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Happy weekend, all.
Welcome to the first Five for the Weekend of 2022!
We hope all of you had a joyous and restful holiday season.
If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to read more, why not start by reading along with the Capital-Star book club – the Penn Capital-Star Readers?
Those interested can join the group via Goodreads.com, where we post discussion questions about group-read books, share post-read takeaways and offer recommendations for further reading.
Last year, the group read five books together. Our goal is to read another five books together this year.
We are taking recommendations on what to read for our first book of 2022 until Jan. 12. Drop your thoughts on the Goodreads page and we hope you’ll join us!
As always, your Top 5 Most-Read Stories of the week start below.
Gov. Tom Wolf has often said he’s “not a politician.” But before a vote on a key climate policy last month, his administration reached for a classic piece of Harrisburg leverage — state funding for local projects — to get Democratic lawmakers in line.
On the record, no Democratic lawmakers would acknowledge the tactic. But privately, lawmakers and lobbyists noted that the Democratic Wolf administration implied that gubernatorial sign-off for millions in state aid to lawmakers’ districts was contingent on backing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI.
The threat of withholding state funding is a bit of political hardball that Capitol observers say they haven’t seen from the 72-year-old, second-term governor since he took office in 2015.
CARLISLE, Pa. — Thirteen Republican hopefuls crowded onto a Dickinson College stage on Wednesday night in the first debate of a wide-open race to become Pennsylvania’s next governor.
On stage Wednesday night were:
- Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, of Centre County
- Sen. Scott Martin, of Lancaster County
- Charlie Gerow, a conservative activist and former lobbyist, of Cumberland County
- Jason Richey, an Allegheny County attorney
- Bill McSwain, a veteran and former federal prosecutor, of Chester County
- Guy Ciarrocchi, a business advocate and former legislative staffer, of Chester County
- Dave White, a tradesmen and former Delaware County councilmember
- County Commissioner Joe Gale, of Montgomery County
- Jason Monn, a business owner and former mayor in Erie County
- Nche Zama, a Monroe County heart surgeon
- Melissa Hart, a former U.S. representative from Allegheny County
- John Ventre, former UPS executive from Westmoreland County
- Shawn Berger, a Carbon County business owner
It was a cruel summer for Pennsylvania Democrats as Republicans resumed their voter registration gains.
In fact, it was a tough few months for Dems in D.C. as well. The COVID surge caused by the Delta Variant, combined with the contentious withdrawal from Afghanistan and gridlock in Washington, sent President Biden’s approval ratings into a tailspin.
Those struggles were reflected in the Keystone State’s registration numbers. After the Dems expanded their advantage to 630,075 in June, Republicans were able to drive that edge down to 605,493.
As of last week, Pennsylvania had 4,025,694 registered Democrats and 3,420,201 registered Republicans. That’s a double drop from June, when there were 4,057,723 Democrats and 3,427,648 Republicans.
To get a sense of where these changes are taking place, let’s take a deep dive into the numbers.
Josh Shapiro is expected to tap a western Pennsylvania state representative to be his running mate in 2022.
Shapiro, the state’s attorney general and, so far, the Democrats’ only candidate for governor in 2022, will publicly endorse state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, as his pick for lieutenant governor in the coming weeks, Democratic sources told the Capital-Star on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old Davis, first elected in a 2018 special election, represents a diverse district in the Monongahela Valley southeast of Pittsburgh, including both majority Black boroughs and white working class enclaves.
Davis has previously told the Capital-Star he was interested in running for the position, arguing he’d be a good governing partner and that Pennsylvania Democrats “can no longer have tickets of two white men.”
Guy Ciarrocchi is a 57-year-old business advocate and former staffer for Republican lawmakers in Washington D.C. and Harrisburg. A resident of Paoli in Chester County, he formerly led the county’s chamber of commerce before he left the job to run for governor.
Ciarrocchi has argued that the economy is the most important issue in the race, and thinks he can use his mix of experiences — including his time as chief of staff for former Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley — to change how the state’s bureaucracy works with businesses to encourage economic growth.
And that’s the week. See you all back here next week.
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