Thursday, November 18, 2010

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.

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