Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Jim Gerlach

Beyond Campaign Rhetoric, Can Candidates Offer Solutions?

It does not matter whether it is Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, the Commonwealth or the entire country, aside from the overall economy, the discussion quickly turns to jobs . . . where are they . . . help in finding one, . . . and how to bring them to our community.

With barely 60 days until the November election, we are hearing much political rhetoric from candidates about the job situation. Regardless of party affiliation, all candidates understand that voters are desperate to find jobs. Beyond using the right buzzwords as they stump, how many of the politicians are citing specific job creation plans. Americans want to believe in the politician’s promises but we need reason to believe. Candidates need to offer the unemployed single mother of three some hope in finding a job. Candidates need to provide incentives for the struggling small business owner to keep his door open. Candidates need to explain how to rebuild the small town whose major employer went bankrupt. I want candidates that offer solutions.

This past week, Pennsylvania District 6th congressional candidate Manan Trivedi presented his personal formula for creating jobs. Trivedi’s job plan contained the following points — (1) tax incentives to small business owners; (2) investing in infrastructure; (3) government crackdown on companies who hire illegal immigrants; (4) elimination of tax breaks to companies that ship jobs to foreign countries; and (5) investment by government in clean energy that would stimulate job growth.

Do we believe that Trivedi’s plan can translate to creating and sustaining jobs? Does Jim Gerlach’s campaign offer a similar job plan? Most importantly, how will Tredyffrin Township directly benefit? Do our State House candidates Paul Drucker and Warren Kampf have a job creation plan to help us?

Public Invitation Includes Speakers Gerlach, Toomey and Kampf . . . but Where's Buckwalter?

A friend gave me a public invitation she received in today’s mail. Here was a part of the invitation:

Come and Hear:

Jim Gerlach

Tredyffrin Supervisor and State Representative candidate
Warren Kampf

Plus a Surprise Speaker!

Sponsored by Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee

I am puzzled and confused by this invitation. On February 20th, both the Democrats and the Republicans held their nominating conventions and I wrote about both of the conventions. For the State House Representative 157, incumbent Paul Drucker was endorsed by the Democrat Party. However, at the Chester County Republican Convention neither Warren Kampf nor Ken Buckwalter were endorsed by the party. After three rounds of voting (Round #3, Kampf 29 – Buckwalter 27) the decision was to recommend, not endorse either candidate. To receive the party’s endorsement would have required one of the candidates to receive 60% of the votes. To read about the Chester County Republican Committee vote which I posted, click here.

So then I look at this invitation and wonder to myself if the TTGOP is sponsoring this public event in a public place (the event will be at the Strafford Library, April 12, 7-9 PM) a couple of things jumped out at me. First thing, I wondered was where was Ken Buckwalter’s name? Warren Kampf is recommended (just like Ken) and this is sponsored by the local Republican party, so shouldn’t both of their names appear on the invitation? Shouldn’t Ken have the same opportunity as Warren to speak at this public forum? Was this a simple oversight . . . a miss-step . . . or what? The opportunity to participate in this forum should be open to both candidates. If Warren had been endorsed by the party, this would be a different matter but he was recommended, just as was Ken. I think that Ken should be included and given the same opportunity to participate; level the playing field.

Then the next question I have about the invitation is re Jim Gerlach. Is this invitation intended to imply that Gerlach has endorsed Warren Kampf? That’s the way it reads to me but I don’t recall seeing a press release to that effect. Has Gerlach endorsed Kampf? Did Gerlach OK this invitation? Does Gerlach know that Ken Buckwalter was not included? For the sake of party unity, I would think that Gerlach would want to treat both candidates fairly until the primary.

Now my third comment on this invitation, I was curious who the ‘surprise speaker’ was? I did some checking around — and was able to track down the surprise speaker — Pat Toomey. Very interesting . . . I wonder if Gerlach was told about the surprise speaker? Interesting trio of speakers – Gerlach, Toomey and Kampf. Comments anyone? Do you agree that Ken Buckwalter should be asked to join this group on April 12 and given an opportunity to speak?

The Power of a Name . . . Curt Shroder Closes Campaign

The power of a name. Just days after announcing that he will run for reelection in the 6th District, Republican US Rep Jim Gerlach’s news has State Rep Curt Shroder ending his congressional campaign. Considered a frontrunner and favorite by some, Shroder is said to be bitterly disappointed about quitting the race. With Gerlach’s sudden and unexpected news, Shroder did not think that he had the ability to raise the kind of money that would be required to compete against an incumbent. Shroder had been campaigning for 6 months and was making steady progress both in support by Chester County GOP committee members and his fundraising had been going well.

Howard Cohen, former state revenue treasurer and Lower Merion Commissioner Scott Zelov both have already closed down their campaigns to defer to Gerlach. Next in line from a support standpoint in the 6th District race, Steve Welch, a local biotech entrepreneur is said to be on the fence about whether to quite the race.

Watching one campaign after another fold in the 6th District race, certainly gives pause to the power of a name . . . Jim Gerlach. (At least from the Republican side).

Rep. Jim Gerlach Will Seek Re-Election to the 6th District . . . Where Does the News Leave Steve Welch (R) and Doug Pike (D)?

I guess by now most of you have heard that Rep Jim Gerlach will seek a fifth House term for the 6th Congressional District– having made this decision a day after he dropped out of the race for Pennsylvania governor. Gerlach made the decision to forgo his gubernatorial bid and stand for reelection to the House. When he withdrew from the Governor’s race, Gerlach explained that he did not think that the $1 million that he had raised was not enough to compete in “today’s media-driven campaigns” for a statewide election.

Gerlach had announced his gubernatorial bid last July. This recent decision to seek a fifth term in the House would seem to create an unsettling effect on the competitive 6th Congressional District contest. The local GOP had recruited Steve Welch, a local businessman and entrepreneur and he has raised $600,000 for his campaign. Former Philadelphia Inquirer editorial writer Doug Pike is the Democrat opponent for the congressional race; Pike has collected in excess of $1.1 million for his campaign.

Gerlach cannot transfer the $1 million that he raised for the governor’s race into his congressional race. Talk about a campaign bookkeeping nightmare . . . he must return the governor’s race money to his donors and then ask these people to redirect their contributions to his reelection to the House campaign. It is reported that Gerlach had less than $35,000 in his congressional account as of September 30. I assumed that he could just take the $1 million and be set for the congressional race – I was wrong, so guess he is going to be quite busy trying to turn this ship around and redirect it.

This news had me wondering how the other 6th Congressional District candidates were feeling, in partuclar frontrunners Steve Welch (R) and Doug Pike (D). Welch’s campaign website attempts to show support for Gerlach’s 6th District reelection decision, however it was also very clear that he intends to stay the course with his own campaign and remain in the race. Gerlach’s decision to seek reelection however did cause two other GOP candidates to close down their campaigns. Scott Zelov, Lower Merion Township Commission and former 6th District GOP candidate is returning his campaign contributions and giving support to Gerlach. Likewise, former 6th District GOP candidate Howard Cohen has decided to close his campaign and has signed on to the Gerlach reelection campaign.

So how does frontrunner Democrat Doug Pike feel . . . a few days ago Pike was probably feeling rather confident, especially considering that he was handily out-fundraising opponent Steve Welch? However, now Pike finds himself opposing Jim Gerlach, an incumbent with 4 terms behind him. But hearing the Gerlach decision, Pike remains committed in his own bid for the 6th District seat and his campaign will continues. Pike will face Reading doctor Manan Trivedi and Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon in the Democratic primary.

My guess is that it has not been a good couple of days for either Pike or Welch!

Just in . . . Gerlach Withdraws from Governor's Race

Did you hear that Republican US Rep Jim Gerlach is withdrawing from the PA governor’s race?

In a statement, Rep Gerlach, said “I entered the race for governor in order to continue my public service, put forth new ideas for creating jobs, protecting our taxpayers, families and seniors, and reinvigorating the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania that we all love so much.”

In leaving the governor’s race, Rep Gerlach did not say immediately whether he would now be a candidate for re-election as congressman from the 6th US House District. When he decided to run for governor, he originally said that he would give up that job he has held for 7 years.

Although Rep Gerlach had successfully raised over $1 million to date, he did not think he had enough campaign cash to continue. His feeling was that a successful primary would cost at least $4 million! Rep Gerlach figured that he had 2 choices – (1) he could spent all his time fundraising over the next 4 months until the primary or (2) withdraw from the race and work even harder for the people of his district.

I’m still stuck on the $4 million estimated price tag for a primary governor’s race in Pennsylvania . . . wow!

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