Obama looking safer in Pa., and other matters

    The New York Times electoral map now has Pennsylvania in the “leaning Democratic” column after a new Quinnpiac poll found President Obama with an 11-point lead over Mitt Romney, with the prez finally topping 50 percent in the keystone state.

    This follows a rough week for Romney overseas, but I think Pennsylvania will still be a battleground. We’ll see tens of millions spent on advertising here before November, and things could change.

    Can you win an election from a jail cell?

    In other Pennsylvania political news, you can’t beat former State House Speaker Bill DeWeese for sheer chutzpah. He’s now convincted, sentenced and in prison on corruption charges but won’t give up his place on the Democratic ballot for his western Pennsylvania state house seat.

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    The state Democratic party is suing to get him off so they can name a replacement.

    I happened to speak yesterday to William Costopoulos, who represented DeWeese in his corruption trial. He said he thinks he has a shot at getting DeWeese’s conviction reversed on appeal, though he acknowledges that’s not likely to happen before the election.

    Since DeWeese is legally barred from taking office if he wins, you have to wonder what on earth he’s thinking. Costopoulos shared this:

    “His position is, `Look the Democrats didn’t run anybody against me in the primary and I won the primary fair and square. And if my constituents of 62,000 people in November, while I’m behind bars, want me to represent them, and I can beat my opponents from behind bars, well shame on my opponents.’”

    Opening doors of government secrecy in Jersey

    And hats off to my buddy Matt Katz of the Philadelphia Inquirer for embarrasing the New Jersey Government Records Council into finally acting like something other than a cartoonish replica of a Stalinist bureaucracy.Katz wrote in June about his bizarre experience with the agency that’s supposed to review complaints over requests for government records.

    Now the agency has changed some of its procedures. Read Matt’s account here.

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