As election nears, Senate race tightens
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? ••