Hohenstein enters 177th district race, others likely to follow

Hohenstein will run for the second time after challenging Rep. John Taylor last year.

On the campaign trail: Democrat Joe Hohenstein will run for the 177th Legislative District seat for the second consecutive year.

Democrat Joe Hohenstein, an immigration lawyer who took almost 45 percent of the vote in a challenge last year to state Rep. John Taylor, will run for the seat again next year.

Taylor, who has represented the 177th Legislative District since 1985, is not seeking another two-year term.

Hohenstein won four of the seven wards last November.

“I was the one who stood up to the system last year,” he said. “I view this as finishing a job that I started.”

Like in 2016, Hohenstein will run as an outsider and knock on as many doors as possible. He believes the local Democratic Party should be about boosting neighborhoods.

If elected, he’ll focus on Philadelphia’s interests, declaring Harrisburg “broken.”

A campaign theme will be “Philadelphia against Harrisburg.” He opposes state control of city public schools and believes Philadelphia gets shortchanged in budget negotiations.

“Philadelphia is the economic engine of the state,” he said.

Hohenstein has reached out to all seven Democratic ward leaders.

Unlike last year, he will not have a free ride in the primary.

Sean Patrick Wayland and Justin Salmasi were planning runs even before Taylor’s announcement. Both have Crowdpac pages to raise money.

Wayland, a Port Richmond resident, also has website (spwayland.net), Twitter and Facebook campaign pages. He served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserve and spent time in Iraq in 2008. He has been endorsed by VoteVets.org

Others who’ve said they are considering runs are community activist Dan Martino; Tom Forkin, an aide to state Rep. Mike Driscoll; Harry Enggasser, a ward leader, aide to U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, two-time challenger to Taylor and president of the Bridesburg Civic Association; and Patty-Pat Kozlowski, director of park stewardship at the city Department of Parks and Recreation and a former top aide to late Councilwoman Joan Krajewski.

Democrats have mentioned at least four other names as possible candidates: City Council aide Sean K. McMonagle; former Councilman Dan Savage; union plasterer Sean Kilkenny; and Maggie Borski, daughter of former congressman Bob Borski.

Kozlowski is also a possible candidate on the Republican side.

Others who have expressed interest in running on the GOP ticket are Chris Vogler, Republican leader of the 55th Ward; Brian Caputo, a Port Richmond resident and former aide to Councilman Brian O’Neill; and Tim O’Brien, a former Municipal Court arraignment magistrate.

Many Republicans have mentioned Taylor aide Mia Hylan, but she lives on the 3000 block of Magee Ave., just outside the district. Like others who live outside the 177th, by law, she must move into the district by Nov. 7 to be able to run.

The 177th district consists generally of Bridesburg, Northwood and parts of Port Richmond, Tacony, West Mayfair, Holmesburg and Lexington Park.

••

The Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a debate between the two candidates for district attorney on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. at the Cottage Green, 9001 Ashton Road.

Democrat Larry Krasner and Republican Beth Grossman have both agreed to attend.

The public is invited.

••

EMILY’s List, which supports Democratic women candidates who favor abortion, last week endorsed Rebecca Rhynhart for city controller.

“Rebecca’s experiences as chief administrative officer, city treasurer and budget director make her beyond qualified to be controller of Philadelphia. She has shown unwavering commitment to making city government work for all residents and businesses,” said Geri Prado, senior director of state and local campaigns at EMILY’s List. “EMILY’s List is confident that she will be a positive force in Philadelphia, not just for women, but for all community members throughout the city.”

“I am very grateful to receive the endorsement of EMILY’s List, an organization that embodies the same spirit and drive I believe are needed in city government,” Rhynhart said. “We need more women in public office, and EMILY’S List has been a key supporter of female candidates across the country — I am thrilled to be one of them.”

EMILY’s List did not make an endorsement in the primary, when Rhynhart upset incumbent Alan Butkovitz, piling up 59 percent of the vote.

Rhynhart faces Republican Mike Tomlinson.

The controller’s office has no say on abortion policy.

••

Former Municipal Court Judge Jimmie Moore pleaded guilty to a criminal information unsealed last week charging him with causing false statements to the Federal Election Commission in connection with a 2012 congressional primary election.

According to the plea memorandum, Moore engaged in a falsification scheme involving payments to his campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 1st Congressional District. According to the memorandum, those payments came from the campaign committee of Moore’s opponent, Rep. Bob Brady, for the purpose of removing Moore from the ballot.

Moore admitted that, in or around February 2012, he withdrew from the election pursuant to an agreement with Brady, who promised to pay Moore $90,000 from his campaign funds to be used to repay Moore’s campaign debts. Those payments were made to Moore’s campaign manager, Carolyn Cavaness, and to an entity created for the purpose of repaying the Moore campaign’s outstanding debts to its vendors. Those payments were routed through consulting companies to conceal their true source.

According to the memorandum, Cavaness, acting at Moore’s direction, used the money to repay the vendors and to reimburse Moore for loans he had made to his own campaign. Prosecutors say Moore and Cavaness knowingly and intentionally caused his campaign to file false reports to conceal from the FEC the fact that the payments were in excess of the statutory contribution limit.

Cavaness previously pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging her with causing false statements to the FEC in connection with the scheme.

Brady, chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, has not been charged.

••

Congregations of Shaare Shamayim, 9768 Verree Road in Bustleton, has invited candidates in the general election to speak at a forum on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 10 a.m.

Admission is free, and brunch will be served.

To RSVP, call 215–677–1600.

••

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is criticizing state Sen. Scott Wagner, a Republican candidate for governor, for telling a crowd he urged House Appropriations Committee chairman Stan Saylor to kill a proposed gas drilling tax to hurt Gov. Tom Wolf’s re-election.

“Scott Wagner is everything that is wrong with Harrisburg and the reason that the legislature is so dysfunctional,” said Beth Melena, communications director for the state Democratic Party. “Pennsylvania is the only gas-producing state in the country that does not have a severance tax. Despite the fact that a majority of Pennsylvanians support making big oil and gas companies pay their fair share, Scott Wagner is conspiring with Republicans to kill the shale tax so he can boost his gubernatorial ambitions.” ••