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Elections

Monday, April 16, 2018

Pittsburgh-area political candidates stump for votes during April 12 City Paper candidates' forum

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 3:04 PM

CP PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • CP photo by Aaron Warnick
Only a City Paper function would have political candidates play trivia games and giant Jenga while still providing in-depth discussions on subjects ranging from the fight for $15 minimum wage to natural-gas drilling to campaign-finance reform.

On April 12, more than 50 people attended the political forum at Spirit Lounge in Lawrenceville, sponsored by City Paper and Women for the Future of Pittsburgh (a.k.a. WTF PGH). The forum primarily hosted candidates for contested seats in the Pennsylvania state legislature. The participants were provided opportunities to talk about their campaigns, as well as show off their knowledge of their districts while playing trivia games curated by CP Editor Charlie Deitch. Ray Linsenmayer, a candidate in the 17th Congressional District who was set to take on Conor Lamb in the primary, attended; however, he withdrew from the race over the weekend.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Pittsburgh City Paper hosting candidates forum/game night at Spirit in Lawrenceville on Thu., April 12

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 2:35 PM

forum4.jpg
Following politics these days is a whirlwind. With the chaos of the Trump administration, it's hard to stay focused on local political races that will more directly affect constituents. Heck, even controversy surrounding local politicians like former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy can distract constituents from other state or municipal political stories.

But City Paper wants to help. On April 12, CP is teaming up with Women for the Future of Pittsburgh (WTF PGH) to host a political forum and game night with political candidates for Pennsylvania General Assembly seats and U.S. congressional seats before the May 15 Primary Election. The event will run from 6-9 p.m. at Spirit in Lawrenceville, and will include plenty of time for candidates to stump their platforms and meet voters. But the event will also include games for the candidates to play as a way to entertain and inform constituents. There will also be a cash bar available.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Lieutenant governor candidate Nina Ahmad visits Pittsburgh; talks importance of an inclusive Pennsylvania

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 2:54 PM

Nina Ahmad - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAMPAIGN
  • Photo courtesy of campaign
  • Nina Ahmad
Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Nina Ahmad said Pittsburgh’s economic rebound is an example of how to spread more prosperity across the entire state of Pennsylvania. Ahmad was campaigning in Pittsburgh on March 25 and sat down with  City Paper.

Ahmad, a former aide to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, commended Pittsburgh on its economic resilience and noted that Philadelphia has achieved similar results. She said the openness and inclusive mindsets of each city has helped Pittsburgh and Philadelphia bounce back.

“We need to get what Pittsburgh has done and what Philly has done, and get those accomplishments to the center of the state,” said Ahmad. “You need this diversity to have a sustainable economy.”

Ahmad also said she believes having a lieutenant governor that embodies diversity is important to showcase Pennsylvania as open to the new ideas that drive an innovative economy. Ahmad emigrated from Bangladesh when she was 21 years old and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She also served as the former head of Philadelphia's branch of the National Organization for Women.

If elected, she would be the first woman of color to serve a non-judiciary Pennsylvania statewide office. “It’s critical for the statewide offices to have a women of color represented,” she said. “They have been the saving grace for the Democratic Party.” According to 2016 exit polls, 99 percent of black women and 82 percent of Latinas in Pennsylvania voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

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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.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

People who live outside of Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District are trying to vote in special election

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 1:49 PM

A sign for Rick Saccone at a home in Sewickely, which is outside of PA-18 - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • A sign for Rick Saccone at a home in Sewickely, which is outside of PA-18
The special election happening today on March 13 has garnered so much attention and excitement that people from across the region are champing at the bit to cast votes for Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon) or Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth).

Problem is, only people that live and are registered in Pennsylvania’s 18th U.S. Congressional District can actually vote in the special election. But that isn’t stopping people from heading to their polling places anyway.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Stumping for congressional candidate Conor Lamb, former Vice President Joe Biden discusses future for young people

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2018 at 4:28 PM

Conor Lamb (left) with Joe Biden at March 6 event at Robert Morris University - PHOTO COURTESY OF SEBASTIAN FOLTZ
  • Photo courtesy of Sebastian Foltz
  • Conor Lamb (left) with Joe Biden at March 6 event at Robert Morris University
On March 6, former Vice President Joe Biden visited the Robert Morris University campus in Moon to stump for U.S. Congressional candidate Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon). Lamb is facing Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth) in a special election on March 13 for an open seat in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District.

Biden spoke inside RMU’s Yorktown Hall to a crowd of more than 400 people about Lamb’s dedication to supporting middle-class Pennsylvanians and to lifting up labor unions. But Biden also focused on issues pertaining to creating a better future for the country. He said that he has never felt more optimistic about America than right now, and said that it's young candidates like Lamb who give him hope.

“Character matters. The man I am campaigning for, he reminds me of my son, Beau Biden,” said Biden referencing his late son, an U.S. Army veteran who died of cancer in 2015. “He has character.”

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Beware of a fake poll circulating about the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District

Posted By on Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 3:24 PM

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Polls in recent weeks taken of potential voters for the March 13 special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District have shown candidates Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon) and Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth) in a close race. Since the second week in February, no poll has given either candidate a significant lead. Two polls from February gave Saccone leads of three points and six points, respectively, but the most recent Emerson poll, released March 5, gave Lamb a three-point lead.

But political observers should remain wary, as a fake poll of the 18th District race is circulating. A Virginia-based group called the Blumenthal Research Daily released a survey on March 2 at 1:45 p.m. which showed Lamb with a one-point lead over Saccone. The survey was announced via Twitter and has since been retweeted 34 times and liked 46 times, even though the BRD Twitter account only has 36 followers.

Three hours after the survey was released, Timothy Blumenthal, of BRD, posted a statement about the survey announcing that it is fake. “Hello everyone. I guess I’ll just start off with the obvious. Yes, Blumenthal Research Daily is a fake pollster,” wrote Blumenthal on March 2. “The numbers used were random, and I did little to no research before piecing together a rather sloppy google doc.”

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Anti-gerrymandering group holding Mount Lebanon meeting tonight in run-up to Pennsylvania redistricting decision

Posted By on Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 3:49 PM

IMAGE COURTESY FACEBOOK
  • Image courtesy Facebook
When the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its new drawings of Pennsylvania's U.S. Congressional Districts on Feb. 19, state Republicans immediately criticized them and said they would challenge the maps in federal court. The state’s 18 congressional districts were redrawn earlier this month after the state Supreme Court ruled the original 2011 maps violated the Pennsylvania Constitution as a partisan gerrymander.

Federal judges have scheduled a March 9 hearing to listen to arguments concerning the new congressional district maps.

While the outcome of the federal district court's decision will undoubtedly have a big effect on how Pennsylvanians vote in upcoming elections, a grassroots group wants to remind people that having legislators draw maps and then battle in the courts is not the only way to reshape districts in Pennsylvania.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Pittsburgh City Council candidate Erika Strassburger endorsed by statewide environmental group PennEnvironment

Posted By on Tue, Feb 20, 2018 at 10:19 AM

Erika Strassburger - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CANDIDATE
  • Photo courtesy of the candidate
  • Erika Strassburger
Before Erika Strassburger worked as chief of staff for former Pittsburgh City Councilor Dan Gilman (D-Squirrel Hill), she worked as an environmental advocate in Pittsburgh and in New Hampshire. She told City Paper back in January that her environmental chops would be valuable on city council, especially considering the ongoing problems at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA). Strassburger is running to replace Gilman’s former 8th City Council District seat in a special election that will take place March 6.

“I spent a decade fighting for clean water, and right now the PWSA has $4 billion in capital needs and a federal mandate to lower lead levels,” said Strassburger in January. “We have to keep water publicly owned, but make sure important changes are implemented. Green infrastructure needs to be a priority first, and I believe there are ways to raise money for that.”

And now one of the state’s biggest environmental-advocacy organizations, PennEnvironoment, has thrown its weight behind Strassburger.

“When it comes to protecting our environment, there’s no one better than Erika,” said PennEnvironment director David Masur in a press release. “For nearly a decade, Erika put her money where her mouth is when it comes to protecting our environment and health — now, and for our kids and future generations.”

Masur notes in the press release Strassburger’s focus on improving Pittsburgh water quality was a key factor in PennEnvironment providing its endorsement. According to samples taken in December 2017, more than 100 sites in Pittsburgh had lead levels in drinking water above the federal standards. The PWSA is looking to replace 2,100 lead service lines this year.

PennEnvironment deputy director Adam Garber said in a press release that he believes Strassburger will fight for clean water, as well as other environmental causes in the city.

“Erika has walked the walk in so many ways, and her priorities are clear. We know she will be an excellent ally and advocate for Pittsburghers who want clean air, clean water, and great open spaces when she is elected to City Council,” said Garber in a press release.

Strassburger, previously registered as a Democrat, is running as an independent against Democrat Sonja Finn, Republican Rennick Remley and Marty Healey, of the newly created Inclusion Party.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Democratic Socialist Kareem Kandil seeking Pennsylvania state house seat in suburban Pittsburgh

Posted By on Mon, Feb 19, 2018 at 1:57 PM

Kareem Kandil - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CAMPAIGN
  • Photo courtesy of the campaign
  • Kareem Kandil
Pennsylvania's 30th State House District isn’t the most conservative district in the region, but it still supports Republicans. State Rep. Hal English (R-Hampton) has represented the North Hills district since 2013, and though the district has become a bit more liberal over the years, voters there still supported President Donald Trump by a 7-point margin in the 2016 election.

But even with the district’s conservative leanings, a socialist candidate believes he can flip the district from red to blue. Kareem Kandil is a member of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, a progressive grassroots group that formed to push left-leaning, populist policies similar to those espoused by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

Kandil is running as a Democrat in the 30th District, which includes Fox Chapel, O’Hara Township, Hampton Township and Richland. Kandil believes policies like single-payer health care and stricter environmental regulations have support among voter in the 30th District.

“I want to talk to constituents about universal issues,” says Kandil. “Everybody wants good health care, good schools and clean air.”

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