Can Clinton ad swing voters in Pa. congressional race?

    The in-laws are definitely in. Six days before Pennsylvania’s primary, congressional candidate Marjorie Margolies has gone up with a TV ad (above) featuring former President Bill Clinton, whose daughter, Chelsea, is married to Margolies’ son.

    Margolies is battling state Sen. Daylin Leach, physician Valerie Arkoosh, and state Rep. Brendan Boyle for the Democratic nomination for the Montgomery County-Northeast Philadelphia congressional seat being vacated by Allyson Schwartz.

    Margolies’ Clinton spot isn’t exactly transcendent. The music overwhelms Bill a little, and one of his sentences from an April endorsement speech is grammatically awkward.

    But that’s beside the point. A newspaper editor once told me that if you find a talking dog, the story isn’t what he’s saying, but that the fact he’s talking at all. It’s Bill Clinton.

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    Months back, Margolies’ rivals were saying the Clintons wouldn’t get deeply involved in a Democratic primary fight because Hillary won’t want enemies in a state she’ll need for a 2016 presidential run. I always thought the Clintons would help Margolies, and they have.

    But I wonder how many voters are going to be influenced by a good word from Bill. Former Mayor and Gov. Ed Rendell often said he never believed politicians could bestow their popularity on anybody else. Far more help than the ad is the Clintons’ fundraising network.

    The Clintons have already brought plenty of cash in, and Hillary Clinton will host a fundraiser in New York Thursday with the Baroness Lynn Forester de Rothschild (yes, there apparently are still baronesses). Margolies herself won’t be there. It’s more important for her to attend the Montgomery County Democratic Party’s pre-election dinner.

    A flood of money and media

    I can’t remember a political race where a week before the election, four candidates think they have a chance to win and are going all-out for the prize. The candidates and their allies have spent more than $2 million on radio and TV advertising, and heaven knows how much more in mail pieces.

    Physician Valerie Arkoosh has the strongest presence on TV at the moment, having prepaid $400,000 for a heavy ad buy over the last week of the campaign. Arkoosh did some effective fundraising and added $700,000 of her own to the mix. She’s gotten a couple of endorsements lately from AFSCME District Council 47 and the Philadelphia Tribune.

    State Sen. Daylin Leach is up with a serious TV presence, touting his own record and attacking all three opponents. He’s taken a home equity loan to pop $250,000 into his campaign. He’s also picked up some endorsements, including the liberal website Daily Kos and Clean Water Action.

    Brendan Boyle’s campaign has a smaller ad buy than Arkoosh and Leach, but is the beneficiary of a super PAC funded by Philadelphia area trade unions. I’m told the committee has now spent more than $250,000 on television, and records show Boyle has put $100,000 of his own into his campaign. A big part of the battle is over Boyle’s record on reproductive rights, which has drawn fire from abortions rights groups.

    The candidates meet for one more debate tonight hosted by the Upper Moreland Democrats.


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