More shrapnel flying in Pa Congressional race

    An open Congressional seat is a rare and precious thing in politics, and the four Democrats seeking Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional seat are running like there’s no tomorrow.

    Three of the four have now invested six-figure sums of their personal resources into their campaigns, and today one candidate, State Sen. Daylin Leach will renew his charge that former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies is violating federal election law by spending money on her primary campaign that can be only legally used for general election purposes.

    Physician Valerie Arkoosh has a new ad up (above) which emphasizes her message that she’d bring a doctor’s problem-solving approach to Congress. And Leach has a new ad which attacks each of this three opponents by name. I can’t show it to you because his campaign hasn’t posted this one on You Tube.

    And we now have – count ’em – four outside groups putting significant sums of cash into the 13th Congressional.Spending like millionairesThe self-financing among candidates that’s emerged in recent days is interesting in the context of State Rep. Brendan Boyle’s complaints that he’s running against a bunch of millionaires, some of whom didn’t share their tax returns as he did.Arkoosh, who declined to provide tax returns when I asked, put an eye-popping $700,000 into her campaign, according to recently filed campaign finance reports.Leach, who said he isn’t a millionaire because he lives only on his state lawmaker’s salary and has no access to his wife’s considerable assets, came up with $250,000 to put into the race. His campaign said Leach took out a home equity loan. The house is in both he and his wife’s names.And Boyle has managed to find $100,000 to add to his campaign. I think we can conclude from this that none of our candidates in the 13th are missing any meals, and all see a unique opportunity here: win a Congressional seat, and chances are you can keep it for a long time.Attack, attackLeach will continue his assault on Margolies’ campaign finances today, arguing there’s no way she’s living within federal election law. I confess I haven’t pored over the paperwork Leach and his attorney have provided on the allegation, but it seems pretty credible on its face, and it hasn’t helped Margolies that her campaign hasn’t yet issued a detailed response.If you have an appetite for a deeper dive, you can read this piece by Colleen Kennedy of Keystone Progress, a source the Margolies campaign says is biased. NARAL and the feminist group Emily’s List are now attacking Boyle. NARAL mail pieces focus for his record on abortion rights, just as Leach’s new TV ad says Boyle “opposed a woman’s right to choose.”I think the record is pretty clear at this point that Boyle leaned pro-life early in his career, has had a more mixed voting record as time went on, that he cast a 2011 vote which reproductive rights groups find troubling, and that he now says he supports Roe v. Wade.It’s also interesting that one of the NARAL mailers attacks Boyle for a vote in the State Senate, where he has never served.Leach’s ad also charges that Margolies “would cut social security benefits” and that Arkoosh is “massively funded by groups that fought Obamacare.”The Leach campaign provided ample documentation that Arkoosh has received significant contributions from physicians groups that opposed Obamacare, but there’s no doubt she was an active participant in the fight for health care reform and supports the Affordable Care Act.Margolies acknowledges being open to changes in social security benefits in the past, mostly in the 1990’s, but says she now opposes them.

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    Eight days to go – it’s anybody’s game.


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