Why Did DCCC Endorsement Slip Away From Kevin Strouse?

Former Army Ranger Kevin Strouse was named last May as the The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) “jumpstart candidate” to take on Republican incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick in PA-8.

However, this month his name was absent from the DCCC biennial Red to Blue program highlighting the congressional districts they hope to pick up and naming the candidates they have recruited.


PA-8 Candidates: Democratic challengers Shaughnessy Naughton and Kevin Strouse and Republican incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick.

Strouse’s campaign was dismissive of the importance of being dropped from the DCCC list. They told Philadelphia Jewish Voice that while the DCCC is not openly raising money for their campaign, they still “got a lot of support” in other ways. They suggested that staying on the list was an intricate process, and the campaign had concentrated instead on obtaining the signatures required to get on the ballot.

We have heard that the campaign needed to scramble to get sufficient signatures on time, since for most of the nomination period the Strouse campaign had circulated invalid petitions listing the address of Strouse’s future home in the district, which he is purchasing but in which he does not yet reside.

More after the jump.
Shaughnessy Naughton’s campaign manager, Josh Morrow, lamented Strouse’s unwillingness to engage with voters in the district on the issues.  

Naughton has offered to debate Strouse, but until recently he has been only willing to meet her at two forums under rules that not only forbid video and audio recordings, but also were closed to the press and to the general voting public. The only people who were permitted to attend were the Democratic Committee members.

Naughton’s campaign staff said that she and Strouse have agreed on a debate next month.

One of the criteria by which the DCCC judges the viability of a candidate is their ability of fundraising, through their connections and local appeal. The DCCC can help in fundraising, but it does not want to be “carrying all the water” for a candidate. On April 15, all congressional candidates will report their first quarter figures. Perhaps those figures will shed light on why the DCCC has retreated from its support of Strouse.

The Strouse campaign expressed their hope that the DCCC would endorse them when the list is updated in May. Meanwhile, Josh Morrow summarized the state of the race in his interview with Politics PA:

The only way to beat [Fitzpatrick] and put us back on the path to prosperity for the middle class is with a candidate who knows this district as well as he does, who understands the issues that Bucks and Montgomery County residents face, and who presents a real contrast on the issues… Only one candidate in this race has said we should never allow fracking in the Delaware River Basin and only one candidate in this race has articulated a plan to save social security. That candidate is Shaughnessy Naughton.


Michael Parrish

PA-6: Parrish “Takes One for the Team”

Malvern businessman Michael Parrish was tapped as the DCCC choice in PA-6 last January, after 6-term Republican congressmen Jim Gerlach unexpectedly decided to not seek reelection. But like Strouse, he was left out of the Red to Blue list.

Last week, Parrish announced that he pulled out of the race against Manan Trivedi:

An expensive and contentious Democratic primary fight would seriously risk our party’s ability to win this seat in November. I am therefore suspending my campaign in order to join with Manan Trivedi to help ensure that a Democrat is elected.

The Philadelphia Inquirer cited praise for Parrish’s decision:


Manan Trivedi

Trivedi said in a statement that he was “honored” to have Parrish’s support…

Former Rep. Patrick Murphy, of Bucks County, who knows Parrish through mutual military ties, said the former candidate made a “selfless” decision. “If we have a divisive primary, it’s going to hurt us in the fall,” said Murphy, a Democrat. “He thought he would take a step back and throw his support behind Manan.”

All of the other previous endorsed candidates remained on the DCCC list and they were joined by new endorsements. DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (Congressman NY-3) emphasized that for the first time in committee history, women make up more than 60% of the list. Locally, however, with Allyson Schwartz leaving Congress to run for Governor, Pennsylvania may have an all-male congressional delegation for the first time since 2001.  

Jewish Population by Congressional District

Joshua Comenetz has broken down the American Jewish population by Congressional district.

Here are the local numbers:

District Representative Jews %
PA1 Robert Brady (D) 17,000 2.41%
PA2 Chaka Fattah (D) 36,000 5.10%
PA6 Jim Gerlach (R) 19,000 2.69%
PA7 Pat Meehan 36,000 5.10%
PA8 Mike Fitzpatrick (R) 44,000 6.24%
PA13 Allyson Schwartz (D) 63,000 8.93%
NJ1 Robert Andrews (D) 35,000 4.78%
DE John C. Carney, Jr. 15,100 1.68%

The estimate of the Jewish population in all Congressional Districts is 6,735,830, approximately 2.18% of the total U.S. population. This estimate is consistent with the 6.7 million Jewish persons reported in the 2013 Pew Research Center Portrait of Jewish Americans….

The American Jewish population is simultaneously more densely clustered geographically than the overall American population and very geographically diverse — at least a few Jews live in every one of the 436 CDs. Half of all American Jews live in just 37 CDs, and 93 CDs contain three-quarters of all Jews. In contrast, the 266 districts with the fewest Jews collectively have only 10% of the Jewish population. The most-Jewish district, New York’s 10th, has as many Jews (197,000) as the 170 least-Jewish CDs combined.

There are 13 CDs with 100,000 or more Jews, nine in New York and two each in California and Florida — the three states with the highest total Jewish populations. In general, the most-Jewish CDs are in the northeastern states, California, Florida, and a few other large urban areas such as Chicago and Atlanta. The least-Jewish CDs are mostly in the rural parts of southern states.

Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District has the most Jews in the state and is ranked 24th nationally while the 3rd, 5th and 9th District have only 1000 Jews.

Where is the Jewish vote the most decisive?

There are 27 Congressional Districts in which the Jewish population exceeded the margin of victory in the 2012 Congressional election. Heading the list is:

  • Illinois’ 10th Congressional District whose 76,500 Jews (10.73% of the population) is about 23 times the 3,326 vote margin by which Democratic challenger Brad Schneider defeated Republican incumbent Robert Dold.
  • Florida’s 32th Congressional District whose 32,000 Jews (4.60% of the population) is about 17 times the 1,904 vote margin by which Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy defeated Republican incumbent Allen West.
  • New York’s 11th Congressional District whose 129,000 Jews (17.97% of the population) is about 12 times the 10,688 vote margin by which Republican incumbent Michael Grimm defeated Democratic challenger Mark Murphy.

Runners up are NY-9 (6.95x), AZ-2 (6.93x), MA-6 (6.12x), NY-18 (5.19x), CA-52 (5.08x), NY-3 (3.45x), CT-5 (3.35x), CO-6 (3.29x), UT-4 (3.26x), CA-26 (3.03x), NY-1 (2.95x), FL-22 (2.73x), NY-6 (2.03x) and IL-13 (2.00x).

Stu Bykofsky Candidates’ Comedy Night, 2012

The 22nd  annual Stu Bykofsky Candidates’ Comedy Night, a benefit for Variety, the children’s charity, was held this evening at Finnegan’s Wake.   Since this is primarily a political blog I didn’t take notes on the speakers who aren’t running for office.  As always, this is not intended to be an exact transcript, just rough notes I took at the event.  It would be impossible to capture every joke, especially the longer, more involved story jokes, but I made an effort to provide some idea of each candidate’s routine.  

Photo: Steven M. Falk, Philly.com

Details after the jump.

Text implies a direct joke, notes in brackets are condensations or gists.  Actions or extraneous activities are in italics, as are candidates’ names.  Read your local newspapers for more exact accounts of the event.


Photo: Bonnie Squires

Tom Smith (R), candidate for Senate
Running against incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D).

[Tom Smith was brave enough to go first as a stand-up comedian.  He had a clever slide show which featured a head-shot of Smith added to all the slides of stock or iconic photos.]

I am new to politics and most people in Philadelphia aren’t familiar with me.  My father died when I was 20 and I had to look after the family so I couldn’t go to college but I sent my daughters.  [shows a slide of what he would have looked like if he had gone – his face superimposed on someone wearing a college tshirt holding a beer mug].  

My wife is with me, as you can see I let her get a new dress for the event [American Gothic painting with Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s photos in it].  

I worked in a coal mine [Smith’s face on the front of Thomas the Tank Engine, pulling a load of coal].  

I had big dreams [his face added to a picture of the Beverly Hillbillies].  My wife and I adopted four children so a family could stay together.  

People say I am a Tea Party candidate but there are a lot of things about me you don’t know [his face added to an Occupy Pittsburgh group photo].


Photo: Bonnie Squires

Rep. Bob Brady (D), PA 1st Congressional District

[Congressman Bob Brady told a couple of jokes which we can’t repeat here. He made Stu Bykofsky the butt (pardon the pun) of one a “pee and poop joke.”  Another jokee was about an attorney going to a brothel.]

Incumbents do comedy every day, make fools of ourselves every day.  This is for the kids.


Photo: Bonnie Squires

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)

[Senator Bob Casey appeared in shirt-sleeves!  He made fun of himself for being dull, quoting verbatim a front page New York Times article which talked about Casey’s galloping eyebrows as the way in which he registers excitement.]

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D), PA 13th Congressional District, sent a surrogate, Neil Deegan.

Top reasons Allyson can’t be here tonight:

  • Still at PennDOT waiting for her voter id card
  • Getting new copy of the Congressional ladies’ room key made for Kathy Boockvar
  • Prepping Mayfair office to hand over to Bob Brady
  • Painting bike lane in front of Stu’s house
  • Getting mani pedi with Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Nancy Pelosi
  • Measuring drapes for Corbett’s office
  • Looking at Pat Toomey’s office
  • Needed a haircut for the DNC.

Photo: Bonnie Squires

Kathleen Kane (D), candidate for Pennsylvania Attorney-General
Running against David Freed (R)

[jokes about her Irish heritage and her hometown of Scranton]
[joke about thinking Finnegan’s Wake was an actual funeral wake]
[joke about doctors]

In Scranton the obituaries are the Irish social pages.  People clip them out and put then on the refrigerator.   They often have headlines, like “101 Year Old Woman Dies Unexpectedly.”

I took my son to an Eagles game.  We saw empty seats up front and moved up to them.  They were next to an older man.  He told us he and his wife had season tickets for years but she died a few days ago.  I asked if a family member didn’t want to come with him.  “Oh, no,” he said, “they’re at the funeral.”


Photo: Bonnie Squires

George Badey, Democratic candidate for 7th Congressional District

[George Badey, who was raised in South Philadelphia and is an avowed Mummer, had a very funny routine.  Badey is the Democrat running against Republican incumbent  Congressman Pat Meehan.]

[told “the neighborhood I grew up in was so tough” jokes – it is now in Brady’s district]

I went to high school in South Philly.  Pat Meehan went to the Chestnut Academy.

Chris Christie is in the hospital.  He has that flesh eating bacteria.  He only has 13 years to live.

Fidel Castro’s successor will be his idiot son, Fidel W. Castro.

Bill Clinton and the Pope died but there was a mix up and Clinton went up and the Pope went down.  When the mix up was fixed and the Pope was going up and Clinton down they passed and the Pope told Clinton he was looking forward to meeting the Blessed Virgin.  Clinton said “You just missed her.”


Photo: Bonnie Squires

David Freed (R), candidate for Pennsylvania Attorney-General
Running against Kathleen Kane (D).

Thanks to Kathleen Kane for picking up the tab.
I went to college with Cecily Tynan.
Fan of Philly sports teams [joke about the 1996 Phillies being bad team].

People say I am too close to Gov. Corbett – he wrote my jokes.  [fakes a phone call from Corbett].  

Hello, Governor?  
Yes, Risa Vetri Ferman’s here — she’s sitting right next to me.  
No, she still won’t run for Attorney General.

[joke about Ed Rendell telling people the statue of Billy Penn is of him]

[calls Daily News columnist John Baer a gossip columnist]

[Photo: Dave Freed seated with Montgomery County D.A. Risa Furman.]


Photo: Bonnie Squires

Kathy Boockvar (D), candidate for PA 8th Congressional District
Running against incumbent Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R).

I want to show that I can be funny on purpose and not just by accident.

I wanted to find a job more popular than being in Congress but the TSA didn’t have any opening and Elliott Spitzer already has a co-host.  

Things more popular than Congress right now:

  • Lawyers
  • Chick Fil A’s new branch at the Sea of
  • Gaililee
  • Paris Hilton
  • Porn
  • The IRS
  • Polygamy
  • The idea of being abducted by aliens
  • The oil industry
  • Bank of America
  • BP Oil during the Gulf oil spill

Photo: Bonnie Squires

John Featherman (R), candidate for PA 1st Congressional District
Running against incumbent Rep. Bob Brady (D).

[John Featherman was very funny with jokes about being Jewish and his “mixed marriage” to an Asian woman].  

Two Chinese people had a white baby but everyone knows two Wongs don’t make a white.

A union friend wanted to find a whorehouse where the prostitutes got to keep more of the money than the madam.  They finally found one and the union friend asked for a pretty young blonde but the proprietor said he had to take 62 year old Ethel, because of seniority rules.

Comedian Joe Conklin

Intermission with comedian Joe Conklin who told some good jokes and did impressions of political figures.  He also gave a shout out to the girls from Club Risque and said they were the only ones there with bigger [breasts] than Bob Brady.


Photo: Bonnie Squires

Rep. Pat Meehan (R), PA 7th Congressional District

[Congressman Pat Meehan, the Republican incumbent being challenged by Badey, also had a very funny routine.]

Stu thought the Variety Club was a dating service.

My opponent George Badey is a mummer.  He wants to go to Washington, wear satin pants, a feather boa and lipstick.  J. Edgar Hoover already did that.

Anthony Wiener got in trouble for sexting.  He was trying to decide whether or not to resign.  He was in, he was out, he was in, he was out, now he’s holding his own.  Bill Clinton oversaw Wiener’s wedding.  
When the scandal broke he called Clinton to apologize — for what, copyright infringement?

Three political figures were driving through Kansas and ended up in Oz.  [missed the name, possibly George W. Bush?] went looking for a heart, Joe Biden for a brain, and Bill Clinton said “Where’s Dorothy?”

There is an auction for a restaurant gift card which Emerald Capital bids more than the card is worth, then ups that bid when Stu includes a gift basket.


Photo: Bonnie Squires

Dr. Manan Trivedi (PA), candidate in PA 6th Congressional District
Running against incumbent Rep. Jim Gerlach (R).

When I ran in 2010 I spoke at this event and told a lot of jokes about being an Indian-American.  I won’t do that this year.  [fakes a telephone call and answers in stereotypic Indian accent] “Dell Technical Support.  This is … Mike …. In …. Kansas City.”  

My wife is from a very traditional family.  When they heard I wouldn’t be a full-time doctor while I am running for office they asked for three chickens back.

Jim Gerlach and Paul Ryan work out together — they practice their Atlas Shrugged poses.

[spelling bee joke]

Unlike Todd Akin, I know when my time is up.

Special guest, comedian Steve Young tells jokes

Congressman Jim Gerlach, Republican, 6th Congressional District, sent surrogate Kori Walter, district director.

Mitt Romney bet me $10,000 that I wouldn’t do this.

[He told several jokes that fell flat and asked if the audience was drinking enough.  As he left the stage Stu told him you never blame the audience if your jokes don’t get a laugh, always use self-deprecating humor.]

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, Republican, 8th Congressional District

[Fitzpatrick was taking two of his daughters to college this weekend and so wasn’t sure he would be able to attend; a surrogate, Andre [did not catch last name], was there just in case, but Fitzpatrick told his own jokes]

One night in Washington a robber held me up and said “give me all your money.”  I told him I was a Congressman and he said  “In that case give me all my money.”

Is Mitt Romney here tonight?  Coming in I thought I saw a car with a dog carrier on top.”

[discusses his Irish heritage, family from county next to Limerick.  Says Limerick known for a particular kind of poem.  Tells three.  One about Paul Ryan has a line “grandma just must go.”  One about Romney being robotic but “I saw him cry when he sold his 3rd yacht.”  The last one is about Obama and says he will be a judge on American Idol next year.]

Jim Foster, Independent candidate in 2nd Congressional District
Running against incumbent Rep. Chaka Fattah (D) and Robert Allen Mansfield, Jr. (R).

[Mostly talks about himself, jokes about Chaka Fattah, and says West Mt. Airy is Stepford on the Wissahickon]

Robert Mansfield, Republican candidate for 2nd Congressional District, sends surrogate Ned Green.
Running against incumbent Rep. Chaka Fattah (D) and Jim Foster.

[says he met Mansfield in the 1990’s on another political campaign, Mansfield was homeless then].  Says Mansfield isn’t there because he has a lot of injuries from being in Iraq and is seeing a brain specialist today.

Personal notes:
Smith, Casey, Schwartz/Deegan, Kane, Trivedi, and Boockvar did well.   I was surprised by the Republican candidates telling Romney/Paul jokes.  That seems unusual.

There were a lot of jokes/comments at Congressman Chaka Fattah’s expense.  That is because two years ago he was a presenter and gave an awful, mean-spirited rant.  He wasn’t there tonight.  This would have been an opportunity for him to do something self-deprecating and make a comeback but he didn’t.  (Hint:  There’s always the Star Trek, evil twin/goatee trick that Community has picked up on.)

It was nice to see two women on the stage.  Maybe one of these years Congresswoman Schwartz will join us in person?  Kathleen Kane’s routine had a homespun, Lake Woebegone feel to it.  Boockvar was a little edgier.

The girls from Club Risque paraded from one side of the room to the other about three times, which is the standard from the other years I’ve attended, but this year they were wearing clunky shoes and the sound was disruptive.  

Cross-posted from Above Average Jane. Photo Credit: Bonnie Squires.

“Look Me in The Eye and Tell Me Why You’re Taking My Vote Away

Fitzpatrick, GOP Continue Florida-style Attack as Testimonies of Disenfranchised Voters Pour In; A woman nine-months pregnant, Iraq war veteran, retired cop, among targets of Republican’s voter witch hunt.

Bucks County voters continued to speak out over the weekend as more learned that they had been caught up in the Fitzpatrick campaign’s witch hunt against Democratic votes that have already been cast. The votes are now being held “under lock and key,” threatening to disenfranchise hundreds – if not thousands – of ballots that have already been cast because Fitzpatrick doesn’t like how they voted.

These are their stories.

Stephen Capaldi, Veteran of OIF and OEF, Levittown
video here

“I served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I fought for the right to vote. Whoever is trying to take that away needs to look me in the eye and tell me why. They’ll have to look me in the eye and explain how they can possibly do this, because they’re wrong.”  

More after the jump.

Tony Rakoczy, decorated Marine who served in Battle of Fallujah, 2004
video here

“Six years ago, I put the Marine uniform on for my country and shipped out to fight in Iraq at the battle of Fallujah. I almost lost my life several times in IED blasts and fire fights. Mike Fitzpatrick, I’m asking you to step up, be a man, and stop playing political games. Let my mom’s vote count. I served my country. And I served for your freedom.”

April Perry, 42, Yardley

“It’s ridiculous that in this country we cannot trust our election process.  This is America, and I cannot believe they are trying to take away my vote. To make it worse, my husband was wrongly denied a ballot because they said his signature didn’t match.  I saw him sign his application and it was indeed my husband’s signature.”

Jillyan Magerman, 20, New Hope

“It’s an uncomfortable feeling to think that your vote counts, when apparently it doesn’t. How can they do that? I’m outraged to think that I voted only to find out that my vote doesn’t matter. I voted in order to be a morally responsible citizen and now I don’t matter? It’s an awful feeling. I go to school at the University of Pittsburgh. I’ll be six hours away on Election Day and I find out on Saturday that my vote doesn’t count. I am so angry about this. So angry.”

Lynn Roccograndi, 63, Richboro

“My daughter Dana is away at Northeastern University pursuing a degree in pharmacology. I mailed her an absentee application at school and her ballot was sent to her in Boston. She filled out her ballot correctly and sent it back to Doylestown to ensure that her vote would count. I am furious that this legitimate voter is being intimidated by the Republican Party whose goal it is to disenfranchise the elderly, students and the infirm so that the fat cats’ vote counts twice.”

Gary Bodner, 55, Bristol

“As a registered voter, I’m outraged that my ballot is being challenged. I just want to vote.”

Israel Rodriguez, 69, Bristol

“I came to the United States in 1969 and have been registered to vote ever since. I always vote, but work takes me out of town. I want to make sure my vote counts.”

Michael Brookins, 21, Morrisville

“I am registered to vote, and I filled out an absentee ballot the right way to exercise my right to vote. I am very upset that this right is being challenged.”

Robert Ashmont, 57, Langhorne.

“I don’t understand why it would be challenged. I’m scheduled to be in Chicago for a conference and my vote is being taken away by Republicans.”

The following people have spoken out over the past week:

Amie Proctor, Morrisville

“My name is Amie Proctor and I live in Morrsiville. I voted absentee because I’m nine-months pregnant and am due next week. So, I might be a little preoccupied on Election Day. Just in case there was any question, I even sent the Board of Elections my doctor’s business card so they could check. Now I’m on their target list to have my vote tossed out. Who on earth do these Republicans think they are, to tell me while I’m nine-months pregnant that I can’t vote?”

Patricia Rakoczy, Tony’s Mother, Levittown

“I did everything I was supposed to do and sent in my vote, but Mike Fitzpatrick and the Republicans are trying to take that away. My baby fought for his country. This isn’t right.”

Sam Kiernan, Levittown

“Even though I’m at college, I was determined to have my vote count. I made sure to apply on time for my ballot. I filled out my vote, signed it, double checked it, and stuck it in the mail – just like I was supposed to do. Now Mike Fitzpatrick tells me, if he gets his way, my vote won’t count because he doesn’t like how I voted. Unfortunately, Mr. Fitzpatrick, I learned in my political science intro class that it doesn’t work like that. I’m asking you to do the right thing. Stop playing political games with my right to vote.”

Bill Kiernan, Levittown

“Mike, how dare you try to disenfranchise my daughter – a registered eligible voter – because you will do anything to win your election. I know that I can look my kid in the eye and tell her I’m doing everything I can to protect people’s right to vote. Can you?”

Dorothy Wax, Langhorne

“I’ve voted in Bucks County for years, and when I found out last-minute that I would be out of town for business, I immediately applied for my absentee ballot, filled it out, and sent back my vote. Yesterday, I heard I’m on Mike Fitzpatrick’s target list of the votes he’s trying to toss out – and I won’t have another chance to vote. How can he get away with this? Mike Fitzpatrick, I’m asking you to do the right thing. Stand up, be a man, and stop playing political games with my right to vote.”  

   

Vincent Plebani, 57, retired cop, Langhorne

“It’s my ballot. I requested it. I signed it. I sent it in. No one sent me anything or asked me to do anything. I’m disenfranchised, and I’m angry about it.”

Dana Roccograndi, 20, Richboro

“I did fill out an absentee ballot application and I did fill it out correctly and honestly, since I am in school in Boston. I am very concerned and dismayed that Mike Fitzpatrick has discounted my vote. I wish that I were home or could get home so that my vote would count.”

Board of Election Tampers with Absentee Ballot Applications

Bucks County Board of Elections employees fixed incorrect and incomplete absentee ballot applications submitted by Republicans; Denied six Democratic applications for every one Republican – over 80%.

Stunning new evidence came to light this afternoon that the GOP-controlled Board of Elections tampered with Republican absentee ballot applications, altering and fixing those that were incorrect or incomplete to keep them from being rejected. At the same time, the Board has been rejecting hundreds of Democratic applications, often based on the same problems that they fixed on the Republican applications.

More after the jump.
The new revelations continue to demonstrate a deeply troubling pattern by Mike Fitzpatrick’s GOP allies to target Bucks County Democratic “>absentee ballot applications for rejection and suppressing the Democratic vote. Over 600 absentee ballot applications have been rejected by the GOP Board – over 80% of which were from Democratic voters. In other words, the partisan Board of Elections is rejected 6 Democratic applications for every 1 Republican.

Michelle Merrick, a registered Republican from Bensalem, submitted an application for an absentee ballot, which included incorrect and missing information. The Board of Elections actually corrected the application for her. Michelle registered to vote under her maiden name “Michelle Merrick,” but she filled out the application under her married name, “Michelle Rubin.” In an attempt to salvage the application, the Board of Elections altered the pplication to read “Michelle Rubin Merrick.”

Despite the Board of Elections’ blatant attempt to salvage this Republican’s absentee ballot application, she still failed to include her birthdate, which should have invalidated her application. It didn’t. Meanwhile, Democratic applications have been denied for innocuous mistakes relating to the date of birth, like filling in “today’s date” instead. But unlike Michelle, they will not have the opportunity to vote absentee or have their voice heard in Tuesday’s election – simply because of their political party.

Among the Democrats rejected was Wade Messer. In the space for birthdate, Wade made a mistake and wrote in the date that he filled out the application: 8/15/10. But Wade is a registered Democrat, and he didn’t get the same special treatment as Michelle. Wade’s ballot application was rejected.

Scott Leossy made the same mistake, putting the date he applied – 8/25/10 – on the line for the applicant’s date of birth. But Scott is a registered Democrat and he didn’t get the same special treatment as Michelle. Scott’s ballot application was rejected.

These facts add to the pattern of GOP voter fraud and partisan politics at the Republican-controlled Board of Elections, coming on the heels of revelations that GOP candidates Mike Fitzpatrick and Rob Ciervo sent a letter to Bucks County voters instructing parents on how to commit voter fraud on behalf of their kids.

Teaching Parents to Commit Vote Fraud

Letter from campaigns unlawfully encourages parents to forge signatures if their kids are away at college.

Republican candidates Mike Fitzpatrick (running in 8th Congressional District) and Rob Ciervo (running in Pennsylvania’s 31st Legislative District) are facing serious new allegations of voter fraud due to a letter they sent to Bucks County residents instructing parents on how to forge ballot applications for kids away at college. Tucked inside a Mike Fitzpatrick for Congress envelope, the letter is written by GOP State House candidate Rob Ciervo and says, “Mike Fitzpatrick and I need your help.” The letter explains the absentee ballot process in case someone is unable to vote in person:

All you need to do is request an absentee ballot with the enclosed application, and when it comes back in the mail, fill it out and send it back.

But what if your kids are away at college? How would they sign the absentee ballot request, as is legally required? Not to worry.

If the application is for a student who will be away in November, be sure to use their college address to ensure they receive the ballot in a timely manner.

More after the jump.
The new revelations that the Fitzpatrick campaign blatantly violated election law surfaced just days after Fitzpatrick tried to accuse his opponent of wrongdoing – despite all factual evidence to the contrary.  

“Well, that’s ironic. While their kids are away in college taking classes, Mike Fitzpatrick is teaching their parents a different kind of lesson: how to commit voter fraud,” said Sara Schaumburg, Murphy’s Communications Director.

Fitzpatrick’s and Ciervo’s actions contribute to a deeply troubling pattern of voting irregularities perpetrated by the Bucks County GOP. Recently, startling revelations surfaced that the Republican-dominated Bucks County Board of Elections has been systematically rejecting absentee ballot requests from Democratic voters. According to recent press accounts, the GOP has rejected over 600 absentee ballot requests, demonstrating a deeply troubling pattern of specifically targeting Democrats for rejection. A staggering eighty-two percent of the rejected requests were from Democratic voters asking for their absentee ballot. In other words, the Republicans in charge of protecting Bucks County residents’ voting rights rejected six Democrats for every Republican absentee ballot request.

In response, the Pennsylvania Democratic State Party has filed charges against the GOP Board for illegal voter suppression.

This isn’t the first time that the Bucks County GOP has worked to disenfranchise voters, as laid out in the PA Democrat’s release.

  • In 2008, the Bucks County Board of Election relocated a minority serving polling location, a move that led to a lawsuit from concerned voters. [Philadelphia Inquirer, September 28, 2008]
  • Across the state, Pennsylvania Republicans have engaged in widespread efforts to intimidate and disenfranchise voters. In 2004, Republicans tried to relocate 63 Philadelphia polling places, mostly in Democratic and minority serving areas. [Philadelphia Daily News, October 18, 2004]
  • In 2004, Republicans tried to challenge tens of thousands of voters in Philadelphia, a desperate move that was condemned by a legal counsel to the Republican City Committee who said Republicans were being “chicken littles.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, October 25, 2004]
  • In 2008, Republicans attempted to institute a “dress code” for voters. Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason worried that voters could wear “musical hats” to the polls. This move was clearly targeted at intimidating voters. [AP, October 5, 2008]

Murphy Gets NARAL Pro-Choice America Endorsement

As Congressman, Mike Fitzpatrick supported abortion ban even in cases of rape and incest.
(Washington, DC)  – Patrick Murphy’s campaign continued to rack up endorsements on Friday, as Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, announced that her organization is throwing its support behind Murphy in his race against anti-choice extremist Mike Fitzpatrick. Murphy narrowly defeated then-Congressman Fitzpatrick in 2006.

“If Fitzpatrick had his way, victims of rape would be forced to carry their pregnancies to term and women would be denied access to the birth-control pill,” Keenan said. “Fitzpatrick is far too extreme to represent Bucks County, and he should not be given another term in Congress to attack women’s freedom and privacy.”

While in Washington, Rep. Fitzpatrick co-sponsored the so-called “Right to Life Act” – legislation that would overturn Roe v. Wade and outlaw abortion nationwide, without exceptions in the cases of rape and incest. The bill also would ban most common forms of birth control, like the pill, and stem-cell research.[1]

Keenan said her group has 1,565 member activists in the Bucks County-based 8th District.

Murphy thanked NARAL for the endorsement and reaffirmed his commitment to protect a woman’s right to choose, saying that such decisions should be made between a woman, her doctor, her family, and her faith.

“Mike Fitzpatrick’s extreme right positions on a woman’s right to choose and on birth control place him far outside the mainstream. It seems he’d be better suited as an Alabama Republican, not a Bucks County Republican,” said Tim Persico, Murphy’s campaign manager.