Friday, April 30, 2010

PA-3: Political Blunder Moves Butler Candidate Event

The Freedom Patriots wanted to have a TEA Party and Mike Kelly knew the best location: his dealership. He offered the location then proceeded to set the terms for the PA-3 candidates. Each was able to give a timed speech. The order was to be determined by drawing names. The catch? Kelly would go last, regardless. Yeah, that's transparent.

Frankly, whether Kelly wanted to be magnanimous or not, any political newbie can recognize that having a "neutral" political rally at your business just smacks of hypocrisy.

Besides, a TEA Party rally at a corporate location? At a place that exemplifies government run amok? At a place that participated in Cash for Clunkers? Really?

Kelly should fire his consultant. Now. What a huge blunder. And now it has blown up in his face. It turns out that the other candidates have formally bailed on Kelly's party and set up a truly neutral location.

Here's the event info and letter from the candidates:

We the undersigned candidates for the May 18 Republican Primary for US Congress PA-3rd District have elected to rescind our invitations to the Tea Party proposed by Freedom Patriots to be held at 252 Pittsburgh Road Butler, PA on Sunday, May 2nd.
After much deliberation and mutual agreement, we feel that the location of the venue offered as courtesy by Candidate Mike Kelly to the Tea Party organizers presents a non-neutral setting for the other candidates to present themselves and their positions in an open forum.

The property for the venue is part of Mr. Kelly’s business we have come to understand, and in light of this fact we have mutually proposed an alternate setting for an open candidate forum.

The event will be held from 2 PM to 5 PM on the same day at a location convenient to attendees from the original event and others to come hear the candidates speak. The location also provides under cover shelter should the forecast for rain that day hold. This will be a no frills event strictly to inform voters, and Mr. Kelly is more than welcome to join this event and speak with his fellow candidates at a neutral setting.

We extend our sincerest apologies to Freedom Patriots for any inconvenience, and hope that they recognize the need for fair and open debate in all aspects of this very critical election cycle for voters.

The location of the PA-3rd Congressional District Republican Candidate Forum will be at:

Odd Fellows Gazebo
Alameda Park
Butler County Parks and Recreation
184 Alameda Road
Butler, PA 16001

With Kind Regards,
(in alphabetical order)

Steven Fisher
Ed Franz
Clayton Grabb
Paul Huber
Martha Moore

PA-3: Mercer County GOP Chair "Helps" Kelly

Keep in mind that the Mercer County GOP has claimed that they are neutral during the primary...

The latest "meet the candidates" function was held at the Hempfield Township Fire Department. (Here's a writeup from The Herald.) Each candidate had a chance to speak for a handful of minutes. Paul Huber did his part, referring to the people in the district as his team. He called the people in the audience his team. It was a great way to call people to action and make them feel involved.

At the end of the final speech, Mercer County GOP chairman David King stood up and asked the audience for a round of applause for the candidates. As people applauded, King leaned into the microphone, looked over at the candidates, and said "This is your team, Mike!" King quickly corrected himself by referring to the audience as the team for all of the candidates.

But the cat was out of the bag. The horse was out of the barn. The shoe was firmly in his mouth.

You may recall when I reported how King called Kelly "our candidate"...

At some point, you would think the Mercer County GOP would be honest and admit that they are backing Kelly. It's time to stop pretending that they are neutral. No one - I repeat, NO ONE - believes it. It's time to stop misleading the voters. If they can't be honest, King MUST resign.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PA-3: Is Kelly Using Blog Stalkers From Washington DC?


A gentleman named "Peter" started leaving comment after comment in my 2010 PA-3 Voter's Guide. He picked out a snippet about Kelly's donations to oust conservatives and insisted on harping on about it. After one reply, no big deal. Two replies? No problem. The third reply that includes insults? Hmmmm.

Thanks tracking software!

It turns out "Peter" is from Washington, DC. Here's his information for you tech gurus and political junkies that love this stuff:

Now, I don't know that he's a paid Kelly staffer. But it is odd that someone from DC would be going gonzo over such a small blog like mine.

And I thought only Dahlkemper had a Washington, DC hit squad. Who knew?!?

EDIT: I've been told that Kelly has a son in DC.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

That's Rich PA-3 Voter's Guide: Candidate Summary

Okay - it's time to analyze of the candidates of the 2010 PA-3 race. This is a totally subjective summary based upon my observations and interviews of the candidates. If you agree or disagree, that's absolutely fine with me. Ultimately, I'm not going to tell you for whom you should vote (although an endorsement is forthcoming). I want you to make your own decision. That said, here's my PA-3 voter's guide with the candidates listed in alphabetical order...

Steven Fisher
Where: I met Fisher at the Grove City Trade Show.

Pros: Fisher seems like a really nice guy. A smart guy. He comes off as a business professional/policy wonk who can get into the underbelly of Washington and make things happen. He doesn't just know get the idea that he knows the background. He's also personable and can talk to you about the "joys" of being a homeowner as easily as healthcare policy.

Cons: Fisher didn't come across as a type-A people person. He seemed more like the quiet type. Once you start talking to him, he'll get going...but you gotta get him going. There's nothing inherently wrong with "the strong, silent type," but it's almost required to have at least a little "killer instinct" when you head into modern Washington.

Ed Franz
Where: I met Franz at the Grove City Trade Show. I've also been to his HQ in Mercer.

Pros: If you want a blue-collar everyman, Franz is your guy. Sick of slick, professional politicians? Franz is your guy. Need someone to cut your taxes and your firewood? Franz is your guy. He's very friendly, yet very concerned about the direction of the state and country. He has seen 2000 fellow GE employees get the ax while Dahlkemper has fooled around with socialized medicine. Franz gets it. He's unashamed about being conservative.

Cons: He's not polished, which may concern some voters. The blue-blood, country club types won't understand him (this is an obvious plus to many others, though).

Clayton Grabb
Where: Grabb was the first to contact me for a sit-down chat. I also talked with him at a Grabb event in Butler.

Pros: If you're absolutely sick about the trashing of the Constitution, then Grabb is your guy. He has an absolute passion and fire for the Constitution and can speak readily about the need to cherish it. He's far more concerned with the Constitution than the party label. He's also smart about the real world. He spends the day traveling as a pharma representative. He's good with people. He's also the only one that proudly embraces the Tea Party platform. On top of it all, he's a Navy vet, so you can believe he cares deeply about the oath of office. If you want a candidate who is American first and Republican second, you'll love Grabb.

Cons: He is running a totally grassroots campaign. This can really be difficult in modern campaign. He's also despised by the establishment Republicans because of his deep conservative roots and desire to follow Constitution over party. Mercer County GOP chair David King has snubbed Grabb at least four times now (King should resign immediately). If you want a candidate who is Republican first and American second, you'll hate Grabb.

Paul Huber
Where: Huber was the second candidate to seek me out for a chat.

Pros: Huber knows business. He had a successful business before selling it to retire. He sees everything in the scope of business. In this era of skyrocketing debt, we really need more businessmen and far less lawyers. It's not just the bottom line for Huber, either. He really understands trade issues and policies that clog DC. Owning a business will do that. The more successful you are, the more the government comes calling. Huber knows how painful that is and how to fix it.

Cons: Huber has a terrible albatross around his neck. He was a Democrat until last year. He became a Dem during JFK and never changed. He has financially supported Republicans throughout his life, but I still would have changed...especially in 1980, 1992, 1994, or 1998. At what point are you outraged enough to change?

Mike Kelly
Where: I met Kelly at his kick-off event in Grove City.

Pros: Kelly is a likable guy. I'd watch a football game with him. Heck, I might even buy a car off him (and I hate car dealers). He has some background in local government, so he's not going in totally green. He's extremely personable and is a smooth talker (in a good way). He can speak off the cuff and stays on message. He's passionate about reversing the downward direction of the country.

Cons: His passion makes him come across as angry. Many people have noticed this. And when he gets angry, he doesn't control it well. He's also the clear insider favorite. Perhaps the GOP bosses see his money and realize he's "their boy." The biggest problem is his past political donations. He's plopped some big money down to help liberals. Really. One was for an opponent of English (when Phil was a conservative) and another big chunk went to an opponent of Rep. Metcalfe (the most conservative guy in Harrisburg). That's scary. Finally, when I asked Kelly which modern politician he most matches, he paused. I offered the options of Reagan, Bush, and McCain. He chose "a little of all three." Would any conservative claim to have ANY McCain in him?

Martha Moore
Where: I have yet to talk with or meet Dr. Moore. I'm still hoping to meet her and amend this as necessary.

Pros: Healthcare. It's her issue. Our country is going to sink under socialized medicine. We can only hope it is repealed, then have folks like Moore to step in and point out where the government is crushing the US system. She's just a citizen who wants to make a difference. Kudos to her. We definitely need more citizens to say (as Moore says) "enough is enough."

Cons: She's got nearly no name recognition, which is terribly hard to overcome.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

PA-3: Kelly's Anti-Conservative Donations Come Calling

This is big news for PA-3. I mean really big.

Hat tip to

George "Mike" Kelly has a history of giving money to the opponents of conservatives. In 1994, Kelly maxed out his donations ($2000) to Phil English's opponent, Bill Leavens. Now, I know what you're thinking: "But Rich...but Rich...Phil isn't a conservative!" Yes, that's true in 2010, but it wasn't in 1994 when Phil was running on Newt Gingrich's Contract For America. The Republican Revolution was about to sweep the Democrats out of power - and Mike Kelly was funding the Democrat.

PA2010 also reports that Kelly gave $1000 to an opponent (Linda Schoettker) of state representative Daryl Metcalfe, who is consistently rated the most conservative member in Harrisburg. This happened in 2002. Ouch.

Personally, I don't care where Kelly spreads his wealth. It's his cash. And I certainly don't care about party affiliation because the GOP has been miserable for about 15 years.

The big issue for me is that either Kelly doesn't like conservatives, or he's good buddies with these two folks and wanted to share some cash with them (so they could defeat conservatives). If Kelly is targeting conservatives, then Kelly needs to be targeted for defeat this primary.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

PA-3: Dahlkemper's Rude Awakening (aka Kathy in Dreamland)

Someone has a hero complex...

It seems that Rep. Dahlkemper thinks that so many people are thrilled about healthcare that she's going to use it as her campaign platform for the 2010 election. Seriously.

Hat tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA):
The advanced government class of seniors — dressed in formal suits and nice dresses for the occasion — picked Mrs. Dahlkemper’s brain mostly on political rather than policy questions. Their coursework this year has included a study of Mrs. Dahlkemper’s policy positions and the health care reform legislation, teacher Merrilynn Giles said.

In response to one of those questions,
Mrs. Dahlkemper told the class that she plans to campaign this year on her health care vote.

Wow. Have at it!

To what does she owe this new-found optimism?
Since health care reform passed, she said four out of five calls to her office have been positive. People have wept, Mrs. Dahlkemper, Erie, D-3rd District, said.
Mrs. Dahlkemper characterized opposition to the health care law as loud and boisterous, and said
the media’s love for conflict made those who oppose the law appear more numerous than supporters.

And it gets better:
Faced with an admittedly imperfect reform package, Mrs. Dahlkemper said her choice consisted of what they had on the table or nothing at all.

“Nothing was not an option. The bill isn’t perfect, but it’s better than doing nothing.”

Hopefully, she added, lawmakers will have time to change it later.

Keep in mind that this is the same woman who thinks that an executive order carries the same weight as law. And she thinks that Congress will only improve the Obamacare bill? Frightening.

And of course, the final straw:
Some students wanted to know how well Congress responds to the people. Mrs. Dahlkemper said it’s very important that representatives know their districts, and that they represent their constituents and not just the portrait of them the media might paint.

Her district, she said, is very “purple,” containing both conservatives and liberals.
She praised that mix and embraced the moderate Democrat label.

It's amazing that the media still continues with this nonsense. Shame on The Herald. How can you vote for one of the largest expansions of government in US history and still claim you are a moderate? How can you vote with Obama on massive debt and still claim you are a moderate? What in the world has this woman done to show she's remotely moderate?

Either The Herald ran out of ink or they simply weren't inquisitive enough to ask. (There's your difference between a "reporter" and an "investigative journalist.")

Friday, April 02, 2010

Wendell August Forge Prepares for April 5 Showroom Opening, Production Continues

Wendell August Forge will be opening its temporary showroom on Monday, April 5 at 1605 South Center Street, Grove City, PA. Shoppers will recognize the building as the home of Dave and Anne Dayton's Slovak Folk Crafts. The Daytons have worked with WAF to create temporary sales space in the front of the building, while Slovak Folk Crafts occupies the rear.


Despite the fire, there are plenty of hand-hammered pieces to make the visit worthwhile. The Forge craftsmen are working to replenish the vast quantity of inventory that was destroyed by the fire. There will also be a special side room to display the craftsmanship and history of the forge, including a section dedicated to the fire.

The Forge will have a grand opening celebration of the showroom on May 1.



In other news...

The production facilities are now humming along and the office space is painted and fully furnished.




And the Pittsburgh Penguins' commemorative ticket production is well underway. This ticket celebrates the final home game at Mellon Arena. Every fan in attendance will receive a hand-hammered aluminum ticket. Here's a table with several hundred of the 20,000-ticket order:


And here's the ticket box, which includes a promotional piece that details how ticket holders can get theirs custom engraved with their own seat number: