Former Revenue Secretary raises 10 times opponents in Pa-9 GOP primary

Written by Emily Previti | May 14, 2018 1:19 PM
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Pennsylvania's 9th Congressional District includes all of Lebanon, Schuylkill, Columbia and Carbon counties, plus parts of Berks, Montour, Luzerne and Northumberland counties.

Former Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser reported $860,000 - more than half a million dollars from Meuser himself - at the Federal Election Commission's last filing deadline.

That's more than 10 times than the amounts raised by each of his opponents seeking the Republican nomination in Pennsylvania's ninth congressional district.

Scott Uehlinger, who's retired from the CIA and Navy and was a Trump delegate, was next with $83,000 - including $15,000 of his own money.

Much of Uehlinger and Meuser's came from out of district or out of state, a statewide trend  attributable to redistricting.

Schuylkill County Commission George Halcovage brought in $80,000, according to SEC filings. 


Nursing operators big backers of Halcovage

Over of $8,000 Halcovage's campaign cash came from entities involved in Schuylkill County's sale of county-run Rest Haven Nursing Home, now known as Rosewood Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, to Premier Healthcare in 2015.

  • $5,400 in contributions from Premier Healthcare Owners Jacob Sod and Jonathan Bleier and through individual properties run by Premier.
  • Another $2,700 came from Meir Gelley, president of Lakewood, NJ-based nursing and rehabilitation provider Nationwide Healthcare Service. Nationwide reportedly backed out of buying Rosewood.

Halcovage says his relationships with nursing operators and other healthcare professionals are more through his insurance business than his elected office. He received:

  • $8,000 or so from other local doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • $5,600 from family members
  • $5,400 from area business conglomerate The Cotler Group CEO Steve Cotler and CFO Kenneth Huebner
  • $5,400 from Koch Turkey Farm owner Elizabeth Koch and manager Brock Stein
  • $2,700 from Ron Williams, an attorney with Fox Rothschild in the firm's Exton office
  • $1,000 from Schuylkill County Coroner David Moylan.


Pa political establishment picks Meuser

Meuser has bankrolled the majority of his campaign himself. His family kicked in another $20,500 (with nearly $9,000 more pledged for the general election). Executives at Meuser's company Pride Mobility, which makes motorized wheelchairs, contributed over $6,000 as well.

Meuser, who was Revenue Secretary under Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, got support from others in Corbett's cabinet: former spokesman Mike Drewniak, former DCED Secretary C. Alan Walker, former PennDOT secretary Barry Schoch and former Department of Labor Secretary Julia Hearthway, who's now head of the federal Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs.

Freshman Republican state Sen. John DiSanto, whose capital region district doesn't overlap with the ninth congressional; his wife, Maria; and chief of staff Charles Erdman contributed $5,650, combined, to Meuser. He also received $1,000 each from campaign funds for fellow Republicans:

  • State Sen. Lisa Baker, whose district includes part of Luzerne County
  • Retiring Northumberland County Judge Emil Giordano
  • State Rep. Kurt Masser, whose district encompasses parts of Montour, Northumberland and Columbia counties; and Masser's office manager Howard Hurst.

Much of the rest of the roster of individual donors to Meuser reads like a who's who of Pennsylvania politics: Andrew Giorgione, Fred Clark, John Moran, David LaTorre, Louis Dinaples and lobbyists and consultants at Harrisburg-based lobbying firms Bravo Group, Greenlee Partners and Pugilese & Associates.

Other top contributors:

  • Over $26,000 from a dozen or so financial firms, professionals and trade groups
  • $2,500 from Independence Blue Cross and $250 from Highmark PACs. Several physicians, healthcare executives and other industry professionals also made individual contributions totaling more than $11,000
  • Over $14,000 from half a dozen energy companies and environmental consulting firms.
  • $6,000 from Thomas Medico, owner of Medico Industries construction, and his relatives and fellow officers at the company
  • $5,400 from Laurence and John Silvi, brothers who run Silvi Concrete, which has operations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
  • $5,400 from New Age Media CEO John Parente and his wife, Melissa. New Age owns and operates over a dozen television stations in NEPA.
  • $5,000 each from the Pennsylvania GOP's Keystone Alliance PAC, the state's builders' lobby, and Duane Morris' government contracts division.
  • $5,000 from corporate law firm Cozen O'Connor, which committed another $2,500 for the general election should Meuser get there. 
  • $5,000 from corporate law firm Stradley Ronon. Stradley Ronon's recent client results highlights include a ruling that shielded the state and private healthcare providers from publicly disclosing nursing rates and successful tax appeal case representing commercial clients in the cash-strapped Philadelphia school district
  • $3,500 from Aqua America. Aqua CEO Nicholas Debenedictis, Pennsylvania American Water Company attorney Chris Abruzzo, Pennsylvania Water Specialties Company President Ralph Yanora and water treatment and utility contractor Kentrel Corp President Thomas Craig also contributed.
  • $2,700 from temping agency Advanced Employee Services Owner Carol Haines
  • $2,700 from Tri-Mountain Ventures President Neal Deangelo.
  • $2,700 from Bhavin Patel, owner Pence's Variety Store in Hazleton (which isn't in the ninth district) and another $11,000-plus from other small businesses throughout central and northeast Pennsylvania.


Uehlinger relies on out-of-state support

Nearly half of Uehlinger's $83,000 in campaign fundraising came from outside Pennsylvania, including:

  • $5,400 from developer Eugene Landy, chairman of UMH properties, and his wife Gloria (NJ)
  • $5,400 from retirees Michael and Pamela Cunningham of Davie, Fla.
  • $2,700 from Delta airline pilot James Green


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