MAGA don’t play in SEPA

It’s time for some harsh truths in what is left of Republican SEPA and this post is probably going to “trigger” some of you.

The last thing I am in the mood for right now is another election recap blowing sunshine and rainbows up my ass over the glorious gains in the U.S. Senate and the not-as-bad-as-we-feared losses in the House of Representatives. Of course, that’s exactly what we got from the Montgomery County Republican Committee this week (Yahoo Mail – Election Recap), as if repeating this mantra of “things are just GREAT!” often enough will make it so.

Image result for all is well animal house gif

Forgive me, but I’ve heard this song before, from basically the same folks, though I guess this post-election recap is marginally better than the one we got last November (Oh. That’s right. There was no election recap last year. Just an invitation to a Christmas Party.)

It was during the 2017 General Election that we first witnessed the white hot heat of anti-MAGA sentiment and pussyhat rage that decimated our municipal offices. This year, SEPA was devastated and lost 9 Republican legislators; good people, many of whom are my friends and political allies. Philly Voice:

In the House, local Republican incumbents Kate Harper, Tom Quigley, Rebecca Corbin, Warren Kampf, Eric Roe, James Santora, Alex Charlton, and Duane Milne all fell to Democratic challengers.

Incumbent Bud Cook – a Republican from Southwest Pennsylvania – holds a slim lead, but the race is too close to call.

Local Democrat Helen Tai also lost. So did Democratic incumbents Mike Hanna and Bryan Barbin – neither from the Philly area.

In the Senate, local Republican incumbents Tom McGarrigle and John Rafferty also lost. Republican Robert Tomlinson clings to a small lead in Bucks County, but his competitor, Tina Davis, has not yet conceded.

These losses were the result of voters choosing to cast a vote against the Party of Trump instead of a person, once again in hopes of “sending a message” to Washington and thinking that Donald Trump actually cares about who represents this corner of Montgomery County, PA in Harrisburg.

He doesn’t.

No matter how Tuesday’s election turned out, if we know anything at all about Trump by now, we know he’s going to spin it into a victory.

Trump wasn’t on the ballot officially on Tuesday, but for Democrats (and many suburban women, regardless of party) he was, and they voted like he was. We can comfort ourselves with tales of voting machine woes and candidates who didn’t knock doors, and yes, maybe addressing those issues would have cut into the losses, but it wouldn’t have put any of our people over the finish line.

We need to address the literal elephant in the room.

We’ve got at least two more years of Trump and another local election cycle to get through before the Presidential. How are we going to get voters to see through their fog of Trump rage, overcome it, and vote for our quality candidates?

Well, for starters, Pollyanna, it’s time to stop accentuating the positive and start being REAL about what’s happening here or we will never stop the hemorrhaging and we will never get our County back.

In Southeastern PA, in Montgomery County, Republicans are in trouble, and it didn’t just start with Trump. The blue tide has been creeping steadily westward for years as liberals leave the city for a better life in the burbs, only to vote for the same policies and party that ruined the city in the first place. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, the graphic below, from Montgomery County’s own voter services website, shows how the statewide races (Governor and Senate) broke by municipality this past Tuesday. It is sobering.

Blue Tide

A friend of mine mentioned that the US House Redistricting we bemoaned in February brings home the reality of the Republican situation that we’ve been ignoring for years. Gerrymandered districts hid the truth from the parties about the Democratic creep into Montco. Powerful state reps could redraw their own districts and make deals across the aisle with other powerful reps to keep their seats safe.

A Democrat friend of mine tried to make the case to me that Democrats worked harder this cycle, specifically in the 44th State Senate District that formerly belonged to longtime legislator John Rafferty. I’ll concede that point, at least in the 44th: there is no doubt that Katie Muth worked harder. She pounded the pavement and was a very visible and accessible candidate. But what she worked hardest at was honing the Democrats’ best weapon this cycle: stoking anti-Trump anger and translating it into votes for Democrats. If I were to nominate a person who best represents the mood of the Democratic party right now, the angry Katie Muth would be my choice as their poster child.

I submit that her hard work didn’t matter. As a control race, let’s examine the results of the 150th. There were no incumbents in this race and the seat has been traditionally Republican for years. Nick Fountain, the Republican candidate, worked his butt off. He had major surgery over the summer and was back out knocking doors within days. Nick had actual experience in local government and a vibrant, hard working team behind him. Meanwhile, from where I’m sitting, the only energy I saw demonstrated by the Joe Webster campaign was the effort it took to slap some “Veteran” stickers on some of his yard signs.

The only thing that mattered in that race was the R or the D after the candidates’ names. So let’s not talk about door knocking or hard work this cycle. It would not have mattered.

So the question is: do we cede the ground, or do we fight to take it back?

Submitted for your consideration

Before we dive back into this episode of What’s the Matter with Montco, here is some relevant food for thought from around the internet on the national results of the midterms: (each worth a click through for the whole article.)

Allahpundit at Hot Air from the impressively titled post, Soft-Spoken, Introspective Trump To Graciously Accept Responsibility For Dems’ House Takeover

He’ll do a pro forma congrats to Pelosi, I assume, and allow that he bears “maybe some” responsibility. But most of the hour will be spent on the following buck-passing points:
1. Forget the House. The Senate is all that matters.
2. Losing the House is actually good news, as a lot of the RINO-cuck deadwood has been cleared away. Now the GOP can focus on building a permanent Trumpist minority.
3. If anyone’s to blame it’s House Republicans themselves for not embracing him more closely. (He’s already floated that idea, actually.) What Carlos Curbelo should have done in a district that’s 70 percent Latino is gone all-in on ending birthright citizenship.
4. It’s Paul Ryan’s fault, of course. Reportedlyhe was workshopping this one yesterday too:

We talk often about the liberal mainstream media bias, but we rarely, if ever, note the damage done by our own right wing media. One of my favorite columnists, Kevin Williamson, makes this point at NRO:

Fox News has censured Sean Hannity for appearing at a Trump campaign event. I wonder if they have ever watched his show or listened to his radio program, which are explicitly and unapologetically campaign vehicles. It is not as though Hannity et al. were part of the Republican campaign apparatus — they are the Republican campaign apparatus, far more consequential to the political and (mercy!) intellectual direction of the GOP than is, say, Ronna McDaniel. (Who? Exactly.) The right-wing media caucus is a new kind of political constituency, one that now has a great deal more power than the Chamber of Commerce or other more traditional Republican interest groups. Conservative talk radio is an endless soap opera with only one story line — “Betrayal!” — which inevitably influences Republican political strategy. A Ted Cruz or a Scott Walker has basically two choices: Try to build a larger electoral coalition by bringing in more independents or a few Democrats alienated by (see below) the party’s direction, or go all-in on the Kulturkampf stuff and try to win your race by turning out the hardcore partisans and writing off everybody else. The narrative structure of talk-radio politics precludes compromise and coalition-building, being as it is oriented toward the takfiri model of discourse. That works, until it doesn’t.

The Editors at National Review (Yes, I know what you are thinking: oh Lisa, don’t you know how anti-Trump National Review is? I do. Which is exactly why Republicans should be reading it—to keep things in perspective. More on this in a minute)

President Trump and congressional Republicans have delivered important conservative policy victories, but they have not expanded the Republican coalition. Trump himself has alienated college-educated suburban voters who used to back Republicans, and the congressional party has not won the allegiance of all the formerly Democratic working-class voters who backed him in 2016. To win the elections of 2020 — to hold the presidency and the Senate, let alone to rebound in the House — they will probably need to do better with both groups.

Jonah Goldberg talks about the Hollowing Out of the American Political Parties: `

Outside groups — the National Rifle Association, Planned Parenthood, unions, etc. — often do more to effectively organize voters around single issues or personalities than the parties do. The Kochs, Tom Steyer, George Soros, and Sheldon Adelson serve as party bosses, only outside the parties.

Technology is another, less obvious force siphoning power from the parties. For instance, as political historian Michael Barone has noted, the telephone dealt a grievous blow to political conventions, where insiders have outsize power

(…)

The Internet and cable TV have accelerated the eclipsing of parties. Opinion websites and TV and radio hosts now do more to shape issues and select candidates than the parties do. It’s a bit like comic books. Readership of comics has been in steady decline, but movie studios and toy manufacturers still feed off the brands created generations ago.

(…)

And yet, Americans keep talking about partisan politics as if the parties are in charge, and base voters on the left and the right keep railing against the party establishments like mobs unaware that they’re kicking dead horses.

Among the many problems with the rotting out of the parties is that the rot spreads. The parties are supposed to be where politics happens. McConnell’s point about money in politics is analogous to the larger trend. When you take political power out of the parties, other actors seize it.

When wielded by people who aren’t supposed to be in the politics business, that power corrupts. This is why every Academy Awards ceremony is peppered with asinine political jeremiads, and why late-night-comedy hosts serve as de facto Democratic-party organizers.

So what’s the way forward? I don’t have the answers, but I have a few thoughts we might consider in order to begin the long process of building bridges with the Democrats, Independents and formerly Republican Women that we need in order to win elections, because first and foremost, we don’t have the registration numbers. Locally, Republicans have benefitted for years by having Barack Obama in office. Regardless of the overall registration numbers, while he held the Presidency, Democrats were pretty much uninterested in local elections and for the most part, they stayed home and Republicans ruled the off-year Election Days.

Now that’s over. They are woke.

The Cult of the Presidency

Remember those Obama days? Remember how we laughed and laughed at the Democrats’ fawning worship of the Light Worker? The pretentious Greek columns? “We are the ones we are waiting for?” Hopenchange? Remember how ridiculous we thought that all was?

What happened? Because, by my reckoning, our own party has been overcome by the same cult of the Presidency. Politics infects everything. It’s exhausting.

Look, I’ve been very clear about my reasons for not discussing national politics on this blog, but national politics is bleeding into local politics and we need to find a way through it. So that being said, let me also say this: I support the President. He was not my first choice (or my second) but he is who we have, and overall, I have been pleased with his policies, his judges, and the economy, which is why I voted for him.

I hate his rhetoric, his tweeting and his constant trolling and I think he conducts himself in a most un-Presidential manner. I hate that his administration seems to always be mired in chaos. This—and pretty much this alone—is why he is so loathed by the left and moderates. The policy stuff is really an afterthought and you have to be politically engaged to really understand the ramifications of policy enough to be enraged over it. It’s Trump’s character and personality that are immediately accessible to even the most politically unengaged citizen. People want their President to act Presidential.

In the end, Trump is just a man. He’s not a super genius playing three dimensional chess on the worldwide stage. Not every bone-headed embarrassment for the administration is part of some grand master plan to which only he is privy and that he’s executing with the precision of a Swiss watch. He’s just a man, and a fallible one at that. We used to not be afraid to admit when one of our guys made a mistake and we used to not be afraid to call him out on it. Now you are some sort of traitor to your tribe if you even dare to criticize.

What happened to us?

To be very clear: I understand what liberals want. They want us to abandon Trump, deny him, renounce him. They want Republicans to save them from Trump and many of them are not going to be satisfied with anything less from our party.

I’m not talking about reaching out to those folks and I’m not talking about abandoning the President or his agenda. I think there is a certain part of their party, just like in ours, that is unreachable.

I’m talking about breaking through the tribalism, which is just another form of bigotry. Stop looking at everyone as a Democrat or Republican and start looking at them as an individual with fears and concerns unique to them. Most hyper partisans are just parroting what they’ve seen elsewhere. Individuals engaging individuals —without making everything about Trump—is what I’m talking about.

I could go on about the Cult of the Presidency for days. It’s one of the most disappointing trends I’ve seen in this country on both sides of the aisle and betrays an utter lack of education in American civics. Plus it totally lets Congress of the hook. What are we paying those people for but to be a co-equal branch of government? But I’m going to stop here before I meander too far down another tangent.

Stop Trolling Liberals

You can either agree with that assessment, or you can, like many Trumpers I know, gleefully embrace this behavior and take it on as your own when engaging with liberals.

snowflak

Newsflash: Your facebook meme isn’t changing anyone’s mind. It’s only serving to keep that anger stoked and solidify those divisions. So by all means, if you want to keep dealing with broken glass Democrats at the polls twice a year for the duration of Trump’s presidency, keep doing your part by pouring gasoline on the dumpster fire that already is social media. Snowflakes may not be commenting on your posts while you are drinking their salty tears, but they sure are reading.

And for God’s sake, why are we provoking voters at the polls? Is your message sign going to change anyone’s mind on their way into the polls? Is that “Jobs not Mobs” or “Stop Socialism” sign going to miraculously convert a Democrat and make them pull straight R on their way in to vote? No. It’s only going to further inflame them, so stop it. It serves no purpose.

Bottom line: Trump acts a certain way, but that doesn’t mean you have to. I was raised on the adage, “You catch more flies with honey,” and “Kill them with kindness.” I’m one of those folks who believes that it makes a difference if you are a little extra courteous on the road when your car is sporting a political bumper sticker. I believe each Republican is a representative of our party and every day we have an opportunity to engage with neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances and represent Republican values and morals. People who become centers of influence, who are able to convince people of their opinions, who can change people’s minds, do not go through life intentionally trying to piss people off for the twin goals of amusement and political point scoring. As I’ve said before, only Trump can be Trump. And only he should be.

Lose the Whataboutisms

When I’ve tried explaining the point above to fellow Republicans and partisans across the aisle, I get a full dose of the “whataboutisms.” You know what I’m talking about: “Well, whatabout when Obama did X? Was that ok?” “Whatabout when Trump did that?”

Who cares?

Just because the other side does it, it doesn’t mean its ok. Republicans should be better. We should be above it. If I can go back to another childhood adage: if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too? Or who remembers this one: I don’t care WHO started it, I’m ending it!

Stop using the bad behavior of others to justify your own. Republicans can and should strive to be better. I don’t care if the other side is unhinged, and freely admit, many of them are. We are not trying to convert a movement; we’re trying to covert individuals. One at a time.

Every time you interact with someone, it’s an opportunity to sell your party, just by the virtue of you being a good person with membership in a larger voting block and belief in the values that built this Country.

Turn off talk radio

You will never learn how to build a bridge to the other side if you don’t understand how the other side thinks. And you won’t understand that if you stay inside an ideological echo chamber. Talk radio contributes to the polarization. Listen if you must, but don’t let that be your sole information diet. Think for yourself.

hannity
Conform. Stay with your tribe. Don’t think for yourself.

Now I’m not saying go crazy here. I’m not saying tune in to Rachel Maddow every day, or subscribe to Vox, but at least listen to how liberals are framing the issues so you can start talking to them instead of past them.

And let’s be clear here: The Democrats believe that they are doing what’s best for the Country. They do not think they are destroying the country; they think they are making it better. They believe in social justice and they believe their way is THE way and they believe they have the moral high ground.

Just like we do.

Calling them evil, no matter how much we disagree with their views, is not an argument against their ideas. Ad hominem attacks don’t work on us, why would they work on them?

Related: Stop whining about media bias. We know it exists and we know we’re the target and we know it’s unfair. This is our lot. Get over it and deal with it.

Dear MCRC: It’s not 1985 anymore

Ronald Reagan is not the president anymore and we have a registration disadvantage of about 50,000 voters. People do not just blindly pull the lever for Republicans in Montgomery County anymore. And why should they? We’ve been taking our voters for granted for years and we’ve stopped bothering to make a case for their support.

It’s time to admit that we are the minority party and we need to start acting like it.

80
Oh, the glory days….

This means stop the destructive power struggles. There is literally nothing to fight over except a wheezing organization that is limping from election to election. What kind of power comes with that?

Stop the picking and choosing of winners and losers with your favored support. Recognize you are in a rebuilding phase and stop acting like you actually have the luxury of destroying viable, quality candidates because of petty political differences or because someone gave you more money than someone else. The turnaround is not around the corner. It’s going to take a long time to get anything back and if a qualified candidate volunteers for the meat grinder that is running for elected office in this climate, you support them no matter what.

For that matter, stop endorsing candidates based on their ability to self-fund. We did that a couple times in recent memory and it was a disaster every single time. If you recruit good, viable, charismatic candidates, the party faithful will get behind them.

The Democrats were in the minority for years and they patiently chipped away at the majority. Now they are the majority.

And they have all of the problems that come with it. The Democrats are not an unbreakable monolith with no fault lines. There are very clear rivalries and divisions within their own party. There is infighting, power struggles and tons of incompetence, especially resulting from the emotionally cast votes of these last two elections (see just about every other post in this blog). Democrats have some #metoo problems of their own. They have problems governing.

Find those weaknesses, highlight them, and exploit them.

And stop letting them run unopposed, especially in the State House.

We used to know how to do this and now it’s almost like we are afraid to take them on, especially the more powerful amongst them.

Stop making deals with Democrat politicians. It almost always goes bad, and we have been betrayed in big and small ways by even those “good” democrats we think we can work with. Politically, first and foremost, they are Democrats and they will put party over a deal with a Republican every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Do you know why? Because they can. Because they are the majority party.

Oh, and as President Hillary Rodham Clinton once said, Josh Shapiro is not inevitable. Stop pussyfooting around him. It’s Montgomery County’s fault he made it to Harrisburg on the red carpet we laid out for him. We should not let him take another step up his very well defined political ladder. We owe that to the rest of the state.

Be smarter in how you deploy committee people

Committee people should be plugged in to their municipalities, highlighting those local issues where possible. How can the committee people endorse or promote a municipal or school board candidate if they are not attending meetings or plugged into the issues facing their communities?

The day the green ballot died
The day the green ballot died.

And while we are talking about committee people, is there a bigger waste of a committee person’s time than handing out literature at the polls? Hardly anyone takes it, hardly anyone reads it, and it changes no one’s mind. Yet not only do we insist on continuing this practice (and spending thousands of dollars on the printed materials), but we stress out over the green ballot, a handout that was forever rendered absolutely meaningless in the 2015 County election.

Even more ridiculous, we expect the candidates to pay for the privilege of appearing on this flyer. I’m not sure when it became the candidate’s responsibility to financially support the party apparatus, but this, too, needs to end.

A better use of a committeeperson’s time is that of striking. On Election Day, I’d say have a manned table outside and be more passive by just making the literature available. Voters don’t like walking the gauntlet, but for some reason, we think that putting them through it will earn us their vote.

In fact, I’m of the opinion that the only people who should be approaching voters on Election Day are candidates or elected officials. And elected officials should work a poll at every election—it gives them free face time with their constituents.

LOCAL LOCAL LOCAL

MCRC social media should not simply be a regurgitation of national news or Trump propaganda. MCRC exists for one reason and one reason alone: to elect local candidates. All MCRC should be talking about is local issues and how Republican governance can address these issues better than our Democratic counterparts.

Don’t stop at social media either. Send out regular press releases. The dead tree media loves content they don’t have to pay for. They will print it. Use the media for something other than attacking other Republicans.

The bench for higher office comes from our local municipal and school boards. Promote these folks, nurture the good candidates and support the local committees in their recruitment of candidates.

The County Party needs to be thinking longer term. They were caught flat footed in when the US Congressional Districts were re-mapped earlier this year and for the first time, after years of ceding our congressional representation to Chester County or Delco candidates, Montco finally has a congressional seat of their own. The race was a blood bath. But MCRC should already be thinking about and vetting candidates to take on Madeleine Dean in 2020.

But the Courthouse. The Courthouse has been under almost exclusive Democrat control for the last three years and in spite of several issues that have been gift wrapped and hand delivered to the County party, MCRC has been largely silent in making the case for Republican governance at the Courthouse. We are going to need a full slate of candidates ready to go in January and we haven’t begun to tell voters why they should be considering Republicans instead of Democrats.

There is really only one person who has been calling out County Democrats. Which brings us to….

Make your peace with Joe Gale

joe gale

Do whatever it takes to make this happen.

A good start would be to hire another, less compromised, person to do “security” for the next MCRC dinner.

I’m tired of hearing about bullet voting and the butthurt from 2015. There were sins committed on both sides of that election, which, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, was more about keeping Republicans busy fighting amongst ourselves so Josh Shapiro could coast to victory. Only one “Republican” benefitted from that election and when he’s not hustling “bipartisan” photo ops with his boss to desperate Republicans, he’s running fact-gathering missions for him disguised as “security” gigs .

Love him or hate him, Joe Gale has his own network of voters and he has a loyal following. He did not self-fund, but ran a successful, grassroots campaign that raised enough money to get him elected. This success cannot be denied, and he did this facing significant headwinds from the County Party. Republicans cannot afford another costly internecine war like 2015.

Start over. Start fresh and heal the party divide. MCRC leadership must check their egos at the door and work to get all members of this party back under the same tent.

Closing Thoughts

The bottom line is this: we have a very large registration disadvantage and we’re losing ground one tweet at a time. MAGA don’t play in SEPA, so we need to work around it. We need to make our party palatable first; viability and victory come afterward. That unquestioning Trump loyalty some of you insist upon? Yeah, you are going to need to go do that in the deep red center of the state, not in the Philly collar counties.

Image result for what can men do against such reckless hate? gif

There are many folks we’re simply never going to sell on Trump, but a lot of them once believed in our ideals, our competence and our candidates.

Admittedly, I’m not talking tactics or even strategy here; I’m talking about changing the tone. Stop seeing party and start seeing individuals. And though we share many of the same goals and ideals with each other, we need to make sure we are also being seen as individuals and not being lumped in as a just another unremarkable member of nameless, faceless group. End this toxic tribalism.

I’m not talking kumbaya here. Ok, maybe I am, a little bit. But it can’t hurt. And I’m not excusing the outrageousness of the far left, who has effectively taken over the Democrat Party. I’m just talking about being civil to your neighbors to begin to give folks an viable alternative to this exhausting level of contant rage that infects everything in our society.

Republicans are the underdogs in SEPA. And America has always been a sucker for an underdog.

Arkoosh airs Dem dirty laundry in service to the Sisterhood

Can anyone please explain to me what, exactly, the Democrats mean when they talk about empowered women?

Are they women who are strong, self-assured and capable, or are they whiners who cower in the face of a primary challenge from a man?  Are they happy that legions of women are now “woke” and assertively marching to the polls, or are they worried that their fellow pussyhats are not smart enough to vote for anything other than name recognition?

In liberal circles, there has been much clutching at pearls and calling for the swoon bottle in response to poor old Joe Hoeffel merely doing what Joe Hoeffel does, which is: run for office.  The tone from supposedly empowered females is almost universally accusatory towards Joe:  Why are you playing the spoiler in this election? Why are you putting your mean old name recognition up against our strong, independent, capable women?

You are denying our ladyparts a seat at the table!  How DARE you!

As if the only reason that Joe Hoeffel is running for office is so that it doesn’t fall into the grasping little hands of Madeleine Dean.  Joe Hoeffel could no sooner deny his nature as breathe.

Joe Hoeffel, a Democrat Party stalwart in Montgomery County since, well, as long as I can remember, is now being asked to leave the race by Montco Commissioner Val Arkoosh in a way that can only be described as the airing of dirty Democrat laundry.  WHYY:

Arkoosh said Hoeffel’s name recognition from his years in politics could attract voters, but she said she remembers what county government was like after Hoeffel finished his last term as commissioner in 2012.

“I was very disappointed to find the mess that Joe left behind at the county, and I continue to this day to clean that mess up,” Arkoosh said in the video.

She cited the depletion of the county’s financial reserves, its failure to make payments to the pension fund, a bond downgrade, and “a grand jury report that raised serious ethical questions about Joe’s behavior.”

Arkoosh’s facebook video can be viewed in it’s entirety below.

It’s interesting that Val is co-opting that tired tag line of Josh Shapiro’s, a MAN, in order to make her point about Joe Hoeffel’s maleness getting in the way of the ladies, especially since the bulk of that “mess” was “cleaned up” long before Val was appointed to the Board as a result of Leslie Richards departure to become head of PennDOT under Governor Wolf.

But I am always more than willing to revisit that chapter of Montgomery County history, and I’m grateful to Val for bringing it up.  Democrats have always escaped scrutiny during this era, thanks primarily to the high volume of The Bruce Castor Show, a non-stop media circus that kept the press focused on Castor’s personal internecine Republican Party wars as opposed to what his Board of County Commissioners was actually doing.

Hoeffel was one of three Montgomery County Commissioners during that term, along with Jim Matthews and Bruce Castor.  Even though there was much contention on that particular Board, (the press nicknamed them “the Bickersons,”) the vote was unanimous to invest $24 million of Montgomery County taxpayer money into the Norristown Studio Centre at Logan SquareAP_100129025282-768x536, a project that was being billed with much fanfare as “the Hollywood of the East.”  The “completed” project didn’t come close to living up to the hype and amounted only to a refurbished Sears/Ports of the World building and a parking garage.

In Montco circles, it is only quietly remembered that the Studio Centre project was Hoeffel’s baby, and that the former chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, (and, until just recently, the chairman of the PA State Democratic Party) Marcel Groen was the attorney for the project developer Charles Gallub.

Of the $56 million that was spent on this project, $24 million dollars of that was Montgomery County taxpayer money, all of which was lost when the developer claimed bankruptcy in October 2013.

In March 2014, Josh Shapiro, Bruce Castor and Leslie Richards voted unanimously to sell 220 acres of county-designated open space to fill the budget hole and cure the resultant downgrade of Montco’s bond rating that was created by the bankruptcy of the Studio Centre project.

The grand jury investigation into wrongdoing by County officials predictably went nowhere.  How all of that money was actually spent was never answered, and the whole sordid mess was neatly swept into the memory hole.

That is, until Val Arkoosh, to the abject horror of some Montco Dems, decided to bring it all up again.  This is the first time I can remember any Democrat calling out Joe Hoeffel by name for his part in his pet project going south.  I doubt there are many folks in Montco who even knew that there was a grand jury investigation into that administration, let alone that it raised “serious ethical questions about Joe’s behavior.”

Perhaps we should re-open this investigation.

In the meantime, I think Joe should stay in the race.

 

 

 

Turning PA Black and Blue

After Madeleine Dean challenged Mary Jo Daley’s petitions primarily on handwriting anomalies, Daley has decided to withdraw from contention for PA4.  PoliticsPA:

“After reviewing the state of the race and the current Democratic field of candidates, three women and one man, I realized that we would be facing a bitter and costly campaign that could very well lead to blowing a rare occasion to elect a strong, progressive woman from Pennsylvania to Congress,” Daley said.

Wow, it’s almost as if she is reading this blog.

Anyway, at least as far as the public is concerned, the sisterhood is strong:

Daley announced she is putting her support behind Dean, who had filed a petition challenge against her last week.

“We need a congresswoman who will be a leader across the district, and will serve as a beacon to all women who are thinking about running for office. And most importantly, we need a congresswoman who will be able to win.  I believe Madeleine Dean will be that Congresswoman and that is why I am endorsing her today,” Daley said.

“Words cannot convey the gratitude that I feel toward Mary Jo for her endorsement. In Harrisburg, she has set the gold standard for integrity and hard work. Across the state, she has defined what it means to be a passionate advocate for supporting women and training them to run for office,” Dean said of the endorsement.

Daley was the first to announce her candidacy for PA4, only 24 hours after the PA Supreme Court released the new map.  Daley has also been a leader and mentor for Indivisble PA, mentoring many young pussyhats in an effort to Turn PA Blue.  I’m actually surprised she backed down so quickly.

19cft8je11lgpjpgAs mentioned in a previous post, handwriting challenges are extremely difficult to prove and they are ugly.  A handwriting challenge is essentially a charge of falsifying signatures on petitons, or fraud.  To accomplish this, the challenger would have go down to the courthouse and look at every signature on the computer and register them as contested.  It is on the candidate to prove that they are legitimate, which they could do via affidavit.  It’s no cake walk to collect over 2,000 signatures in the first place and Dean was challenging over 1,000 of Daley’s.  That’s a lot of work for both candidates.  Why did Mary Jo back down?  Was there something to the handwriting challenge?

The endorsement of Dean and the gracious withdrawal are a class move on Mary Jo Daley’s part, but I’m not buying the new sisterly unity act.

 

 

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.

224114

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

 

 

The Marauders’ Map

A successful compromise is usually defined as both sides being equally unhappy.  By that measure, I don’t think we can call the new PA Supreme Court congressional map a “success,” but we are stuck with it, so we may as well embrace it for entertainment value if for nothing else.

So sit back and pop the popcorn, because this year’s Congressional Elections are going to be amusing, to say the least.

The Field

It’s worth noting that there are far more Democrats on the ballot than Republicans.  My theory on this is that Democrats anticipated that the map was going to be re-written by the friendly Supreme Court of PA and prospective Democrat Candidates spent much of the winter building their organizations to prepare for their runs.  Meanwhile, the Republicans were relying on the PA Supreme’s map to be thrown out and got caught flat footed with few viable candidates, even fewer of whom had any sort of discernable organizations behind them.

dvsrIn fairness to the Republicans, running for U.S. Congress is a rather significant undertaking and making a decision to run for national office requires more contemplation time than a few days at the end of February.  You, Gentle Reader, can draw your own conclusions about the ease of these decisions for so many Democrats.

Take a look at the candidate mix in Southeastern PA.  There are more Democrats running in every single race save one.  There are two districts in SEPA where there are no incumbents:  In PA4, there are four Democrats running to the Republican’s one and in PA5 there are fourteen —FOURTEEN!—Democrats running to the Republican’s two.  PhillyMag:

1st Congressional District

(Including Bucks County, part of Montgomery County)

  • Rachel Reddick (D)
  • Steven Adam Bacher (D)
  • Scott Wallace (D)
  • U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R)
  • Dean Malik (R)

2nd Congressional District

(Including Northeast Philadelphia,the River Wards)

  • U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D)
  • Michele Lawrence (D)
  • David Torres (R)

3rd Congressional District

(Including Center City, South Philadelphia, Northwest Philadelphia, West Philadelphia)

  • U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D)
  • Kevin Johnson (D)
  • Bryan Leib (R)

4th Congressional District

(Including part of Montgomery County, part of Berks County)

  • Shira Goodman (D)
  • Madeleine Dean (D)
  • Mary Josephine Daley (D)
  • Joseph Hoeffel (D)
  • Daniel David (R)

5th Congressional District

(Including South Philadelphia, part of Delaware County, part of Montgomery County)

  • Gregory Vitali (D)
  • Richard Lazer (D)
  • Mary Gay Scanlon (D)
  • Daniel Muroff (D)
  • Molly Sheehan (D)
  • George Badey (D)
  • Larry Arata (D)
  • David Wertime (D)
  • Shelly Chauncey (D)
  • Thaddeus Kirkland (D)
  • Margo Davidson (D)
  • Ashley Lunkenheimer (D)
  • Theresa Wright (D)
  • Lindy Li (D)
  • Paul Addis (R)
  • Pearl Kim (R)

6th Congressional District

(Including part of Berks County, part of Chester County)

  • Chrissy Houlahan (D)
  • Gregory Michael McCauley, Sr. (R)

In fact, the only race where there are more Republicans on the ballot than Democrats is the 6th, where current U.S. Rep Ryan Costello is facing a primary challenge.  But every incumbent in SEPA, Republican or Democrat, is facing a primary challenge.

Wishy-Washy in the 6th

costello
Should I stay or should I go?

Is Ryan Costello running for re-election or not?  Following speculation last week that Costello was contemplating retirement, it seems he’s committed to running.  No other Democrats have come out of the woodwork to challenge Democrat Chrissy Houlahan, so Costello is the only one in the 6th with a primary challenge on his hands.

Super Majority

Before we move on, a word about the Democrat Party’s endorsement process:   the Democrats require a super-majority to endorse a candidate, and lacking that, they take it to the primary.  Sometimes, the Democrat power brokers try to squash the endorsement process altogether when it doesn’t look good for their favored candidate, such as the Democrats endorsement vote for Attorney General in 2016.  Times Herald:

The party’s endorsement does not guarantee a nomination, but it can plug a candidate into fundraising and volunteer networks and provides a useful campaign slogan as the party-endorsed candidate.

The tone was set early in Saturday’s process when party members rejected chairman Marcel Groen’s call to support an open primary, rather than taking the endorsement votes. In floor comments challenging Groen’s motion, former chairman Jim Burn said the timing of Groen’s motion “calls into question the motivation” to do it.

(…)

Ultimately, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala, whom Burn supports, fell just shy of winning the endorsement over Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, a close friend of Groen’s.

cartoon-smoke-filled-roomIt’s no secret that Party bosses—on both sides of the aisle—like to play kingmaker and manipulate committee members into voting their way.  As I’ve said before, the Democrat party pays lip service to their constituencies, and women happen to be in fashion for them right now.  Angry women performed well for Democrats last November based on the Democrats’ promise of “empowerment.”  But when Democrats are pushing women off the ballot in favor of white males, I’m not sure that they have a monopoly on that “empowerment.”  But I’ve been saying that for a while.

The Patriarchy steals the 4th

In an unintentionally humorous column on Philly.com today, Maria Panaritis dons the all-too-familiar Pussyhat of Outrage over Joe Hoeffel’s entry into the race for PA4:

This was supposed to be the Pennsylvania congressional race with the highest odds of going to a woman in November.  The one that would surely break the testicular stranglehold that has kept any woman out of the state’s 18-seat U.S. House delegation in recent years.

Ok, I have to interrupt this testicular stranglehold with an observation:  a washed-up former congressman who’s been absent from the Montgomery County political landscape for over 8 years enters the race and none of these Emerge, Indivisible, Turn PA Blue Mighty women can beat him?  Just how strong are these candidates anyway?

But now it looks as though Montgomery County’s newly drawn Fourth Congressional District could just as easily go to a 68-year-old-man.  And after another man previously in the race, State Sen. Daylin Leach, withdrew amid accusations of questionable behavior with young female staffers and volunteers.  If that’s not the ultimate irony in a year in which women are largely to thank for breathing new life into the old-bag-of-tricks Democratic Party, I don’t know what is.

 

Capture
Always.

So what is Panaritis actually saying here?  That Joe Hoeffel should have stayed out of the race in order to give the girls the edge?  That hardly sounds like empowerment to me.  And what, because there are three women already running, Joe should thwart his hopes of reclaiming a seat in congress just to break the testicular stranglehold that Panaritis seems to imply women candidates have been helpless to overcome? Joe runs for office:  That’s what JOE DOES.

 

I find it hard to believe that the whiny victimhood characterizing Panaritis’ column is anyone’s idea of strength.  If these women cannot even beat ole Joe in a primary battle without having the scales tipped in their favor, then I’m not certain any of them is worthy of a minute of our outrage, much less a seat in the U.S. House.

And no, it’s not “irony” that Daylin Leach was also in this race, its cynicism.  Daylin was prevented by party bosses from running from Congress because of his misbehavior, but nobody seems all that bothered by him retaining his PA Senate seat.

Later in the column, Panaritis bemoans the Democrats endorsement process, stating that

An endorsement would help draw other endorsements and money.  But if the party decided to endorse no one, that would give the edge to whichever candidate had the most name recognition.  In this case, that candidate happened to be the man seated in the crowd wearing a suit and tie.  A man who’d just entered the all-women race as a potential spoiler, if not intentionally, then by default.

Whoooo!  There’s some real anger in this paragraph.  As if Joe running for office was some kind of malicious plot by the patriarchy to keep women out of the halls of power.  But maybe there’s some truth to this, what do I know?  An Inky columnist would sure know a lot more about the inside machinations of the Democrat party more than I would. From where I sit, they are at least as misogynist as the Republicans.

The upshot of all this, as Panaritis later explains, is that the “Party faithful” really, really wanted either Mary-Jo Daley or Madeleine Dean, with Hoeffel collecting only lack-luster applause and single-digit endorsement votes, but since neither Daley or Dean gained a super-majority, no endorsement was given for the seat.

What’s interesting is that both Daley and Dean are political veterans.  If they really believed in the importance of electing a woman to Congress, one of them could have dropped out and thrown her support to the other one, thereby avoiding a costly primary by getting the endorsement (and all of its attendant spoils) while simultaneously sending the mean old man with the great name recognition back to the sidelines.  But instead, they both stayed in the race.

It’s almost as if they cared more about their own ambition than women’s empowerment.

Another casualty of the Patriarchy?

In fact, Mary Jo Daley protégé, Time cover girl Sara Campbell-Szymanski recently withdrew her bid for State Rep, in the wake of the Area 4 Dems’ endorsement of a white male military guy patriarchy(who presumably wore a suit and tie).  After the endorsement meeting, Campbell-Szymanski vowed to stay in the race, only to withdraw a few weeks later on the day of petition submission.  She claimed she had enough signatures to get on the ballot and that she “trusted” the endorsed candidate with her vote.  Her decision, she said, was based on her re-discovery of her family and the realization that she wanted to spend more time with them.  Was she also a victim of the Patriarchy?  I can only tell you that when I posed the question, I was told to mind my own beeswax.

Can this party be saved?

partybossHow I wish that the Republicans also required a super-majority for endorsement.  It might end some of the silliness that goes on behind the scenes with the MCRC Executive Committee endorsement.

Montgomery County Republicans were spared the horror of another unorganized endorsement meeting when only one of the four (or was it five?) announced candidates for PA4 bothered to file petitions.  That, unsurprisingly, was Dan David.

It’s depressing that in Montgomery County, Republicans could not come up with a better slate of hopefuls.  While the Dems are fighting it out in a three-way race between political heavyweights, the Republicans are running an unknown who basically had no serious competition.  Not to detract from Dan David, who is a fine candidate, but Republicans, and committee members in particular, would do well to contemplate why this went down the way it did, and it was far more than just being caught flat-footed by the new Congressional Map.

Montgomery County is not lacking for ambitious Republicans with political talent.  That so few stepped forward, and even fewer actually followed through, demands examination.  Sure, it’s a tough climate for Republicans this year, but the RNC has money for this; the PA Congressional race has gained national attention because of the interference of the PA Supreme Court and its races will have consequences for the Republican agenda.

Why didn’t more folks step forward?  Is it cowardice in the face of “woke” Democrats?  A nasty election climate?

Or is it a lack of faith in Party leadership at the County level?

After being forced to come, hat in hand, to ask for the endorsement of MCRC, what, in the end, would that gain a potential candidate?

I’ll tell you:  The half-hearted support of an anemic party who is losing committee members to resignation and death every day.

It wouldn’t get them any financial support; in fact, an endorsement would probably only earn the candidate the “privilege” of funding the “green ballot” on behalf of MCRC.

sadelephantIn recent years, the MCRC has become an organization that functions more to benefit FROM the support of its candidates rather than as a support FOR its candidates.  MCRC is a drain on a candidate’s resources and they offer nothing in return.  Leadership raises the profiles of sychophant Republicans whom they can control, while they expend energy undermining quality individuals who may have voted the wrong way during the Chairman’s race four years ago.  They let rogue Republican committee persons go unchecked supporting Democrats, especially if those rogues are writing big checks to Chairman’s Club.  They have no new ideas.  And they inspire no one.

Former Chairman Mike Vereb demolished the party two years ago with his divisive personal intra-party vendetta against Joe Gale.  Chairman Bill Donnelly is just putting the final nails in the coffin of the organization in between lunches.

I truly believe Republicanism is not dead in Montgomery County. But it needs to get out from under the dead weight of an ineffective organization.

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