Schwartz foe blasts House for recess
By Tom Waring
Marina Kats, the Republican candidate in the 13th Congressional District, is criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for adjourning for a month-long recess while the nation is experiencing high gasoline prices.
Kats leveled the criticism as Pelosi, who represents a district in San Francisco, was at the Free Library of Philadelphia's main branch selling copies of her book.
"It's truly mind-boggling that the speaker has chosen to promote her book and take a month-long vacation rather than do her job and address the energy crisis," she said.
Kats noted that Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz voted for the recess, and the challenger believes the congresswoman is failing to offer relief to constituents by not voting for domestic oil drilling. She blames the dependence on foreign oil as a reason for high gas prices.
The challenger called on Schwartz to demand that Democrats return to Washington, D.C., and that Pelosi resign her leadership role.
"The American people deserve better than a speaker that cares more about selling books than solving the problems facing our country," she said.
John McDermott, of the Constitution Party, is also in the race.
McDermott filed about 4,400 petitions to gain a spot on the ballot.
The candidate believes he is an alternative to Schwartz, who has a bulging campaign treasury, and Kats, who has personal wealth.
"Without my presence in the campaign, the race would be merely a war of money and name recognition and pure partisanship," he said, "and at the end of the day, the voters would end up with a typical, run-of-the-mill, business-as-usual party hack."
Among the issues McDermott will stress is securing borders to curb illegal immigration.
State Rep. George Kenney (R-170th dist.) is retiring after 24 years in office, but he has a real interest in who succeeds him.
Kenney is backing Matt Taubenberger, his director of constituent services, over Democrat Brendan Boyle. Kenney defeated Boyle in 2004 and '06 in races that were often combative.
The incumbent describes Taubenberger, 31, as a hard worker who is honest and dedicated and who knows the neighborhoods of the district, which include much of Bustleton, Fox Chase and Somerton and portions of Abington and Rockledge in Montgomery County.
"Matt is the best candidate," he said.
Kenney made his comments during a news conference outside Northeast High School, Taubenberger's alma mater.
They were joined by Al Taubenberger, the candidate's father and president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association.
The elder Taubenberger, a past candidate for mayor and Congress, described his son as an energetic worker and campaigner who has a longtime interest in bettering his community. He has organized cleanups, patrolled on Town Watch and attended community meetings.
"He went to his first Burholme Civic Association meeting in a baby carriage," he said.
The candidate has run commercials on cable television that focus on his background and work with Kenney. The tagline is, "Matt Taubenberger. Already on the job."
While working for Kenney, Taubenberger said he has learned how to cut through government bureaucracy to help constituents. He handles all kinds of requests, even one to rescue a groundhog trapped in a yard.
The Republican has lived in the Northeast his whole life and worked as a real estate agent and juvenile probation officer. He's enjoyed his two-year stint with Kenney and thinks he's ready to succeed his boss.
"I'm going to work harder than any other legislator for the Northeast and Montgomery County," he said.
Meanwhile, Boyle's supporters believe it is his time. He lost to Kenney in 2004 and '06, but he took 46 percent of the vote two years ago. The margin was just 1,663 votes.
The candidate opened his campaign office at 14230 Bustleton Ave. last week with a rally.
"The scrappy underdog is back again, and this time he's going to win," said state Rep. Mike McGeehan.
City Councilman at-large Bill Green said Boyle, 31, represents the "next generation of leadership."
"He won't take no for an answer. This time, he's going to get elected," he said.
Others at the event included City Controller Alan Butkovitz, Councilman at-large Bill Greenlee, state Reps. John Sabatina Jr. and Dwight Evans and ward leaders. Rich Costello, the Democratic candidate in the 172nd Legislative District, was on hand, along with Dan McCaffery, who plans to run for district attorney next year.
The elected officials described Boyle as a tireless campaigner who has shown perseverance.
Butkovitz, a former state representative, noted that he also lost two races for the legislature before winning. He credited Boyle with displaying tenacity and character.
"That's the kind of person we need in Harrisburg," he said.
Boyle has basically been running for the seat non-stop since early 2004. An early poll that year showed him down 45 points. He was outspent 10-to-1.
"We didn't quit," he said.
If elected, Boyle said he would take his work ethic on the campaign trail into the House of Representatives. He considers himself the favorite, noting that a couple of polls show him with a big lead, but will continue extensive door-to-door campaigning.
"We're not taking anything for granted," he said.
The 18th annual Stu Bykofsky Candidates Comedy Night will take place Tuesday, at 8 p.m., at Finnigan's Wake, Third and Spring Garden streets.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m. In all, 17 candidates or their representatives will appear.
The list includes U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy and Republican challenger Tom Manion; Adam Lang, the Republican candidate in the 2nd Congressional District; U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak and Republican challenger Craig Williams; U.S. Rep. Bob Brady and challenger Mike Muhammad; U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and Republican challenger Marina Kats; state Attorney General Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger John Morganelli; state treasurer candidates Tom Ellis and Rob McCord; 1st Senatorial District candidates Larry Farnese and Jack Morley; and state Rep. John Perzel and challenger Rich Costello.
Tickets cost $60. Proceeds will benefit Variety the Children's Charity. Call 215-735-0803 for more information.
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org