The Star-Ledger reports that Chris Christie gathered just 8 percent of the vote—good for fourth place—in a presidential straw poll over the weekend at CPAC, the largest annual gathering of conservative activists. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson each placed ahead of Christie. (Though it may say something about the peculiar makeup of CPAC activists that Carson—whom you’ve probably never heard of) beat Christie. Rick Santorum was right behind with 7 percent of the vote.
It may not make much difference: While Mitt Romney has won the CPAC poll a number of times before his 2012 nomination, the only other candidate to win in recent years has been Ron Paul. CPAC’s activists are influential, but they don’t determine everything.
What a difference a few weeks can make in politics. It’s not been that long since businessman Tom Wolf was part of a pack of Democratic candidates seeking the party’s nomination to run against Gov. Tom Corbett in the fall. Then he poured part of his personal fortune into a blitz of TV ads and voila! He’s suddenly looking — well, maybe not inevitable at this point, but certainly much harder for the other candidates to catch.
Here’s the good news: Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has dipped to 6.4 percent —the lowest rate since November 2008.
Here’s the less good news: That number only looks good because Pennsylvania’s workforce keeps shrinking. People are giving up on finding work here, which leaves a tighter labor pool with lower unemployment behind.
Here’s the numbers to prove it:
So, which Tom Corbett are we voting for this November?
Is it the governor who slashed education, cut benefits to Pennsylvania’s neediest families, and tried to make pure destitution — as opposed to mere impoverishment — the standard for receiving food stamps? Or is it the white knight who, when the food stamp program was threatened by federal cuts, this week suddenly and unexpectedly rode to the rescue?
I’d maybe vote for one of those guys. But probably not the other.
In the wake of aborted attempts in Kansas and Arizona to pass “religious freedom” laws that would permit businesses to discriminate against gay customers, liberal online magazine Salon has been cornering prominent conservatives to get their views on the matter. Thursday, the magazine got to Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senator, Pat Toomey.
Asked Thursday morning whether it should be legal for a hotel to turn away a couple because they’re gay, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey told Salon, “I haven’t given that any thought.” Salon’s question was one of several asked by reporters as Toomey walked to his car following an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference. As Salon and other outlets attempted to ask follow-up questions, Toomey told the crowd, “Have a nice day. Take care.”
The words “Harrisburg” and “intrigue” are pretty much antithetical these days. Philadelphia’s relationship to the yawning capital consists mostly of being outraged at the governor, while taking occasional breaks to cackle mirthfully when he makes a gaffe. He is an evil buffoon, we are Rachel Maddow, and the show is on perpetual repeat.
Enter the Chimera of state politics, the three-headed monster that threatens to devour itself in its quest for Philadelphia delegation supremacy. The cast of characters: superstar 35-year-old Center City representative Brian Sims; his former boss, felled opponent, and now, primary challenger Babette Josephs; his colleague and recent antagonist, Northeast Philadelphia stalwart Mark Cohen.
The plot: Sims turns against several fellow House Democrats, including Cohen, endorsing their primary opponents. Shortly thereafter, Babette Josephs, the sweet 73-year-old lady you see walking her doggie in Fitler Square who lost a bitter political cage match to Sims two years ago, announces she’s coming out of retirement to challenge him in the primary. Amidst all this, Sims goes on an epic, unfiltered Facebook rant against Cohen in which he accuses the 64-year-old of having performance-crippling dementia.
There’s an old conservative joke that liberals will outlaw cigarette smoking about the same time the legalize marijuana. In Philadelphia, that joke will become almost literally true next week.
At a school groundbreaking in Camden, South Jersey political boss George Norcross poked fun at NJ Gov. Chris Christie, who is still licking wounds from the Bridgegate controversy. Politicker NJ Reports: