Jim Roddey, the Allegheny County Republican chairman, has apologized for an election night joke in which he quipped that a supporter of President Obama was "retarded.''

Mr. Roddey, the veteran GOP leader, was speaking Tuesday night at state Rep.  Randy Vulakovich's celebration of his victory in the special election to fill the North Hills state Senate seat, vacated after former Sen. Jane Orie's conviction for using state resources and staffers in campaigning.

"I was in this parking lot and there was a man looking for a space to park, and I found a space for him,'' Mr. Roddey said.  "And I felt badly -- he looked like he was sort of in distress. And I said, 'Sir, here's a place.' And he said, 'That's a handicapped space.' I said, 'Oh I'm so sorry, I saw that Obama sticker and I thought you were mentally retarded."

The remark, reported in the Post-Gazette's politics blog, Early Returns, was picked up and repeated by a variety of political sites on the web.  Mr. Roddey's opposite number, Nancy Mills, the Allegheny County Democratic, quickly condemned the remark, and called on Mr. Roddey to resign his party post.

In email exchange Wednesday, Mr. Roddey called his remarks "regrettable,'' and added, "I have a long record of supporting people with disabilities and should have remembered that before I spoke. My remarks were inappropriate and I apologize.''

Asked to comment on Ms. Mills' statement that he should step down, he said,  "Also regrettable.''

US Rep. Mark Critz has a new TV ad buy posted on the FCC's site starting on Sept. 17 across the three broadcast networks.

The last reservations we saw from the Democrat or Republican opponent Keith Rothfus had them going on-air in mid-October.

US Sen. Bob Casey's ads (launched during the Olympics last weekend) look to be staying up in the Pittsburgh market through this week. Republican opponent Tom Smith will also be on air.

Bloomberg has another roundup on Voter ID bills approved by GOP legislatures possibly hurting Obama's reelection chances that mentions Pa but is based in Florida.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wrote supporters today saying the bills "could cost us the election" and urged them to sign an online petition criticizing them.

Chris Potter at Pittsburgh City Paper read through the Pa lawsuit transcripts and focused on this nugget from state staffer Rebecca Oyler on voters who might be affected by the Pa's new bill:

Oyler's estimate: roughly 75,000 registered voters. After the bill became law, the state revised her estimate slightly upward — to more than 750,000 voters.

Why had Oyler been so far off? It's actually not her fault. As Oyler testified, she was responding to a request from the House Appropriations Committee, which wanted to know how much it "would cost to issue free ID cards."

"You didn't have a lot of time to do that estimate, did you?" asked an attorney for those seeking to overturn the law.

"No," Oyler answered.

"They gave you a 24-hour turnaround?"

"Thereabouts, yes."

Let's pause here a moment. The voter-ID law — a measure to reshape the basic mechanism by which democracy functions — was first introduced in March 2011. It went through a slew of Republican-dominated committees in the House and Senate. Yet throughout that year-long process, only one committee asked, "How many people could lose their voting rights here?" And that committee devoted just 24 hours to finding an answer.

First Lady Susan Corbett's father, Dr. Lewis Manbeck, died Tuesday. The Schuylkill Countyman was 90.

Obituary from the governor's office after the jump:

Turnout for yesterday's special state Senate election yesterday was 13.57% in Allegheny County, going from a low of 7.16% in Pine to 29.3% in a district in Shaler.

Thanks to the Allegheny County elections division for the data. Butler County had not yet processed their numbers.

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