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Early Returns Blog

On Meet the Press Pat Toomey gave some support -- however couched -- of a Sarah Palin presidential bid in Pa. From Politico:

Sen.-elect Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) believes Sarah Palin would have shot at carrying his home state.

Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" if the former Alaska governor - assuming she becomes the 2012 Republican nominee for president - could win Pennsylvania, Toomey allowed, "It is possible."

"We went into this election cycle with a 1.2 million voter registration deficit and with a Republican brand that was in a really bad way, and I still won this election," he said. "So, I think the electorate wants a return of economic growth, wants serious fiscal discipline. If they believe they've got a candidate that's going to deliver on those things, then it's possible."

NYT photo

We're shaking the rust off a bit after our hiatus, but in the meantime things progress around Grant Street, Harrisburg and DC:

Dan Onorato may not have announced if he'll be on the executive ballot for a third time come spring, but county controller Mark Flaherty is set to run regardless. (Jim O'Toole)

Can't start 2011 without something Marcellus-related. John Hines may be the new DEP secretary. (Detrow/Capitolwire/GrassrootsPa)

Kit Seelye at the NYT writes about LCB privatization (NYT photo above):

Like prisoners in the gulag, consumers here can only fantasize about buying their wine and liquor in a competitive free market. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has run the liquor stores for eight decades, a relic of the post-Prohibition era, when government thought controlling the sale of alcohol would limit consumption.

Here's a bio of Pat Toomey's pick for his point man on Western Pa:

Matt Blackburn – Western Pennsylvania Director. A native of Erie, PA, Mr. Blackburn has many years of experience working in the legislative, policy, and political arena.  Mr. Blackburn started his career as a Legislative Assistant for then-Congressman Toomey in 2003 and went on to join the Congressman’s 2004 Senate campaign as the Director of Grassroots for Western and Central Pennsylvania.  He continued to gain legislative and policy experience as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and as the Government Affairs Director for Express Search, Inc., a patent research company.  Most recently, Mr. Blackburn served as the Policy Director for Senator-Elect Toomey’s 2010 campaign, overseeing all research and policy issues.  Mr. Blackburn received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Gannon University in Erie, PA.
The full list of the new senators regional directors is after the jump:


20101214_supremecourttv_150The Legal Intelligencer, one of the country's oldest legal journals, posts a commentary underscoring the fact that the political redistricting drama ahead for the Commonwealth may not be the sole workproduct of the Republican governor and legislature:

"It's commonly asserted that the Republicans have complete control over the process. After all, the GOP is set to be the majority in the state Senate and state House and Gov.-elect Tom Corbett is a Republican.

But not so fast. The state Supreme Court, nominally controlled by a 4-3 GOP majority, may prove to be a wild card."

(Follow news of the courts and legal community at Ipso Facto)

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