Swamp Thing

So fellow Montgomery County Republicans:  Are you tired of all of this winning?

If you were a Republican candidate in the municipal elections last fall, are you forever grateful for MCRC’s efforts on your behalf?

Or are you, like me, like so many I have talked to, utterly surprised at the level of energy and passion of which this Party is capable only when their comfy power structure is legitimately threatened?

doing somethimg
I feel like there is something I’m supposed to be doing….

Are you, like me, wondering where this energy and passion was last fall?

Are you wondering where this energy and passion was when the Democrat-controlled County Voter Services lost thousands of absentee ballots during the 2016 Presidential Election?

Where was this energy when Montgomery County Voter Services was denying our candidates entry on to the Ballot last February for typos?

Where was this energy when I was begging them to help me resolve the many campaign finance issues I documented HERE?

How many Montgomery County Commissioners’ meetings did someone from MCRC attend to fight the politicized Voter Services office on your behalf?

How many press releases did they send out on behalf of Republican candidates?

Why did MCRC only run one judge for Court of Common Pleas when there were two positions up for grabs?

Where was all this money for mailers and robocalls when our municipal candidates were getting pummeled by the Democrats’ mailers and GOTV operations last fall?

When the County Commissioners raised taxes for two years in a row, what did MCRC have to say about that?

What case have they made to the voters for Republican governance in recent memory?  What have they done to counter the energized far left?

The last time we saw this level of energy was when the Party leadership mobilized against another Republican, Joe Gale, and as a consequence, we let Josh Shapiro waltz right into re-election and every County candidate MCRC supported lost. Josh Shapiro waited a whole seven days after his second swearing-in to announce his run for Attorney General, and a year later, our former Chairman is working for him in a specially created hack job.

So. Much. Winning.

Over half of the local Committee seats are empty, mostly due to resignations.  But where there is some poor sap willing to volunteer, MCRC won’t make the appointment if he’s not the right sort of sap.  And where there are vacancies in Area Leadership, MCRC refuses to appoint Vice Chairs if they are not loyal to MCRC Leadership.

reasonable
Trust the endorsement process

For the lay people out there, a little primer on the inside baseball:  At next Tuesday’s primary election, you will see races for local and state Republican Committee people on the ballot.  Your local committee people are the folks you see working the polls on Election Day and handing out material for candidates.  The State Committee people are typically a subset of this group, and they meet in Harrisburg to offer support for statewide candidates.  Usually, these people are handpicked by the Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Committee and reliably loyal to him.  This allows the Chairman to make deals for statewide office; he can make promises on delivering or withholding support on behalf of Montgomery County.

Typically, endorsed State Committee Candidates are endorsed because they cement the existing power structure.  They were hand selected by the Chairman because the Chairman feels comfortable telling statewide candidates he can deliver their votes.  Theoretically, anyone can run for State Committee, but the MCRC Chairman frowns on that, for all the reasons previously mentioned.  For an idea on how much he frowns on that, please refer to the correspondence below:

Letter from Chairman 042318

Ah yes.  The beatings will continue until morale improves.

sadswampthing
I’ve finally done it.  I’ve killed the Party.

Supporting endorsed candidates is apparently only important enough for the Chairman to rouse himself when the Chairman himself has personally endorsed them.  When Upper Providence Republican Committee members were supporting my primary opponent, I was told that there was nothing in the by-laws preventing them from doing that.  But when Joe Gale ran unendorsed for County Commissioner in 2015, supporting him was treated as treason by then-Chairman Mike Vereb.  In fact, even supporting Joe Gale in the general election—after the voters decided—was treated as treason.  And this regime has done nothing but continue to foster further division.

Selective enforcement of the by-laws in any organization is a morale killer.

It often occurs to me that Party leadership has forgotten that MCRC exists to support its candidates; the candidates are not supposed to be endorsed based on the amount of support they can give the Party. And lest you think Party Leadership is limited to Bill Donnelly, think again.  There is a whole squad of folks up there running this failing circus and they are already lining up their sock puppets for a run at the officers’ spots which go up for election in a few weeks.

Don’t think for one minute that this whole temper tantrum is about anything other than a threat to the current MCRC power structure. The highlighted section in the email below is from Ralph Grasso, municipal leader of Lower Merion Township, and rumored candidate for the Vice Chairman of MCRC in a few weeks:

Grasso Letter

Point of full disclosure:  Mr. Grasso signed my petition for State Committee.  And yes, this is about the future leadership of MCRC, a battle in which he is every bit as engaged as the Republican Club, despite his claims of the moral high ground.  Otherwise he’d have no reason to write this letter.

Here’s another interesting email from the Executive Director, Jim Saring, actually threatening an injunction against the Republican Club for supporting an MCRC endorsed candidate on their ballot!

Saring Injunction

Are they really talking about filing legal action against the Republican Club for supporting their endorsed candidates?  You may be thinking that this is insanity.  Why wouldn’t candidates want all the support they can get to win an election?

Because this has very little to do with the Candidates themselves and everything to do with who controls the keys to MCRC.

mustcrush
Must. Crush. Tom. Ellis.

There are vocal and hardworking folks on the Republican Committee, good soldiers,  who will tell you the problem in the Party is not leadership.  The problem, they say, is “divisive” folks like me, and Tom Ellis, and several others working with the Republican Club. The good soldiers tell us that “for the good of the Party,” we should look the other way when we see problems in the Party, suck it up when the Party attacks us personally, and for God’s sake, shut up.

Folks involved with the Republican Club of Montgomery County don’t blindly march in lockstep with the Party Leadership. We dare to speak up when we see something is wrong, and we want it to change for the better.  The Republican Club believes that it is our current leadership who is divisive and vindictive.

This is a post I didn’t want to write, let alone post.  Who needs to stick their neck out only to be subject to these type of unhinged and often shadowy attacks on one’s characters simply for speaking up for one’s beliefs?  Personally, as the subject of more than my fair share of this type of treatment, I’m more than a little tired of it, and that’s why this post was never going to be published.  But the events of the last few days have left me distraught and disgusted, and so ashamed of so many of my fellow party members, I simply cannot remain silent.

Because silence is consent.  There is something deeply wrong with an organization that relies on fear of reprisal to extract loyalty from it’s members.

The filthy ad-hominem attack on Tom Ellis, by pathetically using a reheated and thoroughly discredited 14-year-old smear campaign from Joe Hoeffel, is really beyond the pale.  The meat of this latest attack, as usual, was distributed anonymously, just like certain recent and notable “news” stories, mysterious videos and whisper campaigns that have attacked the character of other dedicated Republicans who dared challenge this leadership.  It’s no wonder that people are fleeing this party.

gentleswamp
Fly away, little Democrat.  I won’t harm you.

When was the last time you saw MCRC go after a Democrat like that?  Have they targeted Sean Kilkenney, who is collecting municipal solicitorships like charms on a Pandora Bracelet while happily dancing on the edge of the Pawlowski scandal in Allentown?  Or how about Val Arkoosh, who was the architect of the mess at Voter Services?  Or Josh Shapiro, who has wiped his feet all over the red carpet MCRC laid all the way to Harrisburg for him?

No.  Our party saves its best energy only to unleash it against one of our own.

Ask yourself this:  Is the appropriate response for mailers accurately suggesting that the endorsed state committee candidates are beholden to the Party bosses, a wholesale character smear against a dedicated Republican, or is that maybe a little over the top?

If you are a Republican and you are happy with the performance that the Montgomery County Republican Party has turned in for the last few years, if you think silencing dissent with the threat of character assassination is a great way to foster an esprit de corps, then by all means, voting for the endorsed candidates is one way to help ensure that MCRC will continue to deliver the same super awesome results into the foreseeable future.

But, if you want to signal to the rank and file that it is time for a change in their inept leadership (and it is), then you can do that by voting for unendorsed candidates.  They are listed below.

Let’s start winning elections again.

515920-050818

 

Divisible

It’s not all sunshine and roses over on the Democrats side of the aisle.  The new Congressional map has generated a little too much interest from Democrats, who all seemed to be lined up at the starting line when the PA Supreme Court shot the starting gun to signal the start of the race.  As previously reported on this blog, the number of Democrats running for SEPA congressional seats far outnumbers Republicans.

Political Dynasty

dynastyAs was also previously reported, a small feud had been brewing between PA State Rep Madeleine Dean and PA State Rep Mary Jo Daley.  The endorsement vote at the MCDC endorsement convention was pretty much split between these two candidates, but because the Democrats require a super majority in order to endorse, else they let voters decide in the primary.  Even the Montgomery County Democratic Women’s Leadership Initiative took a hands off approach, opting instead to wish all of the women candidates good luck (Nothing personal, Joe Hoeffel):

Statement from MCDWLI Re: PA 4th Congressional District

The Montgomery County Democratic Women’s Leadership Initiative does not endorse in primary elections.

However, given Pennsylvania’s lack of female representation in our congressional delegation, we would like to express our support for the three women candidates running in the new 4th congressional district that covers the majority of Montgomery County.

Such was the case for the PA 4 race, which resulted in apoplexy from the Inquirer’s Maria Panaritis when a familiar male face from the past with great name recognition threw his hat into the ring, dashing the hopes of pussyhat wearers everywhere for breaking the “testicular stranglehold.”

battle of sexesThe Scrap wondered then why one of these women didn’t fall on her sword for the the larger cause of breaking the testicular stranglehold.  Either Dean or Daley could have withdrawn, creating a clear battle of the sexes in the primary and taking the seat home in a walk in what is Democrat convention wisdom says is yet another “year of the woman.”

Instead, these two Democrat women, who are by all accounts friends and allies, have begun a pre-primary fight, with Madeleine Dean challenging Mary Jo Daley’s nominating petions to get her thrown off the ballot.  WHYY:

There aren’t many ballot challenges to the 35 candidates who filed for the six Pennsylvania congressional seats in the Philadelphia area, but one involves two friends.

State Rep. Madeleine Dean has challenged the candidacy of fellow state Rep. Mary Jo Daley for the Democratic nomination for the newly created 4thCongressional seat in Montgomery County.

Dean, of Abington, and Daley, of Narberth, are both two-term legislators and allies in Harrisburg.

Dean’s challenge says 1,199 of Daley’s 2,019 nominating signatures are invalid for a variety of reasons.

Dean campaign manager Megan Caska told me Daley submitted a couple of pages of petitions nominating the wrong candidate. One was for Dean, the other for former Congressman Joe Hoeffel, who’s also in the race.

And she said there were other problems.

“There are many signatures and pages that appear to be signed by the same hand,” Caska said.

krystleAlexisSubmitting a petition for the wrong candidate is certainly grounds for discounting those signatures, but handriting inconsistencies?  This seems petty, and worse, both difficult and expensive to prove.  While petition challenges are pretty common, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one won on handwriting.  Since Mary Jo Daley was the very first candidate to declare her intention to run for PA 4 (she announced barely 24 hours after the Supreme Court released the new map) so one could assume that she had been contemplating this run for some time.  Regardless if Dean’s petition challenge is successful or not, one has to wonder if a move of this nature will cause a rift in their long-standing relationship when they both return to he PA State House next year.

No Girls Allowed

Now let’s take a swing down into Delco, where there are fourteen Democrats vying for the newly created PA5.  PA5 includes most of Delco and some of Philadelphia.  The Delco Dems are not holding their endorsement meeting until tomorrow, but unlike in Montco, Delco Dems are unafraid to jump out in front of an endorsement meeting and plant a flag for their preferred candidate.  Daily Times News:

Unfazed by critiques that a Philadelphia candidate wouldn’t understand Delco issues, a cadre of elected officials including state Sen. Anthony H. Williams, D-8 of Philadelphia, backed former Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Labor Rich Lazer Thursday as their choice for the Democratic nomination in the 5th District race.

“More of us as Democrats need to understand there is no wall between Philadelphia and Delaware County,” Williams said. “That’s Donald Trump … Delaware County is no different than Philadelphia, given its demographics, given its immigration, given its challenge with education, given its challenge with guns. Fair pay equity doesn’t have anything to do with Philadelphia v. Delaware County. In fact, we are stronger by unifying our concerns and needs moving forward.”

(…)

The county party is meeting to endorse a candidate on Sunday.

Whoever emerges from that contest will face the winner on the GOP side — either Pearl Kim, a former senior deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania and a past assistant district attorney for Delaware County from Radnor, or former corporate commodity executive Paul Addis of Haverford.

The endorsement announcement was made at Keya Graves on North Ninth Street and was attended by state Reps. Joanna McClinton, D-191, and Maria Donatucci, D-185, both of Philadelphia, Yeadon Mayor Rohan Hepkins, Lansdowne councilmen Ben Hover, Wardell Holt and Janet English; Sharon Hill Councilman Hykeem Green; Darby Borough Councilman Darren Burrell.

On Thursday, Lazer said he was humbled by the support.

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Interestingly, seven of the fourteen candidates for PA5 are women, but it doesn’t seem like the Delco Dems are that invested in putting a woman candidate up; in fact, the folks down in Delco seem to be drawing their battle lines between Philly and Delaware County candidates and appear to be uninterested in lady parts.

  • Shelly Chauncey is a former CIA intelligence officer
  • Lindy Li is a former Morgan Stanley wealth manager
  • Ashley Lunkenheimer is a former U.S. Assistant Attorney
  • Mary Gay Scanlon is an attorney
  • Dr. Molly Sheehan is a scientist
  •  State Rep. Margo Davidson
  • Theresa Wright is an entreprenuer

It would seem that these candidates are women of substance, yet a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer was pinning all her hopes on Montco’s PA4 for SEPA’s female in congress.

Why?

What’s the matter with the women in PA5?

cigaransbrandy

 

 

…and now it’s starting to stink

I hate to say “I told you so,” but several weeks ago, well before the PA Republican State Committee endorsement, I posted my concerns about gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner.  I also noted that if State Committee was going to ignore Wagner’s baggage, Governor Wolf surely would not.

bailbondThat was before I knew that both Paul Mango and Laura Ellsworth weren’t backing out of the race even after Wagner got the PA State Committee endorsement.  And to that, I say, “Good for them and good for us.”  If State Committee is not going to vet these candidates, then a primary challenge is the best way to suss out the issues and see if they matter to voters.

Mango is now running an ad that is so brutally effective that the PA GOP is crying, “uncle.”  PPG:

The Pennsylvania Republican Party on Friday called on GOP gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango to take down a controversial campaign ad labeling his opponent, Scott Wagner, as a “slumlord” and “deadbeat dad.”

But Mr. Mango’s camp wasn’t budging as of noon Friday, signaling it wouldn’t take down the video that Mr. Wagner’s team is calling a “character smear.”

The chairman of the state GOP joined in criticizing the ad, deeming it a personal attack on Mr. Wagner, whom his party endorsed in the primary. The 30-second spot uses unflattering cartoon caricatures of Mr. Wagner to characterize him as sleazy, greedy and toxic, among other undesirable character traits.

The ad:

pagopIt is the PA GOP’s duty to vet candidates before putting their stamp of approval on them with an endorsement.  Wagner’s issues were well known to members of State Committee prior to the endorsement meeting.  So why did State Committee endorse Wagner, knowing that all of these issues were going to be exposed during a #metoo/March for our Lives election where all Republicans are facing unhinged Trump-induced anger from the left? Why would they endorse the most “Trump-like” candidate in the field when last November’s election proved that the very idea of Trump being a Republican is an effective incentive in uniting and getting out the Democrat vote? A possible answer:  it has been suggested that Wagner has been spreading money all around Pennsylvania, essentially buying the support of cash-strapped County Republican organizations, and therefore influencing the votes of each county’s state committee members.

Oh, and the stakes just got a little higher. Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer is investing at least $3.5 million in PA alone as part of the “largest youth organizing program in American history.”  NextGen America:

Today, NextGen America announced its plans to launch the largest youth organizing program in American history ahead of the 2018 midterms elections. Across ten states, NextGen America will register, engage, and mobilize young voters, on and off campuses, to elect progressive candidates up and down the ballot. The youth organizing program — NextGen Rising — will run in Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, California, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Arizona.

“Today, we’re putting Donald Trump and the entire GOP on notice. Young voters are energized like never before, and have the power make the difference in 2018,” said NextGen America President Tom Steyer. “NextGen America is going to do all that we can to elect a Congress that represents us all —and send failed leaders like Paul Ryan, Darrell Issa, and Barbara Comstock back home.”

At $30 million, NextGen Rising’s 2018 program will be the largest youth vote organizing effort in American history. The program will help progressive candidates in at least 10 states, as well as more than 30 Congressional districts.

The Mango camp is not backing down.  Mango campaign chairman Matt Benyon says that they have provided full documentation to the press to back up all of the claims made in the ad.  PennLive:

“If Scott Wagner’s personal record cannot stand up to scrutiny during the Republican primary, clearly Wagner gives our party the worst chance of defeating Governor Wolf in the fall.  This ad, like all of our ads, have included full documentation for the press and voters to see. We view the chairman’s comments as encouragement that our message exposing Wagner’s record as a Harrisburg insider with serious character flaws is resonating with voters.”

slumlordSo now that the PA State Committee has gotten into bed with Wagner, local Republican committee people will be flogged into line, forced to support Wagner in the face of charges everyone knew were coming.  And if they think the Mango ad is brutal, wait until Governor Wolf’s team gets into the race.

The question for PA State Committee members should never be, who can woo party leadership most effectively or who is most like Trump; for State Committee members, the only question should be, “Who can defeat Tom Wolf in November?”  In this political climate, is that really Scott Wagner?

Republicans should have taken out the trashman weeks ago.

 

Maybe the 4th will be with us

Last month, smack-dab in the middle of the three week petition gathering season, the Democrat-controlled PA Supreme Court decided to ignore the Constitution, overstep their authority and redrew the boundaries of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Congressional Districts.

4th
The new, redrawn 4th Congressional District of PA

This threw the entire Republican Party into a tailspin as they scrambled to find and vet candidates for newly created Congressional Districts for which there was no incumbent.  The 4th Congressional, which encompasses most of Montgomery County and a little of Berks, is such a district.  Due to the poorly timed change, the petition deadline was extended to March 20 for candidates to file their petitions, on which they are required to get 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot.  This usually takes a planned, coordinated effort with campaign volunteers circulating multiple petitions at petition signing events and door-to-door knocking efforts over the course of about three weeks.  Miraculously, at least one Montco Democrat, Mary Jo Daley, apparently had the gift of foresight and filed her petitions for the newly drawn 4th Congressional a mere 24 hours after the map was released by the PA Supreme Court.

Nothing to see here.  Move along.

In addition to Mary Jo Daley, Democrats Joe Hoeffel, Madeleine Dean and Shira Goodman have also announced their intention to seek the office.

Republican Candidates for the 4th Congressional District

MCRC (Montgomery County Republican Committee) sponsored three candidate forums for Republicans in advance of the endorsement convention on March 22.  I attended one of these events on March 13.  The following candidates spoke at this event: Art Bustard, Dan David, Kris Hart and Marina Kats.

Originally, MCRC had announced eight potential candidates but it appears that Ken Brier and Jim Dailey have dropped out.  The remaining six candidates were billed to speak at the March 13 event, but only four showed up:  Bill Boiston and Lisa Friebel were no-shows and no explanation was given for their absence.  It should be noted that Lisa Friebel did show up to the Whitpain candidate forum held the following night on March 14, so whether or not she’s actually in the race right now is anyone’s guess.

One of those candidates– I’m not 100% sure which one, so I will not name names – showed up approximately a half hour late.

Time out for a mini-vent: To me, there is nothing ruder than being late for an appointment.  Showing up late for a meeting, the primary purpose of which is to ask your audience for their support, is simply unconscionable and reflects a complete lack of consideration for your audience and potential supporters.  In future events like this, can we please start on time and if the candidate is late and misses his/her time, so be it; their time is not more important than ours.  Many people gave up their evenings to hear the case on why these folks deserve our support.  Being prompt is the very least they can do to earn it.

The Format

While the other candidates left the room, each candidate was each given 5 minutes for their prepared remarks, then an opportunity to answer audience questions. As is usual for these types of events, the candidates were all asked the same questions:

  • How will you get out the vote in the western part of the County?
  • How will you overcome the Democrats registration advantage in Montco?
  • How will you raise the funds necessary to run this campaign?
  • Pro-Life, yes or no?

At the end of the meeting, all of the candidates were brought back on stage and the audience was permitted to ask further questions, but I am only including the answers to these four, plus my own conclusions, in the write-up below.

Marina Kats – The Woman

MarinaKatsPrepared remarks:  Kats is a Temple graduate and lawyer.  She has been around the MCRC for quite some time and is a former candidate for the 13th Congressional District who ran against Allyson Schwartz.  She utilized her five minutes mostly giving us her resume and talking about past races.  A legal immigrant from the Ukraine, Kats is passionate about taking on illegal immigration and repealing Obamacare.  Having emigrated from a Soviet-controlled country in 1979, Kats says she brings a unique appreciation of our system of government and a deep belief in Republican principles.

GOTV in the West?  Republicans are mad and they will be motivated to vote.  The West has been taken for granted and we need to have a ground game.  We need people who are invested in the campaign. She will come out to the West and meet with committee people to build support

Overcome Registration Disadvantage:  Joe Hoeffel is great for Republicans.  Women will vote for a woman and the Democrats will not be able to say there are not enough women.

Fundraising?  Her plan is to get everyone invested.  Have everyone fund at small levels rather than a couple of large donors.  She will not self-fund.

Pro-Life?  Yes

Website:  Katsforcongress.com

Conclusions:  I generally liked what Kats had to say when she talked issues and not about her resume.  But I felt her opening remarks were unorganized and she got unnerved and flustered when she was given the one-minute mark.  I found her belief that a woman has an advantage by virtue of her sex to be a little naïve based upon my own personal experience (if there is anything Democrats hate more than a Republican man, it’s a Republican woman) and her plan for fundraising to be unrealistic.  Much of her presentation focused on rallying the committee to help her.

Kris Hart – The “No Baloney” Guy

KrisHartPrepared remarks:  Kris Hart opened by reciting his Republican bona-fides:  He went to George Washington University, was a page for Curt Weldon, worked for Jon Fox and became a Republican because of Fox’s mentoring.  To illustrate this point, he pulled out the pocket Declaration of Independence/U. S. Constitution that Fox gave him years ago.  He was out of politics for several years to run his own business (which I think was a convenience store or stores).  His reason for running is that he feels it’s his civic duty.  He wants to be a public servant, not a politician. His focus is on jobs, the economy and education. He is already writing bills, which he has published on his website.  His tagline was “No More Baloney” from Washington, which he repeated several times.

GOTV in the West?  Hart would talk about the issues:  protecting our children and the Second Amendment.  We need independents and cannot run hard right.  We need to get the vote out.

Overcome registration disadvantage?  He has the energy, vision and passion to get the job done.  He is running to put forward ideas and get those things done, not for a position in Washington.

Fundraising?  Hart wants to run against Joe Hoeffel.  He will hire a professional fundraising company to raise money, plus he has a 600-page plan.

Pro-Life?  No. Hart believes in abortion for cases of rape and incest and stated that Roe v. Wade is settled law.

Website:  www.hartforus.com

Conclusions:  It’s ambitious to put actual bills on your website and Hart did actually have binders as props he referenced to illustrate his assertion about his 600-page plan.  He’s high energy, but that energy seems a little unfocused.  He did not really answer the registration disadvantage question, and his negative answer to the pro-life question combined with his “abortion is settled law” statement earned him some heckles from the audience (“Dred Scott was settled law too,” A sentiment with which I can only agree).  His answers to questions were meandering and there was a little too much name dropping and prop reliance for my taste.

Dan David – The China Guy

DanDavidPrepared remarks:  Dan David is a 25-year Montgomery County resident residing in Skippack and originally from Flint, Michigan.  He has been a businessman for 30 years as a high level executive and for the last twelve years has owned own financial research firm.  David spent much of his time talking about his fight against a financial threat from China and the lack of American laws in place to protect U.S. Citizens.  David stated that investment banks are importing fraud from China and that it is not illegal for a Chinese businessman to steal from an American.  He spent three years and $100,000 of his own money lobbying congress for change in the laws.  He supports Trump and his initiatives.  He claimed that he exposed $95 million in fraud in a local municipality.  He closed his remarks with the statement that all local politics are global and the global economy is infecting us locally.

GOTV in the West?  David said that he had recently earned the endorsement of the Berks County Republican Committee and he was the only candidate who showed up to the endorsement meeting.  He will not ignore, or take for granted, the voters in the West.  We cannot push people away.

Overcome registration disadvantage?  He will face that challenge head on.  David is an independent thinker and claims we need to talk to people with other points of view.  He vowed to bring over Democrat and Independent votes.  We cannot keep running the same candidates over and over and expect different results.

Fundraising?  David has pledged to self-fund his campaign with $500M to $1 million of “seed money.”  He already has a team in place and will use professional fundraising.

Pro-Life? Yes

Website:  DanDavidforCongress.com

Conclusions: Though I found the China talk distracting and felt that David had trouble articulating this issue in terms that an average layman can understand, overall, he had the strongest presentation.  Even if one doesn’t understand, or care, about the nuts and bolts of the China thing (and I think that will be the case with the vast majority of voters), it is clear he has been working within the morass of Washington for years.  If unchecked, I think his focus on China will serve as a distraction; I believe that fighting for a cause by bubbling up an issue takes an enormous amount of time and energy and so does running for congress.  I think he needs to pick what it is that he wants to do and pursue it. If that’s running for congress, then he needs to focus on that and fight his China battle once he gets there.  Though I understand MCRC is sponsoring a screening of his documentary, “The China Hustle,” not every average Joe voter is going to take the time to see the movie to have the issue laid out in terms they can understand, let alone become emotionally invested in it.  When he wasn’t talking about China, his ideas were solid, and its clear his organization is up and running.  Most importantly, he has agreed to self-fund, which will make him attractive to MCRC, an organization that can’t fund anyone.

Art Bustard – The Local Guy

ArtBustardPrepared Remarks:  Bustard began his address to the audience by stating he was still not 100% sure that he wanted to run, but that he wants to talk to us.  Bustard believes that Congress’s #1 priority needs to be passing a Budget on time.  As a past officer of MCATO (Montgomery County Association of Township Officials), Bustard has seen the trickle down impact of State and Federal regulations and delays in funding.  Bustard has regional detailed knowledge of Montco and a grasp on the problems facing each local area.  He believes we need to connect with voters by using empathy; the problems facing Eastern Montco are not the same in the West.  Bustard wants to focus on how Government expansion has impacted and hurt local municipalities.  He says we need more private sector jobs and not more government.

GOTV in the West?  Bustard wants to create empathy in the minds of voters in the West and convince them that he cares about their issues.

Overcome registration disadvantage?  Show that the Democrats don’t understand the problems of the voters.  Talk in local areas.  Engage on local issues.

Fundraising?  Fundraising is a problem, and the main reason that Bustard has not committed to a run.

Pro-Life? Yes

Website: None

Conclusions:  Bustard seemed to lose the audience immediately with his equivocating on his commitment to run.  This statement later earned him some heckling, wherein the heckler correctly stated, “Shouldn’t you know by now if you are in or not?”  Bustard was a multi-term Township Supervisor in Worcester who, citing “burn-out,” opted not to run for re-election in 2017, so where he’s found the energy to effectively participate in this kind of high-profile, national race is uncertain.  As a former Supervisor myself, I can relate to and affirm a lot of Bustard’s points about State and Federal mandates and how the expansion of government is hurting things at the local level.  I also agree that localizing this race is important in driving turnout in an incredibly diverse district such as Montgomery County, but that the ability to effectively localize this race is going to take three attributes that Bustard does not have:  Herculean energy, an organized campaign and big dollars.

Endorsement Meeting

As mentioned previously, the MCRC endorsement meeting will be held in Lansdale on March 22.

Feb 1 2018 MCRC endorsement - 3
So much room to move around back here!

Hopefully, this event will be a more efficient event than the one last month, which by all accounts, was a giant, unorganized and frustrating mess.  Check-in tables were placed right at the doorways, causing an absolute crush of committee people waiting to check in, while there remained a huge amount of unused space behind the tables for the checkers.  Ballots were missing and/or at the wrong tables and it was gridlock when committee members had to move from one line to the next when they found out their ballot was not at the correct table.  Worse, the meeting was scheduled to start at 7pm, but it was not until after 8pm that MCRC could verify that they had a quorum.  How hard can it be to organize ballots by name and make sure they are at the correct area’s table? Capture

He’s Baaaack

Our clocks only got set back an hour, but you are to be forgiven if you think they’ve gone back eight years.

Joe Hoeffel, once the Perpetual Candidate for Any Available Office, is back, and he is running for Congress in the newly created, wide-open 4th Congressional District in Montgomery County.  Morning Call:

The race for a newly redrawn congressional district based in Montgomery County is drawing a familiar face, former Congressman Joe Hoeffel.

The Democrat said Saturday that he’s running and aims to compile the 1,000 signatures he needs by the March 20 deadline to get on May’s primary ballot.

There is no incumbent member of Congress who lives in the 4th District, although several other Democratic candidates are already circulating petitions to get on the ballot in a district that heavily favors Democrats.

The 67-year-old Hoeffel is a former three-term congressman from Montgomery County who left the seat for his ultimately unsuccessful challenge to then-U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican, in 2004.

HoeffelMatthewCastorLong time Montgomery County residents may also remember Joe Hoeffel from his last appearance as an elected official in the office that has killed more aspiring politicians than any other:  Montgomery County Commissioner.  Along with Jim Matthews and Bruce Castor, Joe Hoeffel had a starring role in the Montco sitcom, “The Bickersons.”   The most noteworth accomplishment of that administration was Joe Hoeffel’s brainchild for the revitalization of Norristown:  The Studio Centre.

The Montgomery County Commissioners spent $24.5 million on the failed Studio Centre project and put the County in second position on the borrowing behind the developer.  When the project finally went bankrupt in 2013, the County recovered $8,000 of the $24.5 million leaving a giant, gaping hole in the Montgomery County budget.

An abridged refresher on how that worked out:

A three term congressman, Hoeffel was prevented from running for another term as Montgomery County Commissioner after a little trouble known as “Breakfast Gate.”

Or maybe it was just that his former aide, “mini me” Josh Shapiro wasn’t interested in playing second banana to his former mentor in the 2011 election.  Rumor was that MCDC Chair and other Democrat party bigwigs took Joe into a room and spent hours convincing him to abandon his entire political career for their rising star, Josh Shapiro.

Which Joe did.

But, hey, through the Supreme Court of PA, the miracle of political resurrection is possible!  And now that we have a brand new congressional seat that not only has no incumbent to overcome, but doesn’t threaten Mini Me’s political aspirations in any way, Joe is free to do what Joe does best:  Run for office.

Take out the Trashman

Today, the Southeast Caucus of the Pennsylvania State Republican Committee held a straw poll to vote on which candidate they are going to endorse for 2018.  Your unofficial Southeast Caucus results for Governor:

Wagner 40

Turzai 32

Mango 6

Ellsworth 0

Wagner has been winning straw polls all across Pennsylvania.  The official PAGOP endorsement meeting is coming up in February.

I saw Scott Wagner speak at the Montgomery County Republican Committee fall dinner.  Going into that dinner, he was my favorite candidate.  His improbable election to Senate via a write-in campaign during a special election in 2014 was impressive. But as the evening progressed and I heard him speak, he dropped far in my estimation.  He was coarse, he could not think on his feet, had trouble connecting with his audience, and every answer to every question was framed in the context of his trash business.  I respect a successful businessman, but truly, not every answer to Pennsylvania’s political challenges can be answered with an anecdote about garbage.

And that was before I found the full extent of the personal issues in Wagner’s background.  Did State Committee really ignore the baggage they all know is out there on Scott Wagner?

Like this.

And this.

Does the Republican Party really want to have to spend the better part of the next year explaining this video?

OK, I’ll stipulate that the reporter was a bordeline stalker and a bit of a jerk, I’ll stipulate that Wagner’s back child support was reduced and that his daughter has somewhat softened her stance against her father, and even that there may have been some exacerbating substance abuse issues involved.

I’ll stipulate all of it, so please don’t waste your time here carrying water for Scott Wagner.

Because doesn’t the Republican Party have enough water to carry with POTUS?  Don’t we have enough anger and hostility to overcome?  And didn’t we just see the last Trump clone, Roy Moore, go down in flames to a Democrat in the deeply red state of Alabama?  Only Trump can be Trump and his election was lightning in a bottle against a particularly abhorent and criminal opponent.  It cannot, and probably should not, be duplicated.

Wagner’s altercation with the tracker, the PFA filed by his daughter, and child support problems are public knowledge in political circles and in York, but they are not yet widespread knowledge in the rest of the Commonwealth.  That’s not going to last.

And I’m hearing there are more stories to come.

If the Republican Party thinks they can ignore these issues, please rest assured that neither the Democrats nor the Press will.

Exclusive Inclusiveness

So.

The reaction to my first blog post was rather extreme.

What’s that old saying?  If you’re not catching flak, you’re not over the target.

Apparently, a woman can “identify” as anything she likes these days.  Anything, that is, except Republican.

Republicans up for election or re-election, take note:  Your record, your individuality, your integrity, your very essence mean nothing to the women (and men) who are marching in the streets today.  You have been reduced to nothing more than a Donald Trump stand-in.  He won’t be on the ballot for another three years, so until then, every candidate and every election will be against him in proxy.

Excl 5Don’t believe me?  Check out the comments section on my article posted here, at Gordon Glantz’s blog.  I’d like to direct you to the “Indivisible Mid-Montco” facebook page,  pictured left, except I don’t have access to that closed site, which is so inclusive, it makes you answer an ideological questionnaire in order to join.  If you are surprised that such a site would post an opposing point of view, don’t be. The purpose was not to inform, or, heaven forbid, introduce an alternative point of view into the feminist echo chamber.  It was posted as a feminist punching bag, which is awesome and safe for them when they don’t have to worry about this female punching back, since I am excluded from their exclusive club.

This prejudice against all Republicans is not only surface deep, it is celebrated in liberal feminist circles.  But Republicans are not the only group excluded by Liberal Feminists.  Apparently, the litmus test gets more rigid and exclusive with each passing day.

For example, take the New Wave Feminists, a pro-life group who were excluded from the Women’s March last year. NYTimes:

“If you want to come to the Women’s March you are coming with the understanding that you respect a woman’s right to choose,” said Linda Sarsour, the co-chair of the event.

This year, as they did last year, the New Wave Feminists are going anyway.  But there are still folks unhappy about that.  Wapo:

Among many abortion rights advocates, “pro-life feminism” is not a thing.

Pamela Merritt, co-founder of Reproaction, an Alexandria-based activist group that works to expand access to abortion, said she “understands the attraction to feminism” for many in a movement that helped elect a president “who has been accused of sexual assault, is attacking immigrant communities, saying racist things on a daily basis, going after access to health care, and who may have colluded with a foreign power to get into office.”

She said being a “pro-life feminist” is like saying you are a “vegan who likes chicken.” “It’s just not possible, if you don’t believe a woman has the human right to make decisions about her body and her health care and her future.”

This year’s Women’s March in Philadelphia ignited so much controversy over the city’s proposed security measures for the event, more than a few activists were calling for a boycott of the event.  Philly Mag:

Several transgender individuals, such as black queer activist Giana Graves, have also raised concerns online about how the march’s security measures “intimidate trans women from even participating.” “I think the first issue is that there’s no trans women organizing the march when it’s supposed to be about having a voice and seat at the table — it seems ironic considering there are no seats for trans women or non-binary folks and the POC voices that are involved appear to be tokenized,” Graves said. “If a trans women was sitting at that table, there would be no police check points for stop and frisk protocols that put us at risk since we are often profiled as sex workers. These measures are also not safe for sex workers considering that a lot of them have been profiled, assaulted, harassed or even raped by cops, with such check points giving them an opportunity to become further traumatized victims of police brutality.”

It’s so easy to get triggered these days.  More and more folks keep getting excluded from the new inclusiveness.

So how do Republicans, already completely ostracized as a party and as a movement thanks to the Circus Maximus surrounding POTUS, make inroads into this angry, often irrational, group?  How do you even begin to get them to listen?  Then, how do we get our candidates recognized as individuals, with impressive accomplishments and respectable resumes?

Is it possible?  Or do we just need to wait until this anger burns itself out?