The Benjamin Factor
It's in all the papers.
The three state legislative incumbents in the most trouble because of their handling of the pay grab debacle are: Senate Pro Tem Bob Jubelier of Blair County, Senate Majority Leader Chip Brightbill of Lebanon County and House Minority Whip Mike Veon of Beaver County.
Jubelier and Brightbill, both Republicans, are seen as architects of the pay increase. Veon was one of only two legislators to vote against its repeal.
All have drawn populist, anti-pay grab opponents in the primary and the early public opinion polls showed them in deep doo-doo with their voters.
How have the three responded? By raising and spending an astonishing amount of money.
As of May 1, according to the Harrisburg Patriot News, the three had raised nearly $2,900,000 -- compared to $292,000 raised by their opponents.
That's $10 raised by the incumbents for every $1 raised by the guys trying to knock them off in the May 16th primary.
In a way, their success at raking in contributions validates the criticism by their opponents: They are Harrisburg insiders who have lost touch with their districts and are pawns of the special interests.
But, who is going to hear that message when it is drowned out by the truckloads of targeted mailings, robocalls and radio and TV commercials by the incumbents?
I call it the Benjamin Factor, and it is likely to determine the outcome of these races.
P.S. For the record, in the May 1 report, Jubelier reported raised $1.3 million, Brightbill $833,000 and Veon $719,000.