Saturday, May 08, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1176, May 8th, 2010



Elections have defining moments. Usually those are never defined in a campaign but prior to the race. Whether it was a pardon issued by a Michael Dukakis or Mark Singel or a phrase uttered by a candidate like George Allen. Edmund Muskie crying in New Hampshire we can go on and on. The recent race for the State Senate in the 14th district has a lot of dynamics. You have two candidates in the form of tom Leighton and John Yudichak who are formidable. Leighton is a two term Mayor that has an aura of invincibility about his candidacy. When I was in Abe’s one day I heard a few Wilkes barre residents talking about the “new Mayor”. It was assumed Leighton would not fill out his term. Yudichak on the other hand is just as strong with relationships among union members and rank and file party members that revere his Kennedy-esque looks and down home mannerisms. Plus Yudichak has an uncanny ability to convert voters once they meet him. Some Democrats have told me they wish they could vote for both. Both have an adequate supply of money and pockets of strength. Leighton can come out of Wilkes Barre with a solid majority, but Yudichak can tap into the Democratic strongholds of Nanticoke, Pittston and Exeter. It is my belief that Exeter might be an important factor in this race. But what will determine this race are two vital questions. Will Tom Leighton be damaged by his admission that he wrote a letter on behalf of Bill Brace who was charged with a felony? Leighton argues that he was standing by a friend and that to me is admirable. I’d most likely do the same thing. Where the damage comes in that that Leighton didn’t answer the question until the debate. Yudichak’s issue is the property in Harrisburg he uses with per deim money. Yudichak has been vocal in his demands that the Legislature police itself more but critics say he might be coming to that realization too late. With all the money, ads, posturing, whispers in the ear, media confrontations this race will boil down to one basic tenant. Will voters be bothered more by Leighton’s letter or Yudichak’s house? Political decisions in this state’s history have turned on a lot less.


In an earth shattering political development, the Times Leader has endorsed Corey O’Brien for the 11th District nomination for Congress. O’Brien has been running a confident shoe leather campaign beating a path to every voter he can in the district. O’Brien is also using some very sophisticated voting methodology that elected one B. Obama two years ago. The Times Leader said: The Moosic resident, 36, impressed our endorsement panel as an earnest, energetic candidate who, if elected, will push for needed government reforms and work for the betterment of the entire region, not merely his turf. On the campaign trail, O’Brien also touts an economic development plan he devised, “Project Main Street,” which he believes would foster job growth. Our panel wasn’t fully sold on the concept, but agreed it demonstrated O’Brien’s commitment to bringing resources to the district, improving employment prospects and thinking “big picture.” He offers the district’s Democratic voters an option they haven’t seen much lately: fresh ideas and a fresh face.
O’Brien can use this endorsement to generate last minute revenue and excitement for his under dog campaign. All that said, political endorsements by newspapers no longer have the clout they once did. Just ask Luzerne County Common Pleas Court Judges Michael Blazick and Richard Hughes.


The race for Bob Mellow’s Senate seat is also heating up. WVIA TV had a cdebate the other night and the 7 candidates squared off in a mild showdown. Chris Phillips, Chuck Volpe, Jim Wansacz, John Blake and Joe Corcoran have to divvy up the Democratic pie in Lackawanna County. Volpe in another time and place might have run away with this but his ties to politicians and his contributions over the years muddies his independent message. State Representative Jim Wansacz has a hard core group of supporters but he has per diem problems and might have trouble living down hos “Red Roof Inn” remark. Former County Commissioner Joe Corcoran is said to be the favorite of the old line etablishment Democrats but one wonders if his time has passed. The track record for former County Commissioners winning higher office once they are gone in LuLac land is not good. John Blake has the most government service and most likely can give a primer on the inner workings of state and local government but he has never faced personally the rough and tumble of a campaign where he was personally at stake. Chris Doherty the Mayor of Scranton is trying to do what he’s done best, develop a juggernaut and not only win the Democratic nomination but the GOP one too. Doherty has a machine that is loyal only to him. There are no second choices for Doherty voters, it’s him or nobody. GOPer Frank Scavo’s challenge and it will be a huge one is to make sure Doherty doesn’t walk away with the GOP nomination. Can you imagine this scenario: Doherty places second or third as a Democrat and wins the GOP nomination. The county GOP is trying very hard to reestablish itself and Scavo has to know that fact. Last but not least is Chris Phillips. Phillips is young, earnest and tenacious. Plus he is the only one to call out Senator Bob Mellow, a risky strategy in a Democratic primary. The bottom line on this race is simply the fact that these 5 candidates on the Democratic side will bunch up. Don’t be surprised if the winner squeaks by with less than 100 votes. There are pockets of voters for all five viable candidates. Who gets the most voters turning out on Election Day will win on the Democratic side. On the GOP side, Scavo under normal circumstances should win but the reach of Chris Doherty transcends party lines. This might be the most compelling and exciting race in the primary.


Attorney Jennifer Rogers had a beautiful sentiment on her FaceBook page regarding her mom. I asked her permission to republish it here.
On this Mother's Day, I thank you, Mom. Thank you for having the courage to not be my friend, but my mother. Thank you for not telling me what I want to hear if you do not believe it to be so. Thank you for expectations and standards and not allowing the easy way out. . . .thank you for loving me to the point of exhaustion. . . .thank you, thank you, thank you for showing me the value of who I am.
Well put and applicable to all of us. It just happens to fall under the category of "Wish I wrote that".


During the 2009 Judicial race in Luzerne County I met Jennifer's mom at numerous debates and forums. And the pleasure was all mine. It got me to thinking though of political moms who stumped for their kids. Here's a few mothers that did good things for their kids on the campaign trail.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy: She was relentless in boosting the political careers of all of her children. And her faith in destiny and God was unshakable.
Ellen Casey: The former First Lady of the Commonwealth was an influence on all of her children but certainly on the ones that threw their hats into the ring.
Roberta McCain: She was tart, well put together, articulate and rallied hard for her son in the 2008 campaign. I sometimes wonder judging by her body language what she really thought of Sarah Palin.
Jean Biden: The scrappy kid from Scranton/Delaware was not shy about bringing to the forefront his mom who opined on the Veep candidate's stutter, her jousts with his teachers and growing up in the Electric City. The late Mrs. Biden was a Democratic crowd favorite.
Lillian Carter: Miss Lillian was steadfast in her iron willed support of her son in the 1976 Presidential contest. She was a media darling and was apparently stunned when she found her delightful just for speaking her mind.
Barbara Bush: Mrs. Bush has visited the area a few times and campaigned long and hard for her two sons Jeb and George. You kind of got the feeling that if both got out of line, she'd be there with a smack to the side of the head.


At 8:27 AM, Anonymous Your Friend and Political Sparing Partner said...

I saw the WVIA debates. What was with Volpe and the Mayor. Two of the wealthiest guys around and don't know how to dress. Volpe to wear that type of skinny tie you have to be very, very thin. It just looked like a long bolo. And Mayor... Jesus Crhist a pin striped suit with a diagnol striped tie? And the shirt color was autrocious if you can't match colors wear a white shirt!!!.... Money can't buy fashion sense.

At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the Mayor mounting a write in campaign on the republican side? There is no cross filing at that level. If Scavo loses to a write in campaign it is time for him to stop runing for office. Frank is a good guy, but his constant jumping at every fringe group really hurts his credibility. Voice of the People USA and now the Tea Party. To be taken serious as a candidate you don't jump on every fringe bandwagon.

At 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice tribute to the moms. I too had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Rogers and her husband on the campaign trail last year. Also I thought the inclusion of the political moms was good too. Your take on the 14th district race is interesting. Your counterpart Joe V. says that Leighton seems like the type of guy you'd like to have a beer with and Yudichak is not. I have found just the opposite. But I think Leighton's strength might be patted down in the Greater Pittston area. Anyway, those are my thoughts and once again I appreciate your daily take on things.
Helen Fulbright

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corey O'Brien is an exciting young candidate and I am going to vote for him. But you are correct, the endorsement from a newspaper doesn't carry the same heft that it did years ago. Everybody fretted when Bill Amesbury didn't get the endorsement of the all the papers last year but he sure got all the votes.

At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once more you are spot on in the races in the 22nd and 14th. With the new voting machines making it easier to write a name in the distinct possibility of a Dem winning the GOP seat in either district is not a remote possibility.

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On political mothers, one of the most fascinating political moments came when Nixon was in the East Room of the White House on the day he vacated the White Office. He proclaimed, "My mother was a saint" and then in a reference to a biography of Rose Kennedy scowled, still ruminating on his own mother, "nobody wrote any books about her!" Nixon. He was classic!

At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And let us never forget that the big race in the lac is going to be the senate one where turnout will be a huge factor. organization is the key and i don't see blake or volpe having it.

At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I give Leighton a big pat on the back for writing a letter to the judge commenting on the past life of Bill Brace. Leighton didn't excuse the sin and as a good Christian, he did what Christ would want him to, he did a good and charitable act by explaining to the judge that Brace made have made a terrible mistake but his life is not filled with mistakes, his life had been onr of a good citizen do more for his community than most. Brace broke the law and fell from grace. Leighton didn't make excuses for what Brace did, all he tried to do was to let the judge know that there are two sides to Bill Brace. There are many who condemn Tom Leighton for reaching out to help Bill Brace but you can be sure the Christ is on the side of Mayor Leighton on this action. As for the election, how can people compare a charitable letter for a friend to a guy who took taxpayer supported per diem tax dollars and used to to purchase a privat home in Harrisburg? Yudichak took per diem money like a greedy little pig and when he got caught, he decided to speak out about expense abuse in Harrisburg. Hellooooo! Yuddi, your the guy who did the abusing and I'm not going to forget it on Election day. All I will remember is that you took the raise even if you clam you didn't and you abused the per diem while Mayor Tom Leighton voluntairly put a cap on his own salary and did not take a city vehicle to use while in office. Nobody made an issue of it, nobody "caught" him doing wrong, Lleighton did what no other officer holder has ever done, HE PUT A CAP ON HIS OWN SALARY AND HE TURNED DOWN A CAR FOR HIS PERSONAL USE! I'M VOTHING FOR TOM LEIGHTON.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Pizza Pete said...

After much thought and consideration, I give the pizza to Mayor Tom Leighton. His capping his own salary is somthing he did not have to do and refusing a car for his personal use is also something he didn't have to do. Yudichak abusing the per diem policy to purchase a house is really over the top. In good concious I cannot give Yudichak a pizza. Mayor Tom gets the pie.

At 9:37 PM, Blogger Pizza Pete said...

"Your Friend and Political Sparing Partner said..."

Absolutely NO pizza for you. A debate to sway votes for the next State Senator and you're caught up in fashion ... To give you a pizza would be sacrilegious and I ain't gonna be sacrilegious for anybody.

If you ever want to eat another pizza in my shop, you will get your head on straight, change your dress/skirt and pay attention to what a debate is all about.

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Your friend and Political Sparing Partner said...

Yo Pizza Hut Pete, it is called levity.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Pizza Pete said...

Sorry, this damn flour in the air often times affect the sight and the mind. Now that can see your point, I will deliver a pizza to you. Your favorite topping is?

At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overkill there Pizza Pete. Lay back a bit, too much. By the way where is your Pizza Shop? Heres your chance for a plug. Lets see how your Pizza stacks up!

Pizza Lover


Post a Comment

<< Home