Gov. Tom Wolf (D) set March 13 as the special election to replace former Rep. Tim Murphy (R), who resigned on Oct. 21.
Democrats announced Monday they will hold a convention to choose their nominee on Nov. 19. The convention will “recommend a congressional candidate to the Pennsylvania Democratic Executive Committee,” which “will then promptly consider the recommendation of the convention and submit the Democratic nominee to the Department of State.” (release)
“Marcel Groen, the party’s chairman, expects more than 500 committee people to participate in the November convention. … The state Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment. … The person elected in March will serve through the end of the current term. Separate primary and general elections to pick a congressman to serve from January 2019 through January 2021 will be held next year.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
“The only restriction on Mr. Wolf was that he couldn’t choose a date less than 60 days in the future, and some observers expected the governor to schedule the special election so it coincided with next year’s May 15 primary. Republicans were quick to question the timing” set by a Democrat.
“’I think the governor should have set it for the primary,’ said Mark Harris, a political consultant working for the campaign of state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R). … Harris speculated that Mr. Wolf, a Democrat, timed the race to benefit his party, for whom winning the 18th district seat would be a major coup. ‘Wacky things can happen in a special, and if we look at special elections across the country, the party that is out of power tends to turn out at a higher rate.’”
“On the Republican side, the conferees who select the nominee are allocated among the four counties based on the Republican turnout for President Donald Trump last year. That gives Westmoreland 80 votes, Allegheny County 79, Washington County 50, and Greene County 6. The rules for selecting conferees vary by county: Republican Committee of Allegheny County chair D. Raja said Monday he was sharing responsibility for choosing a delegation with local party chairs.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
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The indictment, filed in the District of Columbia, alleges that the interference began "in or around 2014," when the defendants began tracking and studying U.S. social media sites. They "created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts" and "purchased computer servers located inside the United States" to mask their identities, some of which were stolen. The interference was coordinated by election interference "specialists," and focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, and other divisive issues. "By early to mid-2016" the groups began supporting the campaign of "then-candidate Donald Trump," including by communicating with "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign..."
"Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, indicating he's poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case. Gates has already spoken to Mueller's team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month. He's had what criminal lawyers call a 'Queen for a Day' interview, in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutors' team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed."
"The Senate on Thursday rejected immigration legislation crafted by centrists in both parties after President Trump threatened to veto the bill if it made it to his desk. In a 54-45 vote, the Senate failed to advance the legislation from eight Republican, seven Democratic and one Independent senators. It needed 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle. "
"The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a Thursday meeting to hear testimony from Steve Bannon—but it's an open question whether President Donald Trump's former chief strategist will even show up. The White House sent a letter to Capitol Hill late Wednesday laying out its explanation for why Trump's transition period falls under its authority to assert executive privilege, a move intended to shield Bannon from answering questions about that time period." Both Republicans and Democrats on the committee dispute the White House's theory, and have floated charging Bannon with contempt should he refuse to appear.