Conservative campaign to focus on PA General Assembly

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

More conservative versus conservative fighting is coming to Pennsylvania.

The American Future Fund Political Action, a national group that advocates for free-market and conservative ideals, launched a campaign targeting Pennsylvania’s General Assembly. The group will use phone calls, direct mail and social media to apply pressure to “select lawmakers” and to support lawmakers who support reform efforts, according to a news release.

“Conservatives are hungry, and they’re not hungry for unreasonable things,” said Nick Ryan, AFF Political Action chairman.

GLOVES OFF WITHIN GOP: After Scott Wagner’s state Senate win, there are more signs of dissent within Pennsylvania’s Republican Party.

The campaign will focus on three topics of importance to more hardline conservatives – Obamacare, a failure to privatize the state’s liquor stores and the gas tax increase that accompanied a $2.3 billion transportation funding package approved last year.

All are timely considering the recent ethics scandal within the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and Monday’s deadline to apply for Obamacare. Increased fees for drivers that were part of the transportation funding package also kicked in Tuesday.

AFF plans to spend six figures on the campaign, though Ryan would not say exactly how much that would mean. He also would not say which specific lawmakers might be targeted, saying the idea for now is to focus on policy issues.

If the campaign does turn more political, though, Ryan indicated that Republican legislators from suburban Philadelphia area might be more prone to stray from free-market ideals and thus be “one of the first places” where lawmakers might feel the heat of the campaign.

Conservative activist Scott Wagner’s recent election to the state Senate, in part, has inspired the campaign. After Wagner campaigned on reforming Harrisburg and reining in state government spending, Ryan said the win is proof voters are unhappy with the current state of affairs in Pennsylvania.

“I think that, for me anyway, the Scott Wagner win was something that should be a real wake-up call to liberal Republicans, moderate Republicans, establishment-type Republicans in Pennsylvania,” Ryan said.

Despite running a write-in campaign, Wagner beat fellow Republican and state Rep. Ron Miller after a contentious campaign, which included the Senate Republican Campaign Committee blasting Wagner in TV ads.

It seems more intra-GOP mudslinging is ready to commence. Despite that, the party didn’t express any worry in a statement from spokeswoman Megan Sweeney.

“The Republican Party of Pennsylvania remains focused on electing strong candidates who are focused on the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility,” she said.

Andrew Staub is a reporter for PA Independent and can be reached at Andrew@PAIndependent.com. Follow @PAIndependent on Twitter for more.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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