Republican David M. Maloney won't take office until January, but he's already paying dividends for constituents in the 130th State House District.
Maloney announced Tuesday he will not accept the automatic 1.7% cost-of-living adjustment increase that members of the Pennsylvania Legislature gave themselves.
The automatic COLA raise was enacted in 1995 and gives a yearly pay raise for state legislators, members of the executive branch, including the governor, state judges and other state officials. (Gov.-elect Tom Corbett has also announced he will not accept the raise.)
Maloney issued the following statement: "Taking the increase is simply not the right thing to do. I have met so many people in our district this year who are truly struggling to pay bills, taxes and keep their homes. With Pennsylvania's high unemployment at nearly 10% and many of those out of work will be seeing the end of their unemployment benefits soon and as the Social Security Administration said there will be no increase again for our seniors, this is not the time for a COLA increase."
Maloney said he will return the COLA to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.
"It is the people's money. We also have a nearly $5 billion dollar hole in our budget coming next year so every belt needs tightening. The State Legislature needs to lead by example."
Maloney, a reform candidate who unseated Democratic incumbent Rep. David Kessler, represents the 130th district, which includes Boyertown, Birdsboro, Fleetwood and Earl, Douglass (Berks), Ruscombmanor, Amity, Rockland, Pike, Oley, Union and Colebrookdale townships and parts of Exeter Township.
A pay freeze for federal workers is the right thing to do considering the country is bankrupt, but since government workers usually vote Democratic, will they take out their anger on Obama and the Democrats in 2012?
Can't say I feel sorry for the Democrats, who have increased the federal debt by $3 trillion in just two years.
Amazing what a historic election defeat will do to humble even the most arrogant of politicians. After two years of refusing to work with Republicans, Barack Obama is now willing to compromise with the GOP.
The 2011 race for Montgomery County commissioner has officially kicked off with Jenny Brown announcing she will seek one of two Republican nominations in the May primary. Incumbent Republican Bruce L. Castor Jr. is expected to run for re-election. That leaves turncoat Jim Matthews as the odd-man out (unless the Democrats want him).
Staggering Election Day losses are not the Democratic Party's final indignity this year.
At least 13 state lawmakers in five states have defected to Republican ranks since the Nov. 2 election, adding to already huge GOP gains in state legislatures. And that number could grow as next year's legislative sessions draw near.
The defections underscore dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party — particularly in the South — and will give Republicans a stronger hand in everything from pushing a conservative fiscal and social agenda to redrawing political maps.
Rep.-elect David Maloney to relocate district offices
Here's one way to save taxpayers a few bucks: Do-it-yourself.
Newly-elected state Rep. David Maloney, a contractor by profession, will pitch in to re-do his two district offices in an effort to save his constituents some money.
In addition to relocating his two offices in the 130th House District, Maloney will pick up a hammer and nails and help with the interior refurbishing of the facilities.
Maloney, a Republican, ousted two-term Democratic incumbent David Kessler to represent the Eastern Berks County seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
From a press release issued by Maloney:
State Rep.-elect David Maloney says he will offer constituent services for residents of the 130th House District at two new offices.
The southern part of the district will be serviced at a new office at 515 Old Swede Road (Rt. 662) Douglassville in the Old Swede Office Complex.
"This office will allow easier access to the residents of Amity, Douglassville, Birdsboro, Exeter and Union townships," Maloney said.
The Boyertown office will move from South Warwick Street to 46 E. Philadelphia Ave., next to the landmark Bause’s Drug store.
"Rent and utilities for the two new locations will be less expensive than what was offered to us to stay at the old locations," Maloney said. "Neither of the old offices were wheelchair accessible. Now both offices will be."
Maloney, who has a background in construction, said he will help re-fit the Boyertown office space himself to save taxpayers some money.
Move-in dates for the Douglassville office will be Dec. 6 but phone and computer lines may not be in place by then.
"The Boyertown office phone number will remain the same as before, 610-369-3010 and we will do our best to retrieve messages and return calls until we are fully functioning at 46 E. Philadelphia Ave. We hope to have our Boyertown re-fit done by the end of December for sure. We will have a new phone number for Douglassville and new email addresses. Our offices will also have a new 130th District website that we will make public as soon a possible," Maloney explained.
Maloney does not take office until Jan. 4 when he takes his oath in a ceremony at the Capitol in Harrisburg.
Open House dates for both offices will be announced when they are both fully operational.
Health Care: Those who wish to nationalize medicine point to America's low position in world health rankings. But when a rich Saudi who could go anywhere for treatment chose, where did he go? America, of course.
When King Abdullah flew out of Saudi Arabia Monday to be treated after a blood clot had complicated a slipped disc, he didn't choose France, Italy, Britain, Canada, Morocco, Oman or Cyprus, all nations that stand higher than the U.S. in the World Health Organization's ranking of health care systems.
Neither did he stay in Saudi Arabia, travel to relatively nearby Malta or Greece. He avoided Andorra, Spain, Monaco and the United Arab Emirates, again, all judged by WHO to have better health care than the U.S.
So why is Barack Obama trying to dismantle the best health-care system in the world? Read the full editorial at the link below:
Christmas comes early for members of the Pennsylvania Legislature, already among the highest paid "public servants" in the United States.
An annual automatic cost-of-living increase kicks in Dec. 1 for state lawmakers, judges and other elected officials.
From The Associated Press:
Pennsylvania's legislators, judges and top state officials are about to get automatic pay raises of 1.7 percent. Newly elected and returning legislators will get their raises starting Dec. 1, officials said Monday.
The annual salaries for rank-and-file legislators will increase from $78,315 to $79,623. Salaries for legislative floor leaders will rise from $113,468 to $115,364.
Chester County Commissioners Carol Aichele and Terence Farrell made the right decision by ending the annual dispute between a fringe group of atheists and the majority of county residents over what kind of holiday display should be placed at the Historic Chester County Courthouse.
The acquittal of a Gitmo detainee of the murder of 224 people shows the stupidity of civilian trials for those at war with us and the blind incompetence of an administration that believes in them.
Attorney General Eric Holder should be fired. Failing that, he should have the decency to submit his resignation, which should be promptly accepted. He is the architect of a policy that treats mass murder like a bank robbery and gives perpetrators the functional equivalent of a slap on the wrist.
The Anti-Rendell Movement: Pennsylvania Political Power Shifts West
Ed Rendell's legacy after eight years as governor: A state teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and a Democratic Party in shambles, having lost the governor's race and control of the state House.
Rendell is counting down his last few days in the governor's mansion. Former Speaker of the House John Perzel, a RINO who helped push the Rendell agenda through the Legislature, lost his bid for re-election. Former Sen. Vince Fumo is behind bars. And now Philly Rep. Dwight Evans is no longer a player in Harrisburg. How the mighty have fallen.
With the ouster of Evans by his own party from the powerful post of House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Philadelphia won't have a seat at the adult table when the Pennsylvania Legislature reconvenes in 2011.
From a story by Brad Bumsted about how power has shifted to Western Pennsylvania:
HARRISBURG -- The balance of power at the state Capitol that for decades tilted toward Philadelphia now largely lies in the hands of Western Pennsylvania lawmakers.
Senate Democrats on Wednesday elected Jay Costa of Forest Hills as minority leader, giving Allegheny County three of the four floor leaders in the General Assembly in January. House Majority Whip Mike Turzai is a Bradford Woods Republican, and Oakmont Democrat Frank Dermody will become House minority leader.
Gov.-elect Tom Corbett of Shaler will take office with two other legislative leaders from the West: House Speaker-elect Sam Smith, R-Punxsutawney, and Senate President Pro Tempore-elect Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County.
Additionally, House Democrats on Tuesday chose Rep.Joe Markosek of Monroeville as ranking Democrat on the budget committee, displacing 20-year veteran Rep. Dwight Evans of Philadelphia.
An erosion of an inner circle of leaders during the past four years was capped by the Nov. 2 election, in which voters handed the House back to Republicans. Former Senate power broker Vincent Fumo, D-Philadelphia, is in federal prison for fraud, and former House Speaker John Perzel, a seated GOP member from Philadelphia, faces trial next year on felonies for allegedly using public resources for campaigns.
Read the full story at The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review website.
Krauthammer to headline Pennsylvania Leadership Conference
The 2011 PA Leadership Conference, featuring the largest gathering of conservatives in Pennsylvania, has lined up one of the sharpest conservative thinkers in the world for this year's event.
Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and a Fox News commentator, will be the dinner speaker at the 2011 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference to be held April 8-9 at the Radisson Penn Harris Convention Center in Camp Hill, Pa.
From a press release announcing Krauthammer's appearance:
"We are excited to have Dr. Krauthammer as the next in a long series of influential conservative speakers to address the annual Pennsylvania Leadership Conference," said Lowman Henry, President of the Pennsylvania Leadership Council which organizes the event. "In an era when many commentators offer only shop worn analysis, Dr. Krauthammer stands out as a thoughtful voice of reason who injects logic and perspective into the public debate."
The Pennsylvania Leadership Conference is the premiere annual gathering of public policy conservatives from through the commonwealth and beyond. The conference features well known national speakers, and a who's who of state-level government and policy leaders offering commentary and panel presentations.
Dr. Krauthammer was named by the Financial Times as the most influential commentator in America. Since 1985 he has written a syndicated column for the Washington Post, winning the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary in 1987. His column now appears in more than 250 newspapers worldwide.
A contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and to the New Republic, Dr. Krauthammer is a Fox News contributor appearing nightly on Fox's evening news program Special Report with Bret Baier. He is also a weekly panelist on Inside Washington.
Complete information and registration for the 2011 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference can be found at the conference's newly redesigned website, www.paleadershipconference.org
Democratic state lawmaker busted on marijuana charge
On the same day most Pennsylvania newspapers ran a story from The Associated Press that revealed that 19 members of the state Legislature had criminal records, a Democratic state representative was busted for allegedly smoking marijuana at a tailgate gathering at a Pittsburgh Steelers game.
From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
State Rep. Paul Costa faces a court hearing on a citation accusing him of smoking marijuana during a tailgate party outside a Pittsburgh Steelers game, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Undercover Pittsburgh police Officer Alex Lee Myers was patrolling the parking lots outside the Oct. 3 game at Heinz Field, which the Steelers lost to the Baltimore Ravens, and said he saw Costa, 51, a Democrat from Wilkins, sharing a joint with another man.
"He adamantly denies that he smoked any marijuana," said Costa's attorney, Phil DiLucente. "No narcotics of any kind were found on him. In fact, he detests marijuana."
Rep. Costa has represented the 34th House District since 1999. He ran unopposed for re-election to a new term on Nov. 2.
Rep. Curt Schroder (R-Chester County) says he voted against a pension "reform" bill that he believes only postpones the pension crisis and creates even larger budget problems in the near future for Pennsylvania taxpayers.
From a Schroder press release:
"House Bill 2497 is not the answer to Pennsylvania's pension crisis," said Schroder. "In January, we will have a new governor and a new House. This important issue should not have been decided by a lame duck governor and 21 legislators who are no longer accountable to the taxpayers. Instead of passing a deficient and short-sighted piece of legislation, I believe we should have taken the time to thoughtfully consider a defined contribution pension plan for new employees, similar to a 401(k). This is the direction most of the country is taking and I believe it is the best solution for the long-term health of Pennsylvania's pension plans."
Pennsylvania is facing a multi-billion dollar unfunded liability in its pension systems. Schroder said that while HB 2497 addresses some of the more immediate issues concerning the pension system, without further changes the plan will again require huge taxpayer contributions in a few years that will force the issue to be revisited. "Anyone who believes this issue is now solved will be in for a rude awakening by 2015," Schroder said.
"The state employee and school pension systems currently have a guaranteed rate of return, and they have been underfunded for many years. This underfunding continues with passage of this alleged pension fix. With the economic downturn, we can no longer afford a system that guarantees a return on investment when the returns are not there. HB 2497 assumes that Pennsylvania will experience gains of 8 percent over the next several years even though recent gains have been only about half of that. It also assumes employee contribution rates will rise and make up the difference. It is highly speculative that either would happen."
The bill passed Monday evening in the House by a vote of 165-31 and is awaiting Gov. Ed Rendell's signature.
At last, we can thank Barack Obama and Ed Rendell for something.
According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Pennsylvania had 166 workplace fatalities in 2009, down from 241 in 2008.
I'm guessing the reason workplace fatalities in Pennsylvania were down last year is the fact that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians lost their jobs and had no workplace to go to thanks to the failed policies of Ed Rendell and Barack Obama.
Read more: Pa. workplace fatalities down in 2009 at the Philadelphia Business Journal website.
The Pennsylvania House overwhelmingly passed a flawed pension "reform" bill Monday that does little to reform the golden pension plans enjoyed by government workers and teachers and will end up costing Pennsylvania taxpayers billions of dollars.
A number of Republicans joined the lame duck Democrats in pushing the bill through.
The Commonwealth Foundation, an independent, non-profit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, offers some insight into HB 2497:
HARRISBURG, PA — The Commonwealth Foundation expressed disappointment with today's passage of House Bill 2497, which defers significant pension costs on to future generations while failing to adequately reform the state's largest defined benefit pension systems.
"We attempted to bring fiscal sanity to the pension discussion, but the reality was that self-interested unions were successful in drowning out the voice of the taxpayers," said Matthew J. Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. "Despite arguments to the contrary, this bill didn't 'save' the taxpayers any money. Taxes will still be going up with this 'reform' next year — $646M more just to pay for PSERS and SERS — and every year thereafter. But it did prevent moving new employees into a Defined Contribution plan — a major victory for labor unions like PSEA, AFSCME and SEIU."
"Yet we remain hopeful that a new administration and new legislature will begin the process of fully reforming Harrisburg to protect the taxpayers in the future," said Brouillette. "Many lawmakers voted for HB 2497 as the 'first step' to pension reform. We look forward to working with lawmakers who understand this cannot be the final action, and with new leaders who understand the need for real pension reform and controlled spending."
The only silver lining on this cloudy day is the fact that the Legislature can revisit the pension fiasco in 2011 when both chambers will be controlled by Republicans and Gov.-elect Tom Corbett will take office.
The Commonwealth Foundation has posted a complete roll call of how the House voted here.
Newspaper: Criminal background checks of legislators raise many questions
How much do you know about the person you elected to the Legislature? Nineteen members of the Pennsylvania Legislature have criminal records, according to a recent investigation by The Associated Press.
Half of Americans want ObamaCare repealed. Just wait until a provision that requires anyone who does business in the U.S. to fill out a 1099 form for the IRS kicks in. You'll hear the outcry loud and clear, even if you're a tone-deaf Democrat.
From a new column by Daniel Henninger in The Wall Street Journal:
Calvin Coolidge once said, "The chief business of the American people is business." The Democrats just lost America because they forgot that.
On second thought, you can't forget what you never knew. The Democrats running things the past two years proved they have no clue about the business of business. In their world, the real world of the private economy is an abstraction, a political figment.
Daniel Henninger says that the Democrats decoupled from business - and lost the election.
Exhibit A: Along the road to ObamaCare, the party's planners inserted into the bill the now- famous 1099 provision, requiring businesses to do an IRS report for any transaction over $600 annually. No member of Congress, White House staffer or party flunky thought to say, "Oh, wow, this 1099 requirement will crush people running their own businesses. Are we sure we want to do this?" Yes, and that 1099 fiasco is a metaphor now for the modern Democratic Party.
The Associated Press has put together an investigative story exposing some of the legal troubles that Pennsylvania lawmakers have gotten themselves into over the years.
Nineteen lawmakers have arrest records, according to the AP.
The story, written by By Mark Scolforo, will be published starting Sunday in most Pennsylvania newspapers:
Here's a preview the wire service sent to its member newspapers:
HARRISBURG — Drug offenses, gun charges, theft and drunken driving turned up in the backgrounds of some state lawmakers when the entire Pennsylvania General Assembly was checked against public records, news accounts and other sources. At least five lawmakers were found to have convictions of criminal offenses and six others with convictions in cases that were later expunged or stricken. Another five who turned up in the AP investigation with records of arrests or citations either won acquittals or their cases were dropped.
After two years of failed leadership in Harrisburg, Democrats in the Pennsylvania Legislature have turned on each other and what's left of their leadership. Sit back and enjoy the show.
From a new column by veteran Harrisburg observer Laura Vecsey:
It's one thing for state Senate Republicans to accuse House Democratic leaders of walking out on the people's business because someone might have something to hide.
Partisan accusations and game-playing have achieved art-formlike levels at the state Capitol, especially after two years in which the Party of No thwarted many plans of Gov. Ed Rendell and House Democrats.
But when the disappearance of Speaker Keith McCall, Majority Leader Todd Eachus and Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans ignites disgust and ire of rank-and-file Democrats, too, that means no one's buying what House leaders are saying.
That puts an uncomfortable, if not shameful, coda at the end of the House Democrats' final days of power.
Daniel A. Cirucci, a lecturer in corporate communication at Penn State Abington, offers some sound advice to Barack Obama to help salvage his failed presidency, but don't expect The Chosen One to follow any of it. Obama has that rare combination of arrogance and ignorance that will put him right next to Jimmy Carter on the list of worst presidents.
Here's a sampling of Cirucci's advice:
1. Dump what's left of the Chicago Gang 2. Lose the strut and the condescension 3. Get rid of the TelePrompTer 4. Bring the Grand Tour to a close 5. Obama should have a nice, long sit-down with the former president Bill Clinton
Here are your leaders in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives come January, when Republicans will hold a 112-91 majority, the largest in more than a decade.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Rep. Sam Smith (66th District, Jefferson County). Smith has served as leader since 2003. In 2000, Smith was elected whip until April 2003, when he was elected majority leader after the death of Speaker Matthew J. Ryan. Smith was first elected to the House in 1986, succeeding his father, former Rep. Eugene "Snuffy" Smith.
MAJORITY LEADER: Rep. Mike Turzai (28th District, Allegheny County). Turzai was first elected to the House in 2001. He previously served as whip during the 2009-2010 legislative session. In 2006, he was elected Republican Policy Committee chairman.
MAJORITY WHIP: Rep. Stan Saylor (94th District, York County). Saylor was first elected to the House in 1992. In the 2009-2010 session, Saylor served as the Republican Policy Committee chairman.
APPROPRIATIONS CHAIRMAN: Rep. William Adolph (165th District, Delaware County). Adolph was first elected to the House in 1988. Today, he was elected to his first full term as Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Last year, he was elected to the position to replace former Rep. Mario Civera, who resigned.
CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: Rep. Sandra Major (111th District, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming Counties). Major was first elected to the House in 1994. She was re-elected to her third term as Caucus Chairman.
POLICY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Rep. Dave Reed (62nd District, Indiana County). Reed was first elected to the House in 2002. He is currently chairman of the House Republican Campaign Committee.
CAUCUS ADMINISTRATOR: Rep. Dick Stevenson (8th District, Mercer and Butler Counties). Stevenson was first elected to the House in 2000. This is his first election to House leadership.
CAUCUS SECRETARY: Rep. Mike Vereb (150th District, Montgomery County). Vereb was first elected in 2006. This will be his first term as Secretary.
A couple of quick thoughts: Only one woman on the leadership team? It's 2010 and women make up more than half the population of Pennsylvania. Republicans need to do a better job of getting women elected to the Legislature and giving them real clout. On the other hand, House Democrats have done no better, with just one female on their leadership team over the past two years. Rep. Turzai is a solid conservative and one of the smartest people in the Legislature. He should help usher in a new era of fiscal responsibility in state government. Rep. Mike Vereb, in just four years in Harrisburg, is making one of the quickest leaps to a leadership post in House history. He's a stand-up guy and will give Montgomery County a bigger say in the Legislature.
Read the full release from Rep. Smith's office at the link below:
Veteran state government reporter Brad Bumsted has a very informative article about what Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Corbett is facing when he moves into the governor's mansion:
In his first 100 days as governor, Tom Corbett:
• Plans to present reform package to Legislature to eliminate unvouchered expenses for lawmakers and legislative discretionary grants, reduce $200 million legislative reserve fund and slash state's 16,000-vehicle fleet.
• Will appoint 18 Cabinet members, fill top staff positions, and ask Senate to approve his successor as attorney general.
• Plans to present budget to General Assembly in February with spending cuts, lower business taxes, reduced state regulation. May include longer-term agenda that details tuition vouchers for school choice and sale of state liquor system.
• Will push for immediate passage of Fair Share Act, a bill by Republican Rep. Mike Turzai of Bradford Woods, for fairer monetary awards in lawsuits. In civil cases with multiple defendants, those found less than 60 percent liable would pay an assigned percentage of the judgment based on their responsibility.
Read the full article at The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review website.
Another month goes by and the unemployment rate remains at 9.6% despite Obama's promise it would not go above 8%. It's getting harder for Obama to blame George W. Bush now that Obama has been in office for 21 months.
George F. Will analyzes Tuesday's election results and concludes that it was a referendum on Barack Obama's failed presidency.
From his latest column:
It is amazing the ingenuity Democrats invest in concocting explanations of voter behavior that erase what voters always care about, and this year more than ever — ideas. This election was a nationwide recoil against Barack Obama's idea of unlimited government.
Charles Krauthammer on the meaning of Tuesday's GOP sweep:
The Republicans won by default. And their prize is nothing more than a two-year lease on the House. The building was available because the previous occupant had been evicted for arrogant misbehavior and, by rule, alas, the House cannot be left vacant.
A Republican governor and a Republican Legislaure means money will stop flowing into Philadelphia. Replacing Dwight Evans as House Appropriations Committee Chairman goes a long way to ending the debt-filled Rendell years.
Turns out the majority of Americans, and not just the Tea Party folks, have had enough of Obama. The liberal media is eating crow this week, no longer able to call opponents of Obama's failed policies "bigots" or "extremists."
Ann Coulter has more on the repudiation of everything Obama in her latest column,
Tea Party-backed Tarah Toohil topples top PA Democrat
Nobody saw this one coming. A political newcomer knocked off the top-ranking Democrat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Tuesday night.
Democratic Majority Leader Todd Eachus has been in the Legislature since 1997.
The upset victory by Tarah Toohil is a clear indication that Pennsylvania voters want to see major reform in Harrisburg.
From the Times-Tribune:
In a stunning upset, tea party upstart Tarah Toohil, a Republican, defeated incumbent Todd Eachus in the 116th legislative district Tuesday.
Mr. Eachus, the Democratic House Majority Leader, was first elected representative in 1996 and was campaigning for an eighth term.
Ms. Toohil is an attorney.
Ms. Toohil's victory sent shock waves through Hazleton and the state capital, with many observers predicting the race would be decided by 1 or 2 percentage points. She won by 1,742 votes, according to unofficial results.
"(The Eachus defeat) shows that anti-Harrisburg sentiment is very much alive," said Terry Madonna, pollster at Franklin & Marshall College.
A vote in favor of Obamacare proved fatal for the political careers of many Congressional Democrats. The American people didn't want it, but Democrats still forced down their throats. Voters got their revenge on Election Day.
From Sen. Jim DeMint, writing in The Wall Street Journal:
Congratulations to all the tea party-backed candidates who overcame a determined, partisan opposition to win their elections. The next campaign begins today. Because you must now overcome determined party insiders if this nation is going to be spared from fiscal disaster.
Many of the people who will be welcoming the new class of Senate conservatives to Washington never wanted you here in the first place. The establishment is much more likely to try to buy off your votes than to buy into your limited-government philosophy. Consider what former GOP senator-turned-lobbyist Trent Lott told the Washington Post earlier this year: "As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them."
Pennsylvania no longer has the blues. After trending Democratic in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, Republicans stormed back in a big way in 2010.
The Republican tide that swept across the nation Tuesday included Pennsylvania, where Republicans made significant gains at all levels of government.
Let's take a look at how the political landscape changed overnight in Pennsylvania: A Republican replaces Ed Rendell as governor; a Republican replaces Democrat Arlen Specter in the U.S. Senate; Republicans ousted five Congressional Democrats and held all current Congressional seats; Republicans held control of the Pennsylvania Senate by a 30-20 margin and Republicans regained control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives with a solid majority of at least 110 seats in the 203-seat body.
A Republican will move into governor's mansion with Attorney General Tom Corbett defeating Ed Rendell-clone Dan Onorato. Republican Pat Toomey defeated liberal Joe Sestak for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Arlen Specter.
Pennsylvania voters tossed out five incumbent Democratic members of Congress from Pennsylvania, helping the GOP retake control of the House in Washington, D.C. Republicans will hold 12 of Pennsylvania's 19 Congressional seats come January.
Among Election Night highlights from Pennsylvania: Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta defeated 26-year career politician Paul Kanjorski and Republican Pat Meehan beat Democrat Bryan Lentz in the race for the Congressional seat being vacated by Sestak.
All of this took place in Ed Rendell's back yard in a state where Obama and his minions campaigned heavily for incumbent Democrats.
The message sent by Pennsylvania voters Tuesday was loud and clear: The Democrats agenda of deficit spending and higher taxes has to stop.
GOP picks up 5 Senate seats; best hope is 50-50 tie
Republicans picked up five Senate seats on Tuesday but there's no way to win the Senate majority because of several victories by Democrats. The best the GOP can hope for is a 50-50 ties, but the Republicans would have to win every race that still hasn't been decided.
Republicans scored big wins, taking Senate seats from Democrats in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arkansas, North Dakota and Indiana. But Democrats held on to seats in California and West Virginia.
It's going to be nearly impossible for Republicans to capture a 60-seat majority in the Senate because they've lost the Senate contests in Delaware, Connecticut and West Virginia. The GOP may end up with 55-58 seats when the dust clears.
Republican Marco Rubio emerged victorious in a three-way race for Florida's U.S. Senate seat, beating back Democrat Kendrick Meek and Gov. Charlie Crist, who pulled an Arlen Specter and bolted the GOP when it became clear he would lose to Rubio.
Republicans pick up the first of the 10 seats they need to take the Senate majority.
From The Associated Press:
Former Sen. Dan Coats easily dispatched Rep. Brad Ellsworth in Indiana to win back the seat he voluntarily gave up a dozen years ago.
In Kentucky, where Paul was making his first run for political office, he prevailed over Democrat Jack Conway.
The Indiana seat marked a gain for Republicans, and the Kentucky race was the first indication that voters were ready to embrace at least some of the Republican candidates whom Democrats had pilloried for months as being too extreme to win elections.
Interviews with voters revealed an extraordinarily sour electorate, stressed financially and poorly disposed toward the president, the political parties and the federal government.
The Independence Hall Tea Party PAC, the only federally registered Tea Party PAC in the tri-state (DE, NJ, PA) area, expects to help Republicans capture Congress by supporting its endorsed candidates.
"We endorsed 13 terrific regional Congressional candidates in the primary and two additional candidates in the general election, and feel more than confident that a majority of them will win," said PAC President Don Adams. "In the primary, we won 10 out of 12 contested races. We think we'll do almost as well in the General election.
Here are the 2010 PAC endorsed candidates:
Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey, US Senate; Jim Gerlach (PA-6); Pat Meehan (PA-7); Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8); Dee Adcock PA-13); Charlie Dent (PA-15); Joe Pitts (PA-16); and Dave Argall (PA-17)
New Jersey: Dale Glading (NJ-1); Jon Runyan (NJ-3); Anna Little (NJ-6); and Scott Sipprelle (NJ-12)
Delaware: Christine O'Donnell; US Senate; and Dale Urquhart (DE-At Large)
For more information about Independence Hall Tea Party Association, visit the group's website.
The final USA Today/Gallup measure of Americans' voting intentions for Congress shows Republicans continuing to hold a substantial lead over Democrats among likely voters, a lead large enough to suggest that regardless of turnout, the Republicans will win more than the 40 seats needed to give them the majority in the U.S. House.
The results are from Gallup's Oct. 28-31 survey of 1,539 likely voters. It finds 52% to 55% of likely voters preferring the Republican candidate and 40% to 42% for the Democratic candidate on the national generic ballot -- depending on turnout assumptions. Gallup's analysis of several indicators of voter turnout from the weekend poll suggests turnout will be slightly higher than in recent years, at 45%. This would give the Republicans a 55% to 40% lead on the generic ballot, with 5% undecided.
The infamous ACORN, which elevated voter fraud to an art form during the 2008 presidential campaign, is back, this time trying to get Democrat Joe Sestak elected to the U.S. Senate ... one way or another.
Tony Phyrillas is the managing editor and political blogger at The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. Phyrillas has won several national and state awards for commentary, including first place for column writing in 2010 by the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors. Phyrillas has been featured on National Public Radio and The New York Times and is a frequent commentator on radio and television programs. He co-hosted 'Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus' on WPAZ 1370 AM from 2008 to 2009.