Youngblood Faces Retaliation?

Rep. Rosita Youngblood is claiming that Democratic Party officials have retaliated for her unwillingness to support Rep. Dennis O’Brien for speaker. According to an article in the Daily News, Youngblood’s daughter-in-law was fired from her position at the state police hours after Youngblood voted for Perzel. Later that evening, someone shot out her car window. There isn’t any concrete evidence that the two events are related to her vote, but Youngblood is now maintaining that these are acts of retribution.

I don’t really know what to say about the car window. If it really was done by someone connected to the party, that’s pretty outrageous. I completely disagree with Youngblood’s vote, but that should be dealt with in the Democratic primary. Political retribution is enough. There is simply no excuse for using any type of violence to send a message.

There really isn’t anyway to tell if the firing of Youngblood’s daughter-in-law was related to her vote for Perzel. I hope it wasn’t. Again, Youngblood should be dealt with in the Democratic primary. The politics of personal destruction is exactly why DeWeese couldn’t muster enough votes to become speaker. This type of retribution is exactly what disgusts so many people about how business works in Harrisburg.

Frankly, this type of stuff has the potential to actually strengthen Youngblood. She can now use these two things as a tool to get sympathy from her constituents. It could help her move outrage away from her vote. That’s bad for progressives and the Democratic Party as a whole. If Democratic Party leaders want to deal with her vote for Perzel, the best thing to do would be to focus on finding a good primary challenger.

Her Voters

I think that people should realize that most of her voters don't even know who Perzel is, so campaigning on the fact that she supported him is probably a loosing battle. She will, however, capitalize on the sympathy thing.

That can't be the primary issue.....

But her vote for Perzel is a vote for less gun control, higher taxes for working people, and decreased funding for education. Those are winning issues.


Republican Rosita can be beat

If ward leaders are encouraged to abandon her, she'll lose the low-information vote, which isn't quite so big in a primary anyhow.

What's more, voters don't need to know anything about Rep. Perzel to be convinced that it's time for Youngblood to go (especially since she only won by 10 points four years ago). They need to hear the phrase "Republican Rosita" and the opponent's name until they can't forget either one. Here's a sample lit-piece.

Obverse: Stock photos of disgruntled/disappointed voters shaking their heads (one male, one female; one white, one black). "What's REPUBLICAN ROSITA doing now?" in big letters. Then, three bullet points about times that Republican Rosita voted with the Republicans. Point number one should be "Voted for Republicans to control the State House."

Reverse: Photo of opponent smiling with a recognizable Democrat (Rendell or the next mayor) or with happy children if no recognizable Democrats are available. "It's time for change. It's time for DEMOCRAT FIRSTNAME LASTNAME." in big letters. Then, three bullet points about the Democratic agenda.

Whether it's technically true that Youngblood is a Republican is irrelevant. The point is to make "Democrats vs. Republicans" the storyline of the campaign. If that becomes what the election is about, and we win; if the campaign becomes about something else, we might lose. People might feel sympathy for "Representative Youngblood," but it'll be hard for anyone to feel sympathetic for "Republican Rosita."

(By the way, some talking head on ABC just said that Bob Brady approved of Youngblood voting for Perzel. That's disappointing.)

Especially with the bullet

in the back of her car. Strange, indeed.

I agree Charles, I don't see her constituency getting very worked up about her support for Perzel.

I don't see rank and file

I don't see rank and file getting upset over the vote - but those who might actually donate time or resources to her campaign likely will.

"A spokeswoman for the state police said she could not comment because it was a personnel matter, except to say that a certified letter notifying Bullock of her firing was sent on Dec. 28."

Well - if the journalist asked to view the receipt for the mailing - this question would have been resolved. And they could have asked Ms. Bullock to reveal the contents of the letter - even if the employer couldn't.

It would also have been helpful if he spoke to the police directly on the attribution of motivation to the assailant - and some of the details. The forensic report may help date the date of the shooting - if it was presumed close range but there was no residue - and their was no rain or the car washed in the interim etc.

Rank and File

I agree that the average voter isn't going to be motivated by Youngblood's vote for Perzel. However, I think that Brilett is right that donors and activists within the party could be whipped up into a freenzy. If the right candidate could raise a large amount of money and voluteers, Youngblood could be in real trouble.


pretty weird

That's all pretty weird. They should move her an office across the street, slash her constituent services budget, take away her Economic Development grant money and deny her leadership positions. that's the old fashioned stuff you have to admire.

I mean, this is a tricky point for me, because we all love "mavericks." but if everyone is a "maverick" then you have no discipline at all. People can go do stupid stuff like vote against leadership on leadership and call it being independent.

While I admire people from time-to-time who buck the party line on things they really see as important, if there is to be any consistency in the world of political parties, the leaders still have to make "independence" an expensive decision. Even when it's the right thing to do (Youngblood's move isn't, I'm just looking at the big picture here), independence should still face a price and being a maverick shouldn't be free. Let time and popular opinion prove you right - leadership still has to do it's job so of course there should be retribution (though not with guns) (I'm a little more mixed on the question of her daughter's job, but if it was a blatant patronage job then it's probably okay. I dunno.).
BradyDale OnLine

I agree that the average

I agree that the average voter isn't going to be motivated by Youngblood's vote for Perzel.

I agree too, but I think the average Democratic primary voter could get motivated by a party switch. That's why her opponent's campaign needs to talk about her "party switch" rather than her "vote for Perzel." If she disputes that characterization, she takes the whole campaign away from her message; if she doesn't, she concedes the point. Throw motivated money and volunteers into the mix, and we win.

Brilett: regarding Rosita

The state police by policy could not give (or read) the Dec. 28 letter to the journalist in question and, as the item noted, Bullock said she never received the letter. She also said she worked her regular shift 2 days after the letter was reportedly sent and no supervisor said anything to her.

The city police would only confirm that the incident happened and did not release the police report beyond confirming the basics as attributed to Youngblood. Youngblood said her car was perfectly fine when she left home that morning. Obviously once the police conclude their investigation, it will warrant a follow-up.

you guys just don't get it

I’m sorry if I sound like an ass here, but it seems like most of the commenters just don’t understand what is going on here. I grew up in Rosita’s district and have met her and some of her supporters personally a few times. Her supporters are mostly Committee people who are in it for something or another. Anyone with half a brain and a bit of local political knowledge knows that Rosita has been voting with the Republicans FOR YEARS. This isn’t anything new at all. ALL of her supporters know it.

Yes, we could give a candidate a lot of money and time, but they would have to be the right candidate. And, I hate to break it to you, but a lot of the voters that we would need to reach would not be swayed by most people in the progressive community, and most people from the progressive community would not feel comfortable canvassing in those neighborhoods (myself included).

I like the idea of doing direct mailings calling her a Republican. However, and I know that people are not going to like me saying this, but it’s true. The only person who can effectively go negative on Rosita is a Black Woman. Anybody else will garner the sympathy vote. It sucks, and I hate it, but it is true.


there's not a neighborhood in this city I won't canvass, and I think we should maybe try to get some groups of progressives out so they get over their fear of parts of this town. It's really not bad out there, especially by day and in small groups. I'd definitely go to Rosita's district if I thought there were a credible challenger to work for.
BradyDale OnLine

It is the worst district ever

If this district is scary (and of course I know it varies quite a bit, like all of Philly), then my little middle-class Germantown upbringing really gave me a pretty warped perspective. In reality, I don't think anyone will be too focused on the State Rep stuff for a while, given a competitive Council and Mayoral race coming first.

But! If you want to do a little canvassing in that 'hood, I know a guy who is about to announce for Council...

second half of UA

Would this guy have the last name that is the A part of UA?

Progressives are already canvassing

Neighborhoods some might think we wouldn't go.

Damon K. Roberts is determined to walk every division in the Second Councilmanic District, starting with the most neglected: Southwest Philly, Pt. Breeze, Grays Ferry, and parts of South Philly west of Broad.

I've canvassed all these areas with Damon and his volunteers, and the response has been overwhelming! Talk to people who have been abandoned or ignored by government, ask them their concerns and really LISTEN, and see how divisions of race and economic class can be traversed. Damon is determined to respond honestly to people everywhere in his district.

Like Brady said, by day in small groups, neighborhoods anywhere can be canvassed.

Bringing democracy to people's doorsteps is incredibly empowering and is still under-rated as a political tool, even after Anne Dicker's and Pat Murphy's campaigns.

Sorry about the SHAMELESS PLUG, but anyone interested in finding out more about Damon should check his evolving website or just give me a call, (267) 307-8821. Damon's district is incredibly diverse, extending from Rittenhouse Square to the Southwest border of Yeadon, so we'll be a lot of different places.

I grew up in that territory,

I grew up in that territory, west of broad.

Hi Sam, we've canvassed

Hi Sam, we've canvassed together before. I looked at that website and Mr. Roberts looks great, and I'm looking for someone to canvass for, but could you throw up a word or two (or a useful link) about what's wrong with Anna Verna? I'm not exactly up-to-date on city politics, and I like to know a thing or two about a Democratic incumbent before canvassing against her.

The 198th is a Great District

I walked almost all of it. Sometimes with one person with me. Sometimes with my ten year old daughter. Sometimes alone. And sometimes in the early evening when it was getting dark It is a microcosm of the city. But there are only a few small sectionswhere I didn't want to canvass alone or at night.

And there is no reason for whites to feel intimidated. From one end of the district to the other, folks were friendly to me. I had a great time going door to door.

Since 2002, the district has included a section of sinking homes section of Logan, ten division in the 49th district. Mostly very nice neighborhoods with the usual urban problems, quite similar to the middle section of Germantown where the 12th and 13th wards meet. I don't remember if I mentioned that most of the committee people in the 49th were with me until the last week. Then they stopped taking my calls. You all can guess why.

The district might change again in 2012. I would have won easily if the pre 2002 lines were still in effect in 2004.

Campaign plan

I don't think you sound like an ass at all. In fact, I think you make a lot of sense. Although I believe you that her active supporters know about her Republicanism, I doubt that all her voters know about that. (This may be apocryphal, but I once heard that most Americans can't come up with any statement (even a false statement) about their congressman beyond his name. For a mere legislator, there's gotta be plenty of room to frame her as a Republican.

I agree that a Black woman would be the ideal candidate. In fact, I think it's key to find a Black candidate with substantial crossover potential. The district is 17%/72%/5% White/Black/Hispanic, and the more I look at it, the more I feel like Marc Stier's 41% is close to the maximum for a White progressive Mt. Airy candidate. I had one idea for a progressive, Black, female candidate, but unfortunately she lives in John Myers's district. I'm hoping that someone who lives up there can come up with some ideas in that regard.

You're also right that a canvassing effort from the progressive community isn't the best approach for this campaign. I've read research that says that White canvassers are rather ineffective in heavily Black neighborhoods. (I'd have to dig around, but I think I remember reading that White canvassers are effective at persuading Black people in mixed neighborhoods.) Also, I remember from when I ran MoveOn's 2004 GOTV canvass in wards 12, 17, 22, and 59 that many White MoveOn members were uncomfortable canvassing in their majority-Black neighborhoods. (I understand that many people here, myself included, are happy to canvass anywhere, but that's somewhat atypical.)

Here's a rough sketch of a campaign plan that I think would work with the right candidate.

1) Candidate recruitment (Winter/Spring 2007). I don't understand the internecine politics up there, but I assume that Youngblood has plenty of enemies. Neighborhood Networks, which I know is active in that part of the city, might take the lead in figuring out who Youngblood's enemies are, which ones are effective in sponsoring candidates, and then reaching out to those groups to find a candidate who can take 75% in the West with big-time progressive help and who can hope to take about 45% with a vigorous campaign in the East. Get someone whose family is in a financial position so that she can devote at least a half-year full-time and another half-year part-time to the election. This is the toughest part of the plan, and the most important.

2) Fundraising (primarily Spring/Summer 2007). Fundraise now, while the organizational vote is fresh in the minds of donors outside the district. Fundraise in the district, starting by recruiting a finance committee; W. Mt. Airy is a hotspot of major fundraising house parties, since large parts of it have median household income in the 6-figures. Fundraise through local progressive groups. Fundraise online; Youngblood got bad press on popular national blogs. Fundraise by having the candidate personally call Democratic donors in McIlvaine Smith's district, who may be more keenly interested in the organizational issue. Have the candidate call major Democratic donors throughout the state. See about PAC contributions from liberal groups who hate Perzel. Stier raised about $80,000 if I'm reading the campaign finance records right, so set a goal around $100,000. Good early fundraising will help clear the field, and Youngblood seems to be a mediocre fundraiser.

3) Lay the groundwork (2007). Active campaigning may not start immediately, but there are still things to do.

a) Get notable endorsements, and clear the field. Maybe local progressive leaders can use their leverage to make opposition to Youngblood a sine qua non for any mayoral candidate to earn progressive support. Reach out to local community, elected, and religious leaders.

b) Do opposition research. The candidate should know every lousy vote Youngblood's ever taken. If possible, get photos of her with White Republicans. Get some good photos of her closed, staff-less district office.

c) Challenge Youngblood to a large number of debates. She'll say no, and it might be used for one round of negative hits. ("What's Republican Rosie hiding now? She doesn't open her district office, and she won't come to a debate?")

d) Get an absolutely unimpeachable signature petition for God's sake.

4) Media and message (throughout). Follow the "Anne Dicker" model. Focus on earned/free media, positioning as the city's premier underdog candidate to get into the CP or PW. Get into every local rag and church newsletter in the district. Also, get regular anti-Youngblood letters-to-the-editor into local papers as soon as possible. Everything the campaign says or does should tie closely into the message of "Youngblood is a Republican" until nobody in the district can think of the name "Rosita" without the word "Republican" popping to mind. Someone independent of the official campaign should raise and spend a few hundred dollars to plaster the district with "Republicans for Rosita" signs a couple weeks before election day, like this fall's "Bush for Fitzpatrick" signs up in PA-08.

5) Persuasion and voter ID in West (Winter/Spring 2008). Organize a neighbor-to-neighbor canvassing campaign. These are some of the most high-information voters in the city. Brand Youngblood as a Republican, and emphasize progressive policies opposed by her.

6) Persuasion and voter ID in East (Winter/Spring 2008). Voter ID is much more important in the East than the West. That's because GOTV canvassing without IDs will tend to bring out anti-Youngblood votes in the West but not in the East. The candidate herself should be the #1 canvasser here, personally knocking on about 9,000 doors. Ideally, other canvassers should come from the local community, but voter ID is so crucial for GOTV in this area that liberal White canvassers from the West could be used. Develop a separate strategy for the Hispanic areas at the farthest East corner of the district. Closer to election day, use some of that early fundraising money to do some paid canvassing. Target undecided and anti-Youngblood voters with three rounds of negative direct mail. Possibly do some phone-banking, or even push-polling: "Would you still vote for Rosita Youngblood if you knew that she joined with the Republicans in Harrisburg, or would you support Democrat Jane Doe?"

7) GOTV (last 100 hours). A continuation of the door-to-door strategy. As noted above, "blind" canvassing of unidentified voters (or voters ID'd as undecided) would be somewhat effective in the West where our support is around 75% (about half as effective as ID'd canvassing) but not in the East where our goal is 45%.

(Note: Through this comment, I've used "Black" to mean "Not Hispanic or Latino; Black or African American alone," "White" to mean "Not Hispanic or Latino; White alone," and "Hispanic" to mean "Hispanic or Latino" as defined by the Census Bureau. I've used "West" to mean Wards 9, 21, and 22, and "East" to mean the other wards. The West is 19% of the district, and is 57%/35% White/Black; the East is 81% of the district, and is 8%/80% White/Black. There's a substantial income dropoff right by Johnson St., which is even starker than the more gradual racial change between Chelten and Hortter. Thus, in practice, certain mixed precincts in the 22nd and 59th could be assigned either way, depending on the campaign's strengths and weaknesses.)

nice plan

Wow, you have been thinking about this a lot. Her main enemy, unfortunatly, is Donna Miller, who is a complete joke, and is currently the Ccouncilperson (hopefully not for long). I'm not sure if Cindy Bass lives in the district. She would probably be a good candidate.

Great post man.


you have been thinking about this a lot.

You got me thinking more about this, and it gave me an excuse to skip going to the office today.

According to my online White Pages widget, Cindy Bass (Fattah aide, former St. Senate candidate) lives in Cherelle Parker's district, kinda by the Stenton Septa Station. Of course, there's always time for an interested person to move a few blocks.

Counting chickens?

As I mentioned on another thread - a number of folks very active in Germantown and active in NN were quite supportive of Youngblood just a few months ago (reflective of her activity in the last few years) - to the extent that Germantown NN group voted to endorse her in November (an endorsement not approved by the Steering Committee because, I believe, there wasn't as much support for her in the areas of Mt. Airy she represents).

The situation may have turned around to some degree with her support of Perzel, but I'm really not so sure that the stage is set for the kind of groundswell of opposition that you're picturing here.

Thanks for mentioning that

Thanks for mentioning that again. I missed the other thread.

You're absolutely right that if there isn't potential for a groundswell of support among local liberal groups like NN, this campaign wouldn't work. Any prospective candidate would be wise to test the waters with G'town NN (for instance).

That's right

I actually talked to Cindy, who was the President of EMAN when I was President of WMAN, to see if she would be interested in running against Rosita before I decided to do so. But it would have required her to move and she had just bought a lovely home.

And, to comment on another post, Rosita Youngblood has been a pretty effective legislator in her first two terms and had introduced some important legislation that focused on protecting victims of rape. That was the main reason she had the support of some white progressives when I ran against her.

Rosita has been a much more effective Representative in the last two years than she was in the four years before. She was a real leader against the Trump Casino. The day I lost, I promised not to run against her if she turned things around. While she has not become another Dwight Evans as a legislator, she was much more effective. That, and the fact that it doesn't make much sense for someone over 50 to be starting as a state legislator, was why I didn't run against her again in 06.

It might be hard tagging Rosita as a Republican

when all the other Dems in that Speaker election voted for -- a Republican!

Her support for some Perzel initiatives in the past led to DeWeese slashing her budget a couple years ago and forcing her to close an office and cut constituent services. Which are consituents more likely to be outraged about? Her voting with Perzel (to get his support on some pet issues) or her (and her constituents) being punished by a western Pa. party boss?

I think the latter issue plays better on a brochure.

That certainly has to be her

That certainly has to be her basic response about the speaker election, but I have to disagree about how well her being punished by a Western Pa. party boss plays on a brochure. What's the succinct slogan that goes at the top? How does she tie DeWeese to her opponent? What's the visual? I might not be thinking creatively enough, but I just can't come up with one, and believe me, I've tried. The point of a campaign brochure is to give one clear reason to vote for or against a candidate. Someone looking at it should be able to digest the point in about 5 seconds, not have to read through a back-story about guys in Western Pa.

Not only is campaign literature a poor medium for Youngblood to use to disseminate a campaign message about DeWeese, but such a campaign message is doomed from the start. She needs the campaign to fundamentally be about something like "experience standing up for the community." If the campaign comes to be about "Youngblood voted with Republicans" or even "why Youngblood voted with Republicans," then she's lost the message battle and possibly the whole campaign no matter how good her explanation is. If I were Youngblood, I wouldn't touch Perzel, DeWeese, or related issues with a ten-foot pole on media like mailers that my own campaign generated. If pressed about it by a reporter (for example), I'd respond by pivoting away ASAP from a long elaborate discussion about Perzel/DeWeese/O'Brien and onto the subject of "experience standing up for the community": "I cast that vote because I was faced with the choice between two Republicans, and voted for the one who I had worked with on Legislation X and Y rather than the one I didn't know. In fact, my hard work on Legislation X has helped local residents like Larry Logan by... By supporting Legislation Y along with [insert popular Philly Dem legislators], people like Ginny Germantown can now... And I plan to continue fighting for Legislation Z to save our children from [crime/casinos/whatever]. That's why I have the experience and dedication to keep making a real difference in Harrisburg."

Im a young voter

and i was outraged that she would vote for prezel. Im a 23 yr communtiy college of philly (ccp) student that is majoring political science and i was outraged that she would vote for prezel.Also i live in the 198 district and most people in the 198 district do not vote in the primarly in may and i think that we need a new state rep next year. If she sided with him now can you image what you will and wull not vote for next time. I one of the few people that shows up to vote in may and i voted for her. why in the world whould she vote for prezel is something that i just dont understand. we need a young progressive dem to run for her in the primarly next may. someone who is a true dem not someone who is masking a dem and is really a republican.

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