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May 6th, 2024      Len’s Political Note #640 Janelle Stelson Pennsylvania 10

2024                        General Election

 We know a lot about Donald Trump and the courts.  When he was accused, in a civil law suit of overestimating the value of his property to get cheaper loans, he said, in effect, “everybody lies to make a buck.” When he was accused, in a civil law suit, of maligning a woman he had molested, he said, in effect “every man bad-mouths a woman who would not cooperate.” When he was accused, in a criminal case, of claiming reimbursement for a hush-money payoff made by his lawyer was actually a legal expense, he said, in effect, “everybody fixes his books to make them look good.”

Donald Trump insists he did nothing wrong.  It could be he would pass a lie detector test if that was the only question asked.  He may not know the difference between right and wrong.  He knows the difference between winning and losing.  He figured out with bankruptcies that he could win financially when his businesses went bankrupt.  He may not have figured out how to profit from his political loss.

Donald Trump may be in almost as much trouble financially as he is politically. (That statement may reflect how little I understand about how Trump is making money by taking Truth Social public.)   What about his political henchmen?  People who work with him go to jail.  Consider Manafort and Cohen.  People who work with him go broke.  Consider Rudy Giuliani or the Pillow Man.

Incumbent Congressman Scott Perry is an exception. He is neither broke nor in jail.  He had a plan for Donald Trump.  As Trump’s term of office was ending in 2016, his Acting Attorney General was Jeffrey Rosen.  In general, Donald Trump liked to have “Actings.’  They were insecure in their jobs, less likely to reject Trump’s directions no matter how outlandish.

Trump wanted  to oust Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.  Rosen had refused Donald Trump’s “request.”  Trump wanted Jeffrey Rosen to force the Georgia legislature to overturn its announced presidential election results.  Behind the scenes, Scott Perry had a suggestion.  Replace Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark.  Jeffrey Clark was the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  Jeffrey Clark’s willingness to turn on his supporter Jeffrey Rosen shocked his friends and colleagues.  One former colleague said “this is not the Jeff that I know…I know Jeff as a guy who really cares about the rule of law and you know, just a rumpled, thoughtful lawyer who is an intellectual – not a Machiavellian backstabber.”

Later Clark denied creating a plan to oust Rosen. He said he had had discussions of the pros and cons of various options with the President.  Politico reported in November, 2023 that Scott Perry had introduced Jeffrey Clark to Donald Trump, his ultimate boss, the man with the apparent power to promote him.  The introduction coincided with Trump’s frantic effort to find a way to move electoral college votes in his favor.

Was it before the conversations between Clark and Trump, during them, or after them that Trump decided he would replace Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark as Acting Attorney General; that the replacement would be the key to finding a way to remain in the White House? Clark did not create the replacement plan?  Scott Perry communicated it.

We know that when the rest of the Justice Department leadership learned of that possibility, they revolted.  They had a secret meeting, decided they would all resign if Trump dropped Rosen for Clark.  That threat prevented Trump from acting.

So far, Scott Perry stayed out of trouble.  He has not been accused of anything illegal.  Nevertheless, he was a central figure in one of the worst political scandals of American history.  He deserves to be ousted from Congress in the most ordinary way – by being defeated in an election.

Scott Perry has had serious competition before and overcome that competition.

-In 2022, Scott Perry defeated City Councilor Shamaine Daniels 53.8 – 46.2.

-In 2020, he defeated the former State Auditor General and current nominee for Attorney General Eugene DePasquale 53.3 – 46.7

-In 2018, he defeated Army veteran and Pastor George Scott 51.3 – 48.7

His victories in 2012, 2014, and 2016 occurred before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court insisted on non-gerrymandered districts and were by substantially larger margins.

This year Janelle Stelson, former local television anchor is the Democrat nominee.   Can she drive Scott Perry below 50% of the vote?  Sixty-three year old Janelle Stelson was born in Alaska, grew up outside of Seattle, and went to the University of Puget Sound in the state of Washington.  In Washington, her mother was a receptionist, her dad a state trooper and then a teacher.  Janelle Stelson came to Pennsylvania to work as a television weather anchor and news reporter. She moved on to WGAL-TV, in 1997, to anchor the end of the evening news. She became a familiar figure to the people of Central Pennsylvania.  She married medical doctor, Steve Houser, and was widowed in 2016.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital, is the big town in this district in the south-central part of the state.  Politically, the district is Republican, with about 44% registered Republicans and 39% Democrats.  Janelle Stelson fit into the center of that central Pennsylvania district.  She had been a registered Republican.

At the end of her newscast on September 21, 2023, she announced that she would be leaving WGAL.  This was after “nearly 40- years as a journalist, 26 of them at WGAL.”  She was saving other announcements for later.  She had registered two internet domain names – StelsonForCongress and She changed her registration from Republican to Democrat.

At 63, she was ready for a new career.  This adventure was fueled by disdain for the former president, Donald Trump, and for District 10’s Member of Congress, Scott Perry.  She lived near, but not in the district.  As others learned of her plans, one Reddit comment, for whom “nearly 40 years” in the area was not enough:  “I’m not stocked about carpetbaggers.”  Another, perhaps thinking about Senate candidates Mehmet Oz and David McCormick, whose Pennsylvania residence was questioned, rhymed: “Well, at least she lives in PA.  I would love to see Perry go away.”

Janelle Stelson is clear.  Removing Scott Perry is her principal goal.  She opens her website with the following:  “For far too long, Scott Perry has put his extremist agenda above the needs of Dauphin, York, and Cumberland Counties.  He’s voted against bipartisan legislation to improve our roads and bridges.  He’s taken money from big pharma and voted against allowing the government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.  He was investigated for his role in the violence on January 6.  He voted to defund the FBI.  And Congressman Perry was the only member of Congress from Pennsylvania – Republican or Democrat – to vote against giving a medal to the police officers who defended the Capitol on January 6.  The list goes on and on.  In our communities, we need to be safe.  We need to be healthy.  We need to be well educated.  We need good-paying jobs that can support our families.  More than anything, we need someone we know we can trust in Washington.  Join us.”

Like the experienced, professional television anchor that she is, she says this on video.  Watch that video on her campaign website.

A March 7 news report included in that website demonstrates that polls can be an accurate predictor – if the election is soon.  The headline was “Polling memo shows Stelson with 20-point lead.”  Stelson defeated her nearest opponent in the primary on April 23, 43.9 to 23.3 — a 20.6 point win.

Does Janelle Stelson, former Republican, have issues to promote other than to make Scott Perry go away?  She begins her issues section with a picture of four women around a table with coffee cups.  A paragraph about Protecting our rights is above that photo.  “Women,” she says, “must be able to make their own health care decisions with their doctors.”

Below the photo: Bringing down the cost of living.  “Big Pharma and insurance companies have jacked up prices and put our lives at risk.”

These issues are followed by Investing in jobs.  “At PA’s minimum wage, an hour’s worth of work barely buys a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread.”

Fixing Congress.  “I support legislation introduced by Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) banning Congress and their families from trading individual stocks.”  Chip Roy is an extremist Republican and ally of Scott Perry.

Honoring veterans.  “Congressman Perry voted against the largest expansion of veterans’ benefits and health care in VA history.”

Education. “We should prioritize educating our children and making sure teachers, ESPs, meal servers and bus drivers have the pay and respect they deserve.”  That’s a nice touch.  It is not just about teachers.

DONATE TO JANELLE STELSON.  Defeating Scott Perry is like defeating Lauren Boebert or Marjorie Taylor Greene or Donald Trump.  Help get this done.

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 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 former hedge fund leader. Many Pennsylvania residents, notwithstanding his claim to be a seventh generation Pennsylvanian, think he lives in Connecticut. One commentator damns with faint praise, explaining that McCormick’s Pennsylvania claims have …. greater validity than Mehmut Oz’s claim he was living in Pennsylvania not New Jersey.

Bob Casey has raised nearly $24 million for this race.  After spending $12 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 three polls in March – each showing Bob Casey in the lead; leads of 5 points, 8 points, and 17 points.  You should DONATE TO BOB CASEY anyway.  Help him put McCormick out of the race altogether.  See Len’s Political Note #581

One other state wide race

Attorney General

This year’s primary winner and the Democratic nominee is Eugene DePasquale.  Unlike the other four Democratic candidates, most of his fund raising was in western Pennsylvania.  Of the five primary candidates he was among those who raised the least money. What money he raised include a sum from a Pittsburgh chapter of a construction union and the billionaire head of a western Pennsylvania-based insurance company. His victory seemed like a surprise even though it was a substantial 36 to 20 over his next closest rival.  He has state-wide experience.  He is a former state auditor.  He is willing to take on challenges.  He ran a close race against Scott Perry for PA 10.

Eugene DePasquale portrays himself as standing up to bullies. His website focuses on reproductive freedom (Pennsylvania borders Ohio, after all), voting rights, and consumer protection.  He has a longer list that Democrats should appreciate.  He’ll need wider and greater financial support than he has had so far.

The Republican establishment supported David Sunday, the York County DA.  Sunday was the big vote winner among Republicans and the big fund raiser.  More important than money donated to him was the outside support he got. The Commonwealth Leaders Fund, for instance, spent $300,000 on his behalf.  Consider that a down payment.  Libertarian Jeff Yass, co-founder of a stock trading company, and an advocate of alternatives to public schools is the primary source of funds for Republican judicial candidates in Pennsylvania. That David Sunday is receiving CLF’s support is a huge signal about who he is.

DONATE TO EUGENE DEPASQUALE.  Financial support will overcome the perception that he is an underdog. See Len’s Political Note #397 from a past political campaign.

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.  Much, but not all,  of that influence would be by protecting Incumbent Democrats.

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, and improving the economy, in part, with green jobs.  Fitzpatrick won his primary, 61-39, against Mike Houk who believed the incumbent was not anti-abortion enough.  Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent, is anti-abortion enough for the Right to Life Committee which annually gives him a rating of around 80%. Fitzpatrick works to appear moderate, but 80% conservative seems about right.

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.  This 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, and had $2.7 million on April 3. 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 with 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 financially 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 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 endorsements that helped her gain a 61-39 primary victory.  Maybe.  If Republicans truly adopt their nominee James Hayes’ candidacy, they could make him dangerous.  Hayes has a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown, a Public Admin Master’s from Princeton, an MBA from Chicago, and PhD from Case Western Reserve.  He worked for  six years at the Federal Reserve and has connections with large corporations. Summer Lee’s  constituents might not be interested in a right wing  economist, but he has credentials that could be spun. Unless there is a sign of big money coming from the Republicans, it is probably not 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 this district that includes part of Pittsburg plus points north and west.  He brings some valuable expertise to Congress as well as to academia.  His opponents, who has had to run away from his previous anti-abortion positions and other similar views, does bring a half million to the contest as pf 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 needs to keep putting the pressure on his opponent.  See Len’s Political Note #611

Nearby Senate Races


 United States Senate – Ohio

Incumbent Sherrod Brown is generally considered one of the two most vulnerable Democratic Senators in 2024.  Son of a doctor, he has become a popular figure for his blue-collar qualities and empathy.  Four polls from March found him leading, One found him behind Bernie Moreno, who is now the nominee, by 2. At the end of February, Sherrod Brown had $13.5 million available.  Personally wealthy and a Trump favorite, Bernie Moreno had $2.3 million in his campaign funds. DONATE TO SHERROD BROWN.  See Len’s Political Note #556


Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin is defending an open Democratic seat.  A former CIA officer from a family that once owned one of America’s largest meat companies, she is a moderate Democrat.  A March poll found her leading former Congressman Mike Rogers 41-39, another March poll found them even.  Rogers, who seems the most likely Republican nominee in the August primary, came out of retirement in Florida to run for the seat, Elissa Slotkin had $8.6 million for her campaign on March 31.  Mike Rogers had $1.4 million.  Keep Elissa Slotkin ahead in a financial race where neither candidate has accumulated enough money for a race in a large industrial state. PACs will spend whether or not the candidates have the money to spend. Candidates’ money goes farther, they get better television rates.  DONATE TO ELISSA SLOTKIN. See Len’s Political Note #589

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 April found Biden and Trump roughly even.  Every donation, large or small, makes a difference.  Larger donations mean more money for the campaign.  But 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