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More Pa. Dems go Republican ahead of midterms

Plus, family wants Pa. teacher imprisoned in Russia released.

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Your Postmaster: Spotlight PA Staff
August 2, 2022
Swing state, Mastriano nods, partisan power, tone check, November newcomers, dusty trails, and funny animals. It's Tuesday. 

More Pennsylvania Democrats are re-registering as Republicans than the other way around in this crucial midterm election year. 

Roughly 38,000 Pennsylvania Democrats have become Republicans in the past year versus 12,000 Republicans who became Democrats.

According to the Post-Gazette, GOP operatives believe the shift proves disaffection with the Democratic Party is growing, while Democrats say voters leaving the party were likely already voting against it for years.

Political analyst Terry Madonna told the outlet it's too early to tell if the registration numbers are a midterm warning sign.

THE CONTEXT: The AP reports the trend is nationwide, with about two-thirds of voters who have switched their official party registrations across 31 states in the past year making the switch to the Republican Party.

"Nowhere is the shift more pronounced — and dangerous for Democrats — than in the suburbs," the wire service concluded, pointing to Republican gains around Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and beyond.

Democrats still hold the edge in Pennsylvania registrations by more than 500,000 voters, and they remain confident in their midterm chances, believing the overturning of Roe v. Wade, for example, will be a potent motivator.

With less than 100 days to go before the election, Democratic candidates in marquee races here continue to lead in fundraising hauls and the polls. The New York Times reports some GOP observers are alarmed, especially given the favorable political climate they inherited.


"We have a path with Pennsylvania, and don't worry, we have a path without Pennsylvania." 

—An unnamed National Republican Senatorial Committee official assuring donors that the GOP can still take the U.S. Senate if Mehmet Oz loses
Kathy B. shared this gem from Longwood Gardens. Now it's your turn: Send us your photos, use #PAGems on IG, or tag @spotlightpennsylvania.
HOUSE NOD: Eight of nine Republicans representing Pennsylvania in Congress have signed a letter endorsing Doug Mastriano for governor. U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R., Bucks) was the only GOP member of the delegation who did not. The same eight Republicans opposed the certification of Pennsylvania's election results in 2020 as Mastriano also worked to overturn Joe Biden's victory.

SWAY STATE: Pennsylvania is one of several states that could overturn the 2024 presidential contest if the U.S. Supreme Court sides with North Carolina Republicans in a case that could give partisan state lawmakers virtually unrestricted power over elections and electors, The Atlantic reports. Spotlight PA has more on the fringe legal theory at the center of the case and what the ruling could mean here.

TONE SHIFT: In April, Doug Mastriano said he would "move with alacrity, with speed" to sign legislation banning abortion at around six weeks into a pregnancy if he was elected governor of Pennsylvania and Roe v. Wade was overturned. Now, Roe is gone and Mastriano is the Republican gubernatorial nominee. But The Inquirer reports his tone appears to be shifting on abortion amid unfavorable polling on the issue.

THIRD PARTY: Third-party candidates for governor and U.S. Senate have filed paperwork to get on the general election ballot. PoliticsPA expects Republicans will once again challenge the paperwork filed by Libertarian hopefuls, while Democrats are expected to target Green Party selections. New to the mix: The Keystone Party formed by Libertarians who felt that party was veering too hard to the right politically.

WASTEWATER: Spreading wastewater from oil and gas drilling on rural roads to limit dust doesn't actually do that very well, but it does pose dangers to the environment and human health, a study commissioned by Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection found. DEP officials haven't acted on the findings yet, per the Bay Journal, but said the study's impact will be "immediate, large, and intense."

'FREE FOGEL': Marc Fogel of Oakmont was sentenced to 14 years in a Russian penal colony for possessing 17 grams of medical marijuana at a Moscow-area airport. The case has parallels to that of WNBA star Brittney Griner, which Fogel's family is watching closely, per TribLIVE.

SHOWTIME: Musikfest, the "largest free, non-gated music festival in the nation," returns to Bethlehem this week. Willie Nelson, Boyz II Men, Counting Crows, and Ziggy Marley are headlining. Lehigh Valley Live has a roundup of smaller acts and a trip down memory lane.

NIGHT MAYOR: Philly's new night mayor — or nighttime economy director — is ready to party. Billy Penn quizzed Raheem Manning on the city's party scene, his drinks of choice, and where the "feral" energy is at.

RECORD REVENUE: The past year saw Pennsylvania gambling revenues top $5 billion for the first time ever, the AP reports, the surge coming after pandemic-related shutdowns sapped casino revenue in 2020.

ANIMAL HOUSE: Two UPenn grads are making a name for themselves on New York City's standup comedy circuit with a Jack Hanna-inspired show that pairs funny people with exotic animals, the New Yorker reports.

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

*This week's theme: Handwriting

Yesterday's answer: Manuscript

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., John B., Vicki U., Kimberly D., Becky C., Susan D., Joel S., Tara M., Irene R., Elaine C., Doris T., Judith D., Starr B., Ed M., Mark O., Chuck M., Deb N., Warren D., Susan N.-Z., Don H., Mike B., Patricia A., Michael K., Claudia M., Fred O., Jude M., Myles M., Tish M., Dianne K., David S., Stanley J., Margaret Mary H., Fred H., Marty M., Karen W., David W., William M., John A., John P., Sharon P., Cindy M., Bill S., Daniel M., and Carol H.-P.
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