Harper Poll: McGinty Moves to First Place, Shapiro Has Commanding Lead

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The final poll of the Pennsylvania primary, conducted by conservative firm Harper Polling, found that Katie McGinty has moved into first place just one day before the Democratic Senate primary. Previous polls showed Joe Sestak leading the race, or Sestak and McGinty tied. In the poll, 39 percent of voters said they would vote for Katie McGinty — compared to just 33 percent for Joe Sestak, 15 percent for John Fetterman and 3 percent for Joseph Vodvarka. Eleven percent are undecided.

In the previous Harper Poll in early April, Sestak had 41 percent, McGinty had 31 percent and Fetterman had 9. (Vodvarka, who had been kicked off the ballot but was reinstated last week, was not polled that time.) Read more »

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Will Both Be in Philly Tonight

Photos | iStockphoto.com

Photos | iStockphoto.com

The Pennsylvania primary is tomorrow. Maybe you’ve heard. And things are getting hectic here in Philadelphia.

Four presidential contenders will be in the Philly area today.

On the heels of news that Ted Cruz and John Kasich are essentially teaming up to deny Donald Trump the delegates needed to secure the nomination, Trump is scheduled to hold a rally at West Chester University. That madness will go down at 4 p.m. before Trump heads to Wilkes-Barre in the evening. (Cruz is moving on to Indiana and Nebraska; Kasich is expected to be at the Penrose Diner in South Philly at 10 this morning before heading to Rockville, Maryland, and then Pittsburgh suburb McKees Rocks.) More than 5,000 people have signed a petition asking that Trump not be allowed to hold his rally there.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton will hold a rally at 7:15 p.m. tonight in the City Hall courtyard (it’s good to have the backing of the mayor); the doors for that event open at 5:15. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, will hold a rally at Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Center at 8 p.m., doors at 6; he’s expected to be joined by actors Susan Sarandon and Kendrick Sampson. The events are both free and open to the public, but RSVPs are recommended. Clinton has been leading Sanders in the polls and appears to have more or less pivoted toward the general election. That hasn’t stopped Sanders from doubling down, as the Vermont senator has gone hyper-local, making Mayor Jim Kenney‘s proposed soda tax a national campaign issue; he wrote about it in an exclusive Philadelphia magazine opinion piece yesterday, arguing that the tax will disproportionately impact poor and middle class citizens.

Of course, there’s much more at stake for Philadelphia in tomorrow’s primary beyond the presidential race. There’s the battle between Chaka Fattah and Dwight Evans, Montgomery County’s Josh Shapiro’s quest to become the nominee for Attorney General, a U.S. Senate primary where the Democratic winner will challenge Pat Toomey, ballot questions and a whole lot of other local races of import. You can find out just about everything you need to know about voting tomorrow in our No-Bullshit Guide to the 2016 Philadelphia Primary.

Bernie Sanders Op-Ed: A Soda Tax Would Hurt Philly’s Low-Income Families

Photo courtesy of the Bernie Sanders campaign

Photo courtesy of the Bernie Sanders campaign

(Editor’s note: This is an opinion column from guest writer Bernie Sanders. Sanders is a Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. senator representing Vermont. Pennsylvania’s primary is Tuesday.)

I applaud Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney for introducing a plan to provide universal preschool for all of his city’s 4-year olds. I strongly share the goal of ensuring that every family has access to high-quality, affordable preschool and childcare.

But I do not support Mayor Kenney’s plan to pay for this program with a regressive grocery tax that would disproportionately affect low-income and middle-class Americans.

I was especially surprised to hear Hillary Clinton say that she is “very supportive” of this proposal. Secretary Clinton has vowed not to raises taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 per year. For reasons that are not clear, she has chosen to abandon her pledge by embracing a tax that targets the poor and the middle class while going easy on the wealthy. That approach is wrong for Philadelphia, and wrong for the country. Read more »

Hey Philly: Are You All In for Hillary? Or Are You Feeling the Bern?

A Hillary Clinton supporter waits outside her April 20th rally at the Fillmore. Photo | Ryan Collerd

A Hillary Clinton supporter waits outside her April 20th rally at the Fillmore. Photo | Ryan Collerd

On the night of the Brooklyn Democratic debate, I head toward the South Philly field office of Bernie Sanders for President. The address takes me to a storefront with an enormous overhang bearing the name of the former tenant, Boutique W — a discount designer-clothing store based in Newtown Square — in pink and black lettering. It’s an odd sort of welcome sign for the grassroots, 99-percenter campaign, but then again, office space is office space and inside, the place looks more the part.

Young volunteers are passing around phone-bank lists like an aggressive game of Go Fish and chomping on Chips Ahoy during breaks. Folding tables are scattered with HP laptops and bottled water. There’s a garbage can humorlessly labeled “garbage.” And clipboards. Lots of clipboards. Everyone seems to believe that South Philly, perhaps more than any other neighborhood, is Feeling the Bern. I float to the back of the no-frills, white-walled space and chat with a shaggy-haired campaign worker who speaks on background (only volunteers can speak on the record, I was told). He nonetheless wanted to know: “Do you like Bernie?”

Two days before the Pennsylvania primaries, that question would seem a relevant one to ask of anyone and everyone in Philadelphia. Of course, it ignores the Republicans who’re also voting on April 26th (recent polling suggests Donald Trump has a double-digit lead in the state), but given the 7-to-1 edge in registered Democrats in the city and the upcoming DNC this summer, it seems right to focus on the blue team here. (Also: Liberal media bias, natch.)

But truth be told, writing any story about the Tuesday primary feels like an obligatory act of self-aggrandizement, considering the national consensus that our vote means zilch. Why Pennsylvania won’t matter much in either primary,” ran a headline in the Washington Post on Thursday. Hillary Clinton is cruising, having locked up 81 percent of the delegates required to secure the nomination. And, thanks to the Dems’ lack of winner-take-all primaries and the omnipotent Clinton-friendly superdelegates, she can conceivably lose every single remaining state and still win by a comfortable margin. Not that she appears to be in any danger of that: Depending on which of the latest polls you believe, the former Secretary of State has a 13-point or 27-point lead over Sanders among likely primary voters in the Keystone State, where she beat Barack Obama by nearly 10 points in 2008.

Last time, the race felt neck-and-neck; in 2016, it’s a runaway. The wide berth is just one reason for the apathetic mood of lots of Philadelphians though. “I’m not supporting a broken system,” says Paris Adams, 19, a young man from Frankford who said he supports Sanders, but doesn’t see the point in casting a ballot. “Unless Captain America is running, I’m not voting.”

In ’08, voters like Adams were exactly the type — well-informed, African-American, eligible for the first time — that the Obama ground game famously turned out in droves. After an economic recession and eight years of gridlock in Washington though, voters appear to be a lot more jaded. A Pew analysis of a dozen primaries (including Super Tuesday) suggests that Democrat voter-turnout rates have been roughly 60 percent of what they were during Obama v. Clinton. The most optimistic spin is that turnout has not been cataclysmically bad. Dems are voting at higher rates this year than in 2000, sure, but they’re slightly off the pace of the average turnout since 1980. (And that average is excluding the outlying year of 2008.) The enthusiasm this year can be summed up in a single word: MehRead more »

Bernie Sanders Says Kenney’s Soda Tax Is “Regressive”

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign stop, Thursday, April 21, 2016, in Scranton, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Overnight, Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed soda tax has inexplicably become a presidential issue.

On Wednesday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out in support of the tax as a way to fund expanded pre-K. Now, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is weighing in. He announced on Thursday that he is opposed to the tax.

“Making sure that every family has high quality, affordable pre-school and childcare is a vision that I strongly share,” he said in a statement. “On the other hand, I do not support paying for this proposal through a regressive tax on soda and juice drinks that will significantly increase taxes on low-income and middle class Americans.” Read more »

Hillary Clinton in Philly: Scenes From Last Night’s Big Fillmore Rally



By the time Hillary Clinton took the stage at the Fillmore in Fishtown last night, she’d had a long, eventful 24 hours. First, she finished off a 16-point drubbing of Senator Bernie Sanders in the New York primary on Tuesday night. Then, Clinton arrived in Philadelphia to appear at a panel discussion — which included former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Tanya Brown-Dickerson, the mother of a high-profile police-shooting victim in Philly — on gun violence, criminal justice and policing. All of which caused the former Secretary of State to arrive an hour late to the Fillmore, which by then was filled with 2,000 animated supporters who’d been lining up since the late afternoon.  Read more »

Kenney’s Soda Tax Gets a Big-Name Supporter: Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at Texas Southern University Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Houston.

The war over Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposal to tax sweetened beverages is fierce. The soda lobby is spending at least $1.5 million to oppose his plan, and Council members are raising pointed questions about it. Meanwhile, a coalition of numerous civic and labor organizations is lobbying hard for the levy.

On Wednesday, Team Soda Tax got a boost: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out in favor of Kenney’s plan. CNN reports that she discussed Kenney’s proposal, which would fund expanded pre-K and other initiatives, at a forum hosted by a gun control group. Read more »

Hillary in Philly: Black Lives Matter Protesters Clash With Secret Service

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Black Lives Matter protesters at a Hillary Clinton rally. | Photos by Malcolm Burnley.

This was the sort of scene Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was hoping to avoid.

Security guards screened entrants to her campaign stop at the Fillmore in Fishtown Wednesday evening, taking a look at the signs the crowd was bringing in. But that didn’t stop a group of protesters from sneaking in very off-message placards, disrupting the rally, and being forcefully escorted out. Also caught up in the expulsion? Me. A credentialed reporter, there to cover the event for this magazine, who was told by the Secret Service that I needed to get out, or risk going home in handcuffs.

It started as a standard, stage-managed campaign event. Smooth-jazz renditions of Beatles hits and Katy Perry — lots of Katy Perry — filled the venue before former Secretary of State Clinton took the stage about an hour behind schedule, at 7:45 p.m. She quickly launched into a discussion of her longstanding ties to the Pennsylvania region, including memories of her father’s home in Scranton. She then acknowledged Senator Bob Casey and former Mayor Michael Nutter, both in the audience, among other dignitaries. After talking at length about the economic growth during her husband’s presidency, things started to get interesting.

Almost seven minutes into her roughly half-hour long speech, a group of about 10 protesters emerged from the audience with small signs that when strung together made up phrases like: “You’re Not Welcome Here” and “Stop Killing Black People.” Read more »

Opinion: Five Reasons African-Americans Need to Stop Drinking the Poisonous Clinton Kool-Aid

Hillary Clinton (center, Matt Rourke, AP). Protesters (left) and Bill Clinton (right, photos Dan McQuade).

Hillary Clinton (center, Matt Rourke, AP). Protesters (left) and Bill Clinton (right, photos Dan McQuade).

A version of this column also ran in the Philadelphia Tribune.

Black people love “Billary” (i.e., Bill Clinton plus Hillary Clinton equals Billary). But Billary doesn’t love Black people. Never did. Let me count the ways:

1. Billary believes Black children are vicious animals. When she was being her real self in 1994 and not a presidential candidate, she described Black juvenile delinquents as “super-predators (with) no conscience… (who need to be trained) to ‘heel.’” First of all, she completely ignores America’s blatant racism that created and continues to create inadequate schools, little or no job-training, and poverty-stricken neighborhoods, all of which in turn creates delinquency. Second, our children are not irredeemable and remorseless monsters with no conscience. A very small percentage of them instead are young, immature, alienated, and misdirected human beings who made mistakes. And third, our children ain’t no damn dogs that need to heel.  Read more »

Hillary Clinton Will Campaign in Philly on Wednesday

Hillary Clinton speaks Wednesday, April 6, 2016, at the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Convention in Philadelphia. Photo | Matt Rourke, AP

Hillary Clinton speaks Wednesday, April 6, 2016, at the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Convention in Philadelphia. Photo | Matt Rourke, AP

Update [4/19/2016]: Hillary Clinton, fresh off her big win in New York, has added a second appearance to her Philadelphia itinerary. At 4:15 p.m., the Democratic frontrunner will hold an invite-only discussion with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Mothers of the Movement at St. Paul’s Baptist Church, 1000 Wallace Street. Bill Clinton, who got into hot water in Philly earlier this month, will be doing his in-state campaigning in the run-up to Pennsylvania’s primary in Johnstown and Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, Governor Tom Wolf will be kicking off a Harrisburg phone bank at 5:30 p.m. at 510 North Third Street, Harrisburg. Her opponent, Bernie Sanders, who held a rally at Temple University on April 6th, spoke to large groups in Erie in State College yesterday.

Earlier: With just more than a week left before the April 26th Pennsylvania Democratic Primary, frontrunner Hillary Clinton plans to return to Philadelphia to campaign. Clinton will hold an event on Wednesday, April 20th, at The Fillmore, located at 29 E Allen Street in Philadelphia. She spoke at the AFL-CIO labor convention on April 6th at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Philly.

Doors for this Wednesday’s event open at 4:30 p.m., and it is scheduled to get underway at 6:30.  Read more »

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