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Here, everybody and anybody is under scrutiny

By David M. Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, November 10, 2006

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy fired his scheduler, 10 days after she accused him of using his congressional staff to perform campaign activities on the public payroll.

House ethics rules prohibit members of Congress from using their offices, staff, equipment and supplies for campaign purposes. Staff are permitted to take part in campaign activities voluntarily when they are on their own time.

Murphy, a Republican from Upper St. Clair elected to a third term on Tuesday, has denied the accusations made by Jayne O'Shaughnessy. ..

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_479124.html

According to a May 2, 2006 Politically Uncorrected article "May 16" by Madonna and Young, 40 active PA Clean Sweep candidates remain to face the Primary incumbents.

...many of the original 100 challengers have failed to properly file their nominating petitions, and others have not waged vigorous campaigns. At the moment only about 40 primary challengers from Clean Sweep remain active approaching the May 16 primary... (Madonna and Young, Politically Uncorrected, May 2, 2006)

http://www.fandm.edu/x2198.xml

Recess timely after fiasco on property taxes
MICHAEL RACE is Harrisburg bureau chief for Times-Shamrock Newspapers 05/07/2006
HARRISBURG — Lawmakers left the Capitol this week for a recess until after the May 16 primary, but the break might better be described as a “cooling off” period...

Outrage fading?

As the primary approaches, recent developments are raising questions about whether the state government reform movement is losing steam.

Consider:

This week, activists angered over last year’s now-repealed pay raise hoped to stage a re-enactment of the July 7 vote that boosted salaries for lawmakers and other state officials. But after failing to recruit 253 volunteers to play the roles of state lawmakers, the two dozen protesters ended up rallying around a couple inflatable pigs.

Two weeks ago, anti-incumbent PACleanSweep held a candidates’ rally at the Capitol that drew about 30 of the 109 candidates the group has fielded for the elections — a significant dropoff from a similar rally earlier in the year that drew about 80 candidates.

A new poll this week found that while 53 percent do not want “most members of the state House of Representatives” re-elected, a full 50 percent would like to see their state representative re-elected...


http://thetimes-tribune.com/site/index.cfm?newsid=16597872&BRD=2185&PAG=461&dept_id=415898&rfi=8

Poll shows Rendell, Santorum gaining ground

PETER JACKSON
Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Three months after a poll showed Republican Lynn Swann nipping at the heels of Gov. Ed Rendell, a new survey by the same pollster gives the Democratic incumbent a double-digit lead.

In the U.S. Senate race, the poll released Thursday showed Democratic state Treasurer Bob Casey's lead over Republican incumbent Rick Santorum tightening from double digits in February to six percentage points.

Rendell led Swann 49 percent to 35 percent in the Keystone Poll by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. Russ Diamond, a critic of the legislative pay raise who hopes to run for governor as an independent candidate, attracted 3 percent.


http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/14498896.htm

April 27 - May 1, 2006
The most recent Pennsylvania statewide Franklin & Marshall Keystone Poll

http://www.fandm.edu/keystonepoll.xml

Rasmussen Reports Results:  http://tinyurl.com/omp92

http://www.keystonepolitics.com/Category9-All.html

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pacleansweep/message/12029

According to message posting, the Triad Strategies and Susquehanna Polling and Research (mentioned in politicspa Ups and Downs)(Friday) was revealed on PCN programming only, (that's why we couldn't find the poll from Google search y'day) and the results were cited as 6 percent for Russ Diamond.

Message posters don't believe the results of that poll, and ignore completely the Keystone Poll 3 % report.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pacleansweep/message/11999

PCN
PAST CALL-IN PROGRAMS AVAILBLE ONLINE:

Tuesday, May 2 - 7:00 p.m.
Topic: Triad Strategies/Susquehanna Poll Results
Guests: James Lee, President, Susquehanna Polling & Research
Roy Wells, President, Triad Strategies

http://www.pcntv.com/callprogram.htm

http://www.grassrootspa.com/

http://www.keystonepolitics.com/

http://www.post-gazette.com/election/

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/news/state/

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/opinion/columnists/whispers/s_448542.html

http://www.pennpatriot.5u.com/

Blogger Bill Bostic was a featured PCN guest May 4, just a mere two days after the Triad Strategies/Susquehanna Poll Results were unveiled by PCN Guests: James Lee, President, Susquehanna Polling & Research Roy Wells, President, Triad Strategies.

Friday, May 05, 2006
RECAP: Pennsylvania blogger debut on PCN

My TV debut on last night’s 9 p.m. PCN Call-In Program seemed to come off OK. (PCN will replay the show this morning at 10 a.m.)

http://billbostic.blogspot.com/

'New' voting machines for Allegheny County are gently used
Counties sharing throughout U.S.
Saturday, May 06, 2006

By Jerome L. Sherman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

During the May 16 primary, Allegheny County will deploy new voting machines for the first time in more than 40 years.

At least, they're almost "new." And some may have to be shared with counties in Tennessee.

To meet a strict federal deadline, Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software Inc. is supplying Allegheny County with 1,278 "pre-owned" touch-screen machines, according to a purchase order approved last month.

The county will have a total of 2,628 ES&S iVotronics in place for the primary, or two machines per voting precinct.

County officials have been thoroughly testing every unit, said Kevin Evanto, a spokesman for county Chief Executive Dan Onorato.

"In order to get 2,600 machines, some are being borrowed from other jurisdictions," he said. "But come November, we will have 4,700 new machines that will be owned by Allegheny County."

Before then, the purchase order says, "ES&S reserves the right to borrow all or part" of the county's fleet of machines for an Aug. 3 primary in Tennessee...

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06126/687998-85.stm

Recap and Roundup from y'day's historical events

According to the latest poll from the latest Franklin & Marshall Keystone poll, Ed Rendell has something of a lead over his soon-to-be official Republican challenger Lynn Swann, 49% to 35%. (As a footnote, gadfly indie Russ Diamond, should he make the ballot, is polling at all of 3%.)

http://www.swannblog.com/

Santorum closes gap, Rendell widens lead
By Brad Bumsted and David M. Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, May 4, 2006

Poll results are available under Web Links at the lower right of the page. HARRISBURG -- Aided by a $1-million-plus TV advertising blitz, Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell has opened a 14-point lead in his re-election campaign against Republican challenger Lynn Swann, according to the latest Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/WTAE-Channel 4 Keystone poll.

The statewide poll of 578 registered voters released today also showed U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn Hills, has pulled within six points of his likely Democratic challenger, state Treasurer Robert
P. Casey Jr., of Scranton.

The Keystone Poll directed by G. Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College, surveyed voters from April 27 through May 1. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus
4.1 percentage points.

Rendell, a former Philadelphia mayor, drew support from 49 percent of poll participants, compared with 35 percent for Swann, of Sewickley Heights. Independent gubernatorial hopeful Russ Diamond,
of Lebanon County, garnered support from 3 percent of the respondents
, while 13 percent of voters were undecided. In February, the Keystone Poll showed Swann and Rendell locked in a tight race...

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/news/election/s_450294.html

The Pittsburgh Channel:

New Keystone Poll: Rendell Gaining Ground

POSTED: 8:09 am EDT May 4, 2006

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- New survey results released on Thursday give
Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell a double-digit lead over Republican
challenger Lynn Swann.

Rendell led Swann 49 percent to 35 percent in the Keystone Poll by
the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College in
Lancaster. Russ Diamond, a critic of the legislative pay raise who
hopes to run as an independent candidate, attracted 3 percent
...

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/9158384/detail.html

Independent candidate for Governor Russ Diamond goes down this week as a poll conducted by Triad Strategies and Susquehanna Polling and Research, Diamond, a Lebanon small business owner and founder of PACleanSweep, is still an unknown quantity to 79 percent of the voters.

http://www.politicspa.com/UP&DOWN/UD.htm

OFF THE FLOOR BONUS COLUMN: House GOP backbenchers, not leaders, stall property tax vote Wednesday.
By Peter L. DeCoursey Bureau Chief Capitolwire

HARRISBURG (May 3) – Every time House Majority Leader Sam Smith, R-Punxsutawney, paused to consider a tough answer, the rumble came from most of his House GOP members, arrayed behind him on the marble steps of the Capitol Rotunda.

“We can do more!” members said in unison. “We can do better!”

The same rumble broke forth every time Smith appeared to be telling reporters anything other than that simple mantra for postponing the House vote on the conference report on property tax legislation.

Those House Republicans weren’t supporting the House majority leader as he pulled the plug on a pre-primary vote on property tax cuts.

They were coaching him, and making sure he didn’t say any more than they wanted him to. In Little League, they would have been banned from the game for interfering with the game.

The conservative heart of the Republican caucus had just won its biggest victory, and refused to allow a small splinter of its number to join with the Democrats and give Gov. Ed Rendell a major victory.

Smith initially thought about 40 or 50 House GOP members would vote for it and that 60 or so Democrats would give it the margin to pass. But as that House GOP vote total shrunk all day Wednesday, House Republicans began to hope they could stall a measure they didn’t like.

As House GOP backbenchers have grumbled for three years now, “We are in the majority; why do we always end up giving the margin of victory to a Democratic governor we don’t like and whose policies we disapprove of?”

That undertone was loud and ugly enough back when at the least the legislative leaders had delivered a pay raise.

But when even that evaporated, despite the fact that House leaders were the last to bend to the inevitable and join the repeal bandwagon, the ugly feelings in the House Republican caucus got louder.

And on the property tax issue, which is completely identified with Rendell, that dynamic that the House GOP hates was happening again.

This bill clearly gave people who live in, work in or got old in Philadelphia preferential treatment. It would cut most people’s property taxes, two or three years from now. And it would cast gambling as the savior of the elderly and homeowners, something social conservatives find very hard to stomach...

OFF THE FLOOR II: Property tax compromise no solution, but gives Rendell an argument to make.
By Peter L. DeCoursey
Bureau Chief
Capitolwire


HARRISBURG (May 1) – Even if the House approves the conference committee’s plan, Gov. Ed Rendell still won’t have what he promised the people of Pennsylvania: property tax reform checks that would start arriving by three years ago this July.

In fact, the Republicans who drafted the bill think it could be 2008 or 2009 until anyone who doesn’t take Geritol daily will get a property tax reduction.

All of the governor’s confident boasts that he could pass slots-funded property tax reform “in six months, standing on my head” will still ring hollow...

Capitolwire.com — Under The Dome™
Thursday, May 4, 2006

A Rendell rhetoric check is in order after his angry statement attacking House Republicans for not voting on the compromise property tax bill that passed the Senate the night before. You can decide for yourself whether Gov. Ed Rendell is right that the votes were there but the Republicans walked out to deny homeowners rebate checks, but the governor said the following: "While Rep. Sam Smith suggests that there is no rush, Pennsylvanians have waited 30 years for tax relief. The matter may not be urgent for the leader or members of his caucus, but it is urgent for those who are being taxed out of their homes." Umm, governor? Those folks being taxed out of their homes won't get any relief until mid-2007 even if Smith and the House GOP had voted for the bill unanimously last night. And they still have months in which they could vote for it, and still meet the bill's current schedule. The only urgency to doing something seems to be the political urgency of those facing elections this year who promised property tax cuts. Who could that be?...

http://www.capitolwire.com/

 

5 May 2006 22:19 EDT | Posted by pa/truthonline

Gov PA Poll Results Swann down, Rendell up Diamond at 3 percent
The Tribune Review misses the big story: Diamond went from 16 percent favorable in poll to now only 3 percent - this isn't worth a mention in the headline?

Ours: Santorum closes gap, Rendell widens lead over Swann, Diamond drops

Theirs:

Santorum closes gap, Rendell widens lead

By Brad Bumsted and David M. Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, May 4, 2006

Poll results are available under Web Links at the lower right of the page. HARRISBURG -- Aided by a $1-million-plus TV advertising blitz, Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell has opened a 14-point lead in his re-election campaign against Republican challenger Lynn Swann, according to the latest Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/WTAE-Channel 4 Keystone poll.

The statewide poll of 578 registered voters released today also showed U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn Hills, has pulled within six points of his likely Democratic challenger, state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., of Scranton.

The Keystone Poll directed by G. Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College, surveyed voters from April 27 through May 1. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Rendell, a former Philadelphia mayor, drew support from 49 percent of poll participants, compared with 35 percent for Swann, of Sewickley Heights. Independent gubernatorial hopeful Russ Diamond, of Lebanon County, garnered support from 3 percent of the respondents, while 13 percent of voters were undecided. In February, the Keystone Poll showed Swann and Rendell locked in a tight race...

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/news/election/s_450294.html

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- New survey results released on Thursday give Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell a double-digit lead over Republican challenger Lynn Swann.

Rendell led Swann 49 percent to 35 percent in the Keystone Poll by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. Russ Diamond, a critic of the legislative pay raise who hopes to run as an independent candidate, attracted 3 percent.

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/9158384/detail.html

 

5 May 2006 19:53 EDT | Posted by pa/truthonline

Who is pro-abortion watch the numbers change when voters wake up
Watching and tracking events leading toward the PA Primary Election

Russ Diamond was dubbed PA Spoiler when he announced an independent bid for Governor, but if poll results hold steady, Diamond will not be a factor in November should he attain the necessary 67,000 signatures on his nominating petitions.

A Pennsylvania Spoiler Joins Race for Governor

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/13/us/13penn.html?ex=1302580800&en=f68f38ece72cc69a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

Shortly after the announcement, Diamond caught 16 percent approval in a three-way poll with Republican candidate Lynn Swann and current incumbent Governor Ed Rendell.

Thursday, April 13, 2006
Russ Diamond entering governor's race

http://www.keystonepolitics.com/News-article-sid-3056-mode-nested-order-desc.html

Date: May 1, 2006
Press Releases: Russ Diamond, Independent Candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, is already attracting 16% of voter support according to polling data released by Rasmussen Reports over the weekend.

The poll, conducted on April 20, 2006 - just one week after his entry into the race - shows Diamond garnering 16% of the popular vote in a three-way race between himself, incumbent Democrat Ed Rendell and Lynn Swann, the anointed Republican candidate...

http://www.keystonepolitics.com/Article3256.html

via Politics 1
PENNSYLVANIA: THREE-WAY GOV RACE NUMBERS.
The latest Rasmussen Reports poll shows an interesting picture of an increasingly complicated race. In a two-way contest, retired pro-football player Lynn Swann (R) leads Governor Ed Rendell (D) by a 44% to 41% vote. However, when recording studio owner Russ Diamond (Independent) -- who organized the popular anti-legislative pay raise campaign last year against the Republican leadership who pushed for the raise -- is added into the mix, the outlook significantly changes. Diamond announced his candidacy two weeks ago. The numbers: Rendell-40%, Swann-36%, Diamond-16%. The poll did not include progressive attorney Marakay Rogers (Green) or conservative building contractor Hagan Smith (Constitution). Diamond must collect 67,000 valid petition signatures by August 1 to qualify for the November ballot
...

http://www.politics1.com/

Hmmm that last is interesting if the Green and Constitution Party candidates had been included in the R poll, well all could have been different...

As May continues a few more days...

now Diamond's numbers have gone down to 3 percent... no press release...

via swannblog.com
http://www.swannblog.com/

According to the latest poll from the latest Franklin & Marshall Keystone poll, Ed Rendell has something of a lead over his soon-to-be official Republican challenger Lynn Swann, 49% to 35%. (As a footnote, gadfly indie Russ Diamond, should he make the ballot, is polling at all of 3%.)

Terry Madonna, whose poll this is, has declared that it is now a certainty “that the contours of this race have changed.”
...

New Keystone Poll: Rendell Gaining Ground

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- New survey results released on Thursday give Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell a double-digit lead over Republican challenger Lynn Swann.

Rendell led Swann 49 percent to 35 percent in the Keystone Poll by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. Russ Diamond, a critic of the legislative pay raise who hopes to run as an independent candidate, attracted 3 percent...

Only 29 percent of the respondents viewed Swann favorably, and more than half had not formed an opinion about him, according to the poll of 578 registered voters, which was conducted between April 27 and Monday...

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/9158384/detail.html

meanwhile, though Diamond resigned from the PA Clean Sweep board of directors, and is being sued by a faction of the board of directors, Diamond continues to use PA Clean Sweep candidates who themselves are mounting an anti-incumbent run in the May 16 Primary. Diamond, unabashedly, is making appearances at Primary candidates' rallies, and meet the candidates events. Note: Diamond is not yet actually an Independent candidate for Governor since he has until August 1 to collect 67,000 signatures on his nominating petitions.

Don't believe Diamond is using PA Clean Sweep candidates events to promote himself - see calendar

http://www.pacleansweep.com/cgi-bin/calendar.cgi

See PA Clean Sweep Yahoo newsgroup announced events...

Southeast PA PACleanSweep Rally this Saturday

PACleanSweep is holding a rally for our Southeastern PA legislative candidates this Saturday, April 29 beginning at 2:30 pm... Speakers include interim Chair John Ryan, founder Russ Diamond, PACleanSweep candidates and others. All candidates, coordinators, media and the public are invited...

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pacleansweep/message/11888

Meanwhile

Swann had the lead over incumbent Governor Ed Rendell in early April by some 7 percent margin... now he's down by a 14 point spread...

Santorum closes gap, Rendell widens lead
By Brad Bumsted and David M. Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, May 4, 2006

Poll results are available under Web Links at the lower right of the page.
HARRISBURG -- Aided by a $1-million-plus TV advertising blitz, Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell has opened a 14-point lead in his re-election campaign against Republican challenger Lynn Swann, according to the latest Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/WTAE-Channel 4 Keystone poll.

The statewide poll of 578 registered voters released today also showed U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn Hills, has pulled within six points of his likely Democratic challenger, state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., of Scranton.

The Keystone Poll directed by G. Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College, surveyed voters from April 27 through May 1. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/election/s_450294.html

via http://www.grassrootspa.com/

Senator Rick Santorum and Governor Ed Rendell go up this week as a new Keystone Poll shows both making progress. Rendell now leads rival Lynn Swann by 14, while Santorum trials Bob Casey Jr. by only 6. The good news for Casey, his campaign is on the cusp of having a large independent expenditure made on their behalf, attacking Santorum. The good news for Swann, he earned more than $1M last year according to financial statements out this week.


Independent candidate for Governor Russ Diamond goes down this week as a poll conducted by Triad Strategies and Susquehanna Polling and Research, Diamond, a Lebanon small business owner and founder of PACleanSweep, is still an unknown quantity to 79 percent of the voters.

http://www.politicspa.com/UP&DOWN/UD.htm

(Notice the politicspa clip doesn't include Russ Diamonds's poll percentage - we've been searching for the data, still can't find other than the site

http://www.susquehannapolling.com/polling.html

Meanwhile

maybe tomorrow will bring news reports of Russ Diamond's 13 percent drop

Friday, April 14, 2006 Pay raise opponent joins race for Governor Diamond running as independent By Tom Barnes and James O'Toole, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The article says nada about diamond's plan to reform state government by means of facilitating a PA Constitutional convention.  so we who want the whole truth had best search it out for ourselves.

 

Gets the picture:
 
DALE DAVENPORT

Where's the money?

Sunday, April 16, 2006
IF RUSS DIAMOND gets his name on the ballot as an independent candidate for governor this fall, he'll be a factor in the race. He can't win, of course, but this leader of the legislative pay-raise rebellion will get votes from some folks who want to change the status quo in Harrisburg, votes that might otherwise go to Republican challenger Lynn Swann.

An independent needs 67,000 signatures on his petition. If Diamond gets that many, and then those signers vote for him, the beneficiary will be our incumbent governor, Ed Rendell. How's that for electoral irony? IN OTHER NEWS ...

Gets the picture in greater detail...

PennPatriot analysis

Russ Diamond gets to be the flavor of the week, but he can't be taken seriously as a candidate - at least not yet. Collecting 67,000 signatures will be remarkably hard. Luksik collected a large number in 1994, but she had already run in the Republican primary for governor in 1990, and she had gained notoriety and attracted supporters because of her opposition to Outcomes-Based Education. Moreover, her supporters were dedicated social conservatives and niether major party candidate that year was opposed to abortion.

More... http://www.pennpatriot.5u.com/

More

14 April 2006 20:19 EDT | Posted by pa/truthonline

Pennsylvania Spoiler Russ Diamond Spoils Anti-Incumbency Movement?
Just this past week Russ Diamond, founder of a Pennsylvania state-wide anti-incumbency organization, announced to the New York Times no less he would run for governor as an Independent in November.

Even after an interview with surely savvy editors, outlining the toiling necessary to acquire over 67,000 nominating petition signatures (while Republican and Democrat candidates in the race need only 2,000 a piece) and revealing his good-government platform necessitating facilitating a “PA constitutional convention”, the NYT still headlined the article: "Pennsylvania Spoiler Joins Race for Governor."

Pennsylvania Spoiler Joins Race for Governor

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/13/us/13penn.html?ex=1145592000&en=b49d8bd4bdbe0658&ei=5070&emc=eta1>%20&en=b49d8bd4bdbe0658&ei=5070&emc=eta1


Diamond spearheaded the visible and media-favorable effort in Pennsylvania to organize candidates to defeat incumbent state legislators, called PA Operation Clean Sweep. The mission began shortly after the body of PA lawmakers passed a salary increase which became controversial when many then took the increase in the form of "unvouchered expenses."

Given recent poll which shows a mere 10 point difference between incumbent Governor Ed Rendell and Republican Party-endorsed Lynn Swann, one has to pose whether Diamond's entry in the race will be more than a spoiling of the Governorship.

Rendell Leads Pa. Governor's Race in Poll
By PETER JACKSON, The Associated Press
Apr 5, 2006 7:48 PM

Gov. Ed Rendell led his Republican challenger, Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Lynn Swann, in a statewide poll released Wednesday and held a particularly lopsided lead among black voters.

Rendell was favored by registered voters in the Quinnipiac University poll 47 percent to 37 percent.

Among the smaller sample of black registered voters, 74 percent supported the Democrat Rendell, who is white, while 12 percent supported Swann, who would become the state's first black governor if elected. Another 12 percent were undecided.

"To make a significant dent in Rendell's historical black base, Swann is going to have to pull 40 to 50 percent of the black vote," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Hamden, Conn.-based university's polling institute.

Poll respondents disagreed with that argument, however: Seventy-five percent of the overall sample said they believed a black candidate could win enough support from white voters to be elected governor.

http://www.examiner.com/Politics-a69326~Rendell_Leads_Pa__Governor_s_Race_in_Poll.html

Only days earlier, Swann was leading:

Swann Holds Slight Lead in Pa. Gov. Race
The Associated Press Mar 30, 2006 8:34 PM
Pro Football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann held a slight lead over Gov. Ed Rendell in a statewide poll released Thursday, but more than a third of registered voters indicated they hadn't settled on either candidate.


Thirty-five percent of those surveyed in the IssuesPA/Pew Poll said they were likely to vote for Swann, a retired Pittsburgh Steelers star and Republican campaigning to become the state's first black governor.

Twenty-nine percent said they would probably support Rendell, a Democrat and former Philadelphia mayor who is running for a second four-year term.

Among the rest, 34 percent were considered up for grabs and 2 percent didn't support either candidate. Neither Swann nor Rendell faces a primary challenge.

http://www.examiner.com/Politics-a63552~Swann_Holds_Slight_Lead_in_Pa__Gov__Race.html


While it is yet to be seen come November whether Diamond will take enough votes away from social and fiscal conservative and African American, Lynn Swann to sweep liberal Democrat and incumbent Governor Ed Rendell back into office, what may become obvious over the next few months - Diamond will become the kind of spoiler the New York Times from afar couldn't even imagine.

Russ Diamond - spoiler of the anti-incumbency movement PA Clean Sweep, which Diamond founded back in July 2005.

No Democrat or even an Independent turned Democrat stepped up to the plate to challenge Governor Ed Rendell.

Minus a Democrat challenger to Governor Rendell, Republican Lynn Swann is de-facto the anti-incumbent challenger candidate.

The other two Republican challengers - Jim Panyard and William Scranton - backed out of the race when poor babies they weren't selected as the endorsed candidate of the PA Republican Party.

Russ Diamond's advice from the beginning was to have potential candidates switch from their current party to the party of the incumbent, if the incumbent didn’t have a challenger in the Primary.

Since Gov. Rendell faces no opposition in his own party, if Diamond practiced what he's preached to potential Clean Sweep candidates, Diamond would have switched his voter registration to Democrat for a Primary election bid.

Diamond expressed all along – philosophy of the candidate didn’t matter.

Had Diamond taken his own political advice, his own Libertarian bents would have been set aside for a show of principle and he would have switched from whatever his political affiliation to Democrat, providing the Democrat anti-incumbent challenger to Governor Ed Rendell.

That is what the PA Clean Sweep philosophy was purported to be all along. Defeat the incumbent.

Now Diamond seeks to try to taint the only truly anti-incumbent candidate, Lynn Swann, by charging Swann is supported by the same Establishment that gave us the pay raise. (Mike Pintek interview with Russ Diamond on Honsberger Live Friday, April 14, 2006)

Diamond's (reportedly) reveals that the personal philosophies of challengers to the incumbents aren't important. The "anti-incumbency" philosophy is important. Defeat the incumbent - that is the goal of the PA Clean Sweep movement.

Responding to questions about philosophies about candidates, Diamond said that is not the concern of Clean Sweep. He said if one starts worrying about philosophy and policy, it will divide the efforts.

Instead, he said, elect anyone who runs against an incumbent, regardless of their philosophies. He said no matter if the person is a "thief, a crook or a liar,"; to vote for them, noting they can be defeated in two years.

The important thing for 2006 is to vote out all the incumbents, he said, noting it's time to make Penn-sylvania a better state and a great asset.


See the quotes and Diamond's response to the report...

http://www.meadvilletribune.com/local/local_story_345224728.html

Five members of Diamond's own Clean Sweep board of directors saw the mismatch between the basic anti-incumbency philosophy and Diamond's private March announcement to them that he was "thinking about" a run for Governor.

When the five members saw Diamond's candidacy could put the movement in a bad light, and after they asked him to reveal details, Diamond's behavior became unilaterally dictatorial. The board voted to remove Diamond as chairman.

On March 15, at 2:47 am, Russ Diamond asked for the resignation of the entire Board of Directors after being asked a question about which gubernatorial campaigns had contacted him.

He IMMEDIATELY cut off access to a number of PACleanSweep functions and databases. When Michele Diehl requested that Russ restore her access, Russ responded with a two-word email: "request denied." Four members of the Board resigned that day. Five of the remaining six members felt dismantling this Board, and thus the organization as it exists now, so soon before Russ runs for governor, would be a disaster. They chose not to resign.

As the Bylaws, which I will gladly share with anyone, call for the Board to have between 7 and 15 members, 5 of the 6 remaining Board members voted to add Coordinator Rob Lusch to the Board, and to pass a conflict of interest policy. Please read the bylaws. Nothing in the bylaws rendered these votes illegitimate in any way. In response to these votes, Russ sent his second email of the day to the Board: "The Chair rules motions 93 and 94 to be out of order." Those two emails were the only contact Russ was willing to have with the remaining Board that day, and the last we've heard from him.

A motion was then made and passed to overrule the decision of the Chair. But considering that Russ has the authority to rule any regular motion "out of order" under Robert's Rules of Order, the only ultimate recourse to a tyrannical and irrational Chair is to remove him or her -- either temporarily or permanently
..."

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pacleansweep/message/11035

Since that action, the PA Clean Sweep organization has been split into the Diamond faction and the Diehl faction, with the Diehl faction unable to proceed because of financial constraints.

March 17, 2006 to Clean Sweep newsgroup

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pacleansweep/message/10962

March 20, 2006 Board Member to Clean Sweep newsgroup

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pacleansweep/message/11035

PACleanSweep founder Russ Diamond, embroiled in an internal dispute with the organization he created, has forfeited his voting rights on the group's Board of Directors by becoming a candidate.

See links to news articles which include Diamond's and Diehl's comments in the media

TRIBUNE-REVIEW Politics split PAClean Sweep Saturday, April 1, 2006

AP (Harrisburg 3/16/2006) Peter Jackson "Leadership squabble divides anti-incumbent group"

Wrong guy, wrong place, wrong time By Brad Bumsted
STATE CAPITOL REPORTER Sunday, March 26, 2006


PA Clean Sweep board members claim Russ Diamond using group as a front for his gubernatorial campaign March 17, 2006 http://progressivepapolitics.com/weblog/

Operation Clean Sweep ...
... has a new chairman.
Or does it? http://blogs.mcall.com/capitol_ideas/


Russ Diamond explains to pa clean sweep newsgroup at yahoo Fri Mar 17, 2006 11:36 am
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pacleansweep/message/10972


Herald-Standard 03/18/2006 PACleanSweep hierarchy in chaos Alison Hawkes Http://www.heraldstandard.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=16328843&BRD=2280&PAG=461&dept_id=480247&rfi=6

Clean Sweep unseats founder and chairman over his possible plans to run for governor
Saturday, March 18, 2006
By Tom Barnes, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06077/672553.stm


and a PA Clean Sweep Yahoo Newsgroup member's post The Diamond-DeWeese Connection

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pacleansweep/message/11259

archived at:
Discussion PA Politics 101.2 Media Woke Up to 1 Man Agenda?

Diehl proffered Diamond needed Clean Sweeped himself for going against the grain of the bylaws of the organization, the admitted Clean Sweep "Constitution."

PA Clean Sweep newsgroup poster writes about the The Diamond-DeWeese Connection - a clever piece missed by the media.

Another PA Clean Sweep newsgroup poster asks what the Clean Sweep board or PAC did with all of the money sent to them.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pacleansweep/message/11500

By attempting to thwart Lynn Swann as a candidate who could change the dynamics of "incumbency" (ten point gap between Rendell/Swann) Diamond may show an unexpected motivation present from the beginning.

To turn the very people who passionately believed in such a movement into people who believed in him, into his own followers.

And his own board of directors, five of them, saw the handwriting on the nominating petition.

That of a Pennsylvania Spoiler.

(Citizen Mom - Net the Truth Online)

More at

Discussion PA Politics 1000.1 

PA Spoiler in Race for Governor

Populism vs PA Constitution

Initiatives and Referendums: Gutting Republicanism

Discussion PA Politics 101.2 Media Woke Up to 1 Man Agenda?

A Diamond "follower" ...

Last chance for benchwarmers, sore losers
Tony Phyrillas
Friday, April 14, 2006

There's a new movie out called "The Benchwarmers." It did pretty good at the box office last week. The film will be a distant memory a month from now when Pennsylvania voters go to the polls in the May 16 primary.

Unfortunately, many Pennsylvanian voters have chosen to be benchwarmers instead of getting into the game. Thousands of Pennsylvanians who belong to minor parties (Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Socialist) and others who have registered as independents will sit out the May 16 primary, arguably the most important election in the state's history.

All the talk we've heard since last July's outrageous pay raise about voting out the bums won't matter if voters don't follow through with threats to oust incumbents.

The best way to toss out incumbent legislators — in many cases, the only way — is to vote for challengers in the primary election. Incumbents have spent decades gerrymandering districts to the point where both major parties have "safe" districts, where Democrats may outnumber Republicans 2-1 or vice-versa. It's nearly impossible to vote out the incumbent unless somebody from his or her own party challenges them in the primary.

More than 60 primary challengers gunning for incumbents have survived the petition-gathering and court-challenge phase of the process. Now they need your vote to get rid of the career politicians in Harrisburg.

But third-party voters (the ones who claim they are pushing for reform) stubbornly refuse to change their voter registration to one of the two major parties, which is the only way to vote in a primary. You may be disgusted by what the Republicans and Democrats have done to this state. But until you join reform-minded Republicans and Democrats to remove the career politicians, your voice will never be heard.

March down to your county courthouse Monday and change your party affiliation for one day — May 16 — so you can join the people's revolution to take back Pennsylvania from the 254 self-serving career politicians (Ed Rendell and the 253 legislators).

While "benchwarmers" is a nice term I use for third-party candidates who will bury their heads in the sand on May 16, Russ Diamond is a little more blunt.

Diamond, the founder of PaCleanSweep and newly announced independent candidate for governor, issued a statement this week to Pennsylvania's "sore losers."

Pennsylvania's "sore loser" law mandates that any individual who runs as an independent or minor party candidate may not participate in the primary election as a voter or a candidate, according to Diamond.

"This is the last chance for those who are truly dedicated to changing government in Pennsylvania," Diamond said. "Once the deadline passes, registered Republicans and Democrats can't run as an independent or with a minor party affiliation. There are a lot of races across the Commonwealth where the incumbent currently has no challenger whatsoever. No one should breeze through an election cycle without a challenge. That’s why we have the sorry state of affairs that brought us the pay raise and other horrible legislation."...


For primary election, Bucks County will use old lever machines

50 electronic devices are expected, but may be used as demos.
By Hal Marcovitz
Of The Morning Call

It is becoming increasingly unlikely that more than a handful of Bucks County voters will cast ballots on electronic voting machines next month, meaning that most machines voters find at the polls for the May 16 primary will not comply with federal law.

As such, the county commissioners risk losing about $950,000 in federal funding that would help them buy more than 700 electronic machines because under the U.S. Help America Vote Act they must have the new machines in place by the primary...

...Bucks expects a $3 million grant to help buy electronic voting machines. Bucks officials believe that if they miss the May 16 deadline, they will forfeit about $950,000 of the grant earmarked to make handicap-accessible machines available to voters.

Handicapped people have voted on the lever machines for decades, but to cast their ballots they need the assistance of poll workers. Under the voting law, they must be able to vote without assistance.

In addition, the lever machines do not comply with the law because they do not notify the voter of an ''undervote,'' meaning the voter failed to cast ballots in all races.

The Bucks commissioners have approved a $5 million contract with Electec Inc. of Mount Holly, N.J., a subsidiary of Danaher Corp. of Washington, D.C., to provide 744 electronic voting machines.

When the commissioners approved the Danaher contract last month, they disclosed that the company had already advised them that it could not deliver the machines by the election.

Thursday, April 13, 2006 10 AM EST

Russ Diamond makes Hotline news C-Span & New York Times Poses ? A Pennsylvania Spoiler Joins the Race for Governor! Russ Diamond founder of Pennsylvania Clean Sweep makes Hotline News this morning during a C-Span segment which periodically features reports from that organization. C-Span host makes the announcement: another entry into the race for Governor of Pennsylvania Hotline editor says only yes.

Last time I checked, there is a challenger to Governor Ed Rendell - Lynn Swann... http://www.swannblog.com/

Check out this blog when he gets the news about a Pennsylvania Spoiler Joins Race for Governor!

http://www.patrickruffini.com/archives/2004/12/lynn_swann_for.php

New York Times headlines Diamond: A Pennsylvania Spoiler Joins Race for Governor By IAN URBINA Published: April 13, 2006

A businessman who helped spearhead a grass-roots insurgency against the state legislature has joined what was already proving a surprisingly tight contest. Gee Whiz, what savvy political analysts the New York Times has on its payroll?! Russ Diamond wants to be on the ballot http://swannblog.com/2006/04/13/russ-diamond-wants-to-be-on-the-ballot/ New IssuesPA/Pew Poll: 2006 Governor’s Race Up For Grabs; Voters Say Issues Will Be Important Results of the latest IssuesPA/Pew Poll paint a picture of a Governor’s race this year that’s likely to be competitive.

Battle lines already are being drawn, and issues important to voters – some very familiar – are emerging. (March 2006)

A new IssuesPA/Pew poll shows one-third of Pennsylvanians are undecided on who they’ll vote for in the 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Among those polled, 29 percent said they were likely to vote for Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat, and 35 percent likely to vote for presumptive Republican nominee Lynn Swann.

That leaves 34 percent of voters categorized as swing voters who are open to voting for either candidate.

According to 43 percent of registered voters, the candidates’ positions on issues will be the key factor determining who will receive their vote. Other factors include experience and qualifications (24 percent) and personal qualities and leadership ability (20 percent). Of the issues, 24 percent of voters surveyed said the issue of taxes is the most important, 17 percent said the economy/jobs, 11 percent said education, and 9 percent said healthcare.

Grassroots PA: Thursday, April 13, 2006 NY Times: A Pennsylvania Spoiler Joins Race for Governor. ALSO: Russ Diamond For Governor Launches Tom Lingenfelter Running For Lt. Gov...

I'm Russ Diamond - Independent candidate for Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Here at my online headquarters you'll find:...

http://www.russdiamond.org/

YEP THERE'S THE PRESS RELEASE AND IN BLACK AND WHITE PRINT FINALLY HIS INTENTIONS FOR A PA CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION!

(See Vote Fix http://dirtline.tripod.com/votefix/ for unconstitutional agenda PA Clean Sweep. http://dirtline.tripod.com/votefix/id77.html)

 Diamond Enters Governor’s Race

Ending months of speculation, Russ Diamond today is announcing he will run for Governor of Pennsylvania as an Independent. Diamond founded the non-partisan grassroots organization PACleanSweep in July, 2005 in response to the PA General Assembly’s now-infamous midnight pay raise.

The group was instrumental in organizing public opposition to the increase, advocating a first-ever non-retention of a state Supreme Court justice, pressuring the legislature to repeal the pay raise, and unifying over 100 challengers to incumbent lawmakers. “We’ve taken on the legislature. We’ve taken on the judiciary. Now it’s time to focus some energy on the Executive Branch,” said Diamond.

“The Governor is the one man who could have stopped the pay raise with a stroke of his pen, but failed to do so.” As an Independent candidate, Diamond must collect the signatures of 67,070 registered voters in order to have his name appear on November’s general election ballot.

The requirement is unusually high in 2006 due to a fluke in Pennsylvania’s ballot access laws. Major party candidates were only required to gather 2,000 signatures each to enter the race. “While the sheer volume of signatures seems daunting compared to other years, I’m confident that Pennsylvanians are willing to support a legitimate choice over the two candidates anointed by the establishment,” added Diamond.

“In 2006, voters see the establishment as the problem, not the solution. “Pennsylvania is a ship that is off course, and the way to get it back on course is from the captain's chair," Diamond told the New York Times in an interview this week. “I’ve spoken with thousands of citizens over the last nine months. They’re fed up with business as usual in Harrisburg. They want someone who’ll commit to making the tough choices needed to solve the problems of Pennsylvania. I intend to be that someone.”

Diamond’s vision for a new Pennsylvania includes facilitating a constitutional convention, repealing Act 71 (the slots bill), reducing property taxes, eliminating government waste and planning for the Commonwealth’s looming pension crisis. More...

http://www.russdiamond.org/cgi-bin/news.cgi?action=one&search_for=99924&search_field=4

Post-Gazette 34 minutes later than Net the Truth Online

Pay raise opponent entering governor's race (10:34 am) Pay raise opponent entering governor's race

Thursday, April 13, 2006 By Tom Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette HARRISBURG -- Russ Diamond, who in July founded Pa. Clean Sweep, a group dedicated to ousting General Assembly incumbents, today announced he is running for governor as an independent. "The system in Harrisburg is broken, and (incumbent Democratic Gov). Ed Rendell or (Republican challenger) Lynn Swann aren't going to fix it,'' Mr. Diamond, 42, a Lebanon County businessman, told reporters at the Capitol. He said he's been thinking about running as an independent candidate for about two months. He strongly denied a reporter's question that he founded Clean Sweep merely as a political vehicle to get his name before the public. Mr. Diamond said he was -- and still is -- outraged by the 16 to 34 percent pay raise that legislators gave themselves, as well as to over 1,000 judges and members of the executive branch. The raise was repealed in November but it's still the subject of court suits, one seeking to finalize the repeal and another seeking to reinstate the raises for judges. He said he'll resign as chairman of Clean Sweep on April 20, at a rally of over 100 Clean Sweep legislative candidates at the Capitol... more...

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06103/681889-100.stm

Russ Diamond will run as an independent for Pennsylvania governor

By The Tribune-Review Thursday, April 13, 2006

Russ Diamond, the 42-year-old founder of a group targeting incumbent officeholders, today announced he will run as an independent candidate for Pennsylvania governor. Diamond, of Lebanon, needs to gather about 67,000 signatures on a petition by Aug 1, in order to get the on the November ballot with Democratic incumbent Gov. Ed Rendell and Republican Lynn Swann, of Sewickley Heights. Diamond formed Operation PACleanSweep last July, to oppose the Legislature's now repealed pay raise that Rendell signed into law. His organization grew into a stateiwide anti-incumbency movement, but has been hit by controversy as members of Diamond's board of directors balked at the idea of his running for statewide office. Diamond told reporters in Harrisburg this morning that he'll step down from the board next week. He asid he'll also hammer Swann on the government pay issue, because Swann is backed by the GOP establishmdent that engineered the pay raise. "This could be a good time for a second American revolution," Diamond said... More...

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/trib/pmupdate/s_443367.html

The second American Revolution Diamond wants isn't kicking out all incumbents, but altering our PA Constitution...

 See Vote Fix http://dirtline.tripod.com/votefix/

Unconstitutional Agenda PA Clean Sweep.

http://dirtline.tripod.com/votefix/id77.html

Anti-incumbency founder announces independent bid for governor

Diamond to run for governor PA GOV: New Twist

Diamond's Entry Throws Pennsylvania Race Up in Air The race for governor of Pennsylvania "has grown more complicated with the entry of an independent candidate who helped spearhead a grass-roots insurgency last year against the state legislature," reports the New York Times.

"The latest arrival in the race is Russ Diamond, a businessman who last July founded PACleanSweep, a political action committee born of voter outrage after legislators approved a controversial raise for themselves." The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes it's probably bad for Lynn Swann (R) "because Swann is backed by the GOP establishment that engineered the legislative pay raise." ...

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2006/04/13/diamonds_entry_throws_pennsylvania_race_up_in_air.html

The following still comes up in search pennsylvania governor campaign russ diamond Includes Diamond's quotes and response to the report.

Group attempts to have a challenger for every incumbent in next year's election By Jane Smith Meadville Tribune 12/12/05 WATERFORD

Wearing blue jeans, a dark flannel shirt over a black turtleneck sweater, Russ Diamond paced the floor of the Libertarian Headquarters here for more than 90 minutes to get his message across:

Em All Out. The Em he was referring to are the state legislators and all government officials.

Diamond, 42-year-old computer business owner from Lebanon County, urged the approximately 50 persons in attendance to get involved now and line up a candidate to run against every incumbent as a protest against last July's pay raise. Diamond, who said he is a conservative Republican, ran unsuccessfully for Congress and the state House as a Libertarian last year, according to an Inter-net site. He said he ran at the urging of people in his district.

Touting the success of his organization in making history by defeating Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro for retention in the Nov. 8 election, Diamond said it was because of the Internet. Legislators, he said, had no clue the role it would play, citing the thousands of people that can be contacted now that did not have access 10 years ago... ...Money should not be a major factor, he said, noting the Republicans spent $1.5 million to help keep two Supreme Court justices on the bench. “We spent nothing and we made history,” he said, referring to Nigro’s defeat. “You don’t need a lot of money to speak about great ideas,” he said. “They (the Republi-cans) spent millions of dollars to support a bad idea.” He said what is needed is a $100 filing fee and “time. The most important thing you do,” he said, is spending time campaigning, noting it takes a lot of “shoe leather.” He said education is not a criteria for election. Requirements for a state representative are that the candidate must be 21 years of age, have lived in Pennsylva-nia for four years, in a specific district for one year, and pay the filing fee. “That’s it,” he said.

He asks that candidates asking for his organization’s help be able to “read the constitution and know the difference between right and wrong.” “We have 74 candidates so far; we need a lot more,” he said of the 2006 elections where all 203 state House seats and 25 state Senate seats will be up for grabs. He also wants to defeat the governor and all incumbent office holders, saying they all deserve to be taken out of office. He wants an opponent on every ballot...

Responding to questions about philosophies about candidates, Diamond said that is not the concern of Clean Sweep. He said if one starts worrying about philosophy and policy, it will divide the efforts. Instead, he said, elect anyone who runs against an incumbent, regardless of their philosophies. He said no matter if the person is a "thief, a crook or a liar," to vote for them, noting they can be defeated in two years. The important thing for 2006 is to vote out all the incumbents, he said, noting it's time to make Penn-sylvania a better state and a great asset...

http://www.meadvilletribune.com/local/local_story_345224728.html

 

19 March 2006 12:33 EST | Posted by pa/truthonline

Anti-incumbent organization chair ousted by own board of directors
For a thorough discussion of this and other Pennsylvania Politics issues visit:

http://dirtline.tripod.com/votefix/ Discussion PA Politics 101

Vote Fix commentary includes links to documentation of press releases, message board posts which feature emails posted by the founder of PA Clean Sweep, and discussion sites and blogs which further provide information and commentary.

Leadership squabble divides Pa. anti-incumbent group
Centre Daily Times Posted on Sat, Mar. 18, 2006
Its board said, to avoid interest conflicts, it ousted its founder. He said the move was unauthorized. By Peter Jackson
The Associated Press
HARRISBURG - PACleanSweep, the citizens group that helped lead opposition to last year's legislative pay raise, now finds itself in a brouhaha of its own.

The organization's board said it ousted the group's founder, Russ Diamond, a Lebanon County businessman. But he dismissed that move as unauthorized.

Earlier this week, dissident board members said they removed Diamond to avert potential conflicts of interest between his prospective candidacy for state office and those of legislative candidates the organization supports in the May 16 primary. As part of its opposition to the pay raise, PACleanSweep spearheaded efforts to oust incumbent legislators and endorsed scores of candidates to oppose them.

"It may appear to some people that PACleanSweep was set up for the sole purpose" of promoting Diamond's candidacy, said Michele Diehl, 41, a Westmoreland County resident who homeschools her two teenage sons. She was named the new board chair, according to a board statement.

Diamond blamed the rift on board members' reluctance to take on the responsibilities he currently shoulders, such as supervising the group's Web site and merchandising operations, after he told them he was "fairly certain" he would run for governor as an independent.

"If they've done anything, they've steered me away from running for governor," he said.
He ran unsuccessfully as a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives and the state House of Representatives in 2004. Earlier this year, he hinted that he might run for the legislature when some supporters set up a committee to draft him.

Earlier this week, Diamond asked his nine fellow board members to resign. Only four did. The other five created another board position, declared they had a quorum, and elected Diehl chair, Diehl said.
The dissident board members are communicating with PACleanSweep candidates by e-mail and are hoping to regain control of the group's Web site.

"It's silly for him to try to fight us on this," she said.

Diamond said that nothing about his role in PACleanSweep has changed...

More...

http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/news/politics/14130562.htm

19 March 2006 12:19 EST | Posted by pa/truthonline

Observe twists and turns
AP Sun, Mar. 19, 2006Critics question if democratic process is alive in Pennsylvania

By Martha RaffaeleThe Associated Press
HARRISBURG -- The 253 members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly enjoy one of the nation's highest re-election rates, thanks to a system that makes challenges a daunting task, a high public profile that comes with legislative service, and an array of image-enhancement services and other tools to help protect incumbents from losing elections.

In the past decade, no more than five legislators have been ousted in any election year -- an outcome that raises questions about whether the democratic process has been undermined in Pennsylvania.
This year, 394 nonincumbent candidates -- the most since 1992 -- have filed papers to run for the Legislature as Republicans or Democrats, mostly outsiders contesting the re-election of sitting legislators. More may materialize by summer as independent or minor-party candidates.

They share a hope of being swept into office by voters angered by last year's furtive, middle-of-the-night passage of legislative pay raises, which were repealed four months later in response to a public uproar.

"The will of the people will make 2006 a historic year," said Russ Diamond, founder of the anti-incumbent group PACleanSweep.

But incumbency is a powerful force. Experience has shown that voters often set aside their dislike for the institution long enough to vote to re-elect their local legislators.

"I don't think (the challengers' argument) takes you anyplace unless the incumbent you're running against really isn't doing his job," said Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Philadelphia, a 22-year House veteran who is among 79 incumbents facing challenges in the May 16 primary.

Pennsylvania's full-time Legislature costs taxpayers $348 million a year. It employs around 3,000 staffers -- a dozen per legislator on average -- in Harrisburg and in lawmakers' district offices around the state.

Its rate of turnover -- including vacancies filled in regular and special elections -- has run from 7 percent to 14 percent per two-year legislative term over the past decade.

That is consistently below the national average of 20 percent for state senates and 23 percent for houses of representatives and similar "lower" chambers, said Gary Moncrief, a political science professor at Boise State University in Idaho.
Full-time legislatures typically have less turnover than part-time ones. But Pennsylvania's rate is low even among full-time bodies, suggesting that the way district boundaries are redrawn after each census may play a significant role, Moncrief said.


More... http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/14128415.htm

Big issues led to local turnover By Mike Joseph mjoseph@centredaily.com
Posted on Sun, Mar. 19, 2006
Incumbent state lawmakers from Centre County, like their counterparts across Pennsylvania, almost never lose to challengers.

When they have, it's taken exceptionally big issues -- the economy, abortion rights or perhaps the pay raise this year -- to drive them out:

In 1970, when the state's economy was in shambles, State College Democrat Galen Dreibelbis unseated veteran House Republican Eugene Fulmer in the 77th District. Fulmer was set to become the fourth most powerful Republican in the House, but outgoing Gov. Ray Shafer's hated income tax plan spelled the end for Fulmer and GOP incumbents across the state.

In 1982, two-term incumbent Republican Gregg Cunningham, the most prominent anti-abortion advocate in the House, was turned out of office by abortion-rights Democrat Ruth Rudy, of Potter Township, in the newly formed 171st District. That election started Rudy on a 14-year incumbency of her own.

This year, in the aftermath of last summer's legislative pay-raise debacle, 24-year incumbent state Rep. Lynn Herman, R-Philipsburg, joined two dozen other General Assembly incumbents and decided not to run again.

Centre County Republican Chairman G.T. Thompson, who lost twice in trying to unseat long-time incumbent state Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven, acknowledges that such upsets "are few and far between" because challengers have an "extra burden."
In addition to trying to bridge name-recognition differences and establish issue positions, Thompson said, challengers "really have to make the case almost why someone should be fired."


CONTINUED...

While House leaders call these commercials public service announcements, Common Cause of Pennsylvania Executive Director Barry Kauffman has called them political ads. The commercials are paid for out of a taxpayer-funded state budget item controlled by House leaders.

Eich said studies have shown that challengers have to make contact with voters seven to 10 times to achieve name recognition. Taxpayer-funded mailings give the incumbents a big head start.

General Assembly incumbents have yet another advantage.

The Institute for Money in State Politics, a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, studied campaign finance reports from incumbents and challengers in Pennsylvania's 2004 legislative elections.

House incumbents raised an average of $121,946 in campaign contributions while challengers raised an average of $29,152. The comparable Senate figures are $429,374 for incumbents and $81,631 for challengers. Eich said Herman spent about $100,000 to Eich's $50,000 two years ago.

While the pay raise outrage has already drawn more candidates into this year's General Assembly races, and has precipitated the retirement of two dozen incumbents, the impact at the polls won't be known until the May 16 primary election and the Nov. 7 general election.

"The pay raise raised everyone's interest in what was happening," Eich said. "So it brought somewhat of an advantage to challengers
...

http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/14134058.htm

Scandals prompted voter revolt in 1970s
Posted on Sun, Mar. 19, 2006
The Associated Press
HARRISBURG -- State legislators losing sleep over the public-image battering that incumbents have taken in the past six months should take comfort in the knowledge that this is not 1978.
That was the year ugly budget battles and a string of corruption scandals prompted voters to turn sharply and suddenly against the party in power.

This year's anti-incumbent mood is bipartisan; in 1978, the revolt was all about the Democrats.

The Democrats began Election Day that year with a 30-seat advantage in the state House, but needed a hairbreadth recount in Adams County to temporarily maintain control by a single seat.

At least 27 representatives or senators lost the primary or general elections that year, and nearly all were Democrats. By the time the session began in January 1979, Republicans controlled the House.
Legislative turnover in the two-year session that followed -- including retirements and special elections -- reached its highest point in at least the past 30 years, as nearly a quarter of the 253-member General Assembly consisted of newcomers.

The furor last year over the legislative pay raise, which was passed and then rescinded, was a relative blip on the screen compared with the turmoil at the Statehouse in the late '70s.

Budget confrontations and a badly failed presidential bid dominated Democratic Gov. Milton Shapp's second term, and a handful of legislators were arrested for misbehavior in office.

Among them were two of the General Assembly's powerbrokers, House Speaker Herbert Fineman and Senate Appropriations Chairman Henry J. "Buddy" Cianfrani, both Philadelphia Democrats.

Fineman resigned in May 1977 to serve a federal sentence for obstruction of justice and Cianfrani pleaded guilty in February 1978 to racketeering and other charges in a case involving "ghost" state employees.

They were among more than 360 public officials and party leaders in Pennsylvania who encountered legal trouble or left office during the 1970s because of official corruption, according to Franklin & Marshall College political scientist Terry Madonna.

Things were so bad that the chief of investigations for what was then the state Justice Department warned that "corruption is rampant in this state government" when he quit in frustration after two years in May 1978.

A major beneficiary of public disgust with official misconduct that year was former federal prosecutor Dick Thornburgh, a gubernatorial candidate who rode the issue of reform to victory from way back in the polls.

Thornburgh, a Republican, ridiculed Shapp's administration as "the crook-of-the-month club" and attacked the scandal-ridden state highway department as "the home of the three P's -- payoffs, patronage and potholes."

The criminal scandals were still quite fresh in voters' minds that November, with developments commanding front-page newspaper play even in the final days before the election.

Adding to lawmakers' misery that September was an eight-part investigative series by The Philadelphia Inquirer that began with the headline, "Pennsylvania's Assembly: How It Is Out of Control."

Although lawmakers' spending was hard to track, the paper documented abundant abuses. It showed in exhaustive detail how some legislators were padding the public payroll with their cronies, including some who didn't even bother to show up for work. Incumbents were ignoring what limited campaign-finance disclosure requirements were in place at the time.

Legislators scrambled to adopt reforms before the election. They began requiring disclosure of personal and business finances, cracked down on misuse of telephone charge cards, improved campaign-account reporting and scrapped a dubious $3-million-a-year Senate scholarship program.

Apparently it wasn't enough. The incumbents defeated in November 1978 included a Philadelphia Democrat cited in the Inquirer's investigatory series as having the Legislature's worst attendance record and claiming expenses on days he was absent.



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