Analysis | PolitiCrap - Blog |

Analysis

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Two traditionally Republican suburbs in the South Hills were key for Conor Lamb’s special election victory

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 5:49 PM

Conor Lamb - PHOTO COURTESY OF SEBASTIAN FOLTZ
  • Photo courtesy of Sebastian Foltz
  • Conor Lamb
U.S. congressional candidate Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon) apparently secured a narrow victory in the March 13 special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th U.S. Congressional District by outperforming former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton just about everywhere. In fact, Lamb won 172 district precincts in PA-18 that voted for President Donald Trump in 2016. With all votes in, except for a few hundred provisional ballots, Lamb holds a 647 vote lead over Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth). The New York Times has called the election for Lamb, but an official declaration has not been made.

According to campaign insiders and strategists, two of the most important towns for Lamb’s victory were Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair. These towns traditionally support Republicans. Trump won Bethel Park by a 8.4-point margin and won Upper St. Clair by a 3.4-point margin in 2016. Lamb won Bethel Park by 9.9-point margin and won Upper St. Clair by a 10.2-point margin.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, January 18, 2018

U.S. Congressional candidate Rick Saccone tallying fiscally conservative, anti-union support

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 12:51 PM

A screen shot of the Ending Spending Inc. TV ad supporting Rick Saccone - IMAGE COURTESY OF YOUTUBE
  • Image courtesy of YouTube
  • A screen shot of the Ending Spending Inc. TV ad supporting Rick Saccone
During his 15 years as a U.S. congressman, former Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) held strict socially conservative views, but supported enough liberal economic views that some considered him a moderate. Murphy resigned amidst scandal last year, and a special election for his seat will be held March 13.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth) was nominated by Republicans to compete in the election against former U.S. Assistant Attorney Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon). And recent support from conservative and libertarian political-advocacy organizations suggest Saccone is more economically conservative than Murphy.

Saccone has been endorsed by economically conservative political-advocacy groups FreedomWorks for America and the Club for Growth, groups that have opposed Murphy in the past. And even though Saccone will speak at an event in North Fayette with President Donald Trump on Jan. 18, Saccone's support also suggests that he has different economic policy priorities than Trump, who won the district handily in 2016 thanks, in part, to populist, protectionist economic policies like criticizing free trade.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Some of Pittsburgh’s Republican suburbs are turning blue

Posted By on Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 4:16 PM

Protesters gather outside of Republican U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus' office in Ross Township in July. - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Protesters gather outside of Republican U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus' office in Ross Township in July.
The 2017 general elections saw some remarkable wins for local Democrats and progressives. In Allegheny County, the Pittsburgh chapter of Democratic Socialists of America saw both of its endorsed candidates, Anita Prizio for county council and Mik Pappas for magisterial judge, pull off victories. In Philadelphia, a Black Lives Matter ally, Larry Krasner, won the race for the city’s district attorney. And Tyler Titus was elected to the Erie school board, making him Pennsylvania’s first openly trans person to be elected to public office.

In statewide races, Republicans won some victories, too. For one, surprisingly, given upstart progressive wins elsewhere, Republican Sallie Mundy won a full term as state Supreme Court justice, and did so by winning in some unexpected places. For example, both Erie and Lackawanna counties sided with Mundy, despite historically leaning Democratic. And in Commonwealth Court, Republicans split the four open seats with Democrats.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, July 14, 2017

Democrats have a rural problem in Southwestern Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional district

Posted By on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 2:52 PM

CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
On July 12, a group of left-leaning protesters rallied outside of U.S. Congressman Keith Rothfus’ (R-Sewickley) office in Ross Township. They were some 15 members strong, and they hooted and hollered for an hour, expressing displeasure with their representative for failing to hold a town hall and his support of the Republicans’ attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“We are here to keep the momentum going and show how [Rothfus] is not representing us,” said Michelle Raab of PA 12 Progressives, the group that organized the protest.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, June 2, 2017

John Fetterman says Trump’s Paris withdrawal is more about Somerset County than about Pittsburgh

Posted By on Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 5:29 PM

President Donald Trump (left) and Braddock Mayor John Fetterman (right) - WHITE HOUSE PRESS PHOTO/CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • White House press photo/CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • President Donald Trump (left) and Braddock Mayor John Fetterman (right)
On June 1, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. was leaving the 2015 Paris Climate Accords, an international agreement to reduce global carbon emissions. This was already enough to throw progressives into a tizzy, but when Trump said in his speech that “I was elected to serve the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” many Pittsburgh Democrats, and other prominent liberals across the country, lost their collective shit.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto pointed out that Pittsburgh voters chose Hillary Clinton, with her receiving 80 percent of the city’s vote, and he later spoke to multiple cable-TV news outlets about how the city has been working for decades to clean up the environment and shed its polluted Rust Belt reputation. And many stories during the national news cycle over the last 24 hours have discussed how wrong Trump was in using Pittsburgh to justify leaving the Paris agreement.

But, according to Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, who has been campaigning for regional Democrats since last year, progressives shouldn’t be so shocked. He believes Trump isn’t actually focused on ruining the environment and points out that the rules of the Paris agreement are voluntary and wouldn’t have gone into effect until 2020. Fetterman believes Trump’s announcement is a campaign strategy.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Four takeaways from Allegheny County’s 2017 primary elections

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 2:45 PM

ALLEGHENY COUNTY ELECTION IMAGE
  • Allegheny County election image
By now you are probably aware that Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto effectively won re-election by a landslide in the May 16 primary. (Peduto faces no Republican challenger in November.) The mayor received just under 69 percent of the vote, defeating his next closest opponent, Rev. John Welch, by 51 percentage points. Pittsburgh City Councilor Darlene Harris (D-North Side) finished third with 13 percent of the vote.

With Peduto’s re-election hogging the headlines, City Paper thought it would offer you some other takeaways that you might have missed:

Continue reading »

Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Is President Donald Trump losing support from Pennsylvania’s independent voters?

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 12:53 PM

President Donald Trump - WHITE HOUSE PRESS PHOTO
  • White House press photo
  • President Donald Trump
When Franklin & Marshall College released its Pennsylvania political poll on May 11, President Donald Trump must have felt relieved. Although many polls nationally show Trump maintaining a low approval rating and, in some cases, even losing support, the Pennsylvania poll showed Trump gaining 5 percentage points from 32 percent approval in February to 37 percent in May. And 60 percent of Southwestern Pennsylvania voters (outside of Allegheny County) approve of the president.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How did progressive Josh Shapiro win the Pennsylvania attorney general race in a GOP-dominated election?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 4:03 PM

Pennsylvania Attorney General-elect Josh Shapiro - IMAGE COURTESY OF CAMPAIGN
  • Image courtesy of campaign
  • Pennsylvania Attorney General-elect Josh Shapiro
This Election Day, Pennsylvania turned red for the first time since 1988. President-elect Donald Trump won the state by 49,000 votes and Senator Pat Toomey won re-election by 92,000 votes. Toomey and Trump differed on trade, but both candidates pushed an anti-immigrant, pro-police campaign. It seemed a clear statement that Pennsylvanians, particularly in rural counties, want the Republican party in charge of their future.

So how in the world did Democrat Josh Shapiro, arguably running on the most progressive principles of any Pennsylvania candidate, win the state’s attorney-general election?

John Hanley, a political-science professor at Duquesne University, believes that most Pennsylvanians weren’t very aware of the candidates for non-national seats like state attorney general, and thus stuck more to their partisan allegiances.

“When you look at this set of election results, take the top of the ballot and separate from the rest,” says Hanley. “Most people don't know who these people are, so most people rely on the standard partisan bias.”

So having almost one million more Democrats registered in Pennsylvania than Republicans helped Shapiro and fellow Democrats Eugene DePasquale (state auditor general) and Joseph Torsella (state treasurer) secure victories by surprisingly similar margins, says Hanley.

But G. Terry Madonna, a pollster and professor of public affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster, Pa., thinks it was a concentrated effort by the Philadelphia suburbs that secured Shapiro his victory.

“The [Democrats] won all three statewide row-office elections, largely because of more ticket-splitting in the Philly 'burbs,” wrote Madonna in an email to Pittsburgh City Paper. “Shapiro ran many TV commercials there which certainly helped him. [And those commercials] did not focus on a liberal agenda.”

Shapiro on his campaign website championed progressive policies like LGBT rights, prosecuting frackers who pollute, and standing up to Wall Street, but his commercials mostly concentrated on the state’s opioid epidemic and support from the police. And when it came down to it, Madonna says, Shapiro might just have been a better campaigner than his opponent, Republican John Rafferty.

“The Republicans did very little by comparison,” wrote Madonna. “Shapiro was more aggressive campaigning, going all over the state.”

Tags: , , , ,

Monday, November 14, 2016

Consolation prize: Allegheny County turns bluer among historic GOP victory in Pennsylvania

Posted By on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 3:47 PM

Allegheny County Seal - IMAGE COURTESY OF WWW.ALLEGHENYCOUNTY.US
  • Image courtesy of www.alleghenycounty.us
  • Allegheny County Seal
Allegheny County did its part for the Democrats. In last week's presidential election, Southwestern Pennsylvania's largest county increased its Democratic turnout from 2012 by 11,000 voters and shrunk its Republican turnout by 5,000.

But, Philadelphia helped to screw them over. The state’s largest county decreased its 2012 Democratic turnout by 26,000 and increased its Republican turnout by 9,000. Our 16,000 Democratic voter net gain was easily wiped out by Philly’s 35,000 net loss.

Philadelphia even contrasted its own suburbs. Its suburban counties (Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester), had a net gain of 54,000 Democratic voters compared to the 2012 election.

But Philly can’t take all the blame for Pennsylvania turning red for the first time since 1988, since even if the City of Brotherly Love matched its 2012 Democratic voting levels, the state still would have come up 30,000 votes short of a Hillary Clinton victory.

And while Allegheny County increased their Dem voters, (an impressive feat considering the county population has stayed the same since 2012), the progressives in the Steel City had little impact in convincing its surrounding counties that Democratic causes are in their best interest.

Beaver, Washington, and Westmoreland became radically more Republican in the 2016 election, helping President-elect Donald Trump gain the edge he needed to secure Pennsylvania. Those three counties gave a 38,000 net voting edge to Republicans compared to 2012. The Pittsburgh progressives are growing, but they might just be making their bubble more impenetrable, not expanding it to circumvent the Southwestern Pennsylvania region.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Friday, August 26, 2016

While the spirit of the message may be there, the #Never movement is maddeningly misused on incumbents

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 12:51 PM

_nevertoomey.jpg
We’ve all seen the incredibly popular hashtags on Twitter, hand-made posters and billboards this political season: #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary. When critics of either nominee post something on social media, these two phrases almost always accompany them. For the most part, they make sense. Voters are making a statement against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton ever becoming president.

And given the popularity of these hashtags, they have morphed and been applied to other races on the political ladder, including Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race. Tweets criticizing the campaign of Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) sometimes have an attached “#NeverToomey” hashtag.

But, Toomey is an incumbent and has been one of the state’s senators for about six years; “never” doesn't really apply. And this phenomenon is not unique to Toomey; #NeverRubio, #NeverAyotte and even #NeverMcCain have been used to reference races involving incumbent senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). (McCain’s hashtag is the oddest, given he has served as Arizona’s senator for almost 20 years and rose to national prominence when he ran for president in 2008.) Maybe it should be #NeverAgain or #Foolmeonceshameonyoufoolmetwiceshameonme.

Even so, these “never” hashtags seem to be growing in popularity among senate races. There have been more than a dozen uses of #NeverToomey and more than 100 uses of #NeverMcCain this month on Twitter. But why, given that these hashtags are logically inaccurate?

A study from the Pew Research Center hints at a possible answer: Social media is the most effective online tool to inform potential voters. According to the study, 24 percent of adults look at social media to find out new information on the campaigns of Clinton and Trump. Only 10 and 9 percent look to campaign websites and emails, respectively.

The “never” hashtags for senate races involving incumbents also overwhelmingly apply to Republicans. Among battleground states, the only incumbent Democrat facing re-election is Michael Bennet of Colorado. As of Aug. 26, there have only been three instances of #NeverBennet on Twitter compared to the thousands that have been applied to Republican incumbent senators in battleground states.

Another Pew study offers a possible explanation for this partisan disparity. During this year’s primary elections, millennial voters in the Democratic party found news about candidates via social media 74 percent of the time. For their young Republican counterparts, it was only 50 percent of the time.

For the Pennsylvania senate race, #NeverToomey has been used about 50 times on Twitter, compared to #NeverMcGinty only twice, for Toomey’s Democratic opponent Katie McGinty.

And the strategy may be working. According to rollcall.com, a couple of senate races have shifted in favor of the Democrats, including Pennsylvania's. And the report currently indicates Democrats will regain the seats necessary to gain a majority in the Senate come 2017.

Regardless, applying logic to the #Never movement may be a fool’s game. The hashtag #NeverObama has thousands of appearances on Twitter and Facebook. The 22nd Amendment of the Constitution bars President Barack Obama from running for president again. Obama could potentially run for a U.S. House or Senate seat, but a president hasn’t successfully done this since Andrew Johnson became a Tennessee senator is 1874 (15 years after Johnson’s impeachment, oddly).

So congratulations to the Obama haters, come Jan. 20, 2017,  #NeverObama will become a reality. 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Listings

CP Newsletters

Sign up to get the freshest content sent right to your inbox.

Digital Issues

This Week...

Read Past Issues

© 2018 Pittsburgh City Paper

Website powered by Foundation

National Advertising by VMG Advertising