Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Around the politicians

Lots of chatter as the political season gets underway...
  • US Senate/House:

    1. Tom Ferrick wonders about U.S. Rep (PA-7) Kurt Weldon's priorities, in particular his association with the lunatic fringe and his exclusive focus on international matters. A substantial challenger may force him to pay more attention to the home front.

    2. Above Average Jane looks at the freshman Congressfolk from the Philadelphia area, and finds that Mike Fitzpatrick (R-08) has had mighty little to say on the record during his first term. She promises to provide a similar analysis for Allyson Schwartz in a few days.

      Update: AAJ has retracted her first post, because it turns out that the searches are much more difficult than first imagined (some data is stored, e.g., under "Mr. Fitzpatrick" with no first name). Some sort of revised analysis to follow...

    3. In the Democratic primary for Senate, two women's rights groups have endorsed dark-horse Alan Sandals over either party heart-throb Casey (pro-life) or slightly more visible underdog Pennacchio (pro-choice, but in favor of parental notification). The groups are NOW and the Feministy Majority, so that's some serious early weight, as much for symbolism as for impact on fundraising. [More here.]

    4. In related news, an editorial writer uses the decision of Kate Michelman to stay out of the Senate primary as the spur to a look at whether the instant-runoff system of voting might give voters a better way to speak their minds without worrying about getting their least favorite candidate elected in the process. It would certainly change the way we think about least-of-evils races!

  • Philadelphia stuff:

    1. The Inquirer reports on a power-brokering luncheon among Mayor John Street, local Democratic party chair (and US Rep.) Bob Brady, and Councilmen Frank DiCicco and James Kenney. Agenda? Mending the intra-party feuds before the important 2006 and 2007 elections. Speculative secondary motivation: snarking about fellow weight-thrower John Dougherty.

    2. In the wake of his criminal convictions, but with months to go before sentencing, it appears that Rick Mariano intends to keep his City Council job (and paycheck), but will resign his committee chairmanships (more here). This choice has elicited a number of reactions around town, including muted statements by his colleagues (4 support an immediate resignation, but none will submit a motion to that effect), exasperation from the Daily News opinion page, and a combination of cynical sighing and a call for Council action from DN columnist Jill Porter.

    3. The Daily News has a feature story looking at U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah's prospects for the 2007 mayoral race, and the pros and cons of being considered an early frontrunner. He brings a lot of resources to the race, but also has to keep up with high expectations as a result.


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