November 28th Playbook: Welcome Back

It’s the beginning of a new week and the end of the old session.

PA weather
Pittsburgh | Mostly cloudy, 47
Harrisburg | Mostly cloudy, 51
Philly | Partly sunny, 54

PA sports
Steelers (3-7) | MON vs. Indianapolis
Eagles (10-1) | Green Bay, W 40-33
Penn State (10-2) | State of Michigan, W 35-16
Pitt (8-4) | Miami, W42-16
Temple (3-9) | East Carolina, L 49-46
76ers (11-9) | Orlando, W 133-103 | MON vs. Atlanta
Penguins (11-8-3) | TUE vs. Carolina
Flyers (7-10-5) | TUE vs. NY Islanders

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1. When is a majority not a majority?

“Democrats won control of the Pennsylvania State House on November 8, but their majority will disappear for at least a few weeks into the new year.

Republicans will temporarily hold a 101-99 lead in the 203-seat chamber, in part due to the death of a longtime lawmaker whose seat must be filled in a special election.

But the Democratic majority will also take a hit because two state legislators were running for re-election while simultaneously vying for separate elected offices — a perfectly legal choice that some advocates of good government say shouldn’t be an option. PA)


Learning to count: Dems need one more vote to elect McClinton as Speaker of the House. “It seems pretty clear to me that the one thing House Democrats said on January 3rd is not going to happen. At least not on January 3rd.” (Times-Tribune)

How did Democrats gain control of the PA House? You owe it to the GOP, lawmakers say. “Pennsylvania Democrats may have thanked a Republican over the holiday for giving them their first House majority in over a decade.” (Lehigh Valley News)

Sparring in PA House over rule changes previews what’s to come in 2023. “The final vote by lawmakers before the recess, cast in the shadow of such a momentous move, also reflected the split between the ruling lower house parties ahead of the next legislature.” (New castle messages)


2. Lee among seven newcomers to watch

Can be a picture of 4 people, standing people and monument

“The newcomers to House next year include 37 Republicans and 35 Democrats, drawn from 32 states across the country. PAs Summer Lee can be seen under seven.

Lee made history earlier this month when she became the first black woman from Pennsylvania to be elected to Congress. She beat Republicans mike doyle to replace the resigning Democratic legislature for the 12th congressional district, who is also named mike doyle.” (The hill)


The GOP’s big Trump reckoning begins at the state party level. “Lou Barletta has been one of Donald Trump’s staunchest allies for years. The former Republican gubernatorial candidate and Pennsylvania congressman endorsed him at a time in 2016 when many GOP elected officials viewed Trump as radioactive. He served as co-chair of his first presidential campaign in Pennsylvania. Six years later, Barletta finally gets off the MAGA train.” (POLITICS)

GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick: Congress will not allow US railroad strike. “Failure is not an option here. We cannot allow our transportation system to be responsible for destroying a third of the products that transit our country. That’s not an option.” (Really clear politics)


3. Is Lucerne a swing county again?

Lucerne County, PA |  Official site

“Lucerne County remains Republican-leaning, but the unofficial results of the Nov. 8 election show that the county can still be a swing county with ticket splitters who will vote Democrats.

republican Mehmed Oz, who lost the US Senate election, received the most votes in Luzerne County with 62,340, accounting for 53 percent of the county vote. However, in the other high-profile national competition Democrat Josh Shapiro Lucerne won the district council vote in the governor elections with 57,837 votes, 49.5 percent of the district votes.” (standard speaker)


Mastriano supporters flood PA courts with baseless recount petitions in gubernatorial campaign. “The effort could create confusion about the validity of the election, deadlock state courts and disrupt the work of officials to audit and certify results. Mastriano lost almost 15 percentage points.” (Philadelphia investigators)

PA Republicans look in after voters quash expected ‘red wave’The November 8 election was barely counted before the “autopsy” stories about the Pennsylvania Republican Party swept in.” (PennLive)

Questions about the election certificate.The Luzerne District Electoral Board will hold a special meeting on Monday to confirm the results of the Nov. 8 general election, which was marred by a shortage of ballots that prompted a judge to open polling stations for another two hours.” (citizen vote)

Around the Commonwealth

Why Trib Total Media is turning off negative political ads. “Like you, we are fed up with advertising political attacks. So let’s get rid of them. All Trib Total Media publications now have a new political advertising policy: it can refer to the candidate but not to the opponent.Tribune review)

Is Larry Krasner’s possible impeachment a political power grab or a legitimate policy review?Beginning Tuesday, the Republican-controlled state Senate will take the first steps in a trial against Mr. Krasner that will likely stretch into next year and could culminate in the first vote to remove an elected official in Pennsylvania since 1994.” (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Retired MP Brian Sims finds next act with LGBTQ Business, Policy Group. “When F. Scott Fitzgerald reflected on the fact that there are no second acts in American life, State Representative Brian Sims was not yet born.” (Pennsylvania Capital star)

“We Attack the System:” Why PA Activists See Opportunity for Capitol Reform in 1922. “Rabbi Michael Pollack wants to end “legalized bribery” at the Commonwealth Capitol – and members of his organization are optimistic about the coming year.” (USA TODAY PA State Capitol Bureau)

Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline will not seek re-election in 2023. “Michelle Kichline, the only Republican on Chester County’s board of commissioners, will not seek re-election in 2023. However, she said that shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who know her ideals.” (why)


  • We welcome a new State House that better represents Lancaster County’s diverse population. (LNP | Lancaster Online)
  • The PA midterm elections were close. Immigrant votes matter here. (Laila Martin Garcia, PennLive)
  • Pennsylvanians have already chosen roe. (Robert Cavalier, Post Gazette)
  • The Mastriano case for open primaries. (York shipping)
  • PA counties use estimates for property taxes that are decades old. It’s unfair. (Andrew Chew, Lehigh Valley Live)
  • The extreme right loses. That’s why America has never been more dangerous. (Will Bunch, investigator)
  • To Governor Wolf: Forgive the thousands of Pennsylvanians with marijuana convictions. (Renee Chenault Fattah, investigator)
  • A Republican cheers for Josh Shapiro but takes one away for cynicism. (Kyle Sammin, Real Clear Politics)
  • Rolling the dice on redistribution was a bad bet for PA House Republicans. (Patrick Beaty, PA Capital star)
  • Republicans shoot themselves in the foot for having an abortion. (Gene Epstein, Bucks County Courier Times)
1 thing

Turn on your Scrabble

“The addition of 500 words to the seventh edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, released by Hasbro and Merriam-Webster last week, should make for some eyebrow-raising exciting gameplay this holiday season.

So hello to words like “dox”, “dumpster” and “queso”.

“We’re always looking for something when we get stuck with a Q,” he laughed Johanna Rubina Monongahela resident who works at Donora Library, where she is a member of the bi-weekly Scrabble Club.” (Observer-Reporter)

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