Tuesday, March 11, 2008

known unknowns and political misunderstandings

For readers from afar you may just want to skip this. Just some uber-local political musings:

Here is an admission. I feel I am a relatively informed person, interested in local issues, keep up on the news, vote when I'm told and all of that. Yet for all of that I have to say that my understanding of what is really happening in local politics is really quite minimal. So if true for me, what does it say about your typical voter. Think I am being a bit self-deprecating? I am quite serious.

Let's go back to the race for the 21st Legislative district, which as I have said is my own district. I will not go into it more, since I have pretty much beaten the topic to death, but the decision of current state rep Lisa B. to quit Harrisburg after just a year in office is still hard to make sense of.

The question now however is who is going to replace her, which only gets me more befuddled. No less than 6 folks sought the Democratic committee endoresment. Each with their own stories and potential political bases.

First off, former City Councilperson Len B won the endorsement which surprised me not because of anything good or bad about him, but the 21st district did not really include the core Lawrenceville Districts that went for him even in his losing city council race. LD 21 extends into Shadyside and way out into Ross. By my count only 12 of 70 voting districts in the state house district include any of the districts are in City Council District 7. Take that for what it's worth. I am just guessing, but I figure Len will have the money advantage in this race as well.

Then there is Paul Mckrell who said he was running, but does not appear on the list of candidates. In the early stages he had the only active campaign. Did he withdraw because he didn't get the endorsement? You would think so, yet that makes no sense since from doorknockers I received at my house he must have been out walking streets during the time that the endorsement vote was taking place. If the endorsement vote was important to him, why was be mostly ignoring it. If it wasn't important to him then why drop out when he didn't get an endorsement that couldn't have been expected in the first place. I don't get it, but I am sure he has his reasons. But he did this the last cycle as well: he announced he was running for this same seat in 2006 and then withdrew later on. Didn't he also have a mock run for a hypothetical state office even before that? So he clearly wants the job and was probably planning this longer than most others. In fact, as of this moment his campaign web site is still up and running. Strange is all and cynical me will stop there before speculating, but why spend time and money on this:

Brenda Frazier makes a point in news accounts that she has won a couple races against endorsed candidates in her bids for county council. Barring her last minute de jure resignation, she can also claim to have been the only currently elected official running in this race. I am not so convinced people focus on the county council races too much so I am not sure what that buys much in the end. And even though I suspect any news is good news for most politicians, she did get more press than she ever had in the past with some top of the fold coverage over some discussions to appoint a caretaker to her county council seat so that she could return to office if she does not win this race. Who knows how all that balances out.

Dan Demarco was the only candidate from north of the Allegheny River. Since the district is now 40-50% outside of the city and with 5 other candidates potentially splitting city votes you would think that would be good mathematically for the only non-city option, yet he got a few votes and called it a day. About all I can discern there.

Then there is former City Police chief Dom Costa popping up to run for office for the first time. Naive me just guessed he had a decent shot at the endorsement. Years as a cop in the city ought to earn you friends. He was supporting Peduto I hear which you think might have helped in those Shadyside districts at the very least. Time as the Penn Hills police chief could have earned him some cred outside the city. So he came in third which I suppose is respectable, but really nowhere near the support needed to get the endorsement.

Who else? [update: Apparently nobody else. proving my point, I didn't know Pistella filed but must have already withdrawn since he is no longer on the list of candidates.] Former incumbent Frank Pistella ran and came in second to Lenny. In the news he suggested he may not run if he did not get the endorsement, but the state says he filed. Since I went into Franks career a bit when kvetching over the Lisa B. withdrawal I won't do any more now. Maybe he can run as the free air candidate. Nobody openly run's as the anti-air candidate do they?

Which is all a lot of words to tell everyone who is asking that I don't have a clue who will win. Will the widely split race make for a cakewalk for the endrosed candidate Len B? Maybe 4 men will split the vote that will give Brenda F. an edge. Maybe Dom C. will build a coalition of support in suburban districts and some core support groups within the city? or maybe the vote is split evenly and Frank P. has some residual support form the past that will pull out a plurality.

A blog that is covering the race semi-actively, albeit with a particular geographic focus up in Ross Township is http://sirfuller.blogspot.com/. That blog is interesting because it looks like Len B. has engaged the blogger actively online. Len looks like he first started by actually commenting on that blog in this post. That was odd since Len addresses his first comments to "Dan" yet the blog author is clearly Jeff and there are no comments by a Dan. Maybe I am missing something, but maybe be presumes the erstwhile candidate Dan D. is out there, but that would be strange. And why would Len all of a sudden become active in the blogosphere, he didn't seem to be personally connecting like that at all during his city council race. New staff helping him out maybe?

So there you go.. Each candidate with advantages and disadvantages. Support that will split in uncountable ways in a race that could potentially be one of the higher turnout primaries in a Pennsylvania presidential primary cycle which is a big and unknown wildcard this time around.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pistella dropped out. The three remaining candidates are Bodack, Costa and Frazier.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 2:57:00 PM  
Blogger EdHeath said...

Chris, Mr. Bodack has a campaign website this time: www.bodack.com. As someone pointed out on the Burgh Report, Mr. Bodack's site has his name at the top left and the phrase "State Representative" is on the right with a picture of Mr. Bodack. No "for" in between. But a quick glance at the home page reveals it is a campaign site. The menu heading "On the Issues" reveals an "under construction" page, unfortunately. "Team Bodack" lists a familiar name - Mary Kay Abdulovic - as campaign manager, but the very fact that Mr. Bodack has a very professional and polished website indicates someone is giving him new advice.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 12:53:00 PM  
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Monday, August 08, 2016 10:32:00 PM  

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