The Return of the Guys in White Hats

Most of you do not know Matt Blackburn. He is one of those people in politics who doesn’t get much public recognition, but he’s one of those people who makes it all happen. Maybe he gets things done precisely because he doesn’t spend much time in the public eye. It’s hard to get down to business when the cameras are rolling and the opposition is splicing together sound bites.

Anyhow, Matt was Pat Toomey’s grassroots director for Western PA when he ran against Specter in 2004. By the time it was all said and done Matt had amassed an army of thousands of us knocking on doors, dropping literature, making phone calls, and doing whatever it took to get Pat’s message out. If you live west of the Alleghenies and voted for Pat in ’04, Matt probably had something to do with it.

As they say, elections have consequences. Certainly they make a difference in who’s in office, but the larger impact is the number of people like Matt who get into positions to make things happen.

Senator-Elect Pat Toomey announced a number of key hires for his Pennsylvania Senate offices, including, State Director, Deputy State Director, Western PA Director, Eastern PA Director, Regional Manager for the Lehigh Valley, Regional Manager for Northwest Pennsylvania, and Regional Manager for Southeast Pennsylvania.


Matt Blackburn – Western Pennsylvania Director. A native of Erie, PA, Mr. Blackburn has many years of experience working in the legislative, policy, and political arena. Mr. Blackburn started his career as a Legislative Assistant for then-Congressman Toomey in 2003 and went on to join the Congressman’s 2004 Senate campaign as the Director of Grassroots for Western and Central Pennsylvania. He continued to gain legislative and policy experience as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and as the Government Affairs Director for Express Search, Inc., a patent research company. Most recently, Mr. Blackburn served as the Policy Director for Senator-Elect Toomey’s 2010 campaign, overseeing all research and policy issues. Mr. Blackburn received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Gannon University in Erie, PA.

I believe that the 2010 elections weren’t so much about the deficit, spending, Obama, and the Tea Party. I think they were about something broader–returning responsible people to positions of power who want to govern in the best interest of the Republic. The guys in white hats, so to speak. Matt Blackburn is one of those guys.

Congratulations, Matt! It’s good to have you back.

January 1, 2011 at 11:40 pm Comments (0)

VP Ridge???

Maybe, maybe not.

But he’s #7 on CBS’s possible list.

Joe Klein of Time Magazine recently wrote that McCain was frustrated by the obvious political reasons for why he couldn’t pick any of his top three vice-presidential candidates. According to Klein, Ridge was number one on McCain’s dream VP list. But how can McCain, who has had trouble rallying the conservative base, endure the grumblings among the Republican rank and file if he were to select a pro-choice running mate? Another reason for Ridge’s slip in the rankings: Roll Call recently reported that “for almost two years former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge failed to register a nearly half-million-dollar lobbying contract that he had with the government of Albania.” Could McCain afford the political fallout of running with a former lobbyist?

The Watercooler’s unofficial favorite, Alaska Gov Sarah Palin gets in at number nine.

I’m going to throw a name out there.

Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.

Highly successful businesswoman, a Fiorina ticket will bring the economic experience and understanding that McCain (by his own admission) lacks.

Anyone? Anyone?

July 17, 2008 at 12:52 am Comments (0)

Thompson vs Edwards

A battle of what might have been…

The Manufacturers’ Association of Northwest Pennsylvania is mixing a Democrat and a Republican again for its annual event.

Democrat John Edwards and Republican Fred Thompson, both of whom failed to gain traction in the 2008 presidential race, will be the featured speakers at the association’s 103rd annual event on June 18.

In June 2007, the association booked at Tullio Arena the husband-and-wife team of Democratic strategist James Carville and Republican adviser Mary Matalin.

This year’s event will be at the Bayfront Convention Center.

Adding to the political flavor, former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow will moderate.

March 6, 2008 at 11:41 am Comments (0)

Candidate Roundup in the Northwest

A quick look around shows some pretty interesting races coming up here in the Northwest

For full articles click on the County’s name.

Erie County:

In a very rare occurence here in Erie, the Erie GOP has nominated a candidate for City Council in a city that has a 3 to 1 Democrat advantage.

Their Candidate is Tim Butler, 25, who is a lifelong resident of Erie. He is a landlord in the city and formerly worked for Senator Rick Santorum in his Erie office. Butler, an African American who is a deacon in his church, is running on keeping spending in check and lower taxes.   

Butler is an extremely attractive candidate and represents a definate shift in strategy for the Erie County GOP. This year an aggressive effort was made to field candidates by new Erie County GOP Chairman Brad Moore.

Moore is hoping to lead and revitalize the Erie party that has been stagnant the last few years. Challenging City Council and making a true effort is something that hasn’t been done in some time. Tuesday, a press conference was held with Butler and Moore and about 10 other supporters, a tactic that was unheard of under the prior leadership, as shocking as that sounds.

Erie County will be a county to watch as the party has a new leader with fresh ideas, or as Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook said at the GOP dinner last Friday “Our ship has a rudder!”

In other races:

  • In the May Primary Republican County Councilwoman Carol Loll will be challenged by Mark Schwab and Daniel T. Galena. Democrat Lyle Sanders awaits the winner in November  
  • Democrat Phil Fatica will challenge the winner of the Republican primary between newly appointed County Councilman Charles Augustine and Gil Rocco.
  • Democrat County Councilman and Chairman Fiore Lione will face Mike Kobylka in the November election.

Crawford County:

11 Candidates file for County Commissioner

5 Democrats: Sherman Allen, Robert Davis, Dominic Frisina, Patricia Gillette, Kenny Keltner and LeRoy Stearns.

Democratic Incumbent, Roger Williams, is retiring.

6 Republicans, including 2 incumbents: Harold Corner, George Greig, incumbent Jack Preston, Bonnie Tingley and incumbent Morris Waid.

All other positions will not be contested by the democrats which is interesting considering this story from a few months ago.

Mercer County

10 candidates file for Commissioner:

Democrats: Incumbent Brian Beader, Kenneth R. Ammann, Jim Kaibas, Dave Ryan and Timothy P. Templeton.
Republicans: Mary A. Buckwalter, Michael M. Cooney, John N. Lechner, Lewis P. McEwen, and Phillip P. Steele.

 Intriguing Story: Brian Shipley(R) returns to the ballot. Shipley a former Mercer County Commissioner, left office after allegations of improper use of county credit cars, phones and computers were raised. He is running for a seat on Greenville Council.

Venango County

11 people for Commissioner.

Democrats:  Stan Grzasko, Jan Beichner, Malcolm Sullivan, Trish McKissick and Jodi Baker-Lewis
Republicans: Incumbent Sue Smith, incumbent Larry Horn, Troy Wood, Timothy Brooks, David P. Moore and Daniel Kaylor

Also Marquee District Judge Race:
Robert Boyer, magisterial district judge vs.  Keith Pemrick, well regarded attorney, vs Marie Veon, county district attorney

Clarion County:

County Commissioner

Republican Incumbents: David Cyphert and Donna Oberlander
Democrats: Incumbent Donna Hartle, Donald E. Montgomery, Joseph W. Billotte II, and Randy Vossburg

Warren County


County Commissioner
Democrats: incumbent John Eggleston and Maurice “Buster” Godden
Republicans: Incumbent John Bortz Jr., Incumbent David Bauer, Terry Hawk,  Raymond Thomas, and Sue Kibbey


March 7, 2007 at 10:15 pm Comment (1)

RE: Joining the Democrats

I think Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor gets it right in a video he posted on his website.

See it here at Redstate in case he moves it from his website.

It’s a shame Rep English and the other supporters of this awful resolution failed to see the historical significance of their votes today.

The lessons of History must not be forgotten!
-Eric Cantor on the Floor of the House

Observe the Lessons of History:

“The Summer Soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country…”
-Thomas Paine

Remember that in these grave days in the affairs of the world we need internal unity, national unity, for the good of the nation. That is good advice and it never grows old.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Alexander Hamilton said that A nation that prefers disgrace to danger is prepared for a master and deserves one. Now let’s set the record straight: there’s no argument over the choice between war and peace but there’s only one guaranteed way you can have peace and you can have it this second: surrender.
-Ronald Reagan

EDIT: Here’s the embeded video – AlexC

February 16, 2007 at 10:48 pm Comments (0)

Porter becomes Pennsylvania's Al Gore Jr.


File this story under “Waaaaaah! I refuse to admit that I lost!”

Dr. Steven Porter, the two-time loser against US Representative Phil English has decided to sue English for misrepresenting what Porter wrote in his own book.

Come again?

Hat tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA).

It seems that the English campaign took quotes from “The Ethics of a Democracy” and used them against Porter. Porter claims the words don’t represent what he thinks.

This isn’t the first tantrum for Porter, either. After his most recent defeat, he went on a tirade against his own party for not supporting him.

More commentary on the story can be found on That’s Rich.

February 9, 2007 at 7:03 am Comments (0)

No Teacher Strike in Erie

Millcreek Twp teachers reached an agreement avoiding a strike that was slated to begin on Thursday.

Full Article Here(Free Reg Required)

January 31, 2007 at 11:38 pm Comments (0)

English gets rare positive editorial from Erie Times

Phil English (R-3rd) got a rare positive editorial from the Erie Times as they praised his efforts to keep funding coming for sand replenishment at Presque Isle State Park.

Presque Isle is an important part of the Erie community and economy and is truly a treasure.

Read it here(registration required) OR:

The editorial is below the break 


January 27, 2007 at 3:22 pm Comments (0)

For those who care

I was interviewed for an article on tonights State of the Union in the Erie Times.

 A decent article but one thing: On the front page were 3 Democrats, and then tucked in the middle pages were two Republicans and a Democrat. Along the side with shorter blurbs there was 1 Republican, 2 independents, and four more Democrats. Balance?

Below the break is the full text of my section


January 23, 2007 at 9:58 am Comments (0)

Re: Teacher Strike possible in Erie

Why not, Ben? It’s easier to hold everyone hostage that way.

Middle of the year, everyone’s in “school season” etc.

January 9, 2007 at 6:08 pm Comments (0)

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