Monday, January 20, 2014

Farewell Delco, Stay Classy

I’m leaving the Delaware County Daily Times soon. It has been one heck of a ride.

For the first year, I was a general assignment reporter and I assisted former political reporter Alex Rose with coverage. The first race I covered was the open seat for the 7th Congressional District in 2010. It was a great race. U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, battled it out with Swarthmore Democrat Bryan Lentz, a former two-term state representative, every day. Third-party conservative Jim Schneller added to the drama.

Though I covered some politics at my first job, the Daily Local News in West Chester, the 7th Congressional District race was my introduction to Delco politics. I have to admit I wasn’t that thrilled about covering politics at first but it was something I grew to absolutely love. When Alex Rose took on a new beat at the county courthouse, I became the lead political and county government reporter. I was thrilled to get the beat roughly three years ago. I liked following the so-called “game” of politics. By game, I mean observing politicians and figuring out their next moves.

Another highlight of my time here was traveling to Newtown, Conn., to help one of our “sister” papers, The New Haven Register, with coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre. I was in Connecticut for three days after the tragedy in December 2012. It was a great learning experience.

Another highlight was my article about Sgt. Sneezy, an Afghan dog who was rescued by a local soldier from Ridley. The soldier had the dog flown back to the United States. It was a heartwarming story. Sgt. Sneezy unfortunately died about a year ago. 

I also really enjoyed covering the 2013 election cycle. For the first time in the county’s history, the Delco Democratic Party had an edge over the local Republican Party in terms of voter registration. The countywide Democratic slate was energized but was unable to break the Republicans’ grip on the county courthouse.

I’m grateful for my time here. I learned something new from my fellow reporters, editors, readers and sources every day over the past 3 ½ years.

I’m off to my next adventure now.

Farewell Delco. Stay classy. 

Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dem eyes 163rd House seat

Democrat Vince Rongione, a former aide to U.S. Navy Admiral Joe Sestak and former state Rep. Bryan Lentz, announced Tuesday that he is eyeing a run against longtime state Rep. Nick Micozzie, R-163, of Upper Darby.

It's unclear whether Micozzie will retire before the 2014 election cycle. Rumors are swirling that he might this time around.

My colleague John Kopp has all the details here.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Kane raises $268 K for 26th District

John Kane, a Ridley Township Democrat, has raised $268,725 in his bid for the 26th senatorial district seat, according to a news release issued by his campaign Friday.

Kane is the business manager of Plumbers Union Local 690 and serves on SEPTA's board.

"I am grateful for the support of my donors, whose trust and belief in our campaign proves that there is a hunger and desire to bring change to Delaware and Chester counties and to Harrisburg," said Kane in a prepared statement. "Their confidence is inspiring and I will work to the best of my ability to ensure that their investments are worthwhile. Our efforts in 2013 were only the beginning of what will be a strong and unrelenting campaign."

State Sen. Ted Erickson, R-26, of Newtown, announced at the end of August that he would retire at the end of 2014. Erickson has held the seat since 2001.

Dems view this seat as a pickup opportunity.

Delco Republican leaders are rallying behind county council Chairman Tom McGarrigle, a former Springfield commissioner and owner of an automobile service station.

McGarrigle said Monday that he is currently seeking the support of the municipal committee leaders in the 26th district.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Davidson to host mobile office hours

The staff of state Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, of Upper Darby, will be available from 10 a.m. - noon Saturday to provide information about state services and help with other state forms at the Sellers Library in Upper Darby.

This is part of Davidson's ongoing monthly mobile office outreach. The library is located at 76 S. State Road in Upper Darby.

For more information, call Davidson's office at 610-259-7016 or email

Meehan enters 2014 with more than $1.5 million

It's that time again.

Candidates for federal office are filing their final 2013 fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission. 

U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, raised over $275,000 in the fourth filing quarter which allowed him to enter 2014 with more than $1.5 million cash on hand, according to a news release issued by his re-election campaign. 

Meehan, a former Delco district attorney and former U.S. Attorney, is currently serving his second term in the U.S. House. 

"Thanks to the continuous generosity of our supporters, we can enter the 2014 election year with confidence that we'll be able to keep fighting for the voters of the 7th Congressional District," Meehan said in a prepared statement. "I am truly grateful for strong friendships and support for my agenda to create jobs here in Pennsylvania, stop reckless spending and protecting hardworking taxpayers from Obamacare's harmful effects."

It's unclear who the Democrats will put up as their candidate. 

Another Dem eyes 164th House seat

Another name is emerging in the 164th district race.

Meet Dafan Zhang. He is a Democrat who wants to run for the seat currently held by state Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, Upper Darby.

This could mean there will be a three-way Democratic primary for this seat. In addition to Zhang and Davidson, Lansdowne Democrat Billy J. Smith is interested in the seat.

On his campaign website, Zhang said he has overcome many obstacles in his life such as homelessness.

So why does he want to run for the seat?

 “The answer is simple: I have deep, abiding commitment to you, my friends and my neighbors,” Zhang wrote on his campaign website. “I am a longtime resident of the 164th district. Indeed, I have live here for upwards of 14 years. These years have been a remarkable period of change – for me personally and for the district and its residents.While I have embraced the positive changes to my personal life, the changing needs of the district have been wholly ignored by our elected officials. Our district is more diverse and complex than even before – and our elected officials have not risen to this challenge. This is a new era – a new era that demands new leadership.”

The primary election is May 20.

Update 1/3:
Here are more details about the race.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Organization names Barrar Legislator of the Year

A newly formed conservative organization known as the Independence Hall Foundation named state Rep. Steve Barrar, R-160, of Upper Chichester, the 2013 Legislator of the Year.

“We are most grateful to Rep. Barrar for his advocacy of Voter ID reform, liquor control privatization and his efforts to stop runaway taxation most recently evidenced in the 2013 (Pennsylvania) transportation bill,” said Teri Adams, the foundation’s spokeswoman, in a prepared statement Wednesday afternoon.

The organization also named Armstrong County Republican Tom Smith the 2013 Patriot of the Year. Smith, a business owner, had an unsuccessful run against U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., in 2012. Adams said the organization chose Smith for the award for his “decades long commitment to the principles of the Founders.”

It appears that the organization has ties to the tea party movement.

The Independence Hall Foundation “was formed this year as an organization dedicated to the values and principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” states a news release issued by the organization Wednesday.

Update 1/2:
Barrar said he was pleased he received recognition from the organization.

“I’m very happy about the award because I know they are a group of individuals dedicated to the same principles that most of my constituents believe are important which are lower taxes and sensible government spending,” he said.