New Voter ID Requirements?

One-on-One with Rob McCord, Democrat for Treasurer

Rob McCord

All three statewide row offices will be on the ballot next week, including Pennsylvania State Treasurer.  The three names to appear on your ballot are: Democratic incumbent Rob McCord, Republican Diana Irey Vaughan and Libertarian Patricia Fryman. 

Radio PA’s Matt Paul caught up with Rob McCord this week.  You can listen to their entire conversation by clicking below. RT-MCCORD

New Voter ID Requirements?

Attorney General Candidates to Debate

Two candidates vying to become the state’s top prosecutor will debate in suburban Harrisburg tonight.  The Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) and Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association (PLCA) have teamed up to host the forum at the Widener School of Law’s Harrisburg campus. 

Democrat Kathleen Kane is a prosecutor from northeastern Pennsylvania, and Republican David Freed is currently the Cumberland County District Attorney.  The attorney general’s office is an open seat this year as Linda Kelly agreed not to seek election when she was nominated to fill out the unexpired term of now-Governor Tom Corbett. 

The public is invited to attend tonight’s debate, which will take place in room A180 of the Law School Administration Building.  Doors open at 6pm, and the debate begins at 7pm.  If you can’t make it in person, the event will be broadcast live on PCN TV.

New Voter ID Requirements?

Auditor General Candidates to Debate

Three candidates vying to become the commonwealth’s fiscal watchdog will debate in suburban Harrisburg this Friday.  The Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) and Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association (PLCA) have teamed up to host the debate at the Widener School of Law. 

Democrat Eugene DePasquale, Republican John Maher and Libertarian Betsy Summers are all confirmed.  There is no incumbent in the race as Auditor General Jack Wagner is currently wrapping up his second and final term.  

The public is invited to the debate, which will take place in room A180 of the Law School Administration Building.  Doors open at 6pm, and the debate begins at 7pm on Friday, September 21st.  If you can’t make it in person, the event will be broadcast live on PCN TV.

BLOG: The National Conventions According to Google

Ann Romney stole the show, Tuesday night, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.  That’s not just this reporter’s opinion from watching hours of live C-Span coverage; that’s what the folks at Google tell me.  Abbi Tatton with the Google Elections Team says Ann Romney apparently succeeded in showing off the warmer, softer side of her husband because the subsequent deluge Google searches focused not just on her name – but on the personal details of her family.

Google searches for Ann Romney on Tuesday night topped those for her husband by 50%, and easily bested the number of searches for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who actually delivered Tuesday’s keynote address.  In Gov. Christie’s defense however, I couldn’t even stay awake long enough to catch the start of his post-10:30pm speech, let alone do any web searching about it.

Republicans will likely be pleased to hear that Google trends show an increasing number of searches for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in key states like Pennsylvania.  However, they still lag the overall number of searches related to President Barack Obama.  Also, they’re not always about politics.  “As the top related search term around Paul Ryan’s name, over the last couple of weeks, has been shirtless,” Abbi Tatton says. “People seem to want to see what this potential vice president will look like without his shirt on.”

That’s apparently a tip of the cap to Mr. Ryan’s well-known regard for a high-intensity workout routine called P90X.  While my own Google search for “Paul Ryan Shirtless” turned up 1.34-million results in a fraction of a second, I declined to click on any of them.

The Google Elections Team will be at the Democratic National Convention too, and we’ll check back with them next week for a look at what’s trending in Charlotte.

Pennsylvania Stands Out in Swing State Poll

While Republican challenger Mitt Romney has caught up with President Barack Obama in Ohio and Florida, Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown tells us that Obama has extended his lead to 8-points in Pennsylvania. 

Here’s the breakdown, according to Thursday’s swing state poll:

– Romney leads in Florida, 44 – 33

– Obama leads in Ohio, 44 – 42

– Obama leads in Pennsylvania, 47 – 39

“Pennsylvania is a little bit more Democratic than the other two swing states that Quinnipiac polls,” says Brown.  In fact, no Republican presidential candidate has claimed the Keystone State since George H.W. Bush in 1988. 

A gender gap appears in all three states, but Browns says Pennsylvania women are especially wild about Obama.  The President has a 17-point lead over Mitt Romney among Pennsylvania women, and his campaign continues to hammer the former Massachussettes governor on women’s issues

Mitt Romney – who is scheduled to be in Pittsburgh on Friday – is campaigning on economic issues, including the energy economy.  Since 1960, no candidate has won the White House without carrying at least two of these three swing states.

Drivers License, PennDOT

Mixed Reviews for Soft Roll-Out of Voter ID Law

Voter ID

Hoover believes signs like these can disenfranchise voters.

Tuesday was billed as a trial run for Pennsylvania’s new Voter ID law.  Photo identification was supposed to be requested – not required – at the polling place.  While the ACLU of Pennsylvania was not actively looking for problems, legislative director Andy Hoover did notice several signs suggesting photo ID was required.  “It led to confusion,” Hoover says.  “Despite what the Secretary of State has said it was not smooth, and that was just from the few polling places that we saw.” 

Hoover’s referring to a statement released by the Department of State on Tuesday afternoon.  It reads that Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele visited several polling places in Philadelphia and witnessed the process working well. 

 “There may have been one or two of those bumps but overall – from what we heard from throughout the state – it went very smoothly,” says DOS spokesman Ron Ruman.  He says the department will train poll workers on the new law’s requirements throughout the summer, and reach out to educate voters all the way up to the November 6th general election.   

Ruman also confirmed reports that a few voters refused to show photo ID as an act of protest.  “Folks are certainly entitled to their opinion.  This is America and that’s what makes it a great country, but we don’t feel that the right thing to do is to encourage people to refuse to show their ID.” 

While the Department of state believes that 99% of eligible voters already have an acceptable form of photo ID, Ruman hopes that even the law’s critics will assist the rest in obtaining one by the fall. 

Likewise, Andy Hoover is not encouraging anyone to refuse to show photo identification in November.  He’d rather folks support their pending litigation in hopes of striking down the law, which the ACLU believes disenfranchises voters.

Earlier this year Pennsylvania became the 16th state to enact a Voter ID law.  The goal is to preserve the integrity of every vote.

Voter Turnout Expected to be Modest at Best

Most experts are predicting light voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election.  Franklin & Marshall College political science professor Terry Madonna says that’s especially the case now that former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has suspended his presidential campaign.  “25 – 30% among Republicans, and maybe 20 – 25% among Democrats,” Madonna hypothesizes.  “I think if it reaches that it will be a good day.” 

Terry Madonna

Terry Madonna

He says legislative – and even congressional – primaries aren’t typically big draws at the ballot box.  “We may get a little modest bump on the Republican side in the Senate primary, because of the money spent on advertising.  But even there, Senate primaries typically are not big attention grabbers.” 

On the Democratic side, the big statewide draw is the race for the Attorney General nomination between Kathleen Kane and Patrick Murphy

State party officials appear to be a bit more optimistic about voter turnout on Tuesday.  A spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Pennsylvania says other states have already tracked greater numbers of primary voters than in the 2008 primary cycle, and a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party estimates they’ll see 30 – 40% turnout among Pennsylvania Democrats. 

Voters can brush up on the primary ballots and confirm their polling places online.  The polls will be open from 7am – 8pm on Tuesday.

Sen. Toomey Worries about Nation’s Fiscal Future

Speaking to the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters on Monday, US Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) told the crowd that America is headed down a dangerous financial path.  “If we don’t get off this path, we will have a financial crisis that probably could make 2007/2008 look tame by comparison,” he explained after the speech. 

He’s referring to the pitfalls of a national debt of $15-trillion dollars, and growing.  Calling it a disgrace that Democratic leaders in the US Senate don’t even plan to produce a budget, Toomey has introduced his own spending plan for the second straight year.  It would balance the budget within eight years, and raises no taxes. 

Pat Toomey (R-PA)

Pat Toomey addresses the media in Hershey on Monday.

He’s cautiously optimistic, but says a balanced budget will require presidential leadership.  “I think the voters are going to reward the candidate who’s willing to solve this problem,” Toomey says in reference the likely General Election matchup of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. 

While Toomey has not endorsed a Senate candidate in Pennsylvania’s primary, he’ll be monitoring Tuesday night’s returns closely.  “Among the Republican candidates that I know in this field, which is three or four of the candidates, I think all would be allies of mine in trying to restore fiscal sanity and insisting that the government have a responsible budget.” 

Steve Welch, Sam Rohrer, Marc Scaringi, David Christian and Tom Smith are all vying for the Republican Senate nomination, and the chance to challenge Democratic incumbent Bob Casey in November.

Pennsylvania voters select candidates

One-on-One with Patrick Murphy, Democrat for Attorney General

Patrick Murphy

Patrick Murphy

Patrick Murphy grew up in a law enforcement family in Philadelphia, and joined the Army at the age of 19.  “Most of the time I was a military prosecutor, prosecuting serious criminals in New York and North Carolina,” Murphy says of his military career.  He twice deployed overseas, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

A 2006 grassroots campaign landed Murphy in Congress, where he led the fight to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.  In 2010 Murphy lost his Bucks County seat to Mike Fitzpatrick – the same man he defeated two terms earlier. 

Murphy has been practicing and teaching law for the past few years, and tells us he’s ready to stand up for what is right as Attorney General.  “You’ve got to fight crime wherever it happens,” Murphy tells us, “whether that crime happens on the street, in the corporate boardroom or in the halls of Harrisburg.” 

This too is a grassroots campaign for Murphy, who’s been traveling the state in the weeks leading up to the April 24th primary election.  “I’ve put 47,000 miles on my car, I literally have holes in my shoes right now,” he says. 

If the Democratic candidate is elected in November – whether it’s Murphy or Kathleen Kane – it would be history making, as no Democratic has ever been “elected” Attorney General in Pennsylvania.  It became an elected office in 1980. 

Murphy says he would aggressively crackdown on environmental crimes, consumer protection issues and sex predators.    “I’m going to do what’s right every single time.”

You can hear portions of our interview with Patrick Murphy on Radio Pennsylvania Roundtable.  Radio PA has also reached out to Democrat Kathleen Kane’s campaign.

New Voter ID Requirements?

One-on-One with David Christian, Republican for US Senate

David Christian

David Christian’s background is the first thing that sets him apart from the other five Republicans running for US Senate.  At the age of 17, he convinced his mother to let him join the Army.  He was one of the youngest most highly-decorated officers in the Vietnam War. 

After returning home and rehabilitating his battlefield injuries, Christian became a businessman and veterans’ advocate.  He’s alarmed by the 12.1% unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans.  “If they can drive a tank and fly a helicopter, we can get them into a job,” Christian tells us.

He believes in retooling and retraining American workers for the jobs of the 21st century, but says the biggest obstacle to job growth is over-regulation from Washington DC.  “If we had the regulations in place that we have today… we wouldn’t have had a Henry Ford; we wouldn’t have had a Carnegie; we wouldn’t have had Edison.”  In the US Senate, Christian wants to fight for a moratorium on government regulations. 

The Bucks County resident serves as a business consultant and president of a defense manufacturing company in Northeast Philadelphia.  He was recently in central Asia, where he saw gasoline selling for just 32-cents a gallon.  “We have to look at oil in the soil here in Pennsylvania,” Christian says.  He believes it will bring billions of dollars in investments and tens of thousands of jobs.   

 Christian believes Washington DC needs more leaders with his gumption.  “It doesn’t matter if your neighbor is a Democrat, Republican, or a one-eyed horn toad, you should be out there fighting for them, because they’re an American,” he tells Radio PA.  “We’re Americans first and foremost.”

Radio PA has reached out to all five candidates running for the GOP nomination for US Senate.  We’ve already spoken with Sam Rohrer, Marc Scaringi and Steve Welch.  You can catch all of the long-form interviews on Radio PA Roundtable.