energy to do the job. I've got a good story to tell.”
Freed, 42, is the son-in-law of former state Attorney General LeRoy Zimmerman. He is pro-life and a member of the NRA, and proclaims himself a fan of the Flyers, 76ers, Eagles and Phillies.
Republicans have won all eight races for attorney general since the post became an elected office in 1980. However, Democrats enjoy a voter-registration advantage of more than 1 million, and many of the races have been close.
In office, Freed would seek to fund surveillance cameras, police car video equipment and anti-gun violence efforts, particularly in Philadelphia.
“That’s a place I see the attorney general leading,” he said.
Freed, whose parents were educators, also wants to be part of a bipartisan team of district attorneys, police chiefs and county sheriffs to promote early childhood education as a way to keep young people from becoming victims or perpetrators of crime.
As for the illegal drug issue, Freed favors putting a heavy presence of law enforcement officers on the street to arrest dealers.
“We’ve got to disrupt their business,” he said.
State Rep. John Taylor, first elected in 1984, is facing a challenge from Democrat Will Dunbar, 28.
As incumbents often do with little-known challengers, Taylor, 57, is ignoring debate requests from his opponent.
If the two did debate, Taylor said, it would be the “worst evening of that kid’s life.”
“We bring the debate to the people door to door and through the press,” Taylor said, adding that he expects to see his opponent at community forums.
Dunbar would spend the debate knocking Taylor for what he sees as putting his party over the people because of his votes on voter ID and other issues. He believes a debate would force Taylor to explain why he supports an effort that would move the district north to Republican-friendly areas of Mayfair.
Taylor has been knocking on doors for the last 12 weeks or so and hopes voters see the race as a one-on-one battle in a heavily Democratic district that President Barack Obama will likely carry handily.
“He’s depending on the top of the ticket,” Taylor said of Dunbar.
In 2008, Taylor won with 59 percent of the vote against Harry Enggasser.
The Web site PoliticsPa.com believes Taylor is in a fight. It lists the 177th as the 10th-most likeliest in the state to switch party control.
The incumbent plans to be aggressive in telling voters in overwhelmingly Democratic areas such as Juniata how to support him even if they plan to support Democrats for other offices. He’s confident of victory, even contending that Dunbar will struggle to get more than 10 votes in his home division.
Joe Rooney, the Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th dist.), is getting nowhere in his attempt to get the incumbent to debate him.
Rooney said his opponent is “hiding.”
In a “Dear Ms. Schwartz” letter, he wrote, “To make this easy for you, I am even willing to supply you with a series of questions to answer and votes to defend so you can adequately prepare yourself.”
Schwartz’s office declined to comment on Rooney’s request.
State Reps. Mark Cohen and Brendan Boyle were among the delegates at the recent Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
For Cohen, it was his sixth convention and third time as a delegate. He said he liked the speeches given by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.
Cohen said he was inspired by the remarks and noted that TV viewership was higher for the Democratic convention than the Republican gathering in Tampa a week earlier.
“I think they made a persuasive case. Polls show that Obama has gained since the convention,” he said.
Boyle was a delegate for the first time. He spent some time working in his role as chairman of the House Democratic Campaign Committee, but spent plenty of time in the convention hall.
“To me, the highlight was Bill Clinton’s speech,” he said.
Boyle had a good enough seat that he could tell when the former president was using the teleprompter and when he was ad-libbing.
Asked why Obama deserves re-election while presiding over an economy with mounting debt, high unemployment and gasoline prices and a rotten housing market, Boyle pointed to 30 consecutive months of job growth.
Boyle equated Mitt Romney’s policies to those of former President George W. Bush, who pushed the economy “completely off the cliff,” in his opinion.
The biggest controversy of the Democratic convention came when the platform committee removed references to God and Jerusalem being the capital of Israel.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, chairman of the convention, called for three voice votes of delegates to reinsert the mentions of God and Jerusalem. Though most delegates opposed putting God and Jerusalem back in the platform, Villaraigosa declared the motion had passed.
Neither Cohen nor Boyle was in the hall at the time. Cohen was at a reception for Jewish elected officials. Boyle was delayed by transportation and security issues.
Several Republican activists have filed a complaint with the Philadelphia Board of Ethics regarding a decision by Mayor Michael Nutter to use taxpayer funds for staffers Lauren Walker and Tumar Alexander to attend events at the Democratic National Convention.
“This decision by Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter to dip into the city taxpayers’ pockets to send city employees, who cannot be involved in politics, to go to the most political of all events, the Democratic National Convention, is not only bad policy but a violation of the city Home Rule Charter,” said Rick Hellberg.
When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attended the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., the Republican Governors Association paid the expenses for him and his family. Civilian aides had to use their vacation time and pay for travel, lodging and meals.
The men’s club of the Congregations of Shaare Shamayim will hold a candidates forum on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 9 a.m.
The public is invited. The synagogue is located at 9768 Verree Road in Bustleton.
The hosts will be educator/lawyer Ruth Horwitz and former state Sen. Bob Rovner. ••