Wednesday, May 10, 2006

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"pawns of special interests"? pulleaze. more like give me money or your issue will never see the light of day. classic extortion by legislative leadership.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Dave Ralis said...

Great post Tom. Goes real well with their statements of financial interests, which I posted on Saturday. Since then, I've looked at Gov. Pass-it-fast Eddie Rendell's claim he received no gifts last year worth more than $250 and have rethought my position on Bob Jubelirer and decided he should stay. You'll have to read them to understand why.

I've also started a new drive with the mainstream media - Whenever you write about a bill, please include the bill's House or Senate number and a link to it. If you write about campaign finance reports or a political contribution, throw a link directly into the report online. That's the beauty of the web, but print reporters forget we cannot always figure out what a bill's name is.

After all, that's how the bill legalizing slot machines (S.B. 292 of 2004) got passed under our noses. It was hidden beneath the topic of horse racing.

6:07 PM  
Blogger NE Suburbanite said...

Not a single one of Northeast Philadelphia's state legislators has given back their illegal pay increase money after it was revoked, most notably, Speaker of the House John Perzel, whose district is here. Other names include Rep. Mark Cohen, Rep. Mike McGeehan, Rep. Babette Josephs and State Senator Mike Stack III. All told, it's extremely embarassing, while anyone who doesn't think it poses a major threat to the rest of the state is totally kidding themselves.

2:47 AM  
Blogger LVDem said...

Jubes was actually as good as swann with fundraising. I don't know if that is good for Jubes or bad for swann.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous CENTRIST said...

Mike Veon? Why would anyone give money to a legislator who wears a Zoot Suit to work?

10:14 AM  

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