Toomey, Casey on Opposite Sides of Planned Parenthood Debate

Pat Toomey, left; Bob Casey Jr., right.

Pat Toomey, left; Bob Casey Jr., right.

In recent weeks, a pro-life group has released several videotapes purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the price their organization will be paid for fetal tissue, from abortions, that it provides to researchers. The tapes have sparked a new battle over federal support for the organization, and Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey Jr. find themselves on opposite sides. Read more »

Report: Katie McGinty Close to Deciding on Senate Challenge to Pat Toomey

Katie McGinty

The wooing of Katie McGinty has apparently become quite serious.

When last we checked in, McGinty — Gov. Tom Wolf‘s chief of staff — had been approached about running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Pat Toomey by Democratic leaders desperate not to have Joe Sestak represent the party on the ballot next fall. But Ed Rendell pooh-poohed the whole thing and that, we figured, was probably that.

Think again.

“This weekend the DSCC held a retreat at Martha’s Vineyard. Dozens of Senators and Senate candidates were there. So was Katie McGinty,” PoliticsPA reports. “PoliticsPA has learned she flew to the event on a chartered flight with over fifteen Senators. We were also able to confirm with McGinty’s top political strategist Mike Mikus that she left on Friday night and returned Sunday.”

She’s apparently generating enthusiasm that Sestak, who lost to Toomey in 2010, hasn’t been able to muster.  Read more »

Katie McGinty Approached on Senate Run

Businesswoman and former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty has run a solid campaign, building a network and achieving fundraising success. But most important, she, unlike opponents Allyson Schwartz and Rob McCord, stayed away from attacking Wolf. Given that, combined with Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s implosion and much of the Democratic establishment disliking former congressman Joe Sestak, watch for the articulate McGinty to quickly become the frontrunner against freshman Pat Toomey in 2016.

Katie McGinty, who ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination last year, has been approached by party leaders about running for Pat Toomey’s Senate seat.

It’s starting to look like the Democratic establishment really doesn’t want Joe Sestak challenging Pat Toomey for the U.S. Senate in 2016. Sestak hasn’t always helped himself as a candidate, and each week brings fresh rumors of efforts by party leaders to recruit a primary opponent for Sestak.

The latest? Katie McGinty.

McGinty ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination last year, losing to eventual winner Tom Wolf, but ending up as his chief of staff.

“Former governor, Ed Rendell, says national Democrats have contacted Governor Tom Wolf’s top aide about running for U.S. Senate,” WITF reports. “However, Rendell says he doesn’t think Katie McGinty will run and that she’s committed to working through a budget standoff with state lawmakers as Wolf’s chief of staff. ” Read more »

Pat Toomey Sent Us a Box of Chocolates

Toomey Candy

Turns out, Sen. Pat Toomey is way more than a Hershey’s guy.

Earlier this month, we told you that Toomey is keeper of the Senate’s traditional “candy desk” — and that one of his predecessors in keeping the chamber’s sweet tooth sated during interminable debates was perpetual presidential candidate Rick Santorum, and that big home-state suppliers like Hershey’s and Just Born were largely responsible for keeping Toomey supplied with sweets.

Cut to this morning, when we arrived at work to find a medium-sized box on our desk. The return address was Toomey’s office. There was no note inside — just lots and lots of candy. All of it, as far as we can tell, from Pennsylvania. (See the pic above.) Read more »

Pat Toomey Is Keeper of Senate’s “Candy Desk”

Toomey Candy

Something we didn’t know about U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, the Pennsylvania Republican: He is the keeper of the Senate’s candy.

National Journal details the matter in a story about how senators chose where, in the chamber, to keep a desk.

But as a long night wears on, there’s one desk particularly critical to keeping the Senate running: That’s the one used by Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican. Tucked inside his desk is a spread of candy and chocolate from his home state. When asked if the rumblings were true, if he was the senator with the candy, he responded, “I am the candy supplier.”

It’s a tradition. An aisle seat on the back row of the Republican side—adjacent to the chamber doors where many senators flit in and out—is the candy desk. It’s a commitment Toomey readily accepted.

“Since Pennsylvania is the No. 1 candy maker in the country, I took the desk,” he said. “And I keep it stocked.”

Read more »

Sestak Announces Challenge to Toomey

Joe Sestak, the former congressman who beat then-U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic primary before losing the general election to Pat Toomey, announced Tuesday he’s taking another shot at the U.S. Senate seat.

The announcement came outside Independence Hall on Tuesday. After that, AP reports, Sestak began a very long walk. Read more »

Could Ed Rendell Take Pat Toomey’s Senate Seat?

It’s tough for us to see Ed Rendell in the Senate. The man is a chief — not somebody who would risk getting his voice drowned out by 99 others. He just seems bigger than that, somehow.

There’s only one reason to believe he would ever make the run, in fact: Because he could win.

A new poll from Public Policy Polling suggests that Rendell — who has given no indication of desiring a Senate run — is actually the leading candidate for the Senate seat now held by Pat Toomey.

“Former two-term Governor Ed Rendell leads the pack of potential Democratic challengers, besting Toomey 44-41 in a hypothetical matchup. Rendell owns a substantial 17-point advantage with Independents, and leads with both men and women (+1 and +6, respectively),” PPP reports. “Should Rendell decide to enter the race, he would start with a decided name recognition advantage over Toomey, 85-63.” (See the full poll results below.)

Now it’s true Rendell thinks — or has said, at any rate, that Toomey is vulnerable. “I would love to be a Democrat running against an incumbent Republican senator in 2016,” Rendell told the Inquirer back in November. But you’ll note he didn’t say he wanted to be the Democrat making the run.

Besides, aren’t we all waiting for him to swoop in and run for mayor again?
Read more »

Senators Pat Toomey, Bob Casey Actually Vote Same Way on a Bill

Bipartisanship is here! Well, okay, for one recent bill. Both of Pennsylvania’s senators, Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Bob Casey, voted the same way on a bill. And it wasn’t a resolution honoring a sports team for winning a championship — that’s more of a House thing — it was an actual bill that’s going to cost money and help actual people!

Both Pennsylvania Senators voted yes to the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, which passed 93-3 in the Senate. Similar legislation is in the House. The bills are a response to the recent scandal involving the Veterans Administration, where systemic scheduling issues left many vets with incredibly long waits for treatment. Though they haven’t been linked to the delays, some vets have died waiting for treatment.

Read more »

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