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The Torches and Pitchforks are Still on Standby

Wow. If anyone thought that incumbents could cruise to safety in 2012, Pennsylvania just showed that voters are still pissed off. The Speaker of the House – a race I didn’t see anyone mentioning as seriously competitive prior to last night – just barely squeaked out a challenge from within his own party. He even lost the part of the district he lives in! A total of five sitting incumbent state lawmakers lost their seats last night, and members of Congress were sent some walking papers, too.

For gun owners, here’s what’s relevant:

Babette Josephs is gone. She was defeated in a primary after she was caught illegally campaigning inside of a polling place. This video made from soundbites of Philly politicians pushing gun control features her rants about how only a few people who show to protest in Harrisburg are the only people in all of Pennsylvania who oppose radical gun control. She was pushing the idea of overturning Castle Doctrine here in the Commonwealth in honor of Trayvon Martin. My favorite comment from her was actually on Facebook about breastfeeding. She said a staffer was a new mom and bragged that her office was breastfeeding-friendly. Great, that’s the law since it’s a state building. I guess as a Philly lawmaker, she probably should be patted on the back for not breaking the law, but I still like to hold my standards a little higher. Sebastian had an experience with her office that showed they may be breastfeeding-friendly, they were hardly tolerant of gun owners coming in to have a conversation.

No, the seat isn’t going pro-gun. Regardless, gun owners should still celebrate the victory of ousting a lawmaker who wasn’t even willing to give them the respect of her time. The future representative also walks into the office as a freshman rather than with her seniority.

Patrick Murphy‘s political career was largely summed up as this: Over. He lost his Congressional seat in 2010, and then he set his sights on Attorney General as a stepping stone to Governor. He seemingly expected to walk right into the position with his national fundraising contacts and support of Barack Obama. What he didn’t count on was an opponent who has, oh, actually tried cases in Pennsylvania – a teeny, tiny thing missing from Murphy’s resume. And the woman brought in Bill Clinton to campaign for her. In case Murphy didn’t notice, Pennsylvania Democrats actually like the Clintons. They didn’t support Obama in the primary in 2008, a reflection that he was out-of-touch with the state outside of Philadelphia.

The Attorney General‘s race is big for gun owners. That’s the office that handles reciprocity with other states for carry licenses. Gov. Tom Corbett made an effort to seek out states that would sign agreements when he was in the office. We know that anti-gun groups have put a target on cutting reciprocity agreements – something they previously tried to attack in the legislature when they knew the Attorney General wouldn’t do it. I believe that the woman who beat Murphy is more anti-gun than he was in Congress. It seems odd that I would celebrate her win, but she ended Murphy’s political career as a whole. Now, it’s time to beat her.

We mourn the loss of pro-gun Blue Dogs last night. Congressman Tim Holden was NRA A-rated, but he was dealt a devastating loss last night. The Democratic nominee for the district, Matt Cartwright, has never held office before and refused to return NRA’s questionnaire. However, he told the local media that he swears he’s pro-gun even though he also generally campaigned on the message that he’s farther to the left than Rep. Holden. It sounds like Democratic gun owners in that part of the state need to start picking up their phones and firing up their keyboards to actually demand some answers from Mr. Cartwright.

On the far western edge of the state, two A+ rated Democrats engaged in a pretty bitter primary fight. While they are rated the same on guns, Rep. Jason Altmire has actually made time for the NRA by speaking at the convention and actually leading on the Democratic side of the aisle. Unfortunately, unions painted a giant target on his back and vowed to end his political career for opposing Obama’s healthcare law. With gun control not a major difference between the two Democrats, Altmire fell last night to Rep. Mark Critz.

In better news, NRA’s endorsed candidate in PA-4 (the former PA-19) won the GOP primary with more than 50% of the vote. That doesn’t sound too impressive until you consider that Scott Perry won a seven-way race. Yeah, huge. That race was effectively the general election. It also goes to show that money isn’t everything in a contest because Perry wasn’t the biggest fundraiser of the field.

10 Responses to “The Torches and Pitchforks are Still on Standby”

  1. David says:

    Matt Cartwright is noting more than a talking parrot for the DNC and the DNC agenda. He’ll be just as bad as any philly lawmaker. So much for the redistricting. Both Holden and Altmire should have flipped parties in 2010 when at least one of them was considering it.

  2. Adam Z says:

    Bitter,

    The one thing that you did not comment about in this post…was that hand-picked Republican candidate for US Senate by the GOP establishment/State party Steve Welch…got smacked down pretty good last night. Tom Smith won that primary followed by garning almost 40% of the vote with Sam Rohrer coming in second with 22% and Steve Welch…the hand picked candidate by the GOP (now with egg on their face) came in 3rd with barely 21% of the vote.

    http://www.electionreturns.state.pa.us/ElectionsInformation.aspx?FunctionID=13&ElectionID=45&OfficeID=2

    As a side note, Pennsylvanians decided that Ron Paul should come in 3rd place for the Presidential portion of the primary garning only 13% of the vote…and effectively “losing” to a candidate – Rick Santorum – who is not even in the Presidential race at the time of the primary.

    http://www.electionreturns.state.pa.us/ElectionsInformation.aspx?FunctionID=13&ElectionID=45&OfficeID=1

  3. Jacob says:

    Anything about Allyson Schwartz?

    • Bitter says:

      She is solidly safe. The district was quite literally designed just for her.

    • Adam Z says:

      Unfortunately I am quite familiar with Schwartzy and volunteered/gave some funds to Dee Adcock’s campaign during 2010 when he challenged her for PA-13. He put up some of his own funds (over $500K) and did manage to raise over $400K.

      http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/cancomsrs/?_10+H0PA13080

      H0PA13080 ADCOCK, CARSON DEE House
      Pennsylvania 13 Republican Party Challenger

      Total Receipts: $935,168
      Transfers From Authorized Committees: $0
      Individual Contributions: $368,993
      Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Committees: $29,525
      Contributions from Party Committees $250
      Candidate Contribution: $0
      Candidate Loans: $535,000
      Other Loans: $0

      Total Disbursements: $932,478
      Transfers to Authorized Committees: $0
      Individual Refunds: $765
      Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Refunds: $0
      Candidate Loan Repayments: $8,700
      Other Loan Repayments: $0

      Beginning Cash: $0
      Latest Cash On Hand: $2,690
      Debts Owed By: $526,300

      Committees Included:
      DEE ADCOCK FOR CONGRESS C00469627

      But unfortunately he lost to her in the general election by about 27K votes or around 56% to 44%…which was pretty close considering the recent history of challengers going up against her…

      http://www.electionreturns.state.pa.us/ElectionsInformation.aspx?FunctionID=13&ElectionID=39&OfficeID=11#13

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PA-13

      This year’s Republican challenger James/Joe Rooney, has a grand spanking total of around $7,600 in the bank as of the last filing. Unfortunately I don’t think he will win PA-13 as she has way too much money, the PA State Committee does not seem interested in the race and the demographics as Bitter had stated are not in his favor. The lesson of learning of how to pick your battles to fight in, is one that I learned quite well during the 2010 Election campaign.

      http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/cancomsrs/?_12+H2PA13110

      H2PA13110 ROONEY, JOSEPH JAMES House
      Pennsylvania 13 Republican Party Challenger

      Total Receipts: $27,677
      Transfers From Authorized Committees: $0
      Individual Contributions: $18,373
      Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Committees: $75
      Contributions from Party Committees $0
      Candidate Contribution: $9,229
      Candidate Loans: $0
      Other Loans: $0

      Total Disbursements: $20,092
      Transfers to Authorized Committees: $0
      Individual Refunds: $0
      Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Refunds: $0
      Candidate Loan Repayments: $0
      Other Loan Repayments: $0

      Beginning Cash: $0
      Latest Cash On Hand: $7,585
      Debts Owed By: $0

      Committees Included:
      JOE ROONEY FOR CONGRESS C00506584

      • Bitter says:

        Don’t feel bad. Everyone has that uphill campaign they support. :) Besides, the district was more friendly to a Republican in 2010 than it is now.

        We’re probably going to need some help here in Bucks/upper Montco for Fitzpatrick. Unless his Dem opponent goes nuts on far liberal issues, then it might be a little safer. Meehan now has some fingers up into Montco, and he’ll need help. State races will be where it’s at for most gun owners, I think – at least for AG.

  4. Andy B. says:

    I’m surprised but pleased (except for the “devil you know” considerations) at Babette Joseph’s loss, and I’ll be looking for some analysis of what really happened. I worked with a candidate opposing her, as long ago as 1986 or 1988 — I forget. I thought she’d die in that office. She really must have shat in church — or gotten goofier than she was — to lose.

    Tom Smith ran TV ads that I saw. If Steve Welch ran any, I missed them. Right there I think you have the whole story. Welch and Rohrer probably came out nearly even because Welch had party backing, while Rohrer had more name recognition and a longtime social conservative/Christian following. Neither counts for much compared to a few minutes of TV exposure.

    • Bitter says:

      I doubt there’s any big secret to her loss. She didn’t lose by a landslide, so her base of support just slowly dried up. She did lose to an openly gay man – the first openly gay lawmaker we’ll have in PA, I believe. I read that he was once her campaign treasurer. However, last primary she was challenged by a bisexual man in a same sex relationship, and she was caught mocking his sexuality at an event, IIRC. While the LBGT groups stuck by their endorsements of her, I’m sure her mocking of someone’s sexuality didn’t sit well with individual LBGT supporters.

      I don’t want to say that the loss is absolutely all on that issue, but if she has made other slips towards different allied groups over the years, then I’m sure it’s catching up to her.

  5. Andy B. says:

    “. . .he was challenged by a bisexual man in a same sex relationship, and she was caught mocking his sexuality at an event, IIRC.”

    Thanks for the analysis. That sounds about as close to my “shat in church” guess as she was likely to get. I don’t know what Joseph’s district was like, today, but years ago her opponent who I worked with lived in a very gay area of Philly.

    My memory of her is, that she got really outraged when the House Black Caucus wouldn’t allow her to join, after she was first elected. She didn’t see why not being black should be relevant.

    In the past the state chapter of the ACLU operated out of her Harrisburg office, so I know she was popular with them, for that, though my impression was they were not overly impressed with her legal acumen.

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