A new poll confirms that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) faces huge hurdles in winning a second term. But Democrats are far from united on who they should nominate to face him. Rep. Allyson Schwartz‘s supporters hoped that an intimidating warchest and two leaked polls would establish an air of inevitability around her campaign. Months later, the outcome of the Democratic primary is far from certain.
— Several rival Democrats loom as potential roadblocks to Schwartz’s nomination. Businessman Tom Wolf has pledged to spend $10 million on his campaign. Treasurer Rob McCord, with two statewide wins under his belt, is expected to jump in next month. And former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty has assembled a top-shelf campaign team, attracted influential labor supporters and generated buzz in Democratic circles. Ex-state Auditor General Jack Wagner may run, and could appeal to moderates and voters in western PA.
— Schwartz also has faced several rounds of speculation about a late entry from Attorney General Kathleen Kane, the hottest commodity in the state Democratic Party. While Kane has said she won’t run, lingering speculation about another heavyweight entering the race normally doesn’t occur when a field already contains an overwhelming favorite.
— Schwartz’s campaign released an internal last week showing her with a larger primary lead than public polls have shown. But rivals say Schwartz’s huge advantage in the Philly market is due to a head start in name recognition, and they question her appeal in the western half of the state.
Schwartz wants potential donors, her fellow candidates and reporters to think that her primary victory is all but assured. Her opponents don’t buy it. Corbett, for now, is happy to sit back and watch the Democrats fight it out.
— Kevin Brennan
What We're Following See More »
Senator John McCain paid a secret visit to Northern Syria over the weekend during his trip abroad. McCain reportedly went "to speak with American officials and Kurdish fighters leading the charge to push ISIS militants out of Raqqa, the jihadist group’s stronghold." The trip was organized with the help of U.S. military.
"The Trump administration will deliver its first budget to Congress in mid-March, and the president confirmed Wednesday it will contain major cuts for federal agencies." The blueprint, expected to be released in mid-March, will not include the kinds of specifics usually seen in White House budgets, but rather will instruct the heads of agencies to "do more with less."
Congress will need to vote on Donald Trump's pick of Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his next national security adviser, but not for the reason you think. The position of NSA doesn't require Senate approval, but since McMaster currently holds a three-star military position, Congress will need to vote to allow him to keep his position instead of forcing him to drop one star and become a Major General, which could potentially affect his pension.
"The Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking to ensure that records related to Russia’s alleged intervention in the 2016 U.S. elections are preserved as it begins investigating that country’s ties to the Trump team. The panel sent more than a dozen letters to 'organizations, agencies and officials' on Friday, asking them to preserve materials related to the congressional investigation, according to a Senate aide, who was not authorized to comment publicly. The Senate Intelligence Committee is spearheading the most comprehensive probe on Capitol Hill of Russia’s alleged activities in the elections."