MISS: With more than 20 candidates jostling for attention, the field of Democratic presidential aspirants hardly needs any additional entrants, but it got one this week with the unexpected entry of former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak to the scrum. You’ll remember that Sestak represented the commonwealth’s 7th Congressional District from 2007 to 2011, came close to winning a U.S. Senate seat in 2010, but didn’t make it out of the Democratic primary when he tried again in 2016. Sestak probably assumes that he has nothing to lose with a presidential run, considering that one of his rivals is a former three-term congressman who also lost a Senate race, and the other is the mayor of a midwestern city with a population of a little over 100,000 people. But lightning is unlikely to strike in Sestak’s case. This feels more like a vanity run to increase his visibility, rather than a serious bid. Our prediction: He won’t last past the Iowa caucus.
HIT: The opioid epidemic has taken a grim toll on many residents of Washington and Greene counties, but Tim Warco, the coroner of Washington County, had some good news to report last week. According to his annual report, the number of overdose deaths in the county fell for the second year in a row. In 2018, 76 people died of overdoses. The year before, 97 did. Officials credit the decline to treatment programs and the availability of naloxone, the overdose antidote. As Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone put it, “We just have to keep fighting addiction. We came down pretty drastically. There’s still a ways to go.”
HIT: The Fort Pitt Museum in Pittsburgh tells the story of this region long before it became an industrial mecca or a “city of champions.” Located in Point State Park where Fort Pitt once stood, the museum examines frontier life in the area more than two centuries ago, and the pivotal role the area played in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. It opened 50 years ago this weekend, in a summer that included both the moonwalk and Woodstock. It wasn’t entirely clear at the start of this decade that the Fort Pitt Museum would reach the half-century mark – it was briefly closed as a result of state budget woes – but the Senator John Heinz History Center stepped in, took over its operation from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and has made it a much more vibrant and interesting to place to visit. We hope the museum is able to celebrate its 100th anniversary when 2069 rolls around.
MISS: Last year, Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Marcel Groen was ousted from his post for his unhurried response to allegations of sexual misconduct swirling around members of his party, and, this week, it was Groen’s GOP counterpart who fell from grace. Val DiGiorgio, a Philadelphia area resident and Pennsylvania’s Republican Party chairman since February 2017, abruptly resigned Tuesday after The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the married DiGiorgio had been exchanging sexually explicit messages via Facebook with a Philadelphia City Council candidate last year. Among the images DiGiorgio allegedly sent was a picture of an erect penis. In his resignation letter, DiGiorgio claimed the Inquirer story contained “gross mischaracterizations of mutual consensual communications” and vowed he would “rigorously” defend himself. Still, you would think that by now that anyone over the age of, say, 10, would realize that leaving an electronic trail when you are engaged in ill-advised behavior is something to be rigorously avoided.