The Brief: Anthony Williams Backed Stand-Your-Ground Bill
1. Anthony Williams has voted for stand-your-ground legislation.
The gist: In 2011, Republicans sponsored a bill that “essentially gave gun owners the right to shoot an attacker—without first attempting to retreat—anywhere that they ‘have the legal right to be,’” according to the Philadelphia Daily News. Mayoral candidate and state Sen. Anthony Williams voted for it, though most of his fellow city lawmakers opposed it. Williams explained to the newspaper, “The people in my district asked me to support the expansion because they wanted to protect themselves and their property, specifically from carjackings. But let’s be clear: I have a long record of supporting gun control.”
Why it matters: The Daily News described the source of this information as “some interesting oppo research [that] landed on our desk.” There’s a lot of that flying around in the mayor’s race right now. (Just yesterday, we wrote about former City Councilman and mayoral candidate Jim Kenney supporting a pilot voucher program in the 1990s, a fact that was flagged by the Nelson Diaz campaign.) That’s partly because there is a deep well to pull from, since many of the candidates served for years in local and state government. Expect to see some of this stuff used in opponents’ (or independent group’s) TV ads. Can’t you picture an anti-Williams spot featuring his record on stand-your-ground legislation?
2. City Commissioner Stephanie Singer lost another chance to beat the legal challenge against her candidacy.
The gist: Common Pleas Judge Joel Johnson ejected Singer from the May 19th primary ballot because she didn’t have enough valid signatures on her nominating petitions following a legal challenge by three voters. Her lawyer then asked the court to hear from 16 residents who said their signatures shouldn’t have been stricken as invalid. Johnson said no. However, Johnson is allowing Team Singer to question the testimony of her challengers’ handwriting expert next week. But that’s a Hail Mary.
Why it matters: Singer is pretty much toast. Sure, her lawyer has vowed to appeal to Commonwealth Court if she doesn’t receive a favorable ruling, but the legal burden there is even harder to overcome.
3. Mayoral candidate Lynne Abraham released her first policy paper.
The gist: It’s on education (read it in full here). As mayor, Abraham says she would take Harrisburg to court to obtain adequate funding for the city’s schools, support Superintendent William Hite‘s Action Plan 3.0, and “hold everyone fully accountable: teachers, administrators, students and parents.”
Why it matters: Citified will do a deeper dive into some of the candidates’ major policy papers soon, looking at whether they’re feasible as well as whether the candidates’ records jibe with their plans. But this one is noteworthy because Abraham was the last of the mayoral frontrunners to release a policy paper on any topic. She also unveiled a shiny, new website this week, and has brought on new staff members recently. All this suggests that Abraham’s campaign, which has seemed thinner and less organized than others at times, may be firming up.