Maybe Perzel isn't so bad or Why we should all love hubris

There's a great article over at PoliticsPA that I suggest everyon check out, The GOP's Perzel Problem. The basic point of the article is that Perzel has loused up the GOP but good in the State House and isn't doing anything to make it better. In fact, he's using what clout he has left to stymie any sort of comeback. Gosh, what a pity.

That Perzel continues to see himself as a player surfaced when he showed at the door of the leadership meeting during preliminary budget negotiations. After being initially turned away, the real leaders relented and allowed him to participate. Perzel is holding himself out as the only person able to coble together a budget package. That is a chilling thought because, as Speaker, Perzel convinced just enough Republicans to support Governor Rendell’s first term tax and spend agenda to hand him significant budget victories – a sell-out which fueled discontent among Republican voters last year.

Perzel is also busy politically. As Speaker, Perzel leveraged the perks and powers of his office to become the House GOP’s most prolific fundraiser. But, last year the sheer number of primary and general election challenges coupled with a record number of retirements caused Perzel to empty the vault in an unsuccessful effort to maintain control. In the process he essentially bankrupted the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) which is now reportedly $700,000 in debt. What Perzel did not do, however, was bankrupt his personal committee, which enjoys a $417,000 balance. That is money he appears intent on using to fuel a comeback.

Really, you should read the whole thing. It's some great analysis, assuming the facts it is based on are accurate. There are not a lot of sources to back up the claims but the story does sort of fit with what we saw of Perzel's character during the Speaker fight and his reputation.

If this analysis is sound, I hope players on our side will exploit the opportunity to consolidate and expand their gains. For example, if Perzel did choose to try to get back at Rep. Schroder in Chester, for example, a smart Democratic tactician could flank Schroder from the other side, potentially take advantage of some of the ascendant Democratic support out there in the suburbs, pick up a seat and eliminate a staunchly conservative House Member. It's not realistic to take out Schroder on our own, but if Perzel were backing a primary opponent and paying for him to get badmouthed, well...

Sounds nice.

One little subplot

Can Perzel keep George Kenney chained to his Capitol office beyond January 2009? If the answer is "no," then a key tussle might be coming up very soon.

Brendan Boyle Will Be Elected in 2008

Whatever Kenney does--I think he will retire but I am not absolutely certain--Brendan Boyle will be elected to that seat in 2008. He is well-qualified, well-funded, and extremely well known and well liked in that ever more Democratic district.

I'm a bit more worried

First, I'm not sure that Boyle vs. Kenney is a hill that can be climbed. True, Democratic turnout will be better in a presidential year, and there won't be a wall between Boyle and the state party like there was in '06. But I can't imagine that there will be a better Democratic environment than the one from last year. Yet people came out to vote for Kenney because "he's a good man." I don't know how to persuade those people to do otherwise, and I don't think the party organization in NE Philly is strong enough to get enough bodies out so that such persuasion would not be essential.

Now Boyle going for an open seat in '08 is a different story - there are too many Democratic advantages in that scenario. However, the Republicans know this too. And if they know that Kenney is gone after this term regardless, they just might have him bolt at a point when a November '07 special election is unavoidable. And instead of an election in which Democratic turnout almost certainly will be as high as it gets, you'd have one in which Democrats stay home due to Nutter's inevitable massive victory. Meanwhile, in PA House-170, you have Taubenberger's home base, Kenney's people motivated to pass the torch to a Republican, Perzel's PPA army out in full force as he desperately tries to move back up the food chain, and, although it's a sliver of the district, one of the strongest Republican areas of Eastern Montco, where they will be turning out for the hot county commission race.

I just hope we're ready.

Kenney Says He'll Serve Out His Term

Kenney says he'll serve out his term.

And Boyle has done well in Rockledge in the past. Hoeffel and Damsker should carry it this fall.

There are no guarantees. But it does look really good for Boyle.

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