The Battle For Pennsylvania


In today’s polling averages Romney is ahead by 1.4%. Four years ago today Obama had an 8.2% lead. All of the attention is on Ohio but Pennsylvania has more electoral votes.
It is now in the tossup category and three recent polls have Romney within the margin of error. Romney campaigned in the state this week and predicted victory. The change is most apparent in the Pittsburgh region among what use to be called Reagan Democrats. The area has thousands of signs proclaiming “Stop the War on Coal – Fire Obama.”
In September, the House passed the “Stop the War on Coal Act.” In addition to coal, 270,000 Pennsylvania jobs are connect to hydraulic fracturing, and there are few Obama fans in the energy industry. They could provide the crucial 2% victory margin the GOP needs.

Stefanie Salavantis: 2012 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Stefanie Salavantis

Stefanie Salavantis, 29, is the District Attorney of Luzerne County (Wilkes-Barre and Hazelton), and the youngest person in all of Pennsylvania to hold this position since 1872. When she won last November, the headline in the county newspaper was “SHOCKER.”
It was a victory no one, including Stefanie, could have imagined six months earlier. Democrats have a 59% to 33% registration advantage and the incumbent District Attorney (DA), Jackie Musto Carroll, was part of a well established political family. The Democrat had solid support from the local news media, an impressive legal resume, and was a prosecutor for over 20 years.
The GOP candidate is a Temple University graduate who was just two years out of law school. She had never prosecuted a criminal case. Salavantis was a member of the Young Republicans, but was not active politically.
To help pay off student loans, she was living at home with her parents and working on insurance cases when 2011 began. Salavantis had no intention of running for office, but was outraged by the Obama administration and the blatant corruption of local Democrats.
She assumed the GOP would nominate a well qualified candidate, but everything changed when she read the newspaper on a May morning. The filing deadline passed the night before, and no one had submitted a petition to run as the Republican candidate for District Attorney.
The only option available was a write-in candidacy, and the Democratic DA was planning to use that method to gain the nomination of both parties. The Democrats had a terrible track record, and Stefanie immediately began making calls to find a suitable GOP candidate.
She was repeatedly told to forget about it because the DA was unbeatable. The support Stefanie did receive was from her family, and that was enough to dramatically change her life. She was determined the GOP would have a candidate, and decided to do it herself.
She won the nomination with 713 write-in votes. Then the hard part began as she started to campaign full time.
The odds were heavily against her, but Stefanie repeatedly pounded the Democratic machine, and her speeches about the “Kids for Cash” scandal became a county sensation. Two judges had accepted $2.8 million in bribes from the builder of two private, for-profit juvenile facilities in return for contracting with the facilities and imposing harsh sentences. The long sentences were needed to make sure the detention centers were full.
The presiding judge of the Luzerne County Court was sentenced to 28 years in prison. By order of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, several hundred youth convictions were overturned, and the state apologized for destroying so many young lives.
Salavantis promised to “restore integrity and respect. I hate it that our county is seen as one of the worst and one of the most corrupt. I will change that.” The Commission on Juvenile Justice then issued a comprehensive report describing the “total collapse” of every “check and balance” in the County Court system.
The report blamed, among others, the current District Attorney, who “stood by and abdicated” her responsibility as a prosecutor. The report further concluded that Musto Carroll “demonstrated no initiative, interest, or concern with what was occurring in juvenile court.”
The report included Musto Carroll’s testimony where she admitted never having set foot in a juvenile court throughout her entire career.
One Young Republican compared Salavantis to Lincoln and Eisenhower, “Stefanie faced huge obstacles and her campaign was similar to Lincoln’s nomination for president in 1860. He was a one-term Congressman who was defeated for the Senate.
“His primary foes were better qualified, but Lincoln had a powerful issue. Stefanie also had a powerful issue. The GOP base loved her, and independents voted heavily for her.
“In 1952, Ike electrified Republicans with his pledge ‘I will go to Korea.’ We all understood the message when Stefanie said ‘I will go to the juvenile court.’”
Despite the 2 to 1 registration advantage and the editorial opposition of newspapers, Salavantis won by a 50.7% to 49.2% margin.
Today she describes her job a tough task, and was immediately confronted with two local murders. Salavantis says “I feel it’s not your age, it’s how you handle yourself. I am lucky to have an amazing and experienced staff, and this is not a 9-to-5 job.
“People ask me all the time, ‘Do you feel overwhelmed?’ I love my position and I handle all aspects of our work. You can work 24/7 in this office and you will always have more to do. You have to sit back and breathe at times.
“You have to rely on other people as well. I take it one day at a time. That’s all you can do, but I fully realize how fortunate I am to be in this position. The people of Luzerne County have trusted me and I am not going to let them down.”
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Rebecca Harmon-Dowling: 2011 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Rebecca Harmon-Dowling

Rebecca Harmon-Dowling was the 2011 Pennsylvania Republican “Woman of the Year.” In May 2010 she was elected as the youngest member of the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Young Republicans.
Rebecca, 24, is from Uniontown and is well aware of the political strength of the AFL-CIO. She worked diligently for Tim Burns in a 2010 special House election but was not able to overcome labor’s turn out of the vote campaign. The setback did not discourage Rebecca and her Young Republican colleagues. They went on to help pick up five House seats that November.
She says “I was out door knocking and phone banking like I was born to do it. You can be a doer, a watcher or just wonder. You can do something, watch something, or see it done and wonder how things happened. I try to be a doer.”
Her enthusiasm for the GOP is readily apparent, and her heroes are Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA), who were both elected in 2010.
While Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana have been in the reform spotlight, Rebecca believes some of the most exciting changes are in her state. In fact, they are witnessing the largest change agenda in a century. Her message is not to attract attention to herself, but she believes the nation should know what is happening in her state.
Under GOP leadership, Pennsylvania has a balanced state budget and it was the first on-time budget in nine years. There were no tax increases and the $4.2 billion deficit was wiped out by budget reductions.
They obtained $415 million in reductions from public employees. The budgetary gimmicks and short term fixes of the past were abandoned. They are also stopping property tax increases by requiring a public referendum on any future attempt to raise taxes.
A major milestone was the passage of tort reform with the Fair Share Act. It treats business and medical professionals fairly in the award of financial damages.
Natural gas is a major job creator for the Keystone State and Gov. Corbett and GOP leaders wants no state taxes on the industry. The best news is that the reforms have only just begun. The GOP is also moving to eliminate the state liquor monopoly, reduce business taxes, institute school vouchers, restructure public welfare and reform the state legislature.
This is a new direction because politicians in the past expanded the functions of state government and raised taxes to meet budget deficits. Additional reforms are still on the drawing board, but the Governor has plenty of allies.
Since the infamous pay hike fiasco of 2005, almost half of the House and one-third of the Senate have been replaced by new members, many of them committed to reform. The legislature is behind the campaign to stop budget and tax increases.
Rebecca convinced us exciting things are happening in the Keystone State, and her top goal is to make sure Obama does not carry the state in 2012.
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Reapportionment: Mapping The New Congressional Districts

New York has lost two seats and it is likely there will be some combination of the districts of Democratic Reps. Joseph Crowley, Carolyn Maloney and Gary Ackerman. The last time New York had 27 House seats was in the early 1820s, when the chamber had 181 seats. The two upstate districts with the heaviest population losses are in the western part of the state and are represented by Democratic Reps. Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter. With a Democratic Governor and state Assembly and a GOP Senate, expect each party to lose a district.

Yesterday’s release of the Census Bureau data allows the 2012 Congressional reapportionment process to begin. Drawing the new maps will be the subject of considerable speculation for the next six months. The GOP will gain at least six seats, and they are practically assured of pickups in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah. Also, several vulnerable Republicans will see favorable territory added to their districts.
The liberal Huffingtom Post does not agree with this assessment. Their current headline article is “Reapportionment Not Necessarily Good News for Republicans” by Robert Creamer. He is the same author who wrote their analysis explaining why Democrats would keep control of the House. Continue reading

When America Finally Turned Against Slavery – The Wilmot Proviso

The February 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican War. The United States acquired tremendous new territory and at the end of the year war hero Zachary Taylor would be elected as America's last Whig President.

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo.

Passage of the Wilmot Proviso in the House of Representatives was truly a great moment in America history. It is one of the few Congressional debates which completely changed the political landscape. All of the old issues (the tariff, a national bank and internal improvements) were placed on the back burner. House voting patterns and party loyalties radically changed, and slavery now dominated the Congressional agenda. Continue reading

The John Murtha Seat: Pennsylvania Special Election Appears to be Close

PHOTO: Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), left, is shown in Pennsylvania on Friday with congressional candidate Tim Burns.

The May 18th special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Rep. John Murtha (D) appears to be headed for a photo finish. The poll results are conflicting and they are all within the margin of error. Furthermore, polling in special elections is often unreliable.
Rep. Murtha was Chairman of the powerful Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and was the campaign manager of Nancy Pelosi’s bid to become House Speaker. The late Congressman was retired Marine Corps colonel when he was first elected to the House in 1973 after serving in Vietnam. Continue reading