Challenger demands a debate with Schwartz

Joe Rooney, the Republican candidate for congress, holds a press conference on Thursday morning in front of Allyson Schwartz’s office, demandind that she debate him. (Maria Pouchnikova)

Joe Rooney, the Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, stood outside his opponent’s district office last week to ask her for four debates before the Nov. 6 election.

Schwartz (D-13th dist.) was not at her office at 7219 Frankford Ave., where Rooney and his supporters gathered in the early afternoon of Sept. 27.

Rooney wants to hold two debates in the Northeast and two others in Montgomery County. He’s willing to debate anywhere and anytime.

There will be no formal debates, according to the congresswoman’s camp.

Rachel Magnuson, Schwartz’s chief of staff, said the congresswoman will be attending upcoming public events to tell constituents what she’s been doing locally and in Washington.

“There are several community forums scheduled over the next several weeks,” Magnuson said.

Rooney urged supporters to pressure Schwartz to debate by writing letters to newspapers and commenting on her Facebook page.

A debate is necessary, in Rooney’s view, because so much of the district is new since reapportionment.

“She’s afraid to face her voters,” he said. “On November 6th, we need to send her into retirement.”

Rooney also blasted Schwartz for supporting partial-birth abortion and abortions even for the gender selection of the baby.

Magnuson said Schwartz believes the issue of abortion should be decided by the mother in consultation with her doctor, with respect given to the woman’s faith and values.

“The congresswoman is pro-choice,” she said.

Rooney was joined by Mike Tomlinson, the Republican candidate in the 5th Senatorial District; former City Council candidate Joe McColgan; and Mayfair civic leader Joe DeFelice, a leader of Mitt Romney’s Pennsylvania presidential campaign.

Two $1 million bills with an unflattering picture of Schwartz on them served as props. They read, “In Schwartz We Don’t Trust.”

Rooney tried to link Schwartz’s eight years in Congress to a sharp increase in her personal finances, but Federal Election Commission data is unclear on that matter.

On other issues, Rooney pledged to rein in government spending, support a balanced budget amendment, vote to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline Project to deliver crude oil to American refineries and serve only three two-year terms.

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Tom Smith, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, was in Mayfair last week for a news conference with women who support his campaign.

The event was hosted by Antoniette Montgomery, owner of Torresdale Flower Shop, at 7332 Frankford Ave.

Smith, a retired coal company owner and self-described “old farm boy” from Armstrong County, is challenging Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

Montgomery, an active member of the Mayfair Business Association, opened her shop in 2000. She’s joined the Women for Smith coalition, believing that he can help put an end to the nation’s economic woes. She favors lowering taxes, repealing the health care law known as Obamacare and bringing spending under control.

In her opinion, Casey and President Barack Obama are failing to lead on the economy.

“Tom needs to be our next U.S. senator,” she said.

Montgomery thinks Smith would be good for small businesses, pointing to his background as a coal miner who went into business for himself.

“He knows how we’re starting off,” she said.

Smith described government as too big, dysfunctional and suffocating to small businesses. He’d lessen regulations to spur job creation.

“Small business is the engine that makes this economy run,” he said.

Smith wants to simplify the tax code and bring budget deficits and the debt under control with a balanced budget amendment.

“It’s time for government to live within its means,” he said.

Smith favors a law that would deny paychecks to members of Congress who do not pass a budget on time.

“No budget, no pay. I bet that’ll get us a budget,” he said.

Smith was introduced by Chester County Sheriff Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh. Among the other Women for Smith members was Jenny Brown, a Lower Merion commissioner who ran a high-profile race last year for Montgomery County commissioner.

Among local Republican activists in attendance were Mayfair’s Joe DeFelice and East Torresdale’s Joe McColgan. Also on hand were Al Taubenberger, candidate in the 172nd Legislative District, and Mike Tomlinson, who is running in the 5th Senatorial District.

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Will Dunbar, the Democratic candidate in the 177th Legislative District, has been endorsed by the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.

Dunbar is challenging Republican Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.).

A former aide to U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, Dunbar worked on the congressman’s CORE Philly Scholarship Program. He has pledged to increase higher education funding in the state budget.

“William’s work with the CORE Philly Scholarship Program has given him the insight to understand the issues of affordability and access in Pennsylvania,” said Steve Hicks, the president of APSCUF. “He will be a true advocate for public higher education.”

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The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund has endorsed David Freed for state attorney general.

Freed, a Republican, is district attorney in Cumberland County. Democrat Kathleen Kane is a former assistant district attorney from Lackawanna County. Libertarian Marakay Rogers is a lawyer from York.

The NRA political group is backing Freed because of his record supporting the right of law enforcement officers and private citizens to use deadly force to defend themselves.

The group dismissed Kane because it said she expressed support for anti-gun measures during a Pennsylvania Progressive Summit debate in February. She also did not return the NRA candidate questionnaire.

“The choice in this election is clear. David Freed will protect our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage. Kathleen Kane will not,” said NRA-PVF chairman Chris W. Cox. ••