House Repubs set to hold leadership elections today. Who will move up? | Monday Morning Coffee

June 22, 2020 7:19 am

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf delivers his sixth budget address to a joint session of the general assembly inside the House of Representatives chamber at the State Capitol in Harrisburg on Friday, December 13, 2019 (Photo from Commonwealth Media Services).

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

The House comes in for pretty much one purpose this Monday morning: To play the political equivalent of volleyball, where everyone rotates (more or less) by one position, to fill out a Turzai-shaped hole in the caucus’ leadership structure.

Unless the Earth spins off its axis today which is entirely possible, because this is 2020, after all, and someone out there has to have ‘Galactic Apocalypse‘ on their Bingo card, House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, will move from one side of the House hallway to another to serve as speaker for the balance of the 2020 legislative session.

Which brings us to the question of the rest of the House GOP’s leadership structure. Plenty of names are being bandied about — and we’ll get to those in due course.

But if we do know anything, it’s that the new leadership structure will be reflective of the dizzying diversity of white, middle-aged opinion. Or as the late Dorothy Parker was wont to say, it will run the gamut from A to B. It’s the same problem afflicting the GOP across the country, as the party shrinks to reflect a base that is growing ever older and far whiter.

State Rep. Stan Saylor (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).

For those of you who are wondering about these things, we offered some of our best guesses for the new leadership structure late last week. We’ll repeat them here for the good of the order:

Majority Leader: The obvious contenders are current House Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor, R-York, and GOP Majority Whip Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, who’s in the No.2 spot in the caucus. One big question: Will the geographically diverse caucus want two central Pennsylvanians in the No. 1 and No. 2 positions? Moderate edge to Saylor whose veteran staff reportedly enjoys a good working relationship with the rest of the House GOP caucus.

Majority Whip: We’re reliably informed that this could be a potential three-way contest between current House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin, and Reps. Mike Reese, R-Westmoreland, and Donna Oberlander, R-ClarionKauffman’s star has been on the rise for a while now — is this his time to move up to leadership?

Appropriations: Current GOP Vice Chairman George Dunbar, R-Westmoreland, is a logical contender to succeed Saylor in the No. 1 spot. But we’re not counting out Rep. Seth Grove, R-York. With the amount of budget wonkery emanating from Grove’s office, it’s easy to mistake him for shadow chairman. Will he get a turn Monday?

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
Cassie Miller
 leads our coverage this morning, as she runs the numbers on mail-in balloting in the June 2 primary for this week’s edition of The Numbers Racket.

From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune, a pair of stories: The first follows 500 protesters who marched for Black and trans lives over the weekend. In the second, the Trib’s Michael D’Onofrio talks to a Temple University student leading a campaign to rename a city street that’s now named for the author of the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous ‘Dred Scott’ decision.

On our Commentary Page this morning, opinion regular Dick Polman says former national security adviser John Bolton didn’t step up when it counted, but there might be an upside.

En la Estrella-Capital‘Conozco mi camino:’ Con la decisión de la Corte Suprema sobre DACA, el futuro adolescente de Pa. mira a un futuro brillante y seguro. Y subvenciones de seguridad escolar para cubrir computadoras portátiles y desinfectante de manos en el 2020.

Love Park in Philadelphia (Photo via Flickr Commons)

Philadelphia’s biggest apartment owner has teamed with tenants to donate to COVID-19 relief, PhillyMag reports.
The Incline explains why ‘nothing has changed’ in Pittsburgh since Antwon Rose’s death two years ago.
The blood supply in the Harrisburg area is at an ‘historic low’ because of the pandemicPennLive reports.
The Morning Call takes a look at the Defund the Police movement in Allentown.

Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day:

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, who’s retiring this fall, is ‘fast-tracking’ a major gambling expansion for a donor, Spotlight PA reports.
Black professionals have missed out on recent jobs reports.
NY Mag’s Intelligencer counts down all the way’s Saturday’s Trump rally in Tulsa was a ‘complete disaster.’

What Goes On.
The House and Senate both convene in at 1 p.m. today. There’s a decent amount of committee action as well.
All committee sessions are live-streamed on the respective chambers’ websites.

In the Senate:
10 a.m.:
 Health & Human Services Committee
12 p.m.: Veteran Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee
12::30 p.m.: Communications & Technology Committee
Off the Floor: Appropriations Committee
Off the Floor: Education Committee

In the House:
10:15 a.m., G50 Irvis: 
Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee
12:30 p.m., G50 Irvis: Tourism & Recreational Development Committee
Call of the Chair, 205 Ryan: Aging & Older Adult Services Committee
Call of the Chair, 60 East Wing: Appropriations Committee
Call of the Chair, G50 Irvis: State Government Committee

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out to our former Morning Call colleague, Christine Schiavo, who celebrates today. Congratulations and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a classic from the late Robert Palmer, that seems as applicable now as then, it’s ‘Every Kind of People.’

Monday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link.
Thanks to another collapse, the 2020 baseball season won’t get started by July 19 after all, the Associated Press reports.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.