Swing State Poll: Clinton and Trump Neck-and-Neck in Pa.

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A Quinnipiac University poll found the contest between presumptive presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump too close to call in Pennsylvania.

In Pa., 42 percent of participants said they favor Clinton, while 41 percent picked Trump. Pennsylvania is one of three swing states detailed in the poll, along with Florida and Ohio. Since 1960, no candidate has won the election without securing at least two of the three states.

The Swing State Poll found Clinton to have a close lead in Florida. The candidates are in a dead heat in Ohio, according to the poll.

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders beat Trump in all three states in head-to-head matchups. Sanders topped Trump 47 to 40 percent in Pennsylvania.

Read more »

Court Rules Jerry Sandusky Can Get Pennsylvania Pension Back

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A Commonwealth Court panel ruled unanimously today that Jerry Sandusky is still entitled to his state pension despite being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys.

Sandusky, the Penn State football team’s defensive coordinator from 1977 to 1999, was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse in 2012 and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

As a result, he lost his $4,900-a-month state pension when the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) ruled he was no longer eligible for it. Sandusky lost an appeal, but his lawyer vowed to keep fighting.

In conflict is the Pennsylvania law regarding pensions. Prior to 2004, when an amended law was passed, Pennsylvanians could only lose their state pensions if they were convicted of financial crimes. The 2004 law was not made retroactive, so Sandusky’s crimes do not apply. Read more »

What Can Joe Biden Learn From Five Pennsylvania Presidential Losers?

From left: James Buchanan, Arlen Specter, Joe Biden, Rick Santorum, William Scott Hancock.

From left: James Buchanan, Arlen Specter, Joe Biden, Rick Santorum, William Scott Hancock.

Pennsylvania has long been regarded as a kingmaker when it comes to presidential politics — we still get awarded “swing state” status by pundits even though it’s been a generation since the state swung to Republicans in a presidential election. But we do a lousy job of electing our own.

The only native of the Keystone State to actually win the presidency? James Buchanan. You might remember him from his stint as The Worst President in American History. (That tends to happen when you stand by and let the nation devolve into ugly, bloody Civil War.) As Joe Biden — Scranton native, longtime U.S. senator from neighboring Delaware (aka “Pennsylvania’s third senator“)  — contemplates his own run for the presidency, he might want to consider the woes that have befallen his predecessors.

Here are five notable Pennsylvanians who failed to win the White House: Read more »

Will Pa. Forsake the Democrats in 2016?

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Democrats love Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton won her 2008 primary here. The party is holding its 2016 presidential convention here. We haven’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988. The next election is going to be a lovefest between the Keystone State and Dems, right?

Perhaps not. Political analysts are saying that Pennsylvania, which usually comes out blue in presidential elections, could in fact turn out to be a “toss-up” state in 2016.

PoliticsPA reports that the Cook Political Report, which it calls “one of the most respected political prognosticators in the country,” has released its latest electoral college scorecard for the 2016 presidential election. And Pennsylvania, which has long been in Cook’s “Lean Democratic” column is now listed as one of nine states that could go either way.

The state last voted for a Republican when George H.W. Bush — the older Bush — first ran for president. Is Pennsylvania really a state again?

Maybe.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt Pennsylvania will be a competitive state,” said Terry Madonna, the director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall University, said of Pennsylvania’s new status.  Read more »

NJ’s Economic Growth Near Worst; PA Just Average

GDP chartNew data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis finds that New Jersey had poor economic growth in 2014. Compared to other states, New Jersey ranked 46th, with its gross domestic product growing just 0.4 percent over the course of the year.

Pennsylvania saw about average growth with a 1.8 percent uptick, while Delaware was at 1.2 percent. Read more »

CNN Graphic Misidentifies Pennsylvania as New York

A graphic on CNN yesterday misidentified Pennsylvania as New York, and now this is a blog post telling you about it. Hmm.

It was part of a story about two convicted killers who escaped Sunday from a prison in New York (the actual New York, not the above impostor). Read more »

New Jersey, Pennsylvania Really, Really Stink at Pension Funding

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New Jersey and Pennsylvania have America’s most-underfunded public employee pension systems, says a new report from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. In fact, the report suggests, the two states have fallen so short of making the annual required contributions to the funds that they’ve managed to separate themselves from the pack.

Political battles are being waged in both states over how best to deal with the underfunding — Chris Christie versus the teachers unions in New Jersey, while House Republicans in Pennsylvania say pension reform must be part of any budget deal with Gov. Tom Wolf — but the report traces the underfunding back to the flush days of the late 1990s. Read more »

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