Here’s a fun story from Carl Feldman over at PoliticsPA. Northampton County Executive Walt Garvin let it slip that Fountain Hill Mayor Jose Rosado is mulling a primary challenge to Lisa Boscola in the 16th Senate District.
This district lost a more conservative area in Monroe County in redistricting, and picked up the city of Easton, along with the activist Easton Democrats who helped liberal superstar Matt Cartwright beat Tim Holden in the 2012 primary in PA-17. Jose Rosado will have to raise a lot of money and line up a lot of support from local politicians and Obama organizers, but as I told Carl I think once Democratic primary voters hear the rap on Lisa Boscola he’ll get a fair hearing:
“Boscola is not a progressive. She was a member of ALEC until last year, she almost switched parties in 2005, voted for several GOP budgets, took a no-tax-pledge . . . and sunk the candidacy of Jennifer Mann,” Geeting charged.
But Geeting agreed that mounting a primary challenge would be difficult.
“She has held up the district for some time, she has high name recognition and won by convincing margins.” But, “Rosado is well known, and any credible primary needs strong roots in Bethlehem and Easton. Being well known on South Side [of Bethlehem], it can’t hurt that he is a Latino lawmaker himself.”
Let’s back some of that up.
Like fellow DINO Harry Readshaw, Boscola had to be publicly shamed out of cancelling her membership with ALEC, the rightwing bill factory, just last year in 2012.
In 2005, Senate Republicans were openly trying hard to recruit Boscola, and she was openly fanning the speculation that she’d switch parties. She didn’t end up doing it, but the fact that Boscola feels like she’d be at home in the Republican Party says a lot.
That same article gets into how she helped botch Jennifer Mann’s race against Pat Browne, by harshly calling out Mann’s campaign ads that hit Browne on his two drunk driving arrests. Boscola had also been arrested for drunk driving and bristled at the idea that Browne might pay a political price for his reckless life-endangering behavior.
Boscola also took Grover Norquist’s No Tax Pledge, which is arguably what’s responsible for so much of the budget misery during the Corbett era, and this led her to oppose even the ultra-weak impact fee on natural gas drillers. We could be raising $1 billion a year from a severance tax on gas production – four times as much as we’re currently collecting, but Boscola’s No Tax Pledge means she’ll never vote for that. Even though the PA Democratic Party has taken an official position in favor of a statewide severance tax.
With strongly Democratic Bethlehem and Easton, the risk to Democrats of losing this seat in the general election is low, so the primary is going to be the real game in the 16th. We’ll have to wait to see what Jose Rosado’s actual issue positions are before we can truly compare the two candidates, but looking at Boscola’s record I think the case for a progressive primary challenge is strong.