Pennsylvania VIPs hit the Big Apple

Is it time to bring the society weekend back home?

  • Emily Previti/PA Post
I spent the past weekend nursing a cold. But “thousands” of other Pennsyvlanains flocked to New York City for the Pennsylvania Society’s annual dinner, a schmoozefest for the commonwealth’s political set that’s been happening every winter for more than 100 years. Jan Murphy’s backgrounder gives a great overview, including highlights of the year’s itinerary, who skipped the gathering, and hints about Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s U.S. Senate ambitions. -Emily Previti, PA Post Reporter

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., speaks with members of the media during a news conference, Monday, May 9, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

  • Writing ahead of the festivities, PennLive’s Murphy interviewed insiders who said they expected Pa. Society attendees to avoid talking about the impeachment hearings. But Republican Senator Pat Toomey didn’t steer clear at one of the weekend’s several satellite gatherings. Toomey backed the president during his remarks at the state GOP’s Commonwealth Club Luncheon (a $1,250-to-$2,500-plate event).

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Chris Brennan reports that Toomey told the crowd: “If you all continue your generous support for our party and our candidates, we’re going to reelect President Trump, we’re going to hold the United States Senate. And honestly I think we have a shot at taking back the House.” (Toomey’s defense of Trump came days before House Democrats are expected to reveal which articles of impeachment they’ll try to use against President Trump; NPR Political Editor Domenico Montanaro did a rundown assessing the potential pitfalls and advantages of each one.)

  • The Inquirer’s coverage of the Pa. Society events also included an analysis of what the weekend’s chatter implies about the importance of the Pennsylvania presidential primary in 2020, and a quick hit on Philadelphia City Councilwoman-elect Kendra Brooks — the Working Families Party outsider and self-described “introvert” — braving the days-long soiree for the first time.

  • If you’re interested in Pa. Society’s roots and insider highlights from more recent years, check out John Baer’s latest column for PennLive. John makes the case for bringing the event back to Pennsylvania, as does this piece from former Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark Singel, which in turn is answered by Charlie Gerow, CEO of Quantum Communications and American Conservative Union board member, advocating for preserving the tradition of traveling to NYC.

Best of the rest

Barbed wired along a fence outside a prison

Emma Lee / WHYY

The correctional complex on State Road in Philadelphia. (Emma Lee / WHYY)

  • David Sheppard emerged from prison after 25 years, only to be arrested for allegedly stealing five pairs of jeans worth over $350 in 1992 by outgoing DelCo DA Katayoun Copeland. Sheppard had his sentence commuted with the support of Gov. Tom Wolf, but Copeland says the family of Thomas Brannan, shot and killed by Sheppard’s co-conspirators nearly three decades ago, didn’t get a voice when the Board of Pardons signed off .

  • Gov. Wolf says if lawmakers don’t pass a bill increasing Pa.’s minimum wage before Jan. 30, then a state board will extend overtime pay to “tens of thousands of workers,” Marc Levy reports for the Associated Press. The measure to hike the minimum wage to $9.50/hour already passed the state Senate 42-7, but its fate is uncertain in the House. Marc further explains the political stakes in this story.

  • Later this week, expect an updated on why Northampton County’s voting machines incorrectly tabulated counts for some races during the Nov. 5 election. County officials say Election Systems & Software reps will speak publicly Thursday on what went wrong with their devices, WFMZ reports. Thursday also happens to be the deadline for state officials to respond in a court filing to former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s attempt to revive her lawsuit against the commonwealth over its voting system. We’ll be covering those developments, plus dropping an enterprise piece or two this week on election security. Stay tuned.


Note: This post was updated to correct the name of Philadelphia City Councilwoman-elect Kendra Brooks.

Subscribe to The Contextour weekday newsletter

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next

Trump and Pence plan Pa. visit