Monday, December 14, 2009

"PA Society" Gathered in NYC

The state’s political power players gathered in New York City over the weekend for an annual event. If you’re a Pennsylvania politician – or if you’re trying to win an election to join that club – then Pennsylvania Society is the place to be. It’s a tradition that dates back to 1899. Pennsylvania’s political scene migrates to the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan for a weekend of parties packed with schmoozing, black ties, cocktails and gossip. Nearly every gubernatorial candidate held a reception, and there was an unspoken attendance competition going on among them. It is believed a well-attended soiree means a strong campaign. Standing in the middle of a packed ballroom he had rented, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato said he was in New York to build relationships with supporters. He says, “Pennsylvania Society is a unique situation because you can get all corners of the state, the middle of the state, a lot of people from all over in one area for three days. And as you can see, I packed the room with a lot of supporters tonight. And I think it’s an indication of the viability of my candidacy.” Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett says it was worth the trip, “You know, there’s a lot of potential fundraising ability here, contacts here. Networking. I certainly like the reception that I have received this weekend, and continue to receive. I mean I’ve been coming to this since 1993 or 1994. It’s nice to get to see everybody. It is a lot of seeing the same people over and over again.” Along with campaigning there are a lot of discussions about upcoming legislative efforts. House Majority Leader Todd Eachus says Democrats have the votes they need to pass a table games bill. He says he is taking a different approach than the governor, “I always worry about the work. The governor’s got to worry about his press conferences. My focus is trying to get the job done.” At the same time, US Senator Arlen Specter of PA was talking about health care. Specter says the Senate will pass a health care bill by month’s end, but he shied away from declaring support for a compromise on the public health care option. He says, “We’ve talked a lot about it, but I want to read the fine print before I take a final stand on it. Getting 60 votes—getting 60 out of 60—is a tough job when you don’t have any Republican support.”

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