EXCLUSIVE: Progressive super PAC launches $20M ad blitz in Pa., 2020 battleground states | Thursday Morning Coffee

(American Bridge, screen capture)

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

They’re baaaaccckkkk … 

Just in time for the 2020 campaign to heat up again, the progressive super PAC American Bridge has launched a 10-week, $20 million ad blitz looking to shore up ex-Veep Joe Biden’s bona fides among older voters. The so-called “Swing Project,” which runs through the end of August, will initially include TV and radio buys, followed by a digital campaign, in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The kick-off ads, according to American Bridge, feature older voters in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, who explain why they’re supporting Biden, who held a virtual fund-raiser with ex-Gov. Ed Rendell on Wednesday, and who’s scheduled to campaign in Philadelphia on Thursday. The launch includes 30- and 60-second spots in each state, American Bridge said in a statement.

The ads will air in several markets statewide: Erie, Harrisburg/Lancaster, Johnstown/Altoona, Pittsburgh, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Pennsylvania ad features a voter named Janie from Westmoreland County, who said she voted for Trump in 2016, but became disillusioned.

“If I have one word to describe him, I would say ‘disappointed,'” she said. “Things would have been so much different if we’d had Joe Biden as president. Joe Biden knows how the government runs. He know what works and what doesn’t work. It’s nice he has Pennsylvania roots because he knows what Pennsylvanians are all about.”

The legend “Not a paid actor,” runs underneath Janie’s image in the ad. The Capital-Star was able to confirm that she was voter in 2016.

In a statement, American Bridge President Bradley Beychok said the super PAC’s “strategy of lifting up local voices and having neighbors talk to neighbors about why they can no longer support Donald Trump is already moving the needle in places he can’t afford to lose.”

The new campaign marks a return to Pennsylvania for American Bridge, which launched an eight-figure campaign in the Keystone State and other 2020 battleground states in February and March.

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Our Stuff.
Confirming one of the worst-kept secrets in the Capitol, state House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, will leave office on June 15. Stephen Caruso has the details on Turzai’s lede-burying valedictory lap in the House chamber on Wednesday afternoon, as well as this look at how Black lawmakers feel about Turzai’s 11th hour decision to insert himself into the debate on police reform.

Elizabeth Hardison goes deep on the forces that are driving Black Lives Matters protests in rural, white enclaves across the state, and what that signals about changing public sentiment in small town Pennsylvania.

With most of the state partially or fully reopened and the warm weather closing in, the Wolf administration has issued its guidance for a host of outdoor businesses, from tennis clubs to miniature golf courses. Your humble newsletter author gamely tries to sink the ball between the clown’s teeth.

Gov. Tom Wolf and Senate Republicans are headed to Commonwealth Court in their fight over a bill seeking to rescind Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency order, Pittsburgh Correspondent Kim Lyons reports.

George Floyd’s brother begged a Congressional committee Wednesday not to let his late sibling become ‘just another face on a t-shirt,‘  Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender reports. Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Reps. Mary Gay Scanlon and Madeleine Dean, along with Republican U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler heard the testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

On our Commentary Page this morning, Kevin Williams, of our sibling site the Ohio Capital Journal, says police officers need to face increased accountability when they strike out against protesters. And when cities engage in police reform, evidence shows that it works, opinion regular John Tures writes.

Vanessa Garrett Harley, Deputy Managing Director, Criminal Justice & Public Safety and Mayor Jim Kenney discuss preventive initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence and gun trauma (Philadelphia Tribune photo by Abdul Sulayman)

Elsewhere.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney approved using tear gas on protesters in the city, the Inquirer reports.
Pittsburgh City Paper has published a photo of Post-Gazette Editor Keith Burris posing with then-candidate Donald Trump, positing that it’s evidence of the kind of journalistic bias that Burris decried in a front-page column on Wednesday.
PennLive looks at the new discussion about racism between high school coaches and their players.
The annual MusikFest in the Lehigh Valley is going virtual this year, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

With protests in Philadelphia moving into their 12th day, the focus has shifted to the suburbsWHYY-FM reports.
NYMag’s Intelligencer goes deep on the effectiveness and accuracy of coronavirus testing.
Restrictions on religious gatherings have led to lawsuits in at least 30 states, Stateline reports.
U.S. Aid, which provides foreign aid, is defending a political appointee who wrote anti-LGBTQ and anti-Islam postsTalking Points Memo reports.

What Goes On.
Time TBD:
 Daily Wolf/Levine briefing. Stay tuned.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Have a birthday you’d like observed in this space? Hit us up on [email protected].

Heavy Rotation.
In honor of that now-notorious dude on Twitter who was shocked to find out that Rage Against the Machine were a political band, here’s ‘Take the Power Back.’

Thursday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link.
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And now you’re up to date.

John L. Micek
John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. He's been covering Pennsylvania politics for more than 20 years and most recently served as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Micek's commentary is syndicated to more than 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. And he's a regular contributor to a host of broadcast outlets in Pennsylvania and abroad.