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Election tallies, J6 about-face, and 'Zoom towns'

Plus, Pa. companies quietly restart election-denier donations.

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A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
May 18, 2022
Primary results, J6 pivot, sidelined stumpers, weed vote, air pressure, 'Zoom towns,' cobra chickens, and 🌷 a Spring bonus. It's Wednesday. 
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Doug Mastriano has won Pennsylvania’s Republican primary for governor, defeating a crowded field in a high-stakes race that will shape the state’s future.

He will face Josh Shapiro, the only Democratic gubernatorial candidate to appear on the ballot, in November. 

As Spotlight PA reports, Mastriano has played a leading role in echoing former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. The state senator's profile began its meteoric rise in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world.

Shapiro, meanwhile, has held elected office at the local or state level for the past two decades. Long considered a rising star in Pennsylvania’s Democratic circles, the state attorney general has campaigned on his record of tackling corporate corruption, advancing LGBTQ-friendly policies, and championing abortion rights.

OTHER RESULTS: Contentious races for an open U.S. Senate seat were also on the ballot Tuesday.

John Fetterman, the state’s current lieutenant governor, defeated three other Democrats for his party’s nod

The Associated Press has yet to declare a Republican winner. The crowded field is being led by former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick and celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz. As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, Oz was leading by roughly 2,600 votes — a small enough margin to trigger an automatic recount

See links to more election results below.
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"If all the information that you've requested was not allowed to be disclosed, how would anyone know if the program is being operated in accordance with the act's provisions?"

Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough during Tuesday’s hearing on Spotlight PA’s request for anonymous medical marijuana data that the state refuses to release; a decision is pending; here's the background
ABC 27: Austin Davis wins Democratic lt. gov. primary

ABC 27: Carrie Lewis DelRosso wins Republican lt. gov. primary

BILLY PENN: Prescod fails to unseat Williams in Senate 8th

MORNING CALL: Pat Browne in fight of his political life

WESA: Lee claims victory in congressional race, Irwin does not concede

Carolina springbeauty right here in Pennsylvania — specifically at Prince Gallitzin State Park in Cambria County. Thanks, Don H. Send us your gems, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
RETURN DONORS: After the U.S. Capitol attack, Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries was one of the companies that took a tough stance on donations to Congress members who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results. Months later, those donations quietly resumed, WTAE reports. The same is true for Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank, which told the outlet it's "focused on advancing public policy important to PNC's business" and donates accordingly.

SICK DAYS: Attorney General and Democratic candidate for governor Josh Shapiro is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19. He's expected to return to the campaign trail in Johnstown next week. TribLIVE reports Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman was also sidelined on Tuesday and underwent pacemaker surgery after suffering a stroke last week. Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R., Centre) will fill in for Fetterman as acting lieutenant governor.

WEED MAN: Politico reports that John Fetterman is arguably the nation's most outspoken pro-weed politician — next to this guy — and says he's banking on the issue being a winner at the polls in November. Polling has found 60% of Pennsylvania voters support recreational cannabis, almost triple the number in 2006. But it's a "driving election issue" for only 1% of voters here.

STEEL SUIT: U.S. Steel will pay a $1.5 million penalty for Clean Air Act violations at its plant in Braddock, the Post-Gazette reports. The payment is part of a settlement reached in a lawsuit filed against the corporation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Allegheny County Health Department. U.S. Steel has been fined millions in recent years for similar violations at another Mon Valley plant as the Pittsburgh region's largest polluter comes under increased scrutiny, via WESA.

GOING REMOTE: Two Pennsylvania towns are offering remote workers free temporary housing and gift cards to relocate. The Inquirer reports Bellefonte in Centre County and Kane in McKean County are the latest in a nationwide wave of rural "Zoom towns." Bellefonte's application window is closed but Kane is still accepting applications for a Sept. 14 to Oct. 14 remote working residency.
STORE WAR: State-level candidates spent at least $5,900 on gas, food, and gift cards at Sheetz during the primary campaign and at least $3,000 at Wawa, LNP found. GOP Lt. Gov. candidate Jeff Coleman of Pittsburgh and state Rep. Manuel Guzman Jr. (D., Berks) led the pack.

FOWL CALL: Backyard chickens are illegal in Philly, but they wouldn't be under a bill that's pending before city council, Philly Mag reports. In related news: The latest edition of our PA Local newsletter included a Q&A with the founder of a Pennsylvania-based backyard-chicken-rental empire.

FISH FIGHT: The race is on to prevent the invasive snakehead fish from taking over the Susquehanna River. Two years after a number of the "Frankenfish" entered the waterway at its southernmost point in Maryland, LNP reports fish lifts at dams to the north in Lancaster County are being shut down.

GOOSED: What do you get when you combine a state-run liquor store with a nosy goose? This "uniquely Pennsylvanian photo" from Reddit — the same place I found a goodbye note to Pittsburgh's "cobra chickens."

FREE TESTS: A third round of free at-home COVID-19 tests is available now. The federal government started taking orders Monday for shipments of up to eight tests per household. Order yours here.

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: Time
Yesterday's answer: Temporality

Congrats to our daily winners: Elaine C., Craig W., Bonnie R., Judith D., Keith F., Julia P., Teri H., Dianne K., David S., Michelle T., Doris T., Don H., David W., Vicki U., Susan N.-Z., Tish M., Dan W., Chris M., Eddy Z., Kim C., Beth T., Myles M., and Irene R.
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