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Election negotiations between Wolf, GOP collapse

The Investigator

Your guide to the Capitol & stories holding the powerful to account

Oct. 22, 2020 | spotlightpa.org
There are just 12 days until Nov. 3., and Spotlight PA is committed to bringing you the most important election stories in the days ahead. 

As part of our new partnership with Votebeat — a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access — contributor Marie Albiges reported on a crucial U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Pennsylvania’s 3-day extension for accepting mail-in ballots. She also checked in with Northampton County, where voting machines melted down in November 2019

Investigative reporter Angela Couloumbis detailed how Pennsylvania could become "ground zero" for election lawsuits, while Capitol reporter Cynthia Fernandez had the scoop on collapsed negotiations between Gov. Tom Wolf and the GOP-led legislature to let counties process mail ballots before Nov. 3.

While the absence of meaningful "pre-canvassing" has fueled fears of delayed election results, Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar said during a Spotlight PA live interview that she expects “the overwhelming majority” of the state’s votes will be counted soon after Nov. 3.

We have a team of reporters dedicated to the most important stories about this election — not the horse race and polls, but substantive journalism about mail-in ballots, voter intimidation, misinformation, and more. And we need your support to keep going. Help power this critical public-service reporting and become a member of Spotlight PA right now. Every dollar makes a difference.

You can also send us a tip about any voting problems you experience. 

Sarah Anne Hughes of Spotlight PA

"It was Sophie’s Choice: either my husband or my sister."

Christi Marshall of Chester County on the decision she would face should something go wrong with the Mariner East pipelines

Latest on COVID-19

 Pennsylvania continued its troubling trend of reporting more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases each day this week. Other indicators we watch — including the percent of tests coming back positive, as well as hospitalizations — are also rising. This is much worse than the uptick in July.

» Follow the latest state data with our coronavirus tracker, and sign up for weekly alerts with the latest data localized for your county

More from Spotlight PA

» Senate GOP halts fixes for Pa.’s troubled rent relief program, surprising many
» Senator: Addressing racism should be central to redesign of Pa. state universities

The LGBTQ community isn't a monolith. That includes politics, too. 

Every four years, the queer community gets highlighted because of a seeming political hypocrisy: gay Republicans.

While the “gay vote” has historically been an important one for Democrats, the GOP has also tried to capitalize on it with support from Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBTQ+ conservative political group. Trump’s team has also actively campaigned to queer communities. 

The story is framed the same way every election season, with a bit of shock that an oppressed class of people are choosing to vote for a party that has historically — and even currently — denies them equal rights, and aligns itself with people who have denounced their existence. 

This was was again the discussion after the gay dating app Hornet published a survey that polled 10,000 of its users to see who they would vote for in the upcoming general election. The poll showed that 45% of gay men would support a second Trump term.

While that number might come as a surprise, the survey was conducted in an unscientific manner (it only surveyed queer men, didn’t take into account racial or demographic differences, and had no peer review). A GLAAD survey, conducted by Pathfinder Opinion Research with representative samples of the LGBTQ+ community, showed queer support for Trump at 17%.

However, the Hornet survey revealed something many of us who live in the queer communities we cover have always known: Gay Republicans aren’t all that shocking. The reality is that conservative queers have always existed, and there are a lot more than you might think. 

“The LGBTQ+ community has never been a monolith,” said state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, an openly gay Democrat who represents Philly. “I feel like for folks who are constantly surprised that there might be some people in our community who aren't progressive Democrats, I think that that was always a misreading of our community."

Though gay representation in politics exists across the state, it’s not as robust as in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the queer culture hubs in the state. And until there is significant polling of the queer community across the state, its projected support will remain largely anecdotal.

That’s something that other queer leaders — especially those in the central region of the state — have seen. 

“When I interact with my friends on both coasts, they're living in communities where, you know, their rights have not been debated, right?” said Ben Allatt, an openly gay man who sits on Harrisburg City Council. “But in central Pennsylvania, you run the gamut in terms of what you can experience.” 

Joseph Darius Jaafari of Spotlight PA

From across the state

» Expense reports show Republican state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe has paid more than $15,000 for a district office "that does not appear to exist," The Pittsburgh Current reports. The location, an events venue and tea room, does not have any signage linking it to Metcalfe and is not listed on his official legislative page. Metcalfe told KDKA the rental is used as extra space.

» A group of rock stars promised its telecom company would create more than 300 jobs and bring in $2 billion in state tax revenue while revitalizing a section of York. Instead, The York Daily Record reports, the project has employed just 15 people and reported tens of millions of dollars in losses.

» Families whose loved ones died of COVID-19 at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center are suing the nursing home for its "reckless" handling of the pandemic, TribLIVE reports. The suit comes as long-term care facilities brace for a potential second wave of cases and supply shortages.

More good reads

» AP: Deadline looms to defuse Pennsylvania’s budget time bomb

» CAPITAL-STAR: Voters wonder who they can trust in Western Pa. state House race

» INQUIRER: Pennsylvania charter group aims to expand schools with a $30 million grant

» INQUIRER: Some Pa. marijuana patients face jail for not surrendering their cards

» MORNING CALL: House effort to loosen coronavirus restrictions on restaurants fails

» PGH CITY PAPER: Mail carrier under investigation appears to believe in QAnon

» POST-GAZETTE: Pa. Supreme Court hears arguments in priest abuse case

» TRIBLIVEMore ballot delays in Westmoreland County

» WESA: Loss of thousands of child care spots in Allegheny County will hurt parents

Sarah Anne Hughes of Spotlight PA

Send your answers to riddler@spotlightpa.org.

TIE TO THE HORSE (Case No. 61): A horse was tied to a 5-foot-long rope, and its food was placed 18 feet away. But it had no problem eating it all up. How come?
Feeling smart? Challenge a friend.

Last week's answer: There are 10 in the family (2 parents, 7 daughters, 1 brother)
Congrats to Alice O., who will receive Spotlight PA swag. Others who have answered correctly: George S., Andy C., Annette I., John D., Don H., Debbie T., Dennis F., Lynda G., Judy A., Rick S., Michele M., Hagan H., Nancy M., Linda C., Lois P., Caitlin M., Robert K., Joseph S., Drew C., Dave D., Dennis P., Steven B., Kenneth J., Beverly M., Karen K., William D., Gerry W., Joel S., Kathy M., Karen W., Georgina R., William H., Karen and Ken S., Eileen D., Joan C., Beth T., Marlin E., Karen S., Lou R., Norman S.A., Kathy W., Dorothy K., George S., Ed N., Heather B., Marvin S., Mary S., Jon N., Michael H., Deborah D., Joseph A., Jeff W., and Jason C.

Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WITF Public Media.

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