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May 14th , 2024        Len’s Political Note #642 Eugene DePasquale Pennsylvania Attorney General

2024                             General Election

I like this guy. He is a rarity – a humble politician.  From a blue collar family that experienced hardships, he demonstrated early that he was a mensch, an Italian-American, but a mensch nonetheless.

His grandfather, also Eugene, nicknamed “Jeep,”  was an old fashioned politician, described as colorful in his 2008 obituary.  A former batboy for the Pirates, he enlisted in the marines after Pearl Harbor and fought in Guam, Iwo Jima, and elsewhere.  He fought in politics, too.  Impatient or worse with new political movements, he was a Pittsburgh city councilman and six year city council president who filled potholes and otherwise responded to his constituents. He retired from the City Council in 1989 in the face of redistricting plans that would have ousted him.  I won’t repeat what he called the new liberals like women’s rights advocates and the members of the LGBTQ community. His son John, a Pittsburgh attorney, defended him insisting that “Jeep” really was a liberal: “He always voted pro-union.  No politician, no white politician, had more support in the black community.  The voters knew what he was – a human being with a heart who always stood up for the little guy.”

Eugene DePasquale’s father also fought in the wars. His war was in Vietnam.  He came out with a drug problem, a problem that eventually led him to a 10 ½ year prison sentence.  His wife, Eugene DePasquale’s mom, ran the family business.  It takes all of my writing energy to avoid calling it a “pizza joint.”  It was a restaurant.

The family was further burdened when their youngest son was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.  Eugene DePasquale took over responsibilities for care of his brother.  That responsibility and football, consumed Eugene DePasquale’s high school years.

Eugene DePasquale was able to go to college.  He earned a scholarship to the College of Wooster where he continued playing football.  Later, when he was in law school, the younger brother died.  His shackled father came to the funeral from prison.

Even now, while running for Attorney General, Eugene DePasquale takes one big lesson about about how a single illness can devastate a family’s finances.  He also acknowledges that he has seen “both sides of th[e] drug war.”  He is clear about the importance of programs that identify psychological issues for nonviolent offenders and gets them the help they need. His father apparently got the help he needed in prison.  His arrest and conviction for selling drugs was a good thing for him and to his family.  He returned home sober and eager to work.  While the rest of the family ran the restaurant, he bought houses, repaired and resold them, and made a personal and financial contribution to the family.

Eugene DePasquale graduated from Wooster in 1993 and got a Master’s in Public Administration in 1997.  Immediately after getting married, he went to the Widener University Law School at night.  In 2002, with his law degree as well as the MPA, he got a job as Director of the Department of Economic Development for the City of York.  More than 200 miles from Pittsburgh, but not far from the state capital of Harrisburg, Eugene DePasquale and his family became established in York.

After working for the city for a year, he was appointed Deputy Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection.  After three years, he ran for office and was elected as a state rep.  Two things stand out.  He bought his office furniture at a yard sale.  He advocated for an open records law to “clean up Pennsylvania.”

In 2013, Eugene DePasquale was elected as the state’s Auditor General.  Over the course of two terms, state audits found Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection was not protecting the state’s water supply from the dangers that arose from oil and gas exploitation.  An audit of police departments found that rape kits were left untested for over a year.  After the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, an audit found that gun sellers were not monitored for sales to those in mental distress.  Other audits looked at school preparedness for shootings and voting machine sellers’ gifts to county officials.

Having reached the two term limit, Eugene DePasquale found work teaching at a law school.  He ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Trump acolyte Scott Perry, but won the Democratic primary for Attorney General in 2024.  In the primary and, no doubt, the general election, he points to the successful auditing undertaking when he was in charge while also making clear that, as Attorney General, he would be pro-choice.

His grandfather “Jeep” would have been proud of his political success, but puzzled by Eugene DePasquale’ssupport for abortion.

Eugene DePasquale’s Republican opponent is the York County District Attorney, Dave Sunday.  Sunday insists that the Pennsylvania constitution privacy provisions offer no protection for abortion.  He promises to focus on fighting against public violence and illegal drugs.

This looks like a close race.  A recent poll found the two candidates a point apart.  Eugene DePasquale won the primary with fewer financial resources than any of his competitors.  He will not be able to approach the general election without financial resources.   He had entered the five weeks before the primary with about $250,000 and spent half of that closing out the primary campaign.  David Sunday has a different story. More important than the funds he has raised himself, the Commonwealth Leaders Fund, put up over $300,000 for the campaign.  The largest donor to judicial races in the state, the CLF is funded by a single billionaire.  Eugene DePasquale will need large donors and small to combat the resources of the CLF. DONATE TO EUGENE DEPASQUALE.

Other Pennsylvania races

US Senate

Incumbent Bob Casey Jr., whose dad was governor of Pennsylvania and the leader of the anti-abortion wing of the Democratic Party. Very few anti-abortion Democrats remain and Bob Casey Jr is definitely not one of them.   An early supporter of Barack Obama and an early and outspoken critic of Donald Trump, Bob Casey Jr has a good sense of what is dangerous for America and what is important for the country.  His Republican opponent is David McCormick, a former internet CEO and hedge fund head. Many Pennsylvania residents, notwithstanding his claim to be a seventh generation Pennsylvanian, think he lives in Connecticut. An academic explains that McCormick’s Pennsylvania claims have some validity, greater validity than the claims of New Jersey resident Mehmut Oz who defeated McCormick in the Republican primary for the Senate in 2022.

Bob Casey has raised nearly $24 million for this race.  After spending $12 million establishing himself in preparation for an onslaught from a Republican multimillionaire, on April 3, he had nearly $12 million available for the rest of the campaign.  Dave McCormick’s visible and reportable fund raising has come to $11 million.  He has spent $4.6 million of those visible funds and had $6.4 million available on April 3.  The product of that spending?  The website 538 identifies four polls in April – each showing Bob Casey in the lead; with leads of 4 or 7 points.  You should DONATE TO BOB CASEY.  Help him stay ahead of McCormick.  See Len’s Political Note #581.

Competitive Congressional races

We know that New York and California alone could flip the House of Representatives from Republican to Democrat.  Pennsylvania has the capacity to be almost as influential.  Look at the potential close races.

PA 01.  Former Army helicopter pilot and former Congressional candidate Ashley Ehasz is attempting to defeat incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick. Her leading issues are abortion access, addressing climate change, improving the economy, in part, with green jobs.  Fitzpatrick won his primary against Mike Houk who believed the incumbent was not anti-abortion enough.  Houck lost the Republican primary 39-61.  Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent, is anti-abortion enough for the Right to Life Committee which annually gives him a rating of around 80%.  He deserves an 80% from conservatives for other issues on which he attempts to appear moderate.

DONATE TO ASHLEY EHASZ.  She needs the help.  As of April 3, she had $800,000 to Fitzpatrick’s $3.6 million.  See Len’s Political Note #631.

PA 07 Incumbent Susan Wild.  She has been able to win in this Republican district based on her well-earned reputation for integrity.  We would like her to win for a third time.  She will need to defeat State Rep Ryan Mackenzie, a relatively narrow winner of his primary.

Susan Wild is well prepared, having raised $3.5 million, spent less than a million making sure people in the district are familiar with her. On April 3, she had $2.7 million. Ryan Mackenzie raised less than $300,000, spent $150,000, and had $120,000 available on April 3.  She’ll need a lot of resources and outside PACs spending on her behalf.  DONATE TO SUSAN WILD. Discourage Ryan Mackenzie and her supporters. See Len’s Political Note #546.

PA 08 Incumbent Matt Cartwright.   He is looking for his seventh term in office in this district that includes Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.  An attorney in what was originally his wife’s father’s firm, he created his connection with the public through a local television program answering legal question.  On April 3, he still had $3.1 million of the nearly $4 million he had raised.  He is better positioned than his opponent, who had $800,000 of the $1.4 million he had raised.  Keep him ahead of the game. DONATE TO MATT CARTWRIGHT.  See Len’s Political Note #547.

PA 10 Janelle Stelson, a former local television anchorwoman and a former Republican, she won the Democratic primary handily.  She campaigned to protect our rights, including reproductive rights, lower the cost of living, invest in jobs (including an increase in the minimum wage), and fixing Congress (by embracing a Republican sponsored proposal to prohibit Members of Congress and their families from trading stocks).  An April poll found her trailing the incumbent by 2 points. On April 3, she had a modest $200,000 in campaign funds.  Her opponent, the odious incumbent, Perry Scott, had $500,.000.  Neither had enough for a Congressional campaign.  DONATE TO JANELLE STELSON.  With financial support, she just might have enough to win.  See Len’s Political Note #640.

PA 12 Incumbent Summer Lee.  She is looking for her second term in this district that includes part of Pittsburgh and points east and south.  A member of the squad, she was targeted for being a radical.  Most pundits, think she erased the target with establishment endorsement that helped her to a 61-39 victory in the primary.  Maybe.  I am still nervous even though her Republican opponent brings little money to the table.  If Republicans adopt James Hayes’ candidacy because they think they could get a substantial portion of the 39 points won by her primary appointment, they could point to James Hayes’ positives.  He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown, a Public Administration Master’s from Princeton, an MBA from Chicago, and a PhD from Case Western Reserve.  They could note his six years at the Federal Reserve and connections with large corporations. Summer Lee’s constituents might not be impressed by a right wing economist even if he is Black. Unless there is a sign of big money coming from the Republicans, it may not be necessary to DONATE TO SUMMER LEE.

PA 17 Incumbent Chris Deluzio.  He came home to be a cybersecurity academic expert at the University of Pittsburgh and, not too long afterwards, to run for Congress from this district that includes part of Pittsburg plus points north and west.  He brings valuable expertise to Congress as well as to academia.  His opponent, who has had to run away from previous anti-abortion positions and other similar cultural views, does bring a half million dollars to the contest as of April 3.  Chris Deluzio raised $2.3 million, spent $800,000 to ensure that his constituents were familiar with him and has $1.5 million on hand for the contest.  DONATE TO CHRIS DELUZIO.  He can  keep putting the pressure on his opponent.  See Len’s Political Note #611.

Other Attorney General Races


Elad Gross is an earnest and persistent young man from a St. Louis suburb.  He went to Duke and through a Duke program founded an organization to help St. Louis kids reach their potential. He returned home to go to law school at Washington University and remained president and CEO of the non-profit he had created while at Duke.  In 2020, he ran for Attorney General inserting himself into what had become a Missouri mess.  He would clean it up.  He is trying again in 2024.  The primary is on August 6.  Which is when Elad Gross will learn who is opponent will be.  DONATE TO ELAD GROSS.  Make him a formidable opponent to whomever the Republicans nominate. See Len’s Political Note #619



It is not mere wishful thinking to believe that Ben Alke can defeat the incumbent Austin Knudsen.  Montana has often been competitive for statewide races.  The Republicans think so.  Their party newsletter headlined the story as “Liberal Millionaire Bozeman Trial Lawyer to Announce for Attorney General.” He promises to make the Attorney General’s office about enforcing the law.  Ben Alke promises to make the office less political.  He is particularly critical of Knudson’s effort to prevent a vote on a provision to add women’s right to choose to the state constitution.  A graduate of Notre Dame and Northwestern’s Law School, he was born and grew up in Montana and spent his years as an attorney in Montana.  He is another Democrat challenging Montana Republicans’ confidence and dominance.  DONATE TO BEN ALKE


North Carolina

Jeff Jackson
was not without ambition, but he was comfortably planning to run for reelection to Congress.  Until.  Until the Republican majority on the state supreme court authorized the legislature to redo the congressional districts.  That was not a total surprise.  North Carolinians knew that the 2022 districts would only last for a term.

The son of a doctor and a nurse, Jeff Jackson attended Emory to get a BA and an MA in philosophy.  He returned home to get his law degree at the University of North Carolina and to get elected to office.  His priorities in Congress were to eliminate poverty and to ensure that Congress was not corrupt.  His priority as Attorney General would be to end political corruption in the state.  His opponent is Dan Bishop, another Congressman.  While in the state legislature, Bishop was the author of the bathroom bill that enraged corporate executives in the state.  In Congress, he supported rejection of the certification of the electoral college votes, siding with the January 6 insurrectionists and with President Trump.  DONATE TO JEFF JACKSON. See Len’s Political Note #597


We have a presidential race to win

Support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

As we look toward November, 2024, help sustain the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris campaign.  National polls in May found Biden and Trump roughly even.  Later in
May, the polls were even in favor of Biden.  Every donation, large or small, makes a difference.  Larger donations mean more money for the campaign.  Large numbers of small donations are a measure of enthusiasm for the candidate.  Make a small donation if you cannot afford a large one.   DONATE TO JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS.  See Len’s Political Note #605