by Chris Potter
I'm on deadline today, so I hope you'll forgive me if this update on the Molchany/Readshaw race is actually brief and readable ... as opposed to the turgid 1,000-word opus that fans of this space are used to seeing from me.
Erin Molchany has fired back at a negative ad issued by the Harry Readshaw campaign late last month. The new ad -- titled "Mom" and featuring one of those not-at-all-contrived scenes where eerily well informed "normal" people talk about politics -- is here:
It's a direct response to Readshaw's claim that in 2013, Molchany voted in favor of a bill that raised taxes on Pennsylvania drivers ... and all for the sake of transit riders in Philadelphia. While the factual basis of Readshaw's claims has been faulted here and elsewhere, the Molchany spot turns the tables by alleging that Readshaw "Readshaw voted to raise our taxes eight times ... even the gas tax."
I haven't had a chance to fact-check the eight votes cited in the ad, but I can say that Readshaw did indeed for the one flagged as the "GAS TAX HIKE" vote -- a "yea" in favor of HB67 of 1997. That measure, which ultimately became Act 3, was then-Gov. Tom Ridge's transportation bill for the year; Readshaw voted against many of his fellow House Democrats in backing the bill. (Political historians please take note: The pagination of the House journal linked to here is a bit out of order, and splits the vote totals up over a couple different pages..)
In the meantime, the Readshaw campaign has already responded to the spot with a statement, calling the reference to Act 3 "the most comical bit of the whole ad." Readshaw's 1997 vote, his campaign says, "raise[d] the gas tax by less than 4 cents a gallon," as opposed to Molchany's vote for last year's bill, which Readshaw says will "raise [the gas tax] nearly 30 cents."
"If they want this debate to be about our records on gas tax increases, we welcome that conversation," the statement continues.
There's more, including another discussion of Readshaw's record on women's issues. But that 1,000-word post will have to wait. Sorry/you're welcome!