New McGinty Ad Calls Toomey “Senator Elevator”

Republicans running for office have a major problem this year, and his name is Donald Trump. While Trump is popular, this is his first run for public office — and he’s not on the same page as the GOP in terms of messaging. Naturally, the press is grilling downballot Republicans about his comments.

One such Republican running for office is Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey. He’s distanced himself a bit from Trump. He was a supporter of Marco Rubio, and voted for Ted Cruz in Pennsylvania’s April primary. He even penned an Inquirer op-ed giving Trump some unsolicited advice while saying he would vote for the party’s nominee.

“I hope to get to the point where I can enthusiastically support Donald Trump,” Toomey later said. “I’m not there right now and I hope we don’t get to a point where I decide I just can’t support him.”

He’s not quite there yet. After Trump’s speech on the Orlando massacre was widely panned, Toomey ducked into an elevator when reporters asked questions. Read more »

New Anti-McGinty Ad Suggests She’ll Kidnap Your Kids

It’s only June, but I can’t imagine anything tops the Pat ToomeyKatie McGinty Senate race in TV commercial quality. First, we had a Democratic PAC and its weird anti-Toomey ad featuring kittens and a litter box. Then, we had an anti-McGinty ad that featured some tremendous overacting and a horrible depiction of a cheesesteak.

Actually, minutes after the primary race ended, we had attack ads on both sides of the race. The McGinty and Toomey camps both slammed negative ads launched against their respective candidates, including one that featured a McGinty impersonator wearing a fur coat.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the country’s largest lobbying group based on spending, yesterday released yet another ad. I have to admit, their commercials sure are eye-catching. Read more »

Both Pa. Senators Joined Filibuster Seeking Better Gun Control

Both of Pennsylvania’s Senators took park in a marathon filibuster that called for gun limits yesterday.

Starting 11 a.m. yesterday through early this morning, Sen. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut held the Senate floor to call for stricter gun control following the country’s worst ever mass shooting this past weekend in Orlando.

Pa. Senators Pat Toomey, a Republican, and Bob Casey, a Democrat, joined Murphy. All three live-tweeted the marathon, thanking the flood of supporters who reached out via social media, calls and emails.

By Wednesday night, #filibuster was trending on Twitter. The marathon ran for 15 hours.

Read more »

Pro-Pat Toomey Ad Has Atrocious Cheesesteak Depiction

It’s only June, but the airways are already full of ads in the U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Pat Toomey and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty. Last week, we explored an anti-Pat Toomey ad that included shots of two kittens and a litter box.

This week, we have an even weirder ad, this one from a group supporting Toomey. The United States Chamber of Commerce, the largest lobbying group in the country, has begun running an ad titled “Cheesesteak” on local networks. It depicts a fake focus group.

And it’s bonkers. Roll Call called it “cheesy.” It opens with a choice between two cheesesteak toppings: Whiz and silly string. Read more »

Katie McGinty Wasn’t Really the First in Her Family to Attend College

McGinty

Democratic Senate candidate Katie McGinty has frequently claimed throughout her campaign that she was first in her family to attend college, but a BuzzFeed report released Wednesday shows otherwise.

McGinty’s older brother, John McGinty, appears to have graduated before her – in fact, the La Salle University registrar’s office told BuzzFeed Thursday that John attended the university in January of 1971 and graduated in 1973 as part of a two-year program.

It’s also listed on his Facebook page.

This would all be fine if McGinty had specified that she was first in her family to attend a four-year university program, but she wasn’t always so clear.

Read more »

Weird New Anti-Pat Toomey Ad Compares Him to a Kitten

The ad above was released late last month, but it’s now airing on Philadelphia-area TV stations. (I saw it yesterday during the Extra/Access Hollywood block on NBC 10.) It’s from the Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic group, and it compares Pat Toomey to a kitten.

It’s an odd choice, considering I just got over thinking about cigarettes whenever I see a cat thanks to Truth’s #Catmageddon commercial from the Grammys. Now I’m going to think about Pat Toomey every time I pet Detective John Munch? Read more »

New Poll: Toomey-McGinty Race Is Essentially Tied

Katie McGinty, Pat Toomey

Katie McGinty photo by Donald Derosa, used under a Creative Commons license

A new poll from Quinnipiac University says that the Senate race in Pennsylvania is very much like the presidential one here: A dead heat.

Sen. Pat Toomey gets 45 percent of the vote in the new poll, while Katie McGinty gets 44 percent. Much like the poll Quinnipiac took of Trump/Clinton, men back the Republican candidate (53–36 percent), while women say they’re going to vote for McGinty (51-38). The pollsters interviewed 1,077 Pennsylvania voters and say the poll has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. Read more »

Attack Ads Already Flying in Hotly Contested Pennsylvania Senate Race

McGinty / Toomey attack ads

It’s been just a week since the Pennsylvania primary election, but the general election is ramping into high gear — at least in the race for the state’s junior senate seat. Per the Associated Press, “tens of millions of dollars” are expected to be spent by outside groups in the race for the Pennsylvania Senate seat.

Katie McGinty, the Democratic establishment-backed candidate, easily bested Joe Sestak and John Fetterman for the Democratic nomination. Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey was unopposed in the Republican primary; he beat Sestak, 51-49 percent, in the 2010 Senate election. This race is also expected to be close.

The general election began even on primary election night, when Friends of Pat Toomey paid for a Snapchat filter attacking Katie McGinty at McGinty’s election-night party. Meanwhile, several outside groups have already begun airing attack ads.

The Club for Growth, a conservative group that pushes tax cuts and reduced government spending, is airing ads attacking McGinty. This one has been airing during Phillies games in the area. Toomey, a U.S. Congressman for three terms in the late ’90s and early 2000s, was president of the Club for Growth between 2005 and 2009.

McGinty has never held elected office. The ad, which helpfully notes it is an “actor portrayal” of McGinty, accuses her of funneling grants to her husband. The website Blue Nation Review calls the ad “sexist.”

McGinty’s camp has released a detailed response to the ad. The campaign says much of the work going to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (where Karl Hausker works as a consultant on several projects) began under Republican administrations. The campaign also says McGinty has never been a lobbyist, and that several newspaper editorials called the “largest tax increase” claim “deceptive.”

“McGinty’s fight for the middle class is resonating across the state and it’s no wonder that Pat Toomey’s allies are up with a baseless attack to distract from Toomey’s hurtful record against Pennsylvanians,” Sabrina Singh, McGinty’s communications director, said. “It is hard to take an ad like this seriously but what is serious is Pat Toomey’s commitment to putting Wall Street and special interests ahead of Pennsylvanians.”

Ah, yes, Wall Street. That’s the subject of an ad launched by the AFSCME PEOPLE Independent Expenditure, an arm of the union, against Toomey. It notes his long record as an investment banker and his support of loosening government restrictions that caused the financial crisis.

The Toomey camp responded with a long press release responding to the claims in the ad. The campaign says Toomey opposed the Wall Street bailout and has introduced legislation to end “too big to fail” banks. Toomey has also worked with Democratic senators to sponsor legislation ending subsidies for the sugar and corn industries, his campaign says.

“Pat Toomey is widely known for his longtime efforts to fight corporate cronyism and stop government handouts to special interest groups,” Toomey for Senate spokesman Ted Kwong said. “Katie McGinty has built her entire career on doing just the opposite, using her posts in government to enrich herself on corporate boards and her friends with taxpayer dollars.”

It’s only May. Get ready for more of this all the way to November.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.

The No-Bullshit Guide: 2016 Election’s Biggest Winners and Losers

From L to R:

Clockwise: Mayor Jim Kenney, state Rep. Dwight Evans, Councilman Darrell Clarke, U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman and labor leader John Dougherty.

Oftentimes, elections feel like they’ve been decided by the powers that be before they’re even over. The 2016 primary was different: It was full of genuine nail-biters. At 8:30 p.m., I headed to state Rep. Dwight Evans’ Election Night party at Temptations on Chelten Avenue, and everyone around me spent the first hour-and-a-half of the celebration hunched over, obsessively refreshing the Department of State’s website on their phones as votes from different areas were counted. They weren’t just tracking Evans’ bid for the 2nd Congressional District seat — they were also following the Attorney General’s race, which looked like it might be won by Stephen Zappala at the beginning of the evening, as well as several close state legislative races.

By the end of the night, a seemingly unstoppable labor leader had lost, along with an indicted congressman, a bajillion-year incumbent, and a state representative who is part of one of the most powerful political machines in the city. What a wild election.

The Winners

1. The Northwest Coalition

The Northwest Coalition, led by Evans and former Councilwoman Marian Tasco, helped put Jim Kenney in the mayor’s office last year. The alliance was also instrumental in electing Derek Green and Cherelle Parker to Council. Now, one of its own is going to Congress — Evans defeated U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in the 2nd Congressional District race yesterday. (Yes, Evans will technically face Republican James Jones in the fall. But, with the district being overwhelmingly Democratic, we all know how this movie ends.) Another sign of the organization’s rising power: Relish, the Northwest Coalition’s Election Day lunch spot, drew bigger crowds yesterday than Famous 4th Street Deli.

What does this mean for the future? Good things for Parker, potentially, if she runs for mayor in 2023. It could also mean bad things for District Attorney Seth Williams if the Northwest Coalition decides to support a challenger when he runs for reelection next year. (Tasco isn’t a fan of Williams’.) It’s worth noting, however, that the coalition did suffer one loss yesterday, which proves it isn’t indestructible: state Rep. Tonyelle Cook-Artis, its pick in the 200th House District race, was not reelected. Read more »

Katie McGinty Soundly Beats Joe Sestak for Democratic Senate Nomination

Katie McGinty (left), Joe Sestak (right)

Katie McGinty and Joe Sestak (AP) 

Katie McGinty, Governor Tom Wolf‘s former chief of staff, won the four-way race Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate tonight, thoroughly beating her top rival, former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.

The Associated Press called the race shortly before 10:30 p.m. With results from 84 percent of the precincts across the state reported, McGinty had netted 42 percent of the votes. Sestak was in a distant second place, with just 32 percent of the vote.

For most of the campaign, McGinty trailed Sestak, the former U.S. Navy Admiral who was the Democratic nominee U.S. Senate nominee in 2010 and came thisclose to beating Republican Pat Toomey. But McGinty surged late, and Sestak’s unpopularity with Democratic party elites seems to have caught up with him.

John Fetterman, the extremely large, tattooed mayor of the borough of Braddock won plenty of media attention, but trailed in the polls throughout the campaign. He finished third, but his 20 percent showing was stronger than expected, and could set him up for another campaign for a different office. Read more »

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